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TTFA releases Waldrum apology; but fails to offer one itself

Four days after the Trinidad and Tobago national women’s team flew to the United States for a pre-CONCACAF Championship training camp with just US$500, the team is still awaiting the promised funding from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

And the Ministry of Sport revealed that the TTFA’s request for sponsorship was so late that it only landed at its office on Tuesday evening when the “Soca Princesses” were already at the Piarco International Airport.

Yet, last night, the only apology for the humiliating debacle came from the TTFA’s women’s coach, American native Randy Waldrum, who said sorry for the tweet that provoked an outpouring of goodwill in Dallas and red faces in Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Houston Dash and Trinidad and Tobago national senior women's team coach Randy Waldrum. (Courtesy ESPN)
Photo: Houston Dash and Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team coach Randy Waldrum.
(Courtesy ESPN)

On Wednesday morning, as his team started training without water and with no money for lunch, Waldrum tweeted: “I need HELP! T&T sent a team here last night with $500 total. No equipment such as balls, no transportation from airport to hotel, nothing…

“I don’t know how I’m going to feed these players starting at lunch today! If you know of anyone in Dallas area that will help with food, etc.”

By lunch, national players said random people started turning up with water and snacks while, by dinner, they received pizza from well-wishers. And, by the following morning, there was over US$10,000 in an account the coach set up for the team.

Even the Haitian women’s football team, who the Warriors will face in a vital World Cup qualifier next week, pledged just over US$1,300 to the Princesses.

“Coach takes a stand for the team and look what happened,” wrote Caribbean Cup MVP and T&T striker Mariah Shade, on her Facebook account. “People from all over Dallas are just bringing us carloads of water, Gatorade, food, fruits, snacks and so much more.

“People in another country treating us like this; we are very grateful. ‪#‎BlessingsInAbundance.”

Photo: Does the end justify the means? Trinidad and Tobago national women's team coach Randy Waldrum apologised for his tweets for financial aid.
Photo: Does the end justify the means?
Trinidad and Tobago national women’s team coach Randy Waldrum apologised for his tweets for financial aid.

However, TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee suggested that Waldrum suffered an “emotional disturbance” and, although he conceded that his administration had erred, it was only Waldrum who was asked to apologise.

“The response was overwhelming however in hindsight the language used to appeal for assistance could have been better,” stated Waldrum, via a TTFA press release yesterday, “and was not meant to cause any embarrassment to the TTFA nor the Trinidad and Tobago public at large.

“If it did by any chance, I apologize in advance for any embarrassment caused.”

Waldrum also thanked Petrotrin again for allowing his team use of its facility before the players left for the United States; although, in a previous tweet, he expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of the club house.

For now, Waldrum wants to put the matter behind him and focus on preparing his team for the World Cup qualifiers. Not that there is any chance his tweet will not be the talk of the tournament.

“I am passionate about my players and in making Trinidad and Tobago proud, and like yourself, I understand the tremendous opportunity that lies before us,” stated Waldrum, who led the Princesses to the Caribbean Cup title while working pro bono. “Thank you for all your efforts in light of a very difficult and challenging situation and would like to thank the people that came to our aid including the hundreds of donors, supporters, Ministry of Sport and Petrotrin.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goal scorer Dernelle Mascall (centre) gets a lift back to the centre circle from teammates Kennya Cordner (second from right), Tasha St Louis (third from right) and Arin King (fourth from right) during the 2014 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Jinelle James/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goal scorer Dernelle Mascall (centre) gets a lift back to the centre circle from teammates Kennya Cordner (second from right), Tasha St Louis (third from right) and Arin King (fourth from right) during the 2014 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Jinelle James/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson, in a previous interview with Wired868, gave a more sober analysis.

“Our preparation was abysmal,” said Attin-Johnson. “It was what we didn’t expect after being champions of the Caribbean. But that is water under the bridge now.

“We just have to see what we can do, now that we have all the girls together, to get to the World Cup.”

For the Tim Kee, who is also Port of Spain Mayor and PNM treasurer, and his general secretary Sheldon Phillips, it was just one more embarrassing cock-up to their list.

Since Tim Kee took over the helm of the football body in December 2012, the football body has: failed to audit the body’s accounts, misled the public over an Akeem Adams fundraiser, failed to properly convene its finance committee, reversed a promise to chase funds allegedly siphoned out of the football body by former special advisor Jack Warner, failed to pay technical director Anton Corneal as well as replace him after his resignation, failed to honour courtroom promises made to the 2006 World Cup players and former coach Russell Latapy, hired and fired coaches without approval from the TTFA executive committee and botched administrative duties like making timely requests for funding, selecting local players for a MLS camp, hiring referees for a FA Trophy clash and mediating club disputes at Super League level.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the controversial global football body's Zurich headquarters.
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the controversial global football body’s Zurich headquarters.

