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Central FC slam ‘shameful Latapy’ and DJW; accuse TTFA of trying to manipulate Jan-Michael

Pro League champions Central FC have slammed Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams for the local football body’s supposed attempt to “manipulate” club goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and to “discredit” the “Couva Sharks” themselves.

The Central release, which was unsigned, sought to respond to a statement by Trinidad and Tobago national youth team coach Russell Latapy, which was published on the TTFA website and chided the national goalkeeper—who Latapy referred to as “kid”—to “talk less [and] defend more.”

Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was the game winner as his team edged Club Sando 5-4 on kicks from the penalty mark in the Digicel Pro Bowl semifinal at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was the game winner as his team edged Club Sando 5-4 on kicks from the penalty mark in the Digicel Pro Bowl semifinal at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Latapy further claimed that Williams showed a lack of wisdom and understanding by criticising Sport Minister Darryl Smith’s perceived snub of the club’s accomplishments in a Central press release last week.

The Pro League champions described Latapy’s statement as “shameful” and criticised John-Williams for allowing it on the TTFA website.

“Not only would [John-Williams] have authorised the TTFA media release by Jan-Michael Williams which sought to undermine Central FC’s position,” stated Central FC, “but he then allowed one of his junior coaches to issue a statement on TTFA website describing Jan-Michael as ‘a kid’. As a previous outstanding footballer who would have achieved many public accolades, it is shameful that Russell Latapy would wish to deny the same to the Caribbean’s top goalkeeper…

“[Jan-Michael’s] comments were not directed towards TTFA and there should be no reason why David John-Williams would allow his organisation to intercede in this issue, other than to support the club that regularly provides players for his national teams.

“Surely the most prudent response would have been for Mr Latapy to pick up the phone and have a quiet word with Jan-Michael?”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 coach Russell Latapy (centre) shouts instructions at his players during 2017 Under-17 World Cup qualifying action in Couva on 17 September 2016. Haiti won 2-0. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 coach Russell Latapy (centre) shouts instructions at his players during 2017 Under-17 World Cup qualifying action in Couva on 17 September 2016.
Haiti won 2-0.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The Sharks further criticised the TTFA president for denying a citizen the right to speak on the performance of a government minister and questioned John-Williams’ motivation for defending Smith.

“Are government ministers beyond criticism in the Trinidad and Tobago of 2017?” stated the club release. “And by interceding themselves into an issue that was not directly of their concern, now David John-Williams, the TTFA board and Russell Latapy’s motives should be of concern.

“As we have stated, they cannot deny the facts. They cannot deny freedom of speech. There was no area for them to comment on, other than to support Central FC’s fears that the Minister of Sport does not value professional football. So why get involved?

“After all, TTOC did not rush to attack [Olympic sprinter] Richard Thompson when he criticised the Minister of Sport.”

Current Central managing director Brent Sancho, who played alongside Latapy at the Germany 2006 World Cup, was Smith’s direct predecessor as Sport Minister while the club’s operations director Kevin Harrison worked as Sancho’s advisor. John-Williams is the owner of Central’s rivals and fellow Pro League outfit, W Connection FC.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (centre), media officer Shaun Fuentes (left) and new Soca Warriors coach Dennis Lawrence at the TTFA headquarters on 30 January 2017. (Copyright Allan V Crane/TTFA)
Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (centre), media officer Shaun Fuentes (left) and new Soca Warriors coach Dennis Lawrence at the TTFA headquarters on 30 January 2017.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/TTFA)

The club stood by its initial criticism of Smith for not formally acknowledging their historic third successive Pro League title.

The Central goalkeeper has not committed on the furore since, in a statement made through the TTFA on Saturday, he attempted to distance himself from the club’s stance by suggesting that his comments were “incorrectly interpreted.”

“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… My statements obviously were incorrectly interpreted…

“I also hope to do my best so that my name is seen in the media in the future for sporting achievements only.”

Ironically, within hours of William’s statement on the TTFA website, the local football then published Latapy’s interview, which slated the intelligence and accomplishments of the Soca Warriors custodian who was twice selected among CONCACAF’s top goalkeepers over the past four years.

