Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams has distanced himself from criticism of Sport Minister Darryl Smith, after a press release from his employers, Central FC, quoted him as expressing disappointment in Smith.
On 5 February 2017, Central became the first club in the 17 year history of the Pro League to win the league title for three successive seasons.
However, a Central release, which quoted Williams, suggested that the Sport Minister has ignored their success—even as claimed to receive congratulations from the FIFA and CONCACAF presidents.
“When we won our second successive Caribbean Club Championship last year, we received no recognition from Minister Smith,” said Williams, according to the Central release. “It was the highest profile sporting achievement by any team from T&T in 2016, yet we didn’t even receive a letter of congratulations…
“It’s very disappointing as a player in our national sport to see the lack of respect for our achievements.”
Williams quotes brought a stinging rebuke from former Trinidad and Tobago football icon and current National Under-17 Team coach Russell Latapy. However, within hours of the Central release, the goalkeeper put out his own statement—curiously, via the TTFA Media—which claimed that his words were “incorrectly interpreted” and that he had been used to make a point against the Sport Minister.
The talented 32-year-old goalkeeper did not say he was misquoted. However, he made it clear that he only hopes to see his name in a sporting context in the future.
Central managing director Brent Sancho served as Minister of Sport under the UNC government and directly preceded Smith in that post while the club’s operations manager, Kevin Harrison, served as advisor to the Sport Minister during his brief tenure.
“Let me first say that I am not one to play politics with the game that I love nor do I have interest in either attacking the Ministry of Sport or the Sport Minister,” said Williams, via the TTFA Media. “My name has been used a lot in the past by others to get their various points across. Contrary to what was previously reported, my main focus after the game [which secured the 2016/17 Pro League title] was to get mentally prepared for the [Digicel Pro Bowl final on Sunday 19 February], which would be tough regardless of the opposition.
“My statements obviously were incorrectly interpreted. Moving forward my main focus is winning the Pro Bowl then preparing for World Cup qualifiers in March.
“I also hope to do my best so that my name is seen in the media in the future for sporting achievements only.”
Williams was thrust into the national spotlight, three months ago, when National Senior Team medic Dr Terence Babwah and paramedic Dave Isaac quit the team after claiming that then head coach Stephen Hart played the Central goalkeeper against medical advice in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras on 15 November 2016.
Williams was concussed in that outing, which the Soca Warriors lost 3-1 and the resignation heaped pressure on Hart who was fired soon after. But Williams, Hart and much of the technical staff insisted that the goalkeeper was not injured and rubbished the claims by Babwah and Isaac.
The Central custodian found himself in a tug of war again when Hart’s successor, Tom Saintfiet, refused to select him after a spat with the club’s managing director, Brent Sancho, over their training schedule.
In yesterday’s release, Sancho attacked Smith’s perceived snub of the “Couva Sharks” and said that the Sport Minister: “chooses to ignore us again and instead prefers to give out prizes at coaching schools.”
He also accused Smith of showing more interest in the fledgling Trinidad and Tobago Super League—which is not yet ratified by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—than the Pro League.
“Of course, being a former Minister of Sport for the opposition, people would expect me to criticise Daryl Smith,” said Sancho. “I try to steer clear of political statements but I cannot stay quiet any longer. As a former footballer, I am amazed that the Minister has never acknowledged the TT Pro League clubs.
“He has refused to meet individual clubs and has taken no interest in the professional league, yet he’s held meetings with the new Super League owners, which has not yet been formally ratified by TTFA.”
Sancho claimed too that Smith’s attitude to the Pro League was detrimental to the local game and that the Ministry of Sport, which gives at least TT$400,000 per month in subventions to the local top flight competition, has not done enough to make the clubs self-sufficient.
“It’s crazy because on one hand the Minister is cutting funding to the Pro League and saying clubs need to be more self sufficient,” said Sancho. “But he does nothing to help them achieve this. He should be regularly speaking of the accomplishments of the Pro League, which would greatly assist clubs in become self funded.
“Okay, you make cost cutting decisions, but why start at the top? Our professional football is admired overseas. It provides employment for hundreds of people, many of whom would possibly find it difficult to secure meaningful employment elsewhere.
“Imagine what we could achieve with proper support from the Ministry of Sport and Corporate T&T…”
Still Central claimed to be close to closing a deal with a foreign investor that should help secure the club’s future.
“The interest in Central is dependent on several other deals going through in Europe,” said Sancho. “All we can do is carry on winning titles to ensure that the interest remains while they complete their affairs. However, I would estimate that there’s a 90 percent chance of new investors coming on board before we compete in the CFU finals in May.”
