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Bitch better have my money! Warriors respond to Sancho/Tim Kee impasse

The “Soca Warriors”, who just booked their place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals for just the third time in the country’s history, are not bumping their heads to Maximus Dan’s “I am a Fighter” these days.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his Gold Cup goal against Cuba. Looking on is Andre Boucaud who scored the Soca Warriors' second goal in a 2-0 win in Phoenix. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his Gold Cup goal against Cuba.
Looking on is Andre Boucaud who scored the Soca Warriors’ second goal in a 2-0 win in Phoenix.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

R&B star Rihanna’s “Bitch better have my money” is said to be the track of choice among many of the players.

Trinidad and Tobago lead Group C, after successive wins over Guatemala and Cuba, and can top the group with a win or draw against Mexico tomorrow. They will have to do so without not only suspended midfielder Andre Boucaud but also injured team vice-captain and goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.

Williams looks set to be ruled out for three weeks after a hamstring injury suffered in the first match against Cuba. It means the Central FC custodian would miss the rest of the Gold Cup as well as his club’s opening CONCACAF Champions League fixture away to Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy on August 6

If the Warriors finish atop Group C tomorrow, they will almost certainly face Panama in the quarterfinal round in New Jersey on Sunday. Should they lose to Mexico, they will probably meet Costa Rica in the knockout round instead.

Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful Gold Cup was in 2000 when coach Bertille St Clair led a team that boosted the likes of Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, David Nakhid, Jerren Nixon and the late Mickey Trotman to the semifinal round, where they were edged 1-0 by Canada.

Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan waves his flag during their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup fixture against Cuba in Phoenix. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan waves his flag during their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup fixture against Cuba in Phoenix.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

However, with history beckoning, Trinidad and Tobago’s Gold Cup team was again distracted by off-field matters.

On Sunday, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips issued a press release that accused Sport Minister Brent Sancho of spreading malicious and misleading information and attempting to bully the football body.

And, yesterday, Sancho responded by accusing Tim Kee of mismanagement, dishonesty and disrespect towards the TTFA’s major sponsor.

“They will not be funded,” said Sancho. “Unless they can account for where our funds will go.”

The conflict has not gone unnoticed within the Warriors camp.

This morning, team captain Kenwyne Jones shared Sancho’s response on social media and referred to the feud with two posts.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain and forward Kenwyne Jones (left) accelerates past Cuba midfielder Daniel Luis during 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain and forward Kenwyne Jones (left) accelerates past Cuba midfielder Daniel Luis during 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

“We play we fight… support from the relevant body? Still outstanding smfh.”

Jones followed that up with:

“So while the feud continues, the football suffers, note TT anytime we fall short in something it always a funding issue, if this doesn’t stop it can be the end of progress…

“Egos aside put the football first… or leave the relevant offices held.”

Warriors manager William Wallace admitted that there was some anxiety in the camp since, unlike the 2013 Gold Cup, players are not receiving match fees after each game as they are still awaiting funding from the Sport Ministry.

And Wallace revealed that, for the first time in a Gold Cup tournament, the TTFA did not offer win bonuses or financial incentives for qualifying for the quarterfinal, semifinal or even winning the entire thing.

“The last time we left Trinidad with US (dollars) so we got paid after each game,” Wallace told Wired868. “Now, I am trying to get a lump sum payment after the three group games. I hope we can get it done…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams is helped on to the stretcher by physio Saron Joseph during their Gold Cup fixture against Cuba. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams is helped on to the stretcher by physio Saron Joseph during their Gold Cup fixture against Cuba.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

“We were not able to negotiate win bonuses due to financial constraints. Based on the budget we are working with, we are barely able to deal with match fees at this point in time.”

The TTFA relies almost entirely on the Ministry of Sport for its funding and was not able to raise money otherwise to pay its staff and players.

Wallace was much more tactful in his response to the Government’s relationship with the Warriors.