The following is the full Central FC statement on the TTFA’s response to their initial criticism of the Sport Minister:

Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Sport Minister and Central FC chairman Brent Sancho (second from right) is flanked by ex-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and former World Cup 2006 star and Central coach Stern John during the opening of the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia in 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

As seems to be the regular scenario in T&T football, certain sections of the football establishment choose to ignore important issues raised, to service their own agendas.

The recent press release made by Central FC was addressing the perceived lack of support by Sport Minister Darryl Smith for professional football in this country. While it was based on the opinions of Central FC players and staff, the facts were undeniable.

Central FC created football history twice  during the last season. They won a successive Caribbean Club Championship with a totally local team, while winning a second successive TT  Pro League. The club then went on to win a third successive TT Pro League in 2017.

This is important to national pride and to promote sport tourism in Trinidad and Tobago. To consistently win the Caribbean Club Championship proves, without doubt, that the TT Pro League is the top league out of 35 Caribbean countries—surely something our Sport Minister should be proud of, and also should be thanked for, as it validates the support provided by SPORTT company and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.

This is truly a team effort made possible by all 10 Pro League clubs, Pro League administrators and the TT government. Yet instead of all parties coming together to celebrate our joint victories, we have a deafening silence.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (centre) is congratulated by teammates after his successful penalty against Club Sando during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017. Central won 5-4 via kicks from the penalty mark. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Leston Paul (centre) is congratulated by teammates after his successful penalty against Club Sando during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017.
Central won 5-4 via kicks from the penalty mark.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

On 18 May 2016, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino wrote to TTFA President David John-Williams and said:

“Central FC are the Champions of Trinidad and Tobago. It gives me great pleasure to send my heartfelt congratulations to Central FC and their indomitable team on this great achievement.

“This title is the result of the determination of everyone involved and my congratulations go to the players, the coach, the entire technical and medical staff, and the fans.

“On behalf of the entire football community, I would like to thank Central FC and your Association for helping to spread the positive message of football.”

At the CONCACAF Champions League draw in Miami, both CONCACAF President, Victor Montagliani and Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard, publicly and personally, extended congratulations to Central FC on winning successive Caribbean Club Championships and the positive contribution of Trinidad and Tobago club football to the CONCACAF region.

Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (centre) charges through the centre of the Comunicaciones defence during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (centre) charges through the centre of the Comunicaciones defence during 2015 CONCACAF Champions League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Of course, everyone at Central FC is proud to have received these international acknowledgements. But what does it say about our Minister of Sport that he could not find the time to ask one of his media employees to issue a similar release?

This is not any kind of attack on the PNM government. In fact, we are convinced that Dr [Keith] Rowley—had he been made aware by Minister Smith of our achievements and the significance to our country, which has been battered and bruised over the last 12 months by recession and crime—would himself have promoted the club’s success. For we’ve had little to cheer about internationally in the 2016 sport calendar.

It was very disappointing to note that TTFA, rather than acknowledge our complaint about lack of recognition, and perhaps attempt to close the chasm between Minister Smith and professional football, chose to attempt to manipulate one of Central FC’s players and discredit Central FC.

After all, David John-Williams forwarded the letter from the FIFA President to Central FC and was fully aware of its contents. Mr Williams was also at the CONCACAF Champions League draw and would have witnessed the plaudits given to Central FC and, no doubt, also basked in the reflected glory of victory by a club under his organisation.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (right) has a word with Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team coach Russell Latapy on the training ground before the CFU competition. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (right) has a word with Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team coach Russell Latapy on the training ground before the CFU competition.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

So having been aware that the statements made in the Central FC press release were accurate, why did he not—as overseer of T&T football—support Central’s concerns?

Not only would he have authorised the TTFA media release by Jan-Michael Williams which sought to undermine Central FC’s position, but he then allowed one of his junior coaches to issue a statement on TTFA website describing Jan-Michael as “a kid.”

As a previous outstanding footballer who would have achieved many public accolades, it is shameful that Russell Latapy would wish to deny the same to the Caribbean’s top goalkeeper.

