The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) did not follow the ideal procedure in hiring Brian Williams as the National Under-20 Team coach, according to TTFA technical committee chairman, Dexter Skeene.
Williams, who last coached a national youth team in 2006, was unveiled yesterday as the TTFA’s second coaching appointment and the man charged with leading the junior national team to the Korea Republic 2017 World Under-20 Championship.
Williams is the current under-16 coach at the W Connection football club, which is owned by TTFA president David John-Williams.
However, Skeene, who is also the Pro League CEO, said the technical committee never interviewed coaches for the job or created a shortlist.
Instead, technical committee member Muhammad Isa, according to Skeene, proposed Williams while the committee was told that, due to financial constraints and the timing of the Caribbean Under-20 Championship, there was no time to consider anyone else.
And that was that.
“At present, there are severe financial constrains that the TTFA are working under,” Skeene told Wired868. “So they say they have no money to pay coaches and they are looking at people who can be seconded from their jobs, so we won’t have to pay them.
“Added to that, the committee was told there was no time (to interview other coaches) because the tournament was in June and it is a short term appointment.”
Williams has been seconded from his job at Petrotrin while his assistant coach, Kerry Jamerson, is a soldier in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. The current National Under-17 Team coach Ken Elie is a retired soldier.
Apart from Williams and Jamerson, the only other coaching appointment of the John-Williams era, Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Richard Hood, is a sergeant in the Guard and Emergency Branch unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
The TTFA hired Hood to replace outgoing coach Randy Waldrum on 13 January 2016, which was before the just-appointed technical committee had even met.
John-Williams said, at the time, that Hood’s appointment was rushed in the best interest of the “Women Soca Warriors”, who were preparing for their Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying campaign.
“We are doing it in the best interest of the team,” said John-Williams, when Hood was appointed three months ago. “It was a unanimous selection with the executive at the time because the technical committee was not set up and we had to take a decision.
“It sort of went against what I had preached (about leaving committees to do their jobs) but the circumstances demanded that we took a decision.”
The TTFA technical committee comprises: Dexter Skeene (chairman), Dr Alvin Henderson (deputy chairman), Bertille St Clair, Errol Lovell, Jinelle James, Stuart Charles-Fevrier and Muhammad Isa.
Fevrier is the current W Connection head coach.
Yesterday, John-Williams told the TTFA Media that Williams’ appointment was different as it was “approved” by the technical committee.
“We are pleased with the appointments,” said John-Williams. “(…) The good thing about this administration so far is that the technical committee approved the appointments.
“They were given certain guidelines and we have the support of the technical committee and I am happy to make the announcement on behalf of the technical committee.”
Skeene, a former Trinidad and Tobago international with the famous “Strike Squad” team, said he did not think “approved” best described what actually happened.
“I don’t know that I will use that word,” said the Pro League CEO. “In the short term, this guy is willing to do the job for free. But by no means can we go forward like this.”
He explained that the technical committee has an advisory role in implementing programmes to improve the quality of coaches and recommending coaches for national appointments. But, at present, there was still no procedure in place for this.
“You must put proper procedures in place (because) football is not one person’s own and we have to make it transparent,” said Skeene. “When it comes to the selection of coaches, ideally this must be advertised both locally and overseas, so we can get the best coaches possible with everything being done in a transparent manner…
“(Even if the TTFA cannot pay coaches), we are supposed to get everyone who is willing to work for free and then look at who is the best that is willing to work for free.”
Skeene stressed that Williams was in no way culpable for the issues surrounding his appointment. And he said the technical committee is anxious that a more efficient model is implemented soon.
As is often the case, a shortage of funds is a concern. And Skeene pointed to the pending appointment of Anthony Moore as marketing committee chairman, as key to the football body’s future.
“Going forward, if there is no finance we are in a Catch 22 situation where we are looking for people to volunteer,” said Skeene, “and you can’t get the best people that way.
“We have to look at getting the best people in the right places by getting their resumes and going through them and so on.
“It is not about Brian (Williams) really. It is the scenario (and) the whole procedure and operation of the organisation that has to be improved.”