“With all that is happening on the political front, I would still like to thank the Ministry of Sport and the new PS (Gillian MacIntyre) who has been extremely professional in her approach in dealing with me,” said Wallace. “At this point in time, the Ministry of Sport is the only bearing tree, so we cannot cut it down.

“It might not be bearing as quickly or as prolifically as we would like it to be. But that is what we have…”

Sancho reiterated today that the Sport Ministry will honour its commitments to the Warriors as well as the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Women’s Team, which is competing in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games at present.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013. Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013.
Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015.
(Courtesy Wired868)

However, the Sport Minister did not promise any assistance to the TTFA beyond that, which would include the Warriors’ Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Sancho’s own political survival would depend on the polls as the country’s general elections will be held on September 7.

A TTFA insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, defended the timing of the press release, which slammed the Sport Minister’s behaviour.

“We have sat back for a while as the ministry at various times has levelled some misdirected allegations knowing that the organisation is still feeling the effects and negative impact of the Warner years,” he said. “So if something critical about us sounds plausible, even if it turns out to be untrue at closer look, the damage is done.

“And the ministry comes out looking like heroes in a situation they created.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (right) wins a header against Cuba forward Maikel Reyes during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (right) wins a header against Cuba forward Maikel Reyes during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

However, in the United States, Wallace said the Warriors technical staff felt the weekend release was part and parcel of the election season and they were concerned about its timing.

Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain Mayor, is the treasurer of the opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) party.

“The staff was questioning whether (the TTFA release) was necessary at that time,” Wallace told Wired868. “But it is politician against politician and we are in that season, so I suppose it is expected.

“As the African saying goes: when the elephants fight it is only the grass that suffers. But my focus is on the players and staff and I will not allow anything to derail that.”

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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64 comments

  1. each player will get TT$1,000,000 for a grand total of TT$23,000,000 from the government who could not have afforded a US$60,000 TV rights which could of been funded through advertising rights #brilliance

  2. Do they deserve a bonus for getting to the next round?

  3. Never seen a football game played in an office or Parliament. Bottom line: no footballers = no football. Give our athletes their due !

  4. Never seen a football game played in an office or Parliament. Bottom line: no footballers = no football. Give our athletes their due !

  5. Jones and the players have been assured they will receive the money afterwards… so it shouldn’t be a problem.. if it was left up to the ttfa they wouldn’t get a red cent

  6. A change is going to come Sept 7 come out and vote

  7. And our Women are doing great at the PanAm Games… draw with Argentina and then Colombia!!!!! Something happy for a change in our football world!!!! 🙂

  8. The manipulation here is fairly plain to see. Sherwood’s explanation of assisting citizens who play for their country is exactly what Tim Kee and the ttfa is banking on ….he’s using that and redirecting the fact that the ministry is reluctant to fund as a personal thing whereas, Sancho is reluctant to fund an entity like the ttfa but does not want to let down the athletes. Who’s playing who? The ttfa upcoming elections is a significant event in the footballing status of the country because I suspect for us to move forward Tim Kee should not be heading this organisation.

  9. I feel I’ve got my job to do as a journalist no matter who gets in there. So I don’t think so Kyon Esdelle.
    Need a man to call it straight from the outside. 😉

  10. I agree with you Anthony Sherwood. My point is only that there is a difference between assistance or bankrolling the whole thing.
    Every citizen should bring something to the table and have the Govt assist where he falls short.
    I have a problem with the State paying for everything. Higher in the thread we said that we didn’t expect a body to be totally self sufficient.
    Although it should be the ideal and I do think it is possible to run a business without dipping into the treasury.

  11. Lasana Liburd u never thought of running for office?

  12. Wtf. All the Ministry is concerned about and by extension this wicked gov’t is that they have an election to fight. Football taking a backstep.

