The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) today announced its Players of the Year for 2021, against a backdrop of little to no activity in the domestic game.
Costa Rica-based central defender Aubrey David was adjudged the Men’s Player of the Year while Kennya ‘Yaya’ Cordner snared the Women’s prize. Ryan Augustine and Andre Marchan were named Beach Soccer and Futsal Player of the Year respectively.
David won the Liga FPD with Deportivo Saprissa and was an ever-present fixture in the Soca Warriors backline, as they were eliminated from the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying series in the preliminary round and failed to advance past the group stage at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“This is a tremendous honour for me to go down in the books as a Player of the Year for Trinidad and Tobago and to be classified among so many other committed and dedicated individuals who have won this award in the past,” David told the TTFA Media. “This has been a most challenging and difficult period for so many of us in sport, football and generally as people across the world.
“I think it was a blessing to be able to play football in 2021 and I would like to dedicate this award to the many others who contributed to our football in 2021, teammates and staff members. Hopefully we can take this drive into 2022 on the path to recovery.”
The 32-year-old Cordner scored once in four friendly outings for the Women Soca Warriors in 2021, although, like David, it was probably her success with her overseas-based club that propelled her to the Player of the Year award. She thanked God for the recognition from the local football body.
“After being away for so long from national team football, I kept on doing my thing regardless,” said Cordner, “and I am truly happy that I could come back and still contribute and make an impact on the national team and be named Player of the Year for Trinidad and Tobago Women’s football. It’s truly a wonderful feeling.
“I am happy that for the third time I am the Footballer of the Year and I will continue to work even harder and do my best! Thanks to all those who believed in me and never gave up on me!”
Augustine, who captained the two-island republic to the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship, said he was grateful for everything that ‘the programme has provided me over the years’.
“I’m immensely thankful for such a family-oriented group, the supportive staff and talented teammates,” said Augustine. “I hope my efforts help to grow support for the sport and hopefully provide the life-changing opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience.”
Marchan, a former national youth team goalkeeper, acquitted himself well in his first Futsal tournament although the Trinidad and Tobago team lost every match.
“I am truly grateful for being recognised for my efforts for the National Futsal team in 2021,” said Marchan. “It was an enjoyable and a learning experience for myself and the rest of the team. Hopefully we can continue to develop and achieve more in 2022 and beyond.”
The quartet, according to a TTFA media statement, will ‘receive awards courtesy The Fan Club of Trinity Mall and the TTFA in recognition of their achievements’.
‘The TTFA also wishes to applaud the other individuals who were nominated in each category by the panel for their contribution and efforts to the national team and by extension local football in 2021,’ stated the local football body. ‘We wish to acknowledge the commitment and dedication displayed by each individual who participated or was in some way involved in the activities of our national teams and local football during the past year.’
The TTFA, run by the Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, would not have had as many options as usual.
The Men’s National Senior Team and the Futsal and Beach Soccer outfits were the only local football teams to see competitive action in 2021, while the Women Soca Warriors played four friendlies. Otherwise, the TTFA’s remaining six national teams were mostly dormant.
The normalisation committee declined an invitation to participate in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Boys and Girls Under-15 Challenge Series from 22-29 August in the Dominican Republic. And the local football body failed to assist the Ministry of Sport and Community Development in acquiring vaccination data from local stakeholders, which was understood to be the first step towards resuming the domestic game.
However, the Men’s National Under-20 and Women’s National Under-17 and Under-20 Teams started screening sessions over the past month, with Concacaf international youth football expected to resume in 2022.
Hadad and his fellow normalisation committee members received a one-year extension by Fifa and will continue to run the TTFA into 2023.