Central claimed too that 19 year old forward Nicholas Dillon, who is also a Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 standout, has signed with Belgium Second Division club, K.Patro Maasmechelen, and will soon be joined by his club teammate, Nathaniel Garcia.
Versatile Central attacker Jem Gordon, who played fullback for much of the 2016/17 season, is also due to attend trials soon in the United States.
The Sharks also congratulated assistant coach Stern John after he was appointed as National Senior Team assistant coach by Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence.
“[John’s] appointment reflects the hard work he has put into the club over the last season and a half,” stated the club release, “and his influence on the team is apparent from the club’s continued success.”
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Always seems to be too many egos and people on self. Meanwhile, TTPL on life support, TTFA is not properly constituted and the on field product is of low quality..
Lol. All very true.
This madness is really all about the politics….PNM VS UNC and the politics will continue killing the sports in our sweet country. Them really good yes.
Interesting stuff. I think this whole situation could have been handle better.
Sancho queries TTFA’s media release on Central FC
Sunday, February 19 2017
BRENT SANCHO, owner of three-time Digicel Pro League champions Central FC, has queried a media release issued yesterday by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
The media release quoted Central FC’s goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams as refuting statements he allegedly made in a club media release on Friday – in which the national keeper claimed that the team was yet to receive a letter of congratulations from the Minister of Sports Darryl Smith.
According to the TTFA, Williams was quoted as saying, “I am not one to play politics with the game that I love nor do I have interest in either attacking the Ministry of Sport or the Sport Minister.
My statements obviously were incorrectly interpreted.” However, Sancho yesterday wondered why the rebuttal came via a TTFA media release, when Williams is still a member of Central FC.
“I find it very strange that the TTFA will release such a (media) release at this time,” said Sancho.
“How is this inclusive of the TTFA? Jan is a Central FC player.
“I don’t think it’s about the statement,” continued Sancho. “I don’t think anything that was said was not true. I’ve had personal experience where I’ve been blacklisted for standing up for the rights of the players. I understand his position.
“Central FC is the only club to achieve anything in football regionally (in the past couple years).
I think it’s a club which should be lauded. I stand by my statement, not even a congratulatory statement was made (by the Minister).” Sancho, the ex-Trinidad and Tobago defender, pointed out, “at the end of the day, if it’s against Brent Sancho and whatever perceived political alliances, that’s something completely different. But, as far as I’m concerned, sports comes first. That’s how I see it.” Asked if the media release from the TTFA highlights a hidden agenda, Sancho replied, “it has to be. How is it that, after all we’ve achieved, that the first statement coming out of the (TTFA) is not even a word of congratulations but to try and antagonise a situation.” Concerning any feedback from the Pro League about the outstanding prize monies for winning the past three league titles, Sancho noted, “the last statement told you that they’re trying to set up a meeting with the Minister and I think that’s where the energy should be flowed, not trying to make something out of nothing.
The energy should be put in towards making sure that the prize monies, making sure that the League continues and making sure that we have the support going through.”
Defence Force 1:0 Central if anybody was wondering. 1st half
1all. 2nd half
Didn’t that look offside Aaron ?
Clear offside….i cant wait to see that replay
DF win on pk’s
And by the way Kester Lendor there is a big difference between the Super League VS The Professional league eh, the professional league players gets paid for playing the game , trains twice a day and play more games during the week compared to the Super League that only plays once a week and the players have to work in order to make monies eh to support themselves and their families, the only thing about the Super League that I like is that the games are played in the communities where our football belongs compared to the professional league so that there will always be plenty more crowd support and my people in the communities can make a dollar while selling their foods, etc, etc, to support their families and themselves and furthermore how many players made it in the real professional leagues abroad why plying their trade in the Super League and how many players in the Super League is representing the Soca Worries eh, well I am really hoping that with the new Super League that is starting in June 2017 there will be more games during the week and the players will be getting a salary the same like the professional league eh, and I am hoping that there will also be real professional qualified Coaching staff in order to keep our players and the beautiful game on a high level in order to continue to compete with the real professional football countries abroad. Them really good yes.
Saw any Super League game last season Earl Mango Pierre?
Yes I did Timothy Rochford .. Police Vs Maracas and I was really shocked with the standard of the football meaning not good at all, except for my most loyal and faithful player Marvin Oliver and Ryan Fry Stewart who both represented the Maracas team and of course you could have seen their level of professionalism compared to the other players and that was because of the real professional league that they both represented before they moved to the Super League and I also know that they wasn’t playing for free especially when they both were accustom being paid for playing the beautiful sport in the pro league and can also but my head on a block that the Maracas team Coach Michael Mc Commie isn’t coaching for free, so as I said before I am really hoping that the new Super League teams isn’t expecting the real professional players/ ex players to play for free eh. Them really good yes
One game. OK. But I hear you.
