T&T U17s left hanging; TTFA replace Ken Elie after coach protested non-payment

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Under-17 football team will start their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) campaign at home in September without the services of the man who trained then for the last 12 months.

Ken Elie, who served as national youth coach on several prior occasions and was assistant to Hannibal Najjar with the national squad, was relieved of his post as head coach after he said he took a firm stance against the non-payment of salaries by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 winger Isaiah Hudson (centre) runs at the Turks and Caicos defence during Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 17 June 2016. T&T won 11-0. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 winger Isaiah Hudson (centre) runs at the Turks and Caicos defence during Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 17 June 2016. Hudson is eligible to represent the Under-17 Team in September.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Elie told Wired868 that since taking up the post on 1 June 2015 he has never seen a paycheck while working with the Under-17 teams. On 6 April 2016, the National Under-17 Team staff met current TTFA president David John-Williams and members of technical committee and raised the issue of remuneration.

But, with no change to their situation, Elie informed his fellow technical staff members on 19 June that he would write TTFA technical director Muhammad Isa for feedback on earlier queries about stipends and salaries of the coaching staff.

“So I told the technical staff that I would return to training when I got a response from the technical committee or technical director as to what is my position,” he said.

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It took roughly a month before Elie heard from a TTFA official. Last Thursday, he said technical committee’s deputy chairman, Dr Alvin Henderson, phoned to find out why he had “abandoned” the team. The coach reiterated what he’d said to his staff: that he was waiting for word about his position.

The next day, on Friday 15 July, Elie said the Under-17 Team’s manager, Alexandrine Elliot-Procope, contacted him to say he would no longer be in charge of the team, and a replacement would soon take over.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (far right) holds court with (from left) TTFA interim general secretary Azaad Khan, president David John-Williams, technical committee member Muhammad Isa and TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis in December 2015. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (far right) holds court with (from left) TTFA interim general secretary Azaad Khan, president David John-Williams, technical committee member Muhammad Isa and TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis in December 2015.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Wired868’s attempts to reach Elliot-Procope for comment proved futile.

However, Isa said Elie had walked off the job and stressed that financial issues did not fall under his purview as technical director.

“The technical committee doesn’t handle finances,” Isa said. “The administration and the football association handle finances.”

At present, the Under-17 team is under the guidance of Elie’s former technical staff. Isa claimed that the national youth team’s technical staff offered their services to the TTFA voluntarily, although Elie, who was hired under the Raymond Tim Kee-led administration, rubbished that suggestion and insisted that he had documented evidence of his appointment.

Elie promised to share those documents with Wired868 at the appropriate time.

“I decided to ask them for a letter stating that this will be the amount that I will be working for and this will be the amount paid when the situation has improved… because I know they had money issues at the time,” Elie said.

Photo: Ex-Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and his then general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Ex-Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and his then general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

However, remuneration negotiations between Elie and then TTFA General Secretary Sheldon Phillips were still ongoing when the latter was fired in October last year, one month before the TTFA’s presidential election.

“Under the Tim Kee administration, the process of coming to an agreement was in progress when the elections came along.”

On 29 November 2015, John-Williams ascended to the TTFA throne on the back of a manifesto entitled “Imperatives for Change.” Unfortunately for Elie, there was no change in his fortunes where his salary was concerned, although he and his technical staff did feel hopeful after they met John-Williams on 6 April.

“Of course, no agreements were made but salaries were discussed,” Elie said. “In fact, that was the key of the meeting. And all that was said there was that he will get back to us.”

The TTFA did indeed get back to Elie on Thursday 14 July, but it was to enquire about his absence from training since June 19. Elie was starting to observe a trend:

Photo: TTFA president and W Connection founder David John-Williams.
Photo: TTFA president and W Connection founder David John-Williams.

So if I didn’t ask the manager to find about what they’re doing with our funds… all now training still going on with no intention to pay. If there was intention to pay, somebody would have come forward and said, “Listen Mr Elie, the situation with the money is the still the same. Will you be willing to stay on until we can pay you by x, y or z time?” And I would have simply asked them to put that in writing but the intention was never to pay.