  13. the TTFA cant raise money on its own?.steups…I bet if they play an exibition match in NY against Jamaica…Both teams can earn significantly…but all tbey want is government subventions…..steups

  14. I believe cricket has some members on SPORTT board so they are more than aware of what football gets. FYI ‘football’ isn’t only TTFA National teams but us tax payers also fund the TT Pro League, some TT Pro League teams & the Super League to an extent.

  15. Again, as I’ve stated they (cricket) are probably deserving of that amount, however, the point I’m making is that there is no sporting entity in this country that is totally self sufficient, they all request and rely on funding. The other thing to consider is that the ministry, in essence – is being asked to “assist” CITIZENS representing Trinidad and Tobago – these are our athletes – our ambassadors. They are making a massive sacrifice, an athlete such as Kenwyne Jones is putting his career at risk every time he represents T&T, a potential injury could cost him millions in salary. He and his teammates are out there because he is wanting to do well for T&T. These athletes are not just footballers – they are also
    taxpayers themselves…when the ministry makes a decision to halt funding, it’s their own citizens who are being affected. Now if they, (the ministry) – believe that the association heads are at fault then deal with them, but not at the expense of the players who are busting their assess for T&T.

  16. Very unfortunate situation also very unfair to the players….one must ask though where are the cooperate sponsors when you need them? Waiting to jump on the successful bandwagon when not needed for their personal gains….shame on them all…

  17. Anthony Sherwood – a friend of mine was talking up your days with Petrotrin and the attention you attracted in training. Good stuff.

  18. Sancho /Kee get together or get out of the game Sept 7th is coming and one of you will be replaced

  19. I don’t know about that figure Tony. Is that separate to the CPL? I’m confused if it isn’t.

    • NGC signed a sponsorship for $13 million with the TTCB/Red Steel for the CPL. Separately the TTCB sent a $30 million dollar budget to the Ministry of Sports. Since you say you don’t know about that figure, once the Minister of Sports, the Honorable B.S. decides to get his emotions in check, maybe you could pose the question to him as to why the WICB think they are justified in asking for $30 mil, and why the Ministry didn’t dismiss the request it out of hand.

  20. So then why would cricket ask for 30 million? Don’t get me wrong, they are probably deserving of that amount, but that’s a significant figure…

  21. I don’t think anyone isn’t subsidised. But many sports bring something in themselves. They might ask for plane tickets to attend events.
    Not sure many want plane tickets, accommodation, salaries, match fees and sundry.

  22. Lasana is there any sporting body in T&T that is not subsidized? I heard cricket asked for in excess of 30 million…

  23. Nuff respect for your wish,but I am still saying you can make a difference

  24. I’ve actually been asked once by someone within football. But I was taken aback by the request. Cause I’m a journalist and I enjoy being a journalist.
    Hopefully I can continue to play my role for sport as a journalist because I think we have a need for journalists who refuse to give up the chase as well.
    I will never rule out helping in any way.
    But my desire is to be the best sport journalist that I can be.

  25. Wait, what? Y’all want Lasana to stop being a journalist? Are we voting on this? I vote he stays a journalist! I enjoy “Bitch better have my money!” type headlines.

  26. Your country and football needs you Lasana……..

  27. Exactly what I was saying Brian, Lasana would make a HUGE DIFFERENCE

  28. Thanks. But I have my job trying to keep whoever is in charge on the level. If the administration is working hard, I reveal their policies to the general public for buy-in.
    When they are not doing well, I alert people to what is happening here.
    It will be very difficult to do that from the inside. So I think I am more useful in my present role.
    But I would support well-intentioned people who want to make a difference.

  29. I am nominating you to make the difference. You can do it. Time to become more active and get involved.

  30. But nobody really has to reinvent the wheel Brian Chambers. There are marketing people all around who are raising money for sport.
    It is not like anyone is expecting anything novel from them.
    Companies will pay because they think the teams are successful or capable of success, their players are marketable or role models, the fan base is large or there is a lot of interest in the teams, or for tax breaks.
    Football ticks every box.
    So why can’t they raise money? And, once that is worked, why are they still there? Why not give someone else a chance to raise money to fund the national programme?
    The TTFA president is, by profession, a salesman. If you don’t laugh at that you bong to cry.