Maybe I should organize the game Sports and Games Santa Rosa F.C. VS The Army ….. $100, 000 winner takes all to prove my point eh. hahahaha
To each their own Earl. Opinion even. Respect.
They can’t be serious, smh
Russell Latapy statement: “For a long time I’ve stood by and listened to some of the younger players voice their opinions regarding the game of football. I would like to share my thoughts, especially, at this time when a player, namely, Jan Michael Williams, in his lack of wisdom and understanding can boldly make statements about the Honourable Minister of Sport and the Sport Ministry.
“Firstly, Acknowledgement comes with Achievement! The type of achievement required to be successful in football is playing at a high level, motivating other players, and building team spirit and comradery for your team and country while working tirelessly to be at the top of the CFU and Concacaf. It is also taking responsibility for your actions and not blaming others.
“Secondly, If you want acknowledgement you do not need to ask for it. Acknowledgement involves playing professionally for an extended period in a league that is considered a top professional league and not just for a few months.
“So kid, my advice to you is: talk less, defend more and I look forward to you being part of a successful National Team.”
I disagree with Russell! Without agitation there’s no change. Now that Russell has had success and deep and wide recognition, he remains silent on matters where he as a senior statesman should have a voice. As I’ve said before, making the necessary changes require guts and organization! Of the former players with a voice only kelvin jack has spoken. No Russell, they need to speak up because you are not!
Maybe athletes need whistleblower legislation too.
hahahahahaha The Magician like some others knows that they must never bite the hands that feed them eh Brian Harry, well maybe until they are fired and only then they does start singing like a canary and maybe they all learn’t that from their ex- Strike Squad Coach Gally eh. Them really good yes.
Russell will never talk even after he’s fired. Proven to be spineless on may occasions
Why is it that the Pro-league is continually being compared to the Super League?
Both have their relevance in the football landscape T&T.
I am disappointed in both Brent Sancho and Stern John for their remarks about the league. Quite a bit of the players in the Pro-league would have transitioned from the Super League. The meeting with the honorable MOS and the Super League was at our request and no-committal on financial issues
What did Stern John say? He isn’t quoted in the release.
Thanks Lester, but not sure I saw a comment from Stern as well.
Buh A A all this bacchanal is happening here and I am missing in action eh, well I know that nobody couldn’t put any gag order on my Prof Jamaal Shabazz eh. Them really good yes.
All them pro teams want is money from the government and the league is dog shit what pro league in the world have 10 teams only Trinidad wtf study how to make the league bigger and better get more teams the super league is way better… look at our national team in a fucking mess and that’s pro players smh..
Smh this country sad yes
So, Chris, why not come again? If your project is feasible, it’s worth a try. Maybe sportt would fund it? And that is the kind of support that is referred to in the press release. Make the game better. Don’t just leave it to the clubs.
we are reconsidering a new proposal … and you are right … you cannot leave it to the clubs
part of our proposal was to help, and to educate the clubs
I want to see several Central FCs … with lesser clubs striving to grow and emulate them
that’s how it should be
Sounds beneficial to T&T football Chris.
Chris, the new sportt CEO is very open to ideas. Take it there.
So all the time, this has not been objective discussion, but personal disappointment? I cannot recall why your project was not accepted, but I imagine one issue would be cost? Has it been adopted anywhere else?
cost was THE reason as far as I am aware … although it was extremely generous, and achievable
I am not sure if you were involved then ?
complete marketing overhaul … which appears to be still a major problem
now, there is a different landscape, and new players in the game … TandT football seems to be at yet another set of crossroads … so much potential going to waste … 5 years later, and still no answers
playing top flight games on district fields and not stadia … is that true ?
our proposal (and future proposals) put the game first, and we don’t pander to the egos and plans of empire builders
… which may be a reason why we didn’t get the go-ahead in 2011
oh BTW … always “objective discussion”
Well, the discussion originated from a press release about lack of respect from the minister and has veered into a series of misnomers about the pro league clubs. I was at North East in 2011 and didn’t attend board meetings so I can’t comment on your project or why it was not implemented. I can tell you that many good ideas are rejected as there is not the will to divert funds away from basic club operations. I can also understand your frustration as I was there before you in 2007. I was offered a job to come over from U.K. and market the Pro League. The deal I was offered was not enough to even maintain my mortgage. I countered with an offer 7 times lower than I was earning in UK but was turned down. 4 years later I spearheaded the biggest corporate sponsorship for a club (aside from CLICO) and then bettered it in 2012 and 2014.
indeed … I have watched your work, and I am impressed
and yes … I am aware of you, I and others trying to help the game … but to no avail
Yes not that you do not know. What you don’t know is that they didn’t depend on it to put food on the table, which is what you said.