Wired868 reached out to TTFA General Secretary Azaad Khan for some clarity regarding Elie’s payment grouse but he preferred not to comment on the issue.

Despite being disappointed by his supposed dismissal from the Under-17 post, Elie commended the strong camaraderie within the team and praised the parents for their unwavering support of the players.

“So I feel very disappointed and very hurt for those players because we would have reached a level of commitment and love for each other. And more than anything else, a level of trust would have been established between the coaches and the players,” Elie said.

The Trinidad and Tobago team received a bye straight into the final of round of CFU qualifying which begins on September 16. Five CFU teams will then advance to the CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship in a bid to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India next year.

Photo: QRC attacker John-Paul Rochford (centre) takes a crack at goal during 2015 SSFL action against St Augustine Secondary. Rochford is expected to be a key member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: QRC attacker John-Paul Rochford (centre) takes a crack at goal during 2015 SSFL action against St Augustine Secondary.
Rochford is expected to be a key member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

It remains to be seen who will take up the vacant Under-17 post but Isa confirmed that the position has been put up for tender by the TTFA.

“We are hoping to have that by the end of the month. The TTFA will be advertising the post and everybody who’s interested will have to apply,” Isa said.

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About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    Well hopefully if he doesn’t change eh, finally when his 4 yrs have concluded eh, the right person will be nominated to do the right things eh.

  2. their president busy sniffing blood in the waters waiting 2 capitalise on people hard work and investments in players while he sits on his lazy ass and look for money that snake

  3. you guys missed the point, it’s not about hiring a new coach, its about principle. You hired someone to do a job, pay them. Remember Russell Latapy. its’ doing the same thing over and over and you getting the same result. that’s call MADNESS

  4. I am tired of these ppl wit their bull shit!

  5. 🙁 Mr Elie is a hard working and dedicated man who don’t stand for nonsense, I do not support what they did.

  6. This shit going on for to long boi…alyu pay the ppl them please…have r heart na the ppl has family gosh man..

  7. WTF is there always some drama with Football?

  8. Folks the reality is we still looking at coaches ,the system is garbage ,period come on third world is third world ,who ttfa fooling ,now uh hear the prezi want a bigger post….u have to watch your back football has a real mafia

  9. What about bede archibald very good coach

  10. I recommend Renauld Carington as the replacement

  11. O god boy allyuh at least have some respect for coaches nah wayy boy we does have to go through a lot is plenty sacrifice problem with ur spouse problem at work ( too much time off) trying to get kids from different back ground to come together and the list goes on we have to be coach big brother councilor and daddy or mummy at d same time ,so what to do quit coaching and increase the rate of criminal activity the powers that be please do something about this remember the youth is the future please help them to thrust us once again in Jesus name

  12. He kinda do like black people

  13. One the next coach sign a contract. As it will be the same thing.

  14. So will you say that there is really no hope to really get our football on the right path and put an end to all this continuing madness eh, Them really good yes.

  15. ..My number in the coaches’ association is in the low single digits. People not interested in the hard work of democracy and collective action. There are active coaches who could testify about the battle fought for salary under the Warner administration and my role in that. I resigned from TTFA six years ago due to frustration at the unwillingness to change. I was invited by more than one current TTFA official to come back in. No siree. Plus ca change..