While Mr Latapy was fortunate enough to ply his trade internationally, Jan-Michael—aside from two spells overseas—has consistently won the top titles available to him at national and regional level, as well as supporting many local community projects. And did so on much lower salaries than Mr Latapy.

Jan-Michael has literally given blood in his 70 plus appearances for the national team. His comments were not directed towards TTFA and there should be no reason why David John-Williams would allow his organisation to intercede in this issue, other than to support the club that regularly provides players for his national teams.

Photo: LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena (centre) congratulates Central FC custodian Jan-Michael Williams, after their 1-1 tie in CONCACAF Champions League action in August 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena (centre) congratulates Central FC custodian Jan-Michael Williams, after their 1-1 tie in CONCACAF Champions League action in August 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Surely the most prudent response would have been for Mr Latapy to pick up the phone and have a quiet word with Jan-Michael?

How are we supposed to encourage and inspire young men to turn away from crime and throw their energies into football if the Minster of Sport, the TTFA President and one of our greatest former players refuse to promote the sport by recognising excellence and achievement?

What is more important in their roles than demonstrating the positives of sport?

Is there any reason why any citizen should not speak out about lack of performance by a government minister?

Are government ministers beyond criticism in the Trinidad and Tobago of 2017?

And by interceding themselves into an issue that was not directly of their concern, now David John-Williams, the TTFA board and Russell Latapy’s motives should be of concern.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from left) and Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds (far left) meet players from W Connection before kick off against Morvant Caledonia United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground on 20 January 2017. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from left) and Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds (far left) meet players from W Connection before kick off against Morvant Caledonia United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground on 20 January 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

As we have stated, they cannot deny the facts. They cannot deny freedom of speech. There was no area for them to comment on, other than to support Central FC’s fears that the Minister of Sport does not value professional football. So why get involved?

After all, TTOC did not rush to attack Richard Thompson when he criticised the Minister of Sport.

Those are the questions that should be asked, along with questions to the Minister such as: “Why did you not acknowledge Central FC’s achievements” and “Why have you not responded to their criticisms?”

And perhaps, to David-John Williams: “Why did you feel the need to intercede in this issue?”

Unless, of course, TTFA responded on the Minister’s behalf?

If we are to continue striving to improve our professional league, which in turn strengthens the national teams, we cannot sit back quietly while the league only receives negative press.

The clubs need to be recognised in order to encourage corporate sponsorship, match attendance and participation from youths. The more non-financial support provided by government, the less financial support will be required.

Photo: Central FC attacker Jason Marcano (left) offers Morvant Caledonia United goalkeeper Stephon Seepersad a hand during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 20 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacker Jason Marcano (left) offers Morvant Caledonia United goalkeeper Stephon Seepersad a hand during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 20 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The Minister of Sport has actively supported CPL cricket, amateur football and numerous football coaching schools. So why not our professional league that provides employment for over 200 people, the majority of whom are Trinidadian?

Central FC have made a massive contribution to T&T football in its five year history, both on the field and off—with numerous imaginative community projects. Those facts cannot be denied.

Yet, it appears, there are those that wish to do so to suit their own personal agendas, to the detriment of the beautiful game.

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80 comments

  1. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Edmund Burke

  2. the bottom of the issues….it is simple that the sport minister…is BIAS towards sancho team….go figure why?????? GROW UP PEOPLE…stop the vindictiveness…and the politicking….

  3. So Jan’s lying? Or can you at least appreciate the fact that he finds himself placed in an uncomfortable enough position by your actions, that he felt the need to make his own first person statement saying you took his comments out of context?

    • Appreciate? I’ve known Jan personally for over 5 years. You think we threw him under a bus? You don’t think maybe the problem here is TTFA?

    • Let’s play the chorus again… for the benefit of those in the cheap seats:
      “My name has been used a lot in the past by others to get their various points across… My statements obviously were incorrectly interpreted…”

      Jan’s exact words. His name has been used in the past by others [for their own agenda]. My statements were obviously incorrectly interpreted.

      So the question must be, “who used Jan’s name”? Central FC did. Why connect the use of his name with the ‘incorrect interpretation’? Perhaps to indicate that Central’s use of his statement was both for its own agenda and to point out that the words attributed to him are not entirely accurate.

