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Sink or swim? Wired868 gauges the TTFA’s health on election’s eve

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s constitution dictates that, 14 days before an AGM, the TTFA must supply all delegates with: the agenda, the activity report, the financial statements, the independent external auditors’ report, and the minutes of the last general meeting as well as any other relevant documents.

But just hours before the AGM, which is scheduled for 2 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium’s VIP room, the candidates are yet to receive this vital information.

So, on behalf of the TTFA, Wired868 is happy to step in and offer its own assessment of the state of the Trinidad and Tobago game to local football stakeholders:

Photo: TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women's World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Finances:

TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee has boasted repeatedly about the size of the debt he met at the TTFA and the smaller one that exists today.

But how could he be so certain about the football body’s financial health when the last audit was done in 2008? And how come there is never any mention of new debts considering the TTFA’s failure to satisfy contracts with players, coaches and God knows who else?

And, for the record, Tim Kee is fond of saying that he inherited this mess. But he was the TTFA vice-president with direct responsibility for finance when millions disappeared from the football body’s coffers during the ‘noughties’ and when the costly 2006 World Cup bonus dispute began.

And, when Tim Kee temporarily left the TTFA in 2010, the football body had been unaudited for two years.

Photo: Former 2006 World Cup player Kelvin Jack (centre) embraces TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in May 2013. Looking on are teammates (from right) David Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray and Brent Sancho. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Former 2006 World Cup player Kelvin Jack (centre) embraces TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in May 2013.
Looking on are teammates (from right) David Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray and Brent Sancho.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Internal structure:

Tim Kee referred to the TTFA executive committee as “the recalcitrant minority” during a debate on I95.5FM on Thursday day. It takes a special type of mathematics for one president to view three vice-presidents as a minority.

And what does the constitution say?

The TTFA president, according to section 39, “is primarily responsible for:

a) implementing the decisions passed by the General Meeting and the Board of Directors (formerly referred to as the Executive Committee) through the General Secretariat;

b) ensuring the effective functioning of the bodies of TTFA in order that they achieve the objectives described in this Constitution;

c) supervising the work of the General Secretariat.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association vice president Lennox Watson insisted that he does not support president Raymond Tim Kee. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association vice president Lennox Watson insisted that he does not support president Raymond Tim Kee.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Tim Kee, by his own admission, has refused the council of his executive committee, oversaw the collapse of almost every committee in the football body and is at war with his former general secretary, Sheldon Phillip, who, according to his board of directors, was improperly sacked.

Otherwise, the TTFA’s technical director Kendall Walkes has no budget to work with since FIFA has stopped funding due to the football body’s unaudited books. It means the country’s football programmes are barely operational.

FIFA:

FIFA has frozen its Financial Assistance Programme and other unnamed specified programmes until “full compliance” with the governing body regarding “certain standard procedures such as internal financial audits.”

And when FIFA thinks you’re too dodgy to be trusted with money, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. The decision has already denied the TTFA access to upwards of US$125,000 over the last five months.

Photo: My money ha ha... FIFA president Sepp Blatter falls victim to a prank during a press conference. (Copyright CBC)
Photo: My money ha ha…
FIFA president Sepp Blatter falls victim to a prank during a press conference.
(Copyright CBC)

Supporters:

A bright light for the TTFA. There were over 20,000 patrons at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on November 17 to see the “Soca Warriors” play to a goalless draw against the United States in 2018 World Cup qualifying action.

Too bad they were treated to a horrific experience by security forces who terrorised supporters under the guise of keeping them safe from terrorists.

Still, taken in conjunction with a near full house to see the “Women Soca Warriors” tackle Ecuador last December in a FIFA Play Off fixture, Tim Kee can boast of being in charge when the Trinidad and Tobago citizens began to fall in love with their national football teams all over again.

Photo: An adult and child support the "Women Soca Warriors" during their FIFA Play Off second leg clash against Ecuador in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: An adult and child support the “Women Soca Warriors” during their FIFA Play Off second leg clash against Ecuador in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

National Senior Teams:

The Soca Warriors are respected in CONCACAF once more and can make some noise in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. Tim Kee hired head coach Stephen Hart—as if you didn’t know—and has largely stayed out of his way and allowed him to get the job done.

Too bad, the TTFA president doesn’t pay his coach and barely provides the bare essentials that the team needs to remain competitive. All the same, the performance of the senior squad is another plus of Tim Kee’s watch.

And the Women Soca Warriors? Well, they qualified for the CONCACAF leg of the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying competition as Caribbean champs and jet off for a glamorous international friendly against the  FIFA World Cup champions, the United States, in a few days.

But they will almost certainly be without coach Randy Waldrum and star players Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and Maylee Attin-Johnson, who also missed the Caribbean qualifying rounds due to internal issues.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women's Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on 2 December 2014 in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women’s Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on 2 December 2014 in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Tim Kee said, on Thursday, that he will talk to Waldrum soon but did not give a date. No rush. Who needs a coach anyway, right?