And, this week, the national women’s team was on a plane for Dallas without a single accompanying technical staff member and not even a dollar to pay for transport from the airport to their hotel. Worse, the football body had not even formally requested money to give to the Princesses until that very evening.

Fortunately, one player’s parent, Kenrick Hoyte, is a customs officer and he, along with a TTFA staff member, dipped in their personal bank accounts and came up with US$500, which he gave to the women while they were on the plane.

Tim Kee said his administration’s behaviour was “unpardonable.” But he did not offer an apology for it; nor did he sanction any TTFA staff member and, in particular, his General Secretary for their roles in the farce.

He ensured that Waldrum said sorry though.

 

(Apology in full)

Randy Waldrum:

Dear Mr. Tim Kee,

As part of my preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF tournament, I have worked under the full awareness of the financial difficulties facing the TTFA, especially its battle to raise awareness and financial support to provide the required level of resources for its women’s national team programs.

Our recent camp in Palo Seco was organized in response to my request for a proper residential camp. Once again, realizing the financial situation of the FA, I worked tirelessly with your General Secretary who successfully lobbied Petrotrin to graciously provide the beach camp facility for free to start our national team preparations.

Concurrently, plans were being put in place to have a 7-day camp in Dallas where I would be able to secure some additional resources to continue the team’s preparation.

However, when eleven players arrived to Dallas on Monday October 6, at that time I had only received partial itinerary information from the team manager with some insight on what was being done in Trinidad regarding the release of funds.

Understanding the challenges the TTFA, I sent out a message on social media site Twitter asking for assistance.

The response was overwhelming however in hindsight, the language used to appeal for assistance could have been better and was not meant to cause any embarrassment to the TTFA nor the Trinidad and Tobago public at large. If it did by any chance, I apologize in advance for any embarrassment caused.

I am passionate about my players and in making Trinidad and Tobago proud, and like yourself, I understand the tremendous opportunity that lies before us.

Thank you for all your efforts in light of a very difficult and challenging situation and would like to thank the people that came to our aid including the hundreds of donors, supporters,Ministry of Sport and Petrotrin.

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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174 comments

  1. Some of Mr. Eligon’s claims have merit. Patrick did say so. The operating environment is this: the SPORTT was created to bypass red tape as most govt special purposes companies. Lifesport occurred and there was not even money disbursed for the summer youth camps. So back to the red taped Ministry to issue funds. One can envisage that the duel with 2 pull would have made corporate T&T hesitant since the govt does business with most well off companies. Imagine the recipient of the same course put on by the TTFA not too long ago says that heads should roll is remarkable. How many administrative courses has the ECFU put on to facilitate your organisation Mr. Eligon? And how many administrative courses has your organisation put on to facilitate members of the community? Your opinions belong to you but the fact remains is that you did not tell the people what the operating environment consists of. It is not women’s football alone that is suffering because of it.

  2. Tried to read all comments, based on this reaction one can come to only one conclusion, the time has come to effect change. How do we do this? The present people were elected there by being voted in an election of officers, let us apply this to mean, they have failed and heads should roll, sorry guys, to me you have only one thing in your corner, the just concluded seminar put on by F.I.F.A. Did you not listen to Patrick? You seem not to know your “Operating Environment” if you did, this last soap opera would not have happened. I am appealing to all involved to do the Honorable thing and we will put this in our experience account and move on.

  3. It’s somewhat exhausting to follow the back and forth banter about blame and embarrassment. If logic and chronologic were to be applied, I’m sure it’s simple enough to deduce that the first faux pas occurred when the party/ies responsible and accountable for the provision, well being and progession of our NATIONAL womens’ team either neglected to, or failed to execute their duties in an effective, efficient and timely manner. The buck starts and stops there. All charitable efforts post departure of the team have no bearing and are beyond reproach, regardless of wording or media. A drowning man will clutch at a straw. The question to ask is how did he end up in the deep water. We’ve been giving stipends to the “under privelaged” under a farce of a program with a sport related title. But young women making a concerted effort are left wanting. Do they have to win a tournament before they are afforded basic amenities and privelages? And how are they expected to do that?

  4. tim kee is the one to apologise

  5. Kendall Tull YOUR comments are 1000% correct. Simeon Humphrey I like the way you thinking. If this happpened in a developed country what do you think the outcome would be?