      Sure… [the] TTFA has fault to share in this dick measuring contest. That’s a natural, given who’s at the head. But if you still can’t see where Central FC shares in that fault then it’s all good, we can move on.

    • What’s that they say about not seeing the forest for the trees?

    • …Or your elbows from your asshole, for that matter.

    • You’re being too hard on yourself now, mate!

  4. Well Central were not approached to back track on theirs so I guess that clears that up.

  5. Jan said his statements were taken out of context. Who took them out of context, the TTFA? Kevin Harrison accused me of having difficulty grasping facts, but even that low hanging fruit is well within reach for me. Of the battle of the press releases, one quoted party has backtracked, effectively weakening the position taken in the release. Not too difficult to grasp that fact.

  6. Is there some prize for the most press releases or for the last press release? Is there no one in the land who will rise to the occasion and get some of these aggrieved folks to sit around a table and discuss these matters in a mature manner that is respectful of the blood and sweat that players and fans and clubs have put into this sport? It is probably harder to find a mediator when those that should be mediating are themselves involved. Maybe somebody is benefiting from this fractious environment, but the sport of football certainly isn’t.

    • Exactly Amery. Normally, you’d expect the TTFA president to be the one to call all parties to a sit down. But David John-Williams was involved himself.
      I can understand Russell Latapy having a say although I disagreed with the severity of his attack on Jan-Michael. But its outrageous that such an interview would be published on the TTFA website.

    • That’s like the Manchester City website running a story with Aguero calling Stones a horrible defender and a twat.

    • Is there a football fans’ association that can start exerting some influence in matters such as this?

    • I can’t understand Latapy advice fully,but been a past police the motto was to comply and then complain which was and still is stupid but is latas saying to Jan we need you for this journey,so avoid any cause for confusion that may hamper his selection? Maybe?

    • Interesting point Kurtwyn. But then that would be indirectly saying he could be ostracised by the TTFA for having an opinion. So that also sounds like somebody better said in a face to face conversation rather than a public blast.
      Regardless, it is true. Once you put yourself forward, you take a risk. But I see nothing wrong with Jan-Michael being true to himself once he also respects the office of the people he is calling out.

    • Yes I see nothing wrong with Jan statement but Latas?I am not at home to feel the vibes but even Central agreed with his comments so why did he backtrack if his immediate employers fully support his statement ?

    • Preach Doc! It’s very annoying and distracts from the real issues that affect the fraternity

    • Central claimed he was manipulated or pressured by the TTFA. I don’t know if that is true but he definitely feels too intimidated to comment now.
      The statement that he felt used–implying that Central FC used him–is a serious indictment on the club though. Not so Kevin Harrison?

    • But again, that’s the tit for tat angle.

    • Is Central Fc putting him up for sale,I am looking at the business side of things,he also was on the receiving end after being left of the National team earlier by decisions made by Central,I am just speculating as a professional mind would Kevin Harrison

    • The only decisions made by Central concerning Jan is that they wanted him to play for them in games outside of the FIFA window. Nothing wrong with that. All of the European clubs were given that latitude.

    • Central FC always obtain agreement from players before issuing their comments in press releases. That was the case here. Jan has never denied his comments. True, he may feel they were included out of context, but that’s a matter of conjecture. Central would not do anything to purposely damage his international career or reputation. When players, including Jan, have spoken out on their own, we have often taken them to one side to give them advice. Russell should have done the same.

    • Kevin we still have to go get that drink?but be careful with leaking of private comments,but I would not judge bro??

    • Really a football fans organization????? We need proper governance and a competent leadership structure. Form another organization to add to the bureaucracy and ole talk? Really? Amery come better than that – QRC eh?

    • Brian that’s what you took from this thread? Lol.
      The fact is that in many settings a vibrant fans’ association can actually help to advocate for improved structures and systems, and there are numerous examples of same around the world of sport. The comment that seemed to have ‘triggered’ you was merely a question regarding the existence or lack thereof of such a body.
      In any case I have no interest in engaging in the same kind of condescending back-and-forth that led to the topic under discussion in the first place. QRC or no QRC.