Wait, didn’t he just sell us on the importance of the men’s coach that he hired?

Under-20 Teams:

The men’s team finished fourth in their six-team CONCACAF group and six points behind third placed Guatemala. But they did win the Caribbean qualifiers and finished ahead of Jamaica and Aruba at CONCACAF level.

It was not a bad showing, poor preparation considered, but work needs to be done to provide international exposure for these talented young players before they are enveloped in the mediocrity that plagues too much of our domestic game.

Whereas the men ruled the Caribbean, the women’s under-20 team needed penalties to snatch third place against Puerto Rico and tallied defeats to Jamaica and Haiti and a draw to St Vincent and the Grenadines en route to the CONCACAF competition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Jabari Mitchell (second from left) celebrates the winning goal against Suriname during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Jabari Mitchell (second from left) celebrates the winning goal against Suriname during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)ynt

Trinidad and Tobago’s women previously used Caribbean tournaments to boost their scoring tallies. Now, we could not beat St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Are alarm bells ringing yet?

Under-17:

The boys team failed to even make the Caribbean semifinal round and qualified for CONCACAF as the region’s fifth placed team. And, in CONCACAF, they failed to win a game and finished bottom of a group that included Jamaica and Cuba.

Now do the maths and see what that tells you about Trinidad and Tobago’s prospects for the 2022 and 2026 campaigns.

And before you put all the blame on coach Shawn Cooper, remember the TTFA failed to match its Caribbean neighbours by sending its squad off for international exposure at the CONCACAF 2013 Under-15 tournament.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 defender Tekay Hoyce (left) chases Cuba attacker Yosniel Gonzales. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 defender Tekay Hoyce (left) chases Cuba attacker Yosniel Gonzales.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

And, to further test the theory, the TTFA performed an encore during the school holidays as it opted not to send an Under-15 team to the respective 2015 Caribbean competition.

So let’s see how that works out for the next national youth coach who must try to steer Trinidad and Tobago to the India 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

And the national under-17 women?

Their frustrated coach, Rajesh Latchoo, resigned before the Caribbean final competition where they lost to Haiti and Jamaica and failed to qualify for the CONCACAF competition.

That’s right. A Trinidad and Tobago women’s team failed to even get to CONCACAF. And nobody noticed!

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Cuba. Looking on is Andre Boucaud. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Cuba.
Looking on is Andre Boucaud.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Synopsis:

The ship is sinking and most people are ignorant of the fact since Kenwyne Jones is on a good scoring run and the senior Warriors are getting results.

Can we turn it around? Of course!

The performances of our two senior teams continue to make Trinidad and Tobago a respected opponent while the swelling of the gates is encouraging for revenue streams and corporate interest.

But there is a lot to be done to get the TTFA functioning again at boardroom level and in the area of football development.

Have you seen anything from Tim Kee to suggest he is the man for the job?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans react to action during their team's goalless draw with the United States yesterday in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans react to action during their team’s goalless draw with the United States yesterday in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Does Selby Browne, David John-Williams, Ramesh Ramdhan or Clynt Taylor seem a better fit?

God willing, Trinidad and Tobago’s football stakeholders will make the right choice tomorrow.

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE for more information on who can vote at the TTFA elections.

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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21 comments

  1. Hannibal Najjar

    While many of the contributions here are valid, I have to say that with little going really right (all-around) in our football, I am only interested in seeking to salvage the one thing of hope that could kick start the recovery we need. Stephen Hart and his, loyal-to-the-country-family-and-cause men, have given us that hope and impetus to go forward – they are holding up the flag and responding to the battle cry bugle in true Warrior and battle-ready fashion. Look, let us not forget that the T&TFA has had a long history, nearly five decades with the same DNA. And now, with DJ-W in the saddle, we believe that there would be a difference. It is hoped that he would and probably that will be so. But as solid as he has shown to be with W-Connection, raising probably the best Pro-Team in the Caribbean, we cannot expect that the change would be instant or positively impacting. We have to accept that we are always more a product of nurture than nature and with that 5-decade span of a certain DNA, we have to allow time to detach before we can reattach. Change is expected, but the old and its offspring have to die off first while the new, maybe simultaneously, fidget its way into place. David John-Williams, go into a retreat of some kind, as I believe you will, and search for the most formidable answers and strategies to pull this one off. Pray for the right team so that “change would come to Washington”. Please, carefully consider the selection of your team and do not do as the incumbent US President did with his first hire after vowing change, and bring in a, Rahm Emanuel a, Bill Clinton adviser. Be deliberate David, resolved to this cause and incorporate a 40/40 backward thinking foresight approach and not, little sister’s, 20/20 forward thinking hindsight. Let your vision be guided by a God-inspired revelation. Let this be more seriously attended to than with your, W-Connection institution. Win for the nation and W-Connection will as well.