  16. Like you have Drama Wednesdays too awah Lasana?

  17. And alyuh think that it is now that this madness is taking place eh, when the corrupted Jack Warner had the Brigidaire Ralph Brown in his pockets eh, my soldiers represented our sweet country for free and if anyone of them opened their mouths eh, is jail for them down in Tetron eh, so my dictator is just carrying on the same madness with respect to my soldiers eh, maybe they were all brainwashed when they always telling them our sweet country first eh. Ken Elie (Army) Ross Russel (Army) Angus Eve (Army), Kenny Joseph Coach (Army), Obrien ( Army ) Cumberbatch (Army) Lawson (Army) and positively certain that I can name a few more from our protective services or Michael Maurice Goalkeeper Coach o and if they had all listened to me eh aboth the importance of the Coaches Association and sticking together eh, and make certain that the right qualified Coaches are always selected to Coach our youth and national teams eh, this madness wouldn’t be happening today but three Coaches jumped ship ent Keith Look Loy and joined up with the corrupted Jack Warner for their own interest , where is the Coaches Association today eh. Them really good yes.

  18. But it isn’t the first time that meh friend Ken Elie find himself in this madness eh, when he was also the Coach of another U 17 team a few years ago eh, they fired him and appointed Anton Corneal eh, who took the team and got a set ah cut tail the same like if he wudda make a difference eh, and Ken went back again knowing how these slave masters does operate eh, so all I will tell him is that it good for him and his reply will be Mango you keep on telling me about these corrupted people and the TTFA but you know that my passion is for the youths and their welfare eh. Them really good yes.

  19. Does ken have a contract.? Lisana

  20. Whatever the personal ambitions of TTFA executive are, cheers to them. Anyone who has aspirations of working in a technical capacity or as a player in T&T would be ‘dotish’ to think they eh go get pressure for money. That should be listed in the contract or agreement that they sign. There is little money in football here and the space for corporate sponsorship/philantrophy has narrowed significantly. Anton corneal, russell Latapy, Jamaal, Marlon Charles and whom ever else has everything to do with Ken Elie. He has to join the line that they’ve been standing in over the years.

    • Geez – you serious bro? So the man must take ah job and be content with not being paid? Lol. He should wait in line till others get paid? And all the while he got bills to pay and family to feed. What you suggest he do have ah side wuk as ah bandit? Smh

    • Im sure the others have bills to pay and families to fees also. So is it that they continue to wait evem longer periods and some benefit instantly.
      Hear nah, i not advocating that the man not be paid yuh know but just like him, others have been down that road and they havent been dealt with.
      All things being constant, give everybody dey money. Unfortunately, this is football in t&t and money has been for a long time. What do u do if u were managing that situation? For me, i’ll pay off the older debtors 1st then deal with the others.

    • I agree that everyone owed must be paid. However, we both know that the ones who makes the most noise or have the best lawyers will get their money first. There’s no line – no first come first serve when dealing with the TTFA. Pally right to demand he hard earned dollars.

  21. I would love to know what company could contract me to work for them and tell me that I fast to ask about money cause people ent get paid years now.
    With all due respect, what does Anton Corneal not getting paid have to do with Elie?
    Hart is getting paid as far as I am aware. Should Hart also forego salaries?
    I totally disagree. The TTFA has to juggle those duties and make it work.
    Salazar for CONCACAF post in March and John-Williams running for CFU in July. You would think they would see stabilizing their own FA as more immediate and pressing priorities.

    • Well said Lasana. You couldn’t have said it any better. The TTFA in financial dire straits and the president focusing on higher office. Can’t properly manage ah parlor, but want to manage ah big time grocery. Lol

  22. I didnt condone the method used to relieve the man. I sympathise with him and all of others who have worked and weren’t compensated. I spk to the fact that there are a myriad of financial considerations that I/we in the NSL can empathise with that the TTFA experiences. (I think)

  23. Well yess always some drama. A national team could never be allowed to prepare without drama

  24. So you fire me for asking what my time is worth to you and for a letter of comfort Kester Lendor?

  25. ..So yuh fire the man for asking and downing tools when he got no response? Lack of respect..

  26. Keith i disagree with you to some extent. This situation is totally about finances or lack of really. We experience a microcosm of what obtains with the ttfa in that there are bills to be paid but there only real source of income is from benevolence of the Govt or a link in corporate T&T that is usually either very late or minimal at best.

