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Hart problems: TTFA scraps Warriors men’s camp; women’s trip in balance

Trinidad and Tobago national football team head coach Stephen Hart admitted that the “Soca Warriors” will struggle to keep up with its rivals if the present financial woes continue.

Last month, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips promised camps for the men’s and women’s senior teams in July and August as preparation for their respective 2014 Caribbean Cup tournaments.

However, Hart said the men’s camp—which would have allowed him time with the top Pro League players—is definitely off while he is unsure as to whether the Warriors will meet before its first Caribbean Cup qualifier on 6 October 2014.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national football head coach Stephen Hart (centre) and captain Kenwyne Jones (right) land in Buenos Aires for a June friendly against Argentina. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national football head coach Stephen Hart (centre) and captain Kenwyne Jones (right) land in Buenos Aires for a June friendly against Argentina.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA)

“There is no money,” Hart told Wired868. “We potentially might have a game with Bolivia or Guadeloupe in September but we cannot sign a contract with anyone to play because we don’t have any money.”

The news was slightly better for the national women who hope to travel this week to Houston; almost two weeks after their scheduled departure on 10 July 2014.

“We should be leaving this week on Wednesday or Thursday,” said national women’s manager Vernetta Flanders, “depending on what date the travel agency gets tomorrow… Tickets will be booked tomorrow by all indications.”

Former head coach Marlon Charles, who resigned last month after complaining of disrespect by his employer, has already returned to the fold as assistant to United States coach Randy Waldrum. Charles is in charge of the women’s technical preparations at present.

Flanders revealed that the women’s players are likely to travel to Houston in at least two batches since the TTFA will only apply for some visas tomorrow. The manager said that the visa applications were late because the final squad had not been selected earlier.

She could not explain why the final team selection and visa applications have still not been finalised for a tour that was due to commence on July 10.

However, TTFA general secretary, Phillips, hinted that the late application for visas might have been due to financial issues.

“Until promised funding materializes planned programs will be impacted,” Phillips told Wired868. “The cost of visa applications, training camps, player and technical staff stipends, to name a few, all require funding.

“In the meantime, we are putting merchandising and licensing programs in place to lessen TTFA dependency on public funds.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and Sport Minister Anil Roberts at the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Despite Flanders’ assurance that the team will leave for Houston this week, a TTFA insider was less certain about the source of the funding for their trip.

“The Sport Minister (Anil Roberts) has said that football will not get a cent until after the Life Sport audit,” said the TTFA insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I was told (National Security Minister) Gary Griffith has promised to help so that is what everyone is riding on.”

Hart is desperately seeking some good news himself.

At present, the former Canada head coach is assisting the men’s national under-17 and under-20 teams in their preparations. His assistant coaches, Derek King and Hutson Charles, lead the staff of the national under-20 set-up.

However, Hart is frustrated in his efforts to further the senior team’s programme.

“There can be no planning when you don’t have a budget,” said Hart. “All you are doing is planning for planning sake; because when you submit something, you are told there is no money…

“In my previous jobs, I knew how much I had to work with and I had to create a programme to fit that. But all I can do now is try to help the teams that are in operation.

“The administration has no money; so something has to give at some point.”

Last year, Trinidad and Tobago defeated Jamaica in friendly fixtures at home and away. Since then, the “Reggae Boyz” played six internationals—including games against France, Switzerland, Serbia and Egypt—with another against Canada due for September while the Warriors played just twice against Argentina and Iran.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ataullah Guerra (left) prepares to fire home the opener in a 2-0 win over Jamaican on 19 November 2013. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ataullah Guerra (left) prepares to fire home the opener in a 2-0 win over Jamaican on 19 November 2013.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Jamaica will be the first Caribbean team to play in South America’s premier international competition after it accepted an invitation to play in the Chile 2015 Copa America competition. And, as the 2014 Caribbean Cup host, the Boyz hope to secure the sole berth available to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) for the 2016 Copa America, which will be staged in the United States.

The TTFA’s continuing failure to secure corporate or private sector funding could see the Warriors fall behind its regional rival; not to mention the CONCACAF leaders.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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51 comments

  1. WHERE IS THE F***ING LIFESPORT MONEY????????

  2. He better watch it, could succumb to a Hart (heart) attack.

  3. So the TTFA has to wait on the mess that is Life Sport? Football suffers and madness reigns. Why is this man the minister of sport again?