    • The QRC reference was about getting things done. The lacking element in TT in a generalized way is proper governance and systems for implementation. It plagues us from government through sport, culture everything. Having a fans organization doesn’t help that !!!! It’s just another voice and potentially added noise

    • Saying the same thing over and over on Facebook isn’t getting things done. When the powers that be are not adopting the right course or even seeking the right course, it is some of those same organisations that can advocate for positive change. It certainly works elsewhere. So in this regard I simply disagree with you, respectfully.

    • Amery Browne, you are correct. A fans association is another layer that can agitate for change. The problem as I see it, is that if only a small number of fans attend games, would they make an effort to attend meetings etc?

    • Amery Browne all that people like Jan was doing was advocating. So adding another group gets it done right? Look at the number of groups in TT telling GORTT what and how to do . .. . . what has happened? Seems a pointless discussion

    • Well the same could be applied to recurrent pontificating on fb. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. Again, I disagree and the ultras in Europe would disagree and so would the torcidas in Brazil and the barras in Mexico…but it might be a good idea not to miss the bigger picture in the discussion above.

    • What was the bigger picture? I come at it stating one central point, which was and remains that until we repair the governance and leadership structure around football, nothing will change. My hypothesis all along is that The unfortunate situation that has occurred between central FC and TTFA and which included Jan, won’t occur had there been a proper structure around the football. IMO mediation or a fans organization won’t help anything in the long run. It might resolve this issue but it is nit a long term fix. That’s all that I’ve been saying so I DK t see what point I missed

    • The point is that you stating that changes absolutely nothing. And what you have labelled as a hypothesis is not really a scientific hypothesis at all because it cannot be tested. Enough information is available on how change is achieved, how advocacy operates in the real world, and how civil society groups have produced progress against seemingly intractable problems and policymakers. It is another mistake to underestimate the value of mediation but again enough info is freely available on that front as well. Change is not produced by someone on fb saying “there should have been a proper structure”, but by a much more strategic harnessing of advocacy which is the purpose of such associations all over the world. In any case this is becoming just like the to-and-fro that was under discussion. I stand by my comments at the top of this thread. You jumped in wrt a question about the existence of a fans’ association and well okay, your personal opinion on that is reiterated.

    • I’m in search of a long term solution! That’s been my singular point for months now and as I’ve always said this goes way beyond football. We need a proper governance structure and sound leadership. Yes you are right citizens need to rise up against the bullshit we’ve been fed by government, TTFA etc feed us so I’m glad you believe that!

    • A fans association won’t mean shit to me until the pro league matches are sold out and player tshirts are sold. Cuz as far as I’m concerned THERE ARE NO FANS IN TNT. Only bandwagonists

    • If after all these years of the pro league there are no fans in T&T, then why have the league at all?

    • That is a very good question Amery Browne. Maybe this country can only support a Super League. However, that could seriously effect the standard and performance of the national team. Also, it goes against the grain of global football, where more and more countries are forming professional leagues, usually with govt support of done kind. Don. Republic is latest example and I believe Curaçao coming soon. And, of course, in recent times, China, India etc.

    • Kevin. The government BARELY supports tnt football. The little money they give to clubs as subsidies cant do anything for clubs far less players.

    • I am a new coach in the TT pro league. And it’s sad to say. The salaries being paid to staff at the TT pro league is unbelievable. I have to work my 9-5 job and take time off to go to train. Who that really helping?

    • Well then here’s another question Kevin Harrison. In what ways would you say the national team has benefited from the pro league’s tenure, and has that been demonstrated by improvements in the team’s standard over time?

    • The national team benefits from players at tt pro league clubs when they wanna do training camps locally. But think back apart from ball pest and Jan Michael. Who else represented for the Gold cup last year and plays with local teams ?