  31. I thought you would have commented on my proposal. If you can show via a financial plan that they can raise money using the players that are marketable, you should be able to make a presentation to the Finance Committee and ask for a reasonable % if you can implement what you know to be achievable.

  32. My take on it is,whenever any major sporting body should stop the dependency syndrome,we would reach far in any sporting activity,we have world class persons in all fields,yes persons would have to go abroad for fine tuning,but in my humble opinion there are people in the major sporting bodies to eat a food..I am saying it without a doubt Lasana, You should be heading some of the major sporting bodies here in T&T, or even the Minister of Sports…It”s not about Politics or Political affiliations,IT’S ABOUT COUNTRY….Just my humble opinion

  33. The TTFA has a finance committee on paper. They never held a meeting. Shows how serious they are.

  34. Lasana Liburd I clearly do not understand the sporting environment. My comment extends beyond football. Maybe they need a financial manager, why do you not make a proposal?

  35. I din want to start no long drawn out thing nah… (y)

  36. Subsidising is one thing Brian Chambers. But the TTFA doesn’t raise money to pay a single bill. They have marketable players like Kevin Molino, Kenwyne Jones, Maylee Attin-Johnson, Sheldon Bateau, Arin King, Ahkeela Mollon, Lester Peltier… And they are probably raising less money than the Chess Association.
    It is expecting too much from the public purse.

  37. Total madness, in my day representing your country in a sport was something to be proud of, it now appears that not only is that still so but payment is also a necessary requirement. Well as I see it, by and large the Government will always have to subsidize the TTFA since I want to think, and I could be wrong, getting sponsorship is like pulling “teeth” unless of course it is one of those companies who are the beneficiaries of largesse and who give to soften their image. When you have one or two companies getting the bulk of the work in a country this is bound to happen.

  38. Well I hope the players/coaches see this and once and for all go on strike

  39. Exactly so Savitri Maharaj. That’s why the TTFA will always have a hand to play.

  40. Oh ohhh! Things falling apart???

  41. Lasana I hope the players wouldnt expect the Ministry to continually “carry” them

  42. But surely they know where the problems lie Lasana? Altho their narrow interest may be that the MoS not supporting them. The TTFA are using them as pawns IMO. Its emotional blackmail

  43. But Savitri Maharaj, the TTFA have the players and coaches as shields. Those can be very effective in the PR war.

  44. steups…players, please study the game.

  45. This is one battle the TTFA aint going to win because of their rep

  46. Yes, and that we know for sure. Thats why every time they receive cash for one purpose, they use it plug a.hole somewhere else. In the previous article, the Minister said they just received a request for match fees – $157k and 70k, again, what have they done with the CONCACAF money…they’re crazy?

  47. No bonuses?! That should have nothing to do with Sport Ministry. Even if TTFA has to promise to pay when they get money.
    But none at all?! I’m surprised and disappointed that the players didn’t even have TTFA promise to pay their bonuses when they are able to.

  48. A big part of the issue is the current TTFA administration has been utterly hopeless at raising funding. They might be the worst sport body in the country when it comes to wooing corporate sponsorship.

  49. I only hope that the boys don’t celebrate their goals as Rihanna celebrated this song. They’d be in for a lot of yellow cards.

  50. Wow! Where do we go from here? Why have to wait on the MoS to keep forking out? Where are all the money paid out by CONCACAF? I know this is all politics but two grown men?

  51. When this will ever stop..I’m getting sick of it.

  52. Was bound to happen sooner or later. Tim Kee (PNM) up in arms against Sancho (UNC) with Warner (ILP) in the middle. The good, bad and the ugly.