  4. Actually ever confederation but Europe got an extra place. There were eight extra World Cup places to pass around.
    I never understood why Jack made it seem that Concacaf was the only confederation to benefit and it was down to his superb leadership.

  5. ^^ That’s my point here eh Lasana Liburd…Joma is a solid brand, with representation in several major leagues and HOU at the 2014 WC. Ain’t like Rossi back in 1989. But look at the progression of the TTOC: Rebok when Ato was in his prime then a succession of Adidas contracts. when our athletes perform—and WIN—they will attract the kinds of endorsements and sponsorship deals that will trickle down to the general body. but look at the TTOC and at the NAAA, and compare that stewardship with the TTFF/A and tell me where we went wrong.
    We’ve played the Jack card since the 90s and yes, it got CONCACAF 3.5 spots at the WC. but time we learned that we need a new hand

  6. Dennis Allen, I don’t think the TTFA gets a cent from Joma. It is all in kind. Joma does sponsor several other local teams.
    The TTFA might have sold itself short in that deal. Or maybe not judging by present events.

  7. In my opinion, the TTFA is responsible. But then the Ministry of Sport has to consider its role in helping national athletes too.
    That is a difficult balancing act for sure.
    I think an ideal scenario would be the TTFA successfully raising funds for itself and the Ministry of Sport helping to finance some long term projects and chipping in when need arises.

  8. Thats Y our Football will not go ah Place

  9. change the name to the people partnership football association then they will have all the money,and put kamla as president

  10. Michael S, what an intriguing mix of optimism and pessimism.: “But doh worry,when the SW eventually win something, red jersey go sell out,and Piarco go be packed.” I agree. But, given current conditions in national football, you think any of today’s generation of Wired868 readers will still be around when the SW eventually win something again?

  11. Mr Pinard,pls go to the head of the class.Football is the most popular sport in our country, what would it take for the ministry of sport to engage the various stakeholders to bring the administration to some semblance of order?
    How does giving 1.3 million US dollars to a few ex players,who have received millions before and who have a court matter for further compensation, propel the sport forward?
    Is justice being done to ”brand” Trinidad and Tobago?

  12. Taye, the lists are interesting but what is your point? Are we, a 1.3m population country, looking to multinational companies to sponsor our mingpiling national team? Local sponsorship money not good or what? What happen to Ansa McAl, Massy (without the Neal), Petrotrin, NGC, etc. etc? Or is the answer to my last question two words: Jack Warner?

  13. Ultimately who is accountable? The TTFA or Anil?

  14. Just left the Club Sando vs Petrotrin super league game. Noticed Joma on the Club Sando uniforms.. Interesting

  15. How do individuals with so much contempt for T&T end up in charge of it’s affairs?

  16. Poor Mr. Hart, now getting a taste of TTFA. WHY YOU THINK MR. CORNEAL WHO IS BEYOND DEDICATED LEFT AFTER SO LONG

  17. What exactly is the purpose of the TTFA anyway?
    Surly not to improve T&T football.

  18. population figures: MEX: 120m, CRC: 4m HOU: 8m….TNT: 1.3m
    nuff respect to Joma Sport, but I don’t see a lotta T&T teams and organisations wearing Joma. do you? Where’s the market?
    TV? we played TWO games this year—granted, one was vs ARG, so that viewing audience was high. but let’s be realistic. that kit deal will undoubtedly be worth no more than in the mid 6-figures.
    BRA gets USD$35m from Nike.

  19. these are the sponsors listings of three CONCACAF teams at WC2014:
    Mexico: Nature Nutrition, Gillette, Ford, Bimbo, Comex, Inter Jet, Roshfrans, Corona, Lala, Visa, Hublot, Adidas, Banamex, Coca-Cola, Movistar

    Costa Rica: CMM Cinemas, Marvi, Hertz, MetalCo, Clinica Santa Fe, Comex Pinturas, Euromobilia, Acqui Colombia Radio, Aldia, 103, Amanco, Gillette, Wizard, Sonrisa Para Todos, DonPedro, Herbalife, Coca- Cola, Banco Nacional, Dos Pinos, Sportec, Eaton, Pioneer, Gollo, Plycem, Lotto, Cristal, Pipasa, Dario, Kolbi, Dona Maria, Cemex, Tropical, Powerade, Traffic Sports, Wyndham Herradura, EPA

