The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s board of directors are due to meet on Wednesday and, almost certainly, the National Senior Team coach will be selected then.
Maybe. The TTFA, as has been the norm under new president David John-Williams, remains as fiercely secretive as a cult with members petrified of speaking on the record for even the most mundane questions.
Today, TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George refused to say when the last board meeting was held.
“No comment at this time,” said Latapy-George.
“You do understand that you are effectively the CEO of the TTFA, according to the constitution?” asked Wired868.
“Yes,” he replied.
“And that we are not asking what happened in the meeting but just whether there was one?” asked Wired868.
“I do not have any comment to make at this point in time,” he replied.
There have been more bizarre responses in the past.
Joseph Taylor, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association’s board representative, and Dr Alvin Henderson, the vice-chairman of the technical committee, once said they could not say whether they attended a meeting. They were not authorised to say.
Technical committee chairman Dexter Skeene, who is also the Pro League CEO, once told Wired868 that only John-Williams was authorised to speak on technical matters. This was after Skeene admitted, in his capacity as chairman in a previous article, that the appointment of National Under-20 Team coach Brian Williams—who is a youth team coach for John-Williams’ W Connection team—was not done according to proper procedure.
Wired868 revealed that the football president had gagged his technical committee chairman, Skeene. In response, Skeene was released to talk on the subsequent occasion we contacted him.
This time, as the technical committee searches for a new National Senior Team head coach, Skeene found a third way. He has remained silent and answered neither phone call nor text messages in relation to his ongoing task.
In the past week, the TTFA technical committee altered its membership. Former National Senior Team coach Edgar Vidale, according to interviewed coaches, has been added while Pro League secretary Julia Baptiste was also involved.
Former World Youth Cup coach Bertille St Clair is out.
St Clair informed Wired868 that he had not attended technical committee meetings for months due to health issues.
The Trinidad Guardian claimed that St Clair quit due to internal rumblings. Whether right or wrong, his departure might have never been an issue in the first place if someone from the FA had simply issued a statement on the change—as any normal, transparent company would have done.
The constitution says only the board of directors can appoint members on the various standing committees. So did the board appoint Vidale and Baptiste? Or did John-Williams or Skeene take it upon themselves to do so?
How many standing committees are active at present? Are they legitimately appointed? Does anyone follow the constitution at the TTFA?
Naturally, nobody is authorised to say.
There were a few strange things that occurred with the hiring of previous coach Tom Saintfiet.
First, Saintfiet was not named among the initial coaches under consideration to replace Stephen Hart. So when did his name get to the technical committee? And who delivered it?
Second, the technical committee said it never spoke to the coaches then but simply handed over a shortlist to John-Williams who, in turn, forwarded only Saintfiet’s name to the board. He claimed the others were either too expensive or suddenly unavailable.
Nobody could confirm if John-Williams’ claim was true or not. Yet when Saintfiet, predictably, turned out to be a disaster, the TTFA president pointed the finger of blame at his technical committee and not himself.
Even now, as the technical committee seeks a third coach in two months, nobody from the football body has faced the public to answer questions on the Saintfiet farce.
Skeene and company are directly interviewing coaches this time, which is, arguably, an admission of a flaw in the last process.
Yet, Wired868 understands that the technical committee was unable to conclusively tell interviewees the salary on offer or the duration of the contract on the table.
If so, what is the point of their week-long deliberations when the chosen coach still would not know if the conditions are right for him to take the job?
Will John-Williams again be allowed to negotiate with the candidates by himself? Does that not allow the TTFA president to rig the process by simply making insulting offers to any coach he does not want, until only his preferred choice remains?
And why would anyone trust in a process so lacking in basic transparency, especially after it led to Saintfiet last month?
So, by Thursday, Soca Warriors fans should know the coach entrusted with the responsibility of salvaging the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.
God alone knows how the football body intends to choose between Stuart Charles-Fevrier, Terry Fenwick, Russell Latapy, Dennis Lawrence and Francisco Maturana.
But, of course, we intend to find out.