  27. Kester Lendor, Ken Elie didn’t insist on getting a cheque. He wanted the TTFA to tell him in writing what his time is worth. There’s a difference I think.

  28. My dictator president needs to pay Anton Corneal the millions owed to him and then recycle him again steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  29. Wth! Jamaal Shabazz how long u had the WNTs (plural) and went without. What about Russell and Anton who are owed millions in unpaid salaries for years of work with MNT. Ent In accounting there is LIFO well this is a case of LILP (last in last paid). Pay Jamaal, Marlon and the rest of that WT staff, Anton, Russell and any others who are owed then deal with mr. Elie.

  30. Time to start a petition …….

  31. There is good old saying…”you know what you have, you don’t know what you will get”. This relates directly to Tim Kee and David John-Williams… In anticipation ??? another W Connection….connection?
    This man WILLIAMS is definitely not worthy of being TTFA president…the secretary is also being closely looked at..

  32. another bacchanal, sport administrators come and go and its the same thing. you hire a man and dont’ want to pay him, while you eating and drinking, so the man has no responsibilit, n family. how inconsiderate are you people, sham e, shame, youths under pressure again, yet you want the best from them , under such trying circumstances

  33. Now to appoint a W Connection coach?????

  34. ..The problem goes beyond the issues of technical staff appointment and payments. It includes poor team asministration and overall team funding. There is also, of course, the issue of proper protocol being observed in the handling of these issues. Technical committee members and team administrators have no authority over the tenure of coaches. No respect for people. No respect for protocol or proper procedure.This team will probably face Jamaica and Haiti in the group phase of their qyalifying tournamenr. Talentes as they may be that will pose a REAL problem..

  35. Lasana stop plagiarizing your own articles nah…I sure I read this same article a couple hundred times already concerning the TTFA. All you doing is changing the names and dates. You trying to fool we or what? This is satire? You playing Melania Trump? Smh

  36. Here we go again…..Lasana them really good ent….Pay the man….

  37. I wonder if we got the full story of the conversation between Dr. Henderson and Mr Elie. Something seems amiss. There must have been discussion (substantive or otherwise) of unpaid salaries. Also, considering all technical staff jobs are being advertised, one wonders how and why the other members of the technical staff came to also be replaced, as evidenced by the open job requisitions.

  38. Well they not sticking … the vacancies are already being advertised on caribbeanjobs.com

    • 1. The job requisition starts with, “reporting to the xxx”. Seemingly a non finalized version was sent out and published. Anyone applying would have to guess or ask what or who is “xxx”. 2. Qualifications request highest attainable badge available via TTFA… Why wouldn’t that be outlined as an “A” or “B” class license. 3. No salary range is published, but that is to be expected if no salary will be paid.. 4. All technical staff positions except physiotherapist are advertised. Two issues: Will head coach be hired first and allowed to interview and help select his or her assistant? Or is the hiring authority hiring all positions simultaneously, creating a potential conflict or chemistry issue? Secondly, we always do not seem to place any value on getting physiotherapists for national teams from the team training phase. Need to care for the youths even while they train, not just when they go represent us.

  39. TTFA money is for hosting meetings to further political ambitions, not to pay coaches of national teams. ????
    (And men will still want to come on here and play defenders of the DJW. Lol. Lord…)

  40. So who the coach wait don’t tell somebody from South or connection sighs!!!!!!!

  41. Note that the TTFA took a month to act and left the team in limbo for that whole period. And although the coach clearly indicated that his problem was the financial terms of his contract, the phone call came from a technical committee member (who could do nothing for him) rather than TTFA general secretary Azaad Khan or president David John-Williams.
    What does that tell you?

  42. So how many stories like these we have to read boy? Oh my goodness. As I always say T&T athletes excel in spite of..not because of…it’s so tiring man. Seems like every sport is filled with Money hungry people who only want to see about their pockets. They don’t have the athletes or the country’s best interest at heart #Enough

  43. SIGH! here we go AGAIN…This is like the replay of a bad horror movie!!! Wed 13th