    • Amery Browne, you have to look at long term progression. For example, if there was no Pro League over the last few years, many of our top overseas players would be playing fete match in Trinidad. It’s very hard to get our players overseas. One reason is the difficulty in obtaining EU work permits. For example, a Belgian club could sign a Belgian player and pay him €1,000 pm. But to sign a non EU player, he has to be classed as elite. He must be paid a minimum €6,000 per month. Then you have to house him too. The only reason a club would do this is because they believe he can be sold on and the club will make a profit. So you have to send players who are very fit and travel well. In my opinion, this only comes from a high level of training every day and overseas travel in CFU and CONCACAF. Which is why W. Connection have been successful in exporting as did Jabloteh and Joe Public in the past.

    • That’s the next issue. I don’t think we select our best players. We go for the overseas guys for good reason, but sometimes it’s flawed. I believe that playing overseas encourages a greater level of professionalism and certainly improves key areas such as vision and movement. Problem is that our pool of players can’t always provide the service to utilize those areas. So maybe keeping it simpler and using more locals could help?

    • Joshua, this is where we really need to get govt to understand the benefits and create political will to move forward. Once a govt such as Panama, China and now Dom. Republic recognize the benefits, they support football not just with money, but by promoting it. When we were in the ministry we did the groundwork to create an all party sport committee. The idea was to remove the politics. So the committee would decide wether to build a football stadium or skateboard park, not the cabinet. That way, if gives change, the project continues. Like the mini stadiums planned for Ojoe Rd and San Juan. Immediately dropped by new govt in favour of Lara and Diego Martin. Where would the funding come from? We also created the blueprint for a sport funding committee made up of top businessmen. Their job would be to raise funding from corporate and allocate to recommendations from the all party committee. In this way, politics is almost completely removed. One way of funding was creating a sports tax on cigarettes and alcohol. We met with industry leaders who approved the concept. These blueprints are sitting in the ministry of sport right now.

    • Thank you for your informed responses. Now I wish you share my humble 2 cents advice on the immediate matter that triggered the press release cycle. If the purpose of the initial release was to draw attention to what your club feels is an injustice or inconsistency, well Mission Accomplished. I’d suggest just leaving it there for now and not adding any further to the public skirmishes. Let your football continue to do the talking…and it will be impossible to ignore you.
      The truth is that Ministers come and go, therefore as you say there should be a focus more on recognition and progression over the long term. Perception of injustice seems very much a part of sport, from the Ballon D’or to the draw within many tournaments. At the end of the day you make your point and then kill them with more performance. So what i recommend to your club is just leave it there even if others try to futher prolong the exchange. I hope these comments are received in the spirit in which they are sent.

    • While I agree with your sentiments, it’s difficult not to respond to lies and racist comments. Also, the attacks by Russell and TTFA raise very serious questions. TTFA is a non political organization and to publicly defend the Minister when our football concerns were valid is frightening.

    • Amery Browne, here’s one for you! Will T&T ever graduate from the two party hatred that is slowing down progress in our country? I believe, in hindsight, that Brent made a mistake by accepting the ministerial role. He was not and is not interested in politics. But he did believe he could help to bring change. Now he’s forever tarnished. Funny thing is, he’s declined offers from PNM because of this reason. How can we encourage the brightest people to serve our country when the reward is stigmatize and bias?

    • Nothing lasts forever. The cycle of world tell us that often what seems tainted in one season can be welcome in another. If he regrets those decisions then he should try as far as possible to avoid adding to the perception that he is still engaged in the two way fight. I know, easier said than done in T&T. But there are examples of productive life after politics, and indeed there are examples of sportsmen who made the reverse decision and plunged into long-term politics after sport (Romario is an example close to where I am at present).
      So while it might be easy for him to accept the stigma of “forever tarnished”…I believe that only him and his decisions and actions over the long term would make that a reality or a lie. He is blessed to have a career to return to; let the football cleanse you and absorb your energy.

    • Kevin Harrison its sad but true..

    • Amery Browne I understand what you are saying but I believe that Brent must acknowledge the mistakes made and show a change in character get back into the supporting what is best for football in general even if he is viewed by some as anti PNM or TTFA

  7. Royce Russell, I’m sharing in this thread:
    Latapy out of bounds…

    NEWSDAY Editorial..
    Wednesday, February 22 2017

    NATIONAL YOUTH coach Russell Latapy is one of the greatest footballers this country has ever produced. His recent comments, however, in relation to Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, were not only disrespectful but send the wrong message to our nation’s youths at a time when this country is crying out for more young leaders.