    Honduras: Coca-Cola, Salva Vida, Joma Sport, Ficohsa, Claro, Imaginaus, Televicentro tv, Diunsa, Grupointur, Avianca

  20. The government pay off was not debt relief for the TTFA at all.

  21. TTFA completely inept and has zero credibility.

  22. hahahah~ how much donkey years they putting merchandise an licensing programs etc ~~ TTFA all talk no action~ just embarrassment

  23. If there was trust and collaboration between the government and the TTFA, I strongly believe the sport would be in a much better place, but until such time the TTFA has to do a better job fundraising and managing funds at its disposal..

  24. I saw a recent full length video about marketing Trinidad and Tobago to the wider world on Ato Boldon’s thread. Oil industry lyrics fuh so. Heavy downstream industrial lyrics fuh so. Plenty pictures of the downtown skyline. The NAPA building of course. Plenty ” why you should invest into Trinidad ” interviews. Ah real ” lewwe try an’ put TnT on de industrial billboard charts.” You could see that real money was spent,and full access given to the presenters.

    MEANWHILE!

    1. I go to Italy some years ago and I’m in a store in Rome,the manager asks me where I’m from. I say Trinidad and Tobago ,he looks puzzled,then his eyes light up ” Ahhhh! Dwight Yorke”

    2. Same thing in Germany ” Ahhhh! Soca Warriors”

    3. Last Olympics ,the Jamaican government sent a large trade mission to London . Brand Jamaica understood, and didn’t hesitate to ride the coat tails of her mighty athletes.

    But doh worry,when the SW eventually win something, red jersey go sell out,and Piarco go be packed.

  25. Better they take a rest because we don’t win anything.

  26. Meanwhile the Sports Minister ramajaying about how much brand value there is in our “T&T” intellectual property…then invest in it nah. Steups, oui!

  27. So what are the roles of the Ministry of Sports and the SPORTT Company in all this? I think with the 100s of millions of dollars budgeted for sports this 2014, T&T Soca Warriors and all national sports teams shouldn’t be in financial stress. It’s a damn shame!

  28. haha na i no it go be hard 2get ban eh but~~ drastic times calls for drastic measures lol…….no one an i mean no one eh gonna sponsor the TTFA cause of its history and most its Members etc.so we will always be begging for money.. and be used as a political points to get votes

  29. David I agree with you but the ban part Nah…..lol

  30. Our taxpayers money paid off the Bad TTFA Debt

  31. How much they pay the 2006 soca warriors ??

  32. Trust me if TnT get’s bad which it hurt’s to say~ how many of these old so called working for free administrator’s would be around.~ how many would actually have to put in real time an a real effort to make the Association ~ efficient and stable…….and Financially independent~ all they do is beg beg beg~ yet do you see any marketing ploy to generate interest~ beside begging begging~ yet u have money miraculously appearing for foreign coaches yet disappearing for local coaches~ etc etc ………………………………is only when we get ban and there is no money to milk~ and real people and serious individuals come an restructure what was destroyed..we will never get anywhere

  33. Seems very similar to the issue of “court settlement” where they promised payment terms to the “blacklisted” players and didn’t fulfil the agreement.. Credibility of the TTFA executive was low to begin with and now seems to be getting lower..

  34. That’s why I said partial. What I should have said was perceived. Only the bigwigs of the TTFA perceive that they have been absloved of the debt in its entirety. I guess in their universe without prejudice probably means that an Indo-Trini government can give money to black people.

  35. Yet…… until as you put it….When TnT get ban

  36. why must players pay for the mistakes of administrators

  37. So yet again the TTFA is the major stumblng block in the sport’s local progress. Even after the government’s partial debt relief too. It is as if they had no real plans at all and the promised camps were just PR smoke and mirrors. Pitiful!

  38. steups like i will always say~ when TNT get ban then we will get our act’s together …….a wolf can’t be changing clothes every minute n expect 2be transparent

  39. More steups oui we always get thr right things wrong oh gosh nah when we go grow up SMDH!!!!

  40. ok is either they spend all of the money they recently got on 2 fete match in argentina and brazil, or are we looking at another politicial move where we will see the PM coming and giving them more money

  41. Maybe they could approach the pm for a bailout and a photo op