Timothy has any of your family received a salary while plying their trade in the Pro League?
Did you mean “Christ!” Sheldon Scipio
Nah, he will come around soon
A good question to ask is “Has the Pro League turned down any offers of assistance? And why?
yes … why has the ProLeague turned down offer of assistance that were approved by all clubs bar one ?
I’d like to see an opinion here from Kevin, Terence, … anyone
Sheldon, Leslie and I wasted a lot of time and valuable IP
and as for Anil Roberts … why is he not in jail ?
Which offer of assistance is this?
Nov 2011 … see below
“It’s crazy because on one hand the Minister is cutting funding to the Pro League and saying clubs need to be more self sufficient,” said Sancho. “But he does nothing to help them achieve this. He should be regularly speaking of the accomplishments of the Pro League, which would greatly assist clubs in become self funded.”….
Can someone please explains how this works?
Simple. We get the negativity as you’ve seen here today and nothing positive from govt. so sponsors not seeing any value in supporting clubs and fans getting turned off. Now look at how the support of govt helped the Olympic fundraising.
Amazing analogy. Thanks.
Chris Tanner, you truly dont consider winning back to back Caribbean Club Championships as an accomplishment? And doing it with a 100% local team? And winning three league championships in a row? What would you consider an accomplishment?
one club does not a nation make my friend … your club has done outstanding work … has it helped the league ? … fair question
Chris Tanner, now that is an excellent point and the biggest flaw in our 2012 business plan. We really believed that other clubs would follow our examples and the league would rise together. The numerous community projects, the brand building, the business model was there for all to see. But you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
indeed you cannot
Ah set ah gimme attitude
Keith Look Loy, you were the first person to comment and immediately took the issue off track. You keep going on about $400k. Do you know what that figure is for? It’s a bond so that if, as in the past, clubs like Ma Pau, South End etc fail, players will get paid by the league. And you very well know that both I and Sancho were supportive of a pyramid system and funding for BOTH leagues.
That’s great information I did not know that. See I learned something.
Shawn, this is the type of information that should be reported and covered. But we all just want bacchanal. This release was not about money, it was about the Minister not supporting football and how that effects clubs ability to get sponsors.
Explain how this monthly bond works
Don’t the Clubs get this money and use it?
What monthly bond?
You asked Keith about his going on about the 400k that the govt gives to the teams, is that amount not given monthly
I wish for you to clarify about the bond you spoke about just referred to in this post.
“You keep going on about $400k. Do you know what that figure is for? It’s a bond so that if, as in the past, clubs like Ma Pau, South End etc fail, players will get paid by the league”
Sheldon Scipio, you’re not reading these posts correctly. Keith was talking about the 400k joining fee that clubs have to pay. This is a bond to protect players salaries if clubs go bust. Clubs pay this not govt. The other 400k he mentioned would be the 50k per month paid to 8 clubs by sportt. This is to assist with player salaries only. Each club submits payroll and payslips to sportt and are reimbursed sometimes monthly, sometimes every two months.
Does the Government give a monthly subvention to each club? How much is this worth monthly?
” THE FUTURE OF LEAGUE FOOTBALL IN T&T”
.. Wired. later..
No we need to set up a forum where you present your case we present we case and find a way. I say the two leagues can and will exist
..Nah. not the players. Allyuh paying starvation wages. Check the TTPL office pal..
If clubs are paying starvation wages, that that kinda proves that clubs have no money, yes? As for administrators, well that’s an entirely different issue. I don’t know how much your boys are getting paid at Sports & Games for a 40 hour week, but I bet most of our players are earning four or five times their hourly rate. So your kinda digging a hole for yourself there mate.
Football dead in tt
Keith Look Loy, I don’t know what dream world you’re living in pal! In case you haven’t noticed, Colin Imbert ain’t releasing funds to anyone. 50k per month goes towards player salaries which has to be proved to sportt each month – that’s called transparency. I’m stunned that you are being fed incorrect information and then you publicly state it. You are the biggest danger to the new Super League because you seem to want to fight the pro league based on untruths. But all you are doing is damaging football, both professional and amateur. I don’t know anyone “drawing tens of thousands a month”. Even a child could figure out that twenty five players and five staff “getting 2k and 3k” adds up to more than 50k! Yes, there will be youths on small salaries, but most mature players earn more, and that still is not enough.
..I ain’t no gangster pal. Not me. This talk gone way off course now yes. I think I really have to givve Wired a rest yes. Later..