  2. Tim Kee has had his chances. He tried to wear too many hats and football has suffered immensely. New leadership is needed. If I had a vote I’ll toss it behind Mr John-Williams. We need strong leadership and one who can work seamlessly with corporate Tnt and the Sports Ministry.

    • Hannibal Najjar

      Your view has its merit Carlos Lee – no question! The thought is a very strategically simple one – and should your wish and “vote” come to pass, be certain, the “flag” and battler cry would be quietening over time and that is my take. It is not that I believe that the T&TFA is not wanting – quite the contrary! The wish to postpone is simply to allow the “teams” that are currently playing on “bad fields” but seem to have an understanding of the terrains, to continue their momentum. Anyway, Carlee, c’est la vie and if you are more of Spanglish persuasion, que sera sera! And if Trini, “wha yuh go do” – “it go be wha it go be”!

  3. Defer elections until we qualify for the hexagonals? Seriously? Joking right? At first they were delayed because of the need to align the TTFA’s constitution with that of FIFA. Now we should delay because we don’t want to mess up plans to qualify for the hexs? I’m sure there’ll be another rationale to delay elections once we qualify for the hexs. Then another after that. Lol.

  4. Hannibal Najjar

    The football is in a mess indeed – no buildings, offices, well-treated professionals, solid-to-believe-in vision, mission or “manifesto as they describe it, strategic backward design plan, business and marketing plans, and so on. But one thing I would not like to see go to waste is a change that brings about a dispirited MNT. The momentum has to be maintained and any change without a consensus that no interference in style and philosophy should be made would be a catastrophe. That is why I expressed that I would defer the elections until we qualify or fail to qualify for the hex – the blend of good with bad has found a good shoulder-to-shoulder fate-path. But, ISWIS – it is what it is and the chips will fall where they will. As I often recite though, some people are wise and some, otherwise. So my prayer is that the wise outdo the otherwise.

    • Hannibal, I know it’s Sunday but why are you talking in parables? Man, leave the parables for the pastors and preachers and priests and shoot straight from the hip; this is Wired868, not a pulp[it or the Catholic News.

      • Hannibal Najjar

        Hey Earl, my man, it is Sunday and I come from St. Mary’s traditions and upbringing, so when we hear messages in parables, they have no limits, no boundaries either for “fours” or “sixes”. Remember those days when we, CIC played you, QRC in parabolic style, you all understood that whether kicking East or West at QRC, or North or South at CIC, the result was always going to be same – QRC behind the bars of the Blue and White! Shocks, Earl, leh me enjoy meh Sunday. Seriously, I will get back to you with less and yet more. By the way, Looking forward to work with LL. Love.

  5. Hannibal Najjar

    The football is in a mess indeed – no buildings, offices, well-treated professionals, solid-to-believe-in vision, mission or “manifesto as they describe it, strategic backward design plan, business and marketing plans, and so on. But one thing I would not like to see go to waste is a change that brings about a dispirited MNT. The momentum has to be maintained and any change without a consensus that no interference in style and philosophy should be made. That is why i expressed that I would defer the elections until we qualify or fail to qualify for the hex – the blend of good with bad has found a good shoulder-to-shoulder fate-path. ISWIS – it is what it is and the chips will fall where they will. As I often recite though, some people are wise and some, otherwise. So my prayer is that the wise outdo the otherwise.

  6. There are a lot to start with when RTK to over in 2012 the TTFA has just been levied on!!
    To keep football running for the last three year by fair or foul means would have take some doing! I do not want to go into details bc it would sound like i am campaigning for RTK which i am not only want a more balance view from the last sports journalist
    bc sports needs the true in context as much as content!!

  7. I gave details so I’m asking for details man. Go for it. 😉

  8. Lol. Fair enough Gordon Pierre. Where do you think he deserved more praise and where do you feel he deserved less criticism?

  9. Lasana liburd i was waiting for your shot!! lol but to be honest tho your story does not do Tim Kee justice and a more balanced assesment is needed!! Not i am saying Tim Kee is the best man for the job!!

  10. Liburd, what you have against Tim Kee? Why have you launched this frontal attack on the incumbent on the eve of the election? My recommendation is that you do like me and tell everyone in clear unequivocal language that a vote for Tim Kee is a vote for at best stasis, more likely regression, a baby step towards dictatorship a la Jack Warner, a giant leap backwards for national football.
    Like with the September 7 general election, you are free to have doubts about which candidate to vote for but you really, if you’re a delegate and love Trinidad and Tobago football, you can have absolutely no doubt about which candidate NOT to vote for.

  11. ..Exactly. Most of all our domestic game is in dire need of transformation..

  12. Lasana, unfortunately, for the vast majority of people, football = men’s senior team

  13. Once people accept that our football is not just how the senior team is going, then I agree with you Keith.
    And I’m really worried by how our men’s and women’s youth teams are doing. Doesn’t bode well.

  14. ..Forget the Soca Warriors’ recent few wins and draws. Forget the women beating CFU counterparts. TT football is in a mess..