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TTOC blank U-23 squad additions; coaches rue missing TTFA contracts

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) could be on a collision course over squad lists for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Kadeem Corbin (left) eludes Suriname defender Nigel Zandveld during an Under-20 Caribbean Cup fixture. Corbin is on the shortlist for the 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Kadeem Corbin (left) eludes Suriname defender Nigel Zandveld during an Under-20 Caribbean Cup fixture.
Corbin is on the shortlist for the 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The TTOC mandates that all member associations submit a preliminary list by March 27 while final 18-man squad lists are required from the men’s and women’s teams by the first week in June.

However, the TTFA has made woefully late starts in the creation of both Pan American squads and the implications of this seem likely to be felt soon.

The National Under-23 Men’s Team only began training on April 22 and were allowed a special exemption to submit a 39-man squad—rather than a list of 30 players—almost a month late. However, the “Soca Warriors” squad grew rather than shrunk since then as coach Zoran Vranes requested that Point Fortin Civic striker Jamille Boatswain, Portland Timbers reserve attacker Rundell Winchester and the North America-based duo of midfielder Christian Ferreira and Xavier Rajpaul be added to the preliminary list.

Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes is now in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes is now in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Ferreira flew in from Canada to join the squad in training on Wednesday while Rajpaul, a former National Under-20 midfielder, is due to link up with the Warriors next week.

But Pan American Games chef de mission Dianne Henderson, who is also the TTOC assistant general secretary, said the TTFA was given all the relevant deadlines since last year and suggested that pleas for special treatment are likely to be resisted.

“The long list has gone already and they cannot send any new names to Toronto,” Henderson told Wired868. “The sport entry time is the first week in June and that is when they have to choose the final names of their squads for the men’s and women’s teams…

“We gave them that information since last year and Canada is very strict about such things.”

If Henderson is right, Ferreira and Rajpaul would have wasted their trips home while Boatswain will also be ineligible. More tellingly, Vranes will lose the option of using Winchester, who has four National Senior Team caps.

Photo: Central FC attacker Rundell Winchester (left) tussles with New Zealand captain and ex-West Ham defender Winston Reid during a senior international friendly at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in December 2013. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacker Rundell Winchester (left) tussles with New Zealand captain and ex-West Ham defender Winston Reid during a senior international friendly at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in December 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Club Sando midfielder Akeem Humphrey and Dallas FC youth team goalkeeper Johan Welch were also left off the preliminary list although both were said to be deliberate exclusions.

The TTOC verdict, if it stands, will be a further administrative blow for Vranes, who is already uncertain as to how many overseas-based players—particularly those attending university abroad—will be available for the preliminary Olympic qualifying round next month in Puerto Rico.

In a previous interview, Vranes told Wired868 he selected a squad to begin competitive action in the mid-July Pan American Games only to be told, on April 22, that his first qualifier will be on June 24 against Suriname. He said he would have declined the job if he knew about the short timeframe in advance.

“The team was training for the Pan Am Games but now we must give full priority to (the) June qualifiers,” Muhammad told Wired868. “Hopefully we will have our best squad for June. But, if we cannot get our US-based players to come in, we will have to work with what we have.”

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 captain and right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. Gomez is a member of the current Under-23 training squad. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 captain and right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
Gomez is a member of the current Under-23 training squad.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Another pressing matter for the Under-23 Men’s Team is an absence of job contracts from their employing body.

The TTFA appointed Vranes (head coach), Muhammad (manager), Reynold Carrington (assistant coach), Nigel Neverson (goalkeeping coach), Esmond O’Brien (equipment manager), Gilbert Bateau (trainer) and Michael Taylor (physiotherapist) to its Olympic Team, almost a month ago. However, none of the aforementioned support staff have received their contracts.

Muhammad confirmed that Carrington, an ex-international stand-out midfielder and Point Fortin Civic coach, is yet to join the squad as a result although the rest of the staff began training on April 22.

“Contracts haven’t been prepared as yet,” said Muhammad, “but we are focusing on the job.”

Muhammad is also part of the Senior Team staff who were promised salaries from the November 2014 Caribbean Cup up until the July 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, the senior Warriors staff members, who include coaches Stephen Hart, Hutson Charles and Derek King, were only paid for the months of December, January and February thus far.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national head coach Stephen Hart (left) with assistants Hutson Charles (centre) and Derek King. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national head coach Stephen Hart (left) with assistants Hutson Charles (centre) and Derek King.
(Courtesy Wired868)

The uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff of the men’s Senior and Olympic Teams was mirrored in the women’s programme where the National Senior and Under-20 Teams started training without an appointed head coach for either side.

Farcically, Jason Spence, who is the assistant coach for the Senior and Under-20 Women’s Teams and heads the sessions for both, admitted that he had no idea which players in his training squad were chosen to play at the Pan American Games.

“I am not privy to that (information about the Pan Am squad),” Spence told Wired868. “I am only dealing with the players on the field. I’m not aware about that side of it.”

TTFA technical committee chairman Richard Quan Chan revealed that the local football body is still in discussion with former women’s head coach Randy Waldrum about the top Women’s Soca Warriors post. However, Quan Chan said talks have been complicated and suggested it might be another two weeks before an appointment is made.

