Despite going unbeaten in the Under-15 division of the 2017 Republic Bank National Youth League (RBNYL), Trendsetter Hawks will not be among the teams contesting tomorrow’s semifinals at Constantine Park in Macoya, as they were ousted for the use of two players who were deemed illegitimate by the RBNYL.
The Hawks put in a solid display to defeat FC Santa Rosa by a 5-2 score line in their quarterfinal matchup at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Saturday 17 June. However, the “Big Cannons” subsequently protested the usage of Josiah Edwards and Antonio Chee Ting.
The duo, both National Under-15 players, were former San Juan Jabloteh players and Santa Rosa charged that the pair were representing Jabloteh and Trendsetter simultaneously.
Checks by the Flow TT Youth Pro League and RBNYL showed that Edwards and Chee Ting did not play for Jabloteh once the latter competition kicked off. However, the players were still registered as Jabloteh players for the Pro League competition due to mishaps in the transfer transaction between the two clubs.
Santa Rosa President Keith Look Loy, who is also the interim President of the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL), was adamant that the two players never transferred from Jabloteh. And as it turns out, Look Loy was right.
“[The TT Pro League] has no document showing that the players were transferred from San Juan Jabloteh to Trendsetter Hawks,” stated Pro League secretary Julia Baptiste via e-mail on Tuesday evening. “The attached form from the Northern Football Association is a transfer request form and is supposed to be brought to the TT Pro League in order to have a transfer certificate prepared. Because [the transfer request form was not brought to the TT Pro League] the players will not appear to be transferred.”
Anthony Harford, of All Sport Promotions, suggested that he never felt as though Trendsetter acted maliciously. However, he conceded that the Anthony “Dada” Wickham-led team had fallen prey to a technicality.
“Everybody is satisfied that Trendsetter did not wilfully do anything wrong. [The players in question] have not played for Jabloteh since the start of the RBNYL,” Harford told Wired868. “[…] but because the transfer certificate did not come from the Pro League, the game was given to Santa Rosa.”
All documents relating to the transfers were sent prior to the start of this year’s RBNYL but still managed to go undetected by All Sport and NFA administrators up until this point. And Harford suggested that the administrators responsible were under the impression that the right documents were sent.
It now means that Santa Rosa will benefit from their second technicality in the RBNYL quarterfinals. Last Saturday, they defeated Ste Madeline Strikers without breaking a sweat in the Under-13 division as their opponents were tardy for kickoff at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
On the other hand, the Hawks were left feeling aggrieved and let down by the relevant administrators.
The transfer forms for the two players were seen and signed by officials from both clubs and their parents before being sent to the Northern Football Association (NFA) and then the RBNYL. But they erred in not included the Pro League in the process.
Yesterday, Hawks official Nicholas Lochan appealed to Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams for a speedy resolution to the matter.
“Trendsetter Hawks would like to indicate that to the best of our knowledge, there is and has never been a strict procedure regarding Transfer Certificates for non-contracted youth players,” Lochan said. “I have not seen a TTFA document specifically identifying a clear registration process for youth players!
“Trendsetter Hawks Football Academy has and will always abide by the rules, but this ‘technical’ decision seems very unfair since, in absence of clear policy, we followed general, consistent and historically accepted procedure.”
Veteran Trendsetter coach “Dada” Wickham was also disappointed as he felt his club should have been notified of their slip-up long ago since they sent in the transfer documents prior to the start of the tournament in April.
“We didn’t use over-aged players [and] we didn’t use unregistered players,” Wickham told Wired868. “I am so disappointed by this whole thing… I didn’t bring in [the transfer documents] yesterday.”
Realising that the odds were stacked against them being victorious in the matter, Lochan and the Hawks dropped their appeal this afternoon and conceded the semifinal spot to Santa Rosa.
“Unfortunately the result of the protest stands in favour of FC Santa Rosa and as such Trendsetter Hawks Football Academy will abide by the decisions of the regulatory body,” Lochan said. “I do feel tremendous disappointment for the youngsters that despite progressing unbeaten and winning their quarterfinal match against FC Santa Rosa 5-2, they were disqualified through no fault of their own.”
The Santa Rosa Under-15 team will play Police FC tomorrow from 11.30am.
Meanwhile, Trendsetter will hope to take out their frustration on Jabloteh and Central in the Under-11 and Under-13 Divisions respectively. Their chance of a clean sweep of titles in age divisions is now gone.
Republic Bank National Youth League Semifinal Fixtures
(Saturday 24 June)[All games at Constantine Park, Macoya]
Defence Force vs QPCC ‘A’, 10am;
Trendsetter Hawks vs San Juan Jabloteh, 11.30am;
FC Santa Rosa vs Cunupia Extreme, 10am;
Trendsetter Hawks vs Central FC, 11.30am;
RSSR vs QPCC, 10am;
Police FC vs FC Santa Rosa, 11.30am.