    Latapy, a star midfielder in his heyday at Porto (Portugal) and Falkirk (Scotland), chose to intervene in an issue between recently crowned Digicel Pro League champions and Minister of Sport Darryl Smith. Central FC, the first club to win the Pro League three times straight, took umbrage with the Sports Minister failing to acknowledge their historic feat.

    Williams, arguably the best goalie in the country with over 13 years’ national service, was quoted in a Central FC press release as saying, “When we won our second successive Caribbean Club championship last year, we received no recognition from Minister Smith. It was the highest profile sporting achievement by any team from TT 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.” Latapy, a national sporting hero, shockingly gave the 32-year-old Williams a verbal tongue-lashing, reprimanding him for his statement which he felt was made due to a “lack of wisdom and understanding.” He added, “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… 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…” Is Latapy urging players to not speak up when they feel strongly about issues, no matter generated by those in authority? Latapy, feeling snubbed about the lack of coaching opportunities available to him and other black coaches in Europe, spoke up in March 2016.

    “When I look in comparison – and I know it can be dangerous to compare situations – you see a lot of managers getting opportunities who have not proved themselves … There is still, unfortunately, the situation that black managers are not getting a fair chance compared to young, white managers,” Latapy said to The Herald.

    Should Latapy have kept silent amid feeling aggrieved about something? No. We applaud his honesty in highlighting a problem that has affected many of his peers throughout Europe.

    Similarly, Williams had an issue that he felt he needed to express.

    He did not insult the minister but merely expressed his disappointment while still being respectful to the office of the minister and its holder.

    Is there a bit of politics being played out as well? Is Williams collateral damage in a verbal war between the Sports Minister and his People’s Partnership predecessor Brent Sancho, the managing director of Central FC? We do not know.

    But Williams, like many of our national players, should be given the respect he deserves as a loyal servant to this country. The last memory we have of Williams was in November 2016 stopping a goal in a World Cup qualifier vs Honduras and getting a knee to his head which left him unconscious briefly and concussed.

    He has kept goal for past club W Connection while his then fiancé was in the hospital after a vicious attack by an assailant in a 2012 robbery. We believe he has the respect of his peers and the football community nationally, if not internationally. With this in mind, Latapy is out of bounds.

  8. Well cool, my question — at least one of them — has been answered!

    Latapy according to Mr Mandeville was publicly defending the minister against the attack by the “kid”. Cause in TnT I guess that’s what junior coaches do?

    I done yes, lemme go and keep my fingers crossed that the U-20s eh get bout 5 from CR later…smh

  9. Is this a news report or an editorial?!
    It is my belief that the Min. of Sport should have congratulated Central FC on their record accomplishment. It is also my belief that the club should not have addressed the non-issuance of such a message. You do not beg or ask to be recognised for your “good works”.

  10. Sancho playing PNM- UNC politics here

  11. Latas need to concentrate on the under 15 & 17 hope he doesn’t sit on his rear and telling himself that he has the best that T&T has to offer in front of him hopes he goes in to the league’s in schools clubs and communities and make sure he has the best crop of players. Trinidad and Tobago ent that big and it have really talented players that don’t go national screening it’s up to him to find those diamonds in the rough.

  12. Allyuh read the whole article?? FIFA president and CONCACAF big-wigs could congratulate them but we sports Minister can’t??

    I love Central FC’s response, just bare facts man…like I said initially, Lata’s could rock so with he criticism…He only open he mouth when the minister get criticized!!

  13. Wired868 cyah win bai….don’t publish and is bias…publish and is giving space for rubbish….

  14. Wtf is wrong with Brent Sanchoo or whatever’s kamliar calls him. He’s petty and puerile in his actions and I note that Wired 868 is giving him and his club space rubbish and pettiness but this is Trinidad and Carnival is here “We jamming still”

    • Andy, the media allows reputable bodies an opportunity to speak on topics within their area of expertise. If we picked and choose who we allowed to speak or what side was worth listening to, we would lose our credibility as an independent watch dog.
      We will soon have a statement from Russell Latapy’s camp that gives their own account.