  6. So why is Mr Tim Kee still there? he should be benched

  7. It takes courage and character to apologize. Don’t hold your breath.

  8. “How it go look?” is all TTFF cared about when they decided Coach Waldrum was wrong to solicit help for a team the TTFF sent to him without proper arrangements for their basic needs. What utter madness! To even consider castigating the coach for being proactive instead of just abandoning the team to fend for themselves is just ridiculous (after all he was not even advised of their impending arrival and only informed by the team after they had arrived). To suggest that he was wrong to do something is to stroke the ego of the TTFF. What have they ever done to deserve any concession? *Steups* They needed that reality check….let’s hope they do something good with it…yet…sorry to say, in spite of the fact I am an optimist…I don’t have high hopes they will.

  9. Who was the team Manager,did they not sit down and set up an off field plan for the team for each day with a budget. For the U 17 Boys World Cup held in Trinidad I worked with some of the the teams and saw the level of off field detailed preparation required for world class performance, this is not close.

  10. So allyuh wanted the man to lie.That is why we are in this mess today, because ppl like to hide the truth.

  11. Lasana,

    Pinard and others may shoot the messenger but the message will not die. Tim Kee and his executive should apologise to the coach then resign to allow competent and effective leaders to run our national football business.

  12. We can argue til kingdom come about who should apologize/be removed etc. The bottom line is that the ONLY thing that gets action on our shameful sport failures at an administration level is embarrassment on an international scale.

    The people in charge are so arrogant that not only are they unmoved when we expose shortcomings locally, the local public is no longer embarrassed or outraged.

    I am quite sure we have all heard (and forgotten) about past representatives being left in airports to fend for themselves, or similar stories.

    The question we need to be asking is – what does it take to change it. And if embarrassment on an international scale is what it takes, I’m not offended by that.

  13. The only person that got something done was raked over the coals? Lmao. I guess he apologized for the sake of the players. This will make his bond with the team stronger, they see whose got their backs…and it certainly aint TTFF.

  14. Kendall Tull, if he can ask strangers on Twitter for money, why not ask people he knew? Unless his only goal was to make a point to the TTFA. Is that what you’re saying?

  15. I pointed out those big tickets Gerard Emile Zatopek Pinard. The financial audit, fund raising, settling W/Cup bonus dispute, changing constitution and going after misappropriated money were all HIS mission statements for his campaign.
    Ask me how many he accomplished?
    I will tell you. Zero!
    What’s trivial about that? What am I missing?

  16. You must be joking Lasana Liburd.

    “Waldrum could have have phoned some friends with some bank and asked for a loan.”

    That cannot possibly be a serious statement. Since when does a professional coach of a National team having to borrow money from friends to fund the team become an expected course of action? I think you people have spent so long watching nonsense, you are beginning to condone it.

    He was 100% right to expose the nonsense and to suggest he was acting like a ‘spoiled child’ and was used to ‘unlimited resources and upset he doesn’t have it’ is stupidity of the highest order.

    How can you send a National team abroad with no funding for meals and transport? Not even Haiti does that. They just don’t come. To expect a coach donating his time to extend personal credit to our cause is madness.

    This is why we cannot move forward. When serious people challenge our a$#^^* antics publicly, we criticise them for embarrassing us. He didn’t embarrass T&T. The TTFA did that by sending a team abroad to represent Trinidad and Tobago without funding. Hockey has much less money in it than football but they have never done such a jackass act.

    Gerard Emile Zatopek Pinard and the like can talk all the nonsense about major strategic objectives but if the very basics of the organisation aren’t being achieved, none of that matters.

    And as for Carlos Lee – respect is earned. Don’t send me a team with no money for food and no equipment and expect me to pay out of my pocket from my non – existent salary.

    I think I have had enough of this thread. Carry on gentlemen. Continue to harangue the messenger and see how well that works for you. Accept zero accountability. I will fight my battles elsewhere where people are serious about going somewhere.

  17. It’s clear some ppl can’t handle the truth…. bunch of slackers!

  18. And this is not even a basic management lesson eh….is basic common sense really….why didn’t they provide the team with a Gold Card, I’m sure they have enough at the TTFF

  19. Ian R Briggs, I adjudged that two-footed tackle was legal eh. Lasana, I just surfaced after managing to keep away for only one day…

  20. That is what happens when you have a man who says that he “Designates”as a Boss. Let us hope that he makes a better job of the TWO other responsibilities that has been given to him