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

It is uncertain whether Waldrum selected the Pan American team shortlist despite the fact that he is not a current employee. If the TTFA does select a new women’s head coach, he will be forced to choose from a pre-selected squad.

Wired868 contacted TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips for comment but his cell phone was switched off while office staff explained that he is abroad.

Ironically, while the TTFA has had problems living up to the TTOC’s requests, the local football president Raymond Tim Kee is a member of CONCACAF’s Associated Championships Committee which is mandated to: “organise the associated competitions and Olympic Football Tournaments in compliance with the provisions of the regulations applicable to these tournaments.”

Despite the concerns about their Pan American and Olympic Games preparations, Muhammad commended the quality of the Under-23 team’s training sessions so far and singled out players like Kadeem Corbin, Jomal Williams, Nathaniel Garcia, Dario Holmes, Alvin Jones and Shannon Gomez for their early showings.

Photo: Central FC attacker Nathaniel Garcia (left) runs at St Ann's Rangers defenders Trevin Latapy (centre) and Jelani Peters during Pro League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacker Nathaniel Garcia (left) runs at St Ann’s Rangers defenders Trevin Latapy (centre) and Jelani Peters during Pro League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Netherlands-bound winger Levi Garcia—who is Nathaniel’s elder brother—would not be available for competitive action due to obligations with his new Eredivisie employer, AZ. However, Muhammad said Garcia (L) has been allowed to train with the youth squad.

At present, the Under-23 squad is trying to finalise two practice games with the Grenada National Senior Team in late May or early June while there is the possibility of an exhibition game against Panama as well.

The Panama football body requested a friendly for its Under-23 team against the senior Soca Warriors. But head coach Stephen Hart declined the invitation.

“I don’t think that using a FIFA date to play the Panama Under-23 Team is good preparation for us,” said Hart.

Muhammad hopes to have the local Olympic Team fill the gap.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Khaleem Hyland (background) tries to muscle Panama midfielder Ricardo Buitrago off the ball at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Khaleem Hyland (background) tries to muscle Panama midfielder Ricardo Buitrago off the ball at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Earlier this week, Sport Minister Brent Sancho told Wired868 that the local football had missed a March deadline to deliver audited accounts to the Government and had not submitted a proper budget for the year.

“We didn’t get anything with full costings from them,” said Sancho. “From what I remember, they just sent a gauge of what they have in mind, like two matches in June or early July, but nothing detailed.

“There is no information as to when, where and how much so it is not a budget from a Government standpoint.”

 

Editor’s note: Click HERE to view the 39-man Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 preliminary squad list.

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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18 comments

  1. How do people still have jobs in these organizations? For far too long we’ve seen this sort of stuff going on with our sportsmen and women.

  2. As far as I know there has been a full turnout of local based players. But will need to double check

  3. Oh no! I am available Kirwin Weston. Just buy me a plane ticket I will coach the women for free!

  4. It’s all about the money. Once TTFA got their fix last year they couldn’t care less about anyone after that. Not players, not Coaches, nada, nobody. Where is “Corbeaux Sweat” in all this?

  5. These guidelines have always been in effect for Olympic Team, and should have been know by TTFA. Lasana Liburd can you advise on the players that have actually reported to Training? Did they all? All this “mishaps” by TTFA saddens me… Young players’ futures are being treated unfairly, tournaments such as these are showcases for many players.. For some of our players, just missed opportunities because of some serious “don’t gave a crap” attitude….

  6. I think it is changing. It is getting worse and more glaring. And the TTFA is running out of friends.
    My advice to football fans is to follow the details closer than ever before.

  7. So what else is new Lasana??

  8. Mr Liburd you know there a national 15 screening going on and most of the player’s in from South….. Oh and I almost forgot there’s no coach yet Mad-Thing

  9. By the way, imagine Panama no longer think us worthy of a game with their senior team… A squad we used to whip 6-0 a decade ago. And people say our football is one the rise. Sigh.

  10. I could not get on to the manager today Nigel Myers. Hopefully I can get that list soon.

  11. We saw the men’s list, but who is on the women’s squad?

  12. Rundell’s name shoulda be one of de first ones on de list. Unless they thought that the final 18-man squad was not exclusively limited to the names on the preliminary list.

  13. The trick is knowing what to do with that disgust Kurtwyn Baird. This situation cannot go on forever. And I believe there is an opportunity in all this gloom to seize hold of our national team once more.

  14. I read this and honestly Lasana I wanted to blame you for the disgust I felt afterwards but I erased it because your job is to keep us updated but it seems as its only causing more resentment towards these people that are in power.

  15. Do we have any chance but to keep paying attention Kendall Tull? The day we give up totally will be the end.
    Got to stay keen for the little it is worth.

  16. Scotty Ranking

    Why is it that the TTFA is always so cavalier with deadlines? Steups!!!

    They continue to pussyfoot around while our quality of football compared to the rest of CONCACAF just keeps on sinking lower and lower! And Fillups and Tim Kee Kee Kee somehow keep on getting salaries for this atrocious management! How?

  17. Lasana Liburd – please stop tagging me in these posts. I am tired of reading the same stupidness over and over and NOTHING EVER CHANGES.

    I am sorry but anyone who continues to work with these idiots and allow them to operate in this manner is just as guilty.

    Stand for something or else we will fall for anything.