    • Hasn’t Latas already issued his statement though? He said what he had to say and that’s why we’re here…I would like to hear what more he/they could add?

      I specifically want to know why Latas after watching these young players talking all the time, only chose to speak up when the “young” “kid” JMW talk about our esteemed minister?

      He just couldn’t sit idly and watch a player say something — that was true by the way — about the minister? Smh

    • I’m trying to understand since when is it ethical that a football club decides how they are to be recognized and by who and when. The Defense Force and other football clubs have had great success and if I’m out of the loop this kind of stupidity never occurred. Let’s put this into perspective on an international level. We’ve had as much and greater success in sports. “Do it for yourself and the praise will come” not for the praise ” Selfie unto one self”

  15. But didn’t Jan backtrack from his own comments? Wasn’t there an insinuation that he didn’t expect Central FC to release the comments for public consumption? If that interpretation of the facts is correct, then who is really manipulating whom? The fact that Latapy’s statement was published on the TTFA’s site is somewhat unusual, if not awkward, but that aside, Latapy isn’t David Jack Warner’s “junior coach”… he’s Dennis Lawrence’s assistant, and doesn’t report to the TTFA president. It would seem that Central were the ones who first decided to use Jan-Michael Williams as a political football (no pun intended), only to now facetiously feign indignation.

    • Exactly. It would seem that way. And that was their intention. But you notice Jan has never once denied making the quote. The question, with respect, you should be asking is “why is TTFA rushing to defend Smith?” He has a whole media department. What’s even more sinister is that he hasn’t responded at all. This leads one to conclude there was a conversation between the two with DJW saying “let me deal with this boss” and instead threw more fuel on the flames. Nigel, what was this FIFA thing about governments getting too involved in football associations? Is TTFA no longer independent?

    • There is no government involvement in football here… Smith is right to stay above the fray, as Latapy should have . This entire thing is not only overblown but frankly, embarrassing. I fail to see why Central felt the need to roll Jan under the proverbial bus by putting his comments front and center, seemingly without his input. If the club wanted to complain then you (since your grammatical fingerprints are all over the latest release) could have simply addressed the issue privately to Minister Smith, or even if you wanted to have a public moan, do so without involving your players. Jan has clearly been placed in a very uncomfortable position, and it wasn’t by David Jack Warner.

    • So, as usual it our fault? You seem to have difficulty grasping facts. I cannot make this any clearer. Jan made a statement. He was not forced. He was not coerced. Instead of addressing the real issue here you’re still trying to discredit Central. Maybe it was not a good idea to issue a release. But that’s our call. Maybe Jan didn’t realize that there was no longer freedom of speech even though he never mentioned TTFA once. So what are footballers allowed to say? If they didn’t enjoy Machel Monday do they have to clear that with DJW first?

    • Good luck with your campaign fella

  16. I’m not getting something with the “demands” for recognition from the Sports Minister to congratulate/recognise Central FC. Maybe from TTFA heads, yeah.
    Is there an underlying concern.

    Latas kinda outta timing to get involved though, unless he wasn’t sending a direct message.

    Sounds like ego fighting here, not sure when it’ll finish

  17. The dictator and his minions answered because they are close with the govt and have received money from them, that they are hiding from the fans and public..

    The dictator is politicizing football and Sancho being a unc has now come under attack and his players…

    It’s a fight for hegemony in TT football, the dictator wants the highest seat in the land and will resort to underhanded tactics to discredit central FC and its players, owners, staff..

    The real meat of it is the amount given to the ttfa and what they are hiding, they put latas up to it because he’s on the payroll and being a legend locally, they believe people will support his opinion to chastise Williams..

  18. Latas need to take his own advice…shut up and coach more!

  19. More bacchanal. When will it end,? Young men who strive to represent their country are undermine by those in positions. Power in the wrong hands is fatal to those who do not follow the status quo

  20. Now Central FC jumps in rather than de-escalate

    Los Trinitarios again