The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team, once permitted, will participate in the Youth Pro League Under-18 competition under its own name, after condemnation of its initial attempt to play as Morvant Caledonia United.
On Tuesday, National Under-17 assistant coach Duane Richardson and manager Aaron Pollard went to various schools and urged players to sign registration forms for Morvant Caledonia—often without the chance to discuss the matter with their parents and club coaches first.
The TTFA Media said the initiative was recommended by head coach Russell Latapy and supported by technical director Anton Corneal. However, it provoked a furious response from schools, club coaches and parents.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Justin Latapy-George assured members of the public that, while the football body is still interested in participating in the youth competition, there is no chance that the national team will play as a club.
“What we have done is [write] to the League requesting its consideration to allow the Association’s National Under-17 Team to compete in the Under-18 Division of the Pro League,” Latapy-George told TTFA Media. “We believe that we have submitted a request that will receive favourable consideration. However, irrespective of the final decision of the League, it is important that I extend thanks for their consideration.
“It is pivotal that I again note that if our application is accepted that the team will compete as the National Under-17 Team.”
Corneal was on the coaching staff on the two occasions whenat Trinidad and Tobago qualified for World Cup Finals, first the Under-17’s in the Republic of Korea in 2007 and then the Under-20’s in Egypt in 2009. And he is certain that their participation in the youth league will work well for them.
“We feel this is the best way to go in terms of trying to ensure that the teams are in active competition over a specific period, which falls in line with their preparations prior to the Concacaf qualifying matches,” said Corneal. “We have seen what doing this in the past has done—case in point, the 2009 team that went on to qualify for the U-20 World Cup.
“And coupled with the international matches that the FA may be able to organise along the way, this could only positively assist us in preparing the teams going into the qualifiers.”
In other news, the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Team has scheduled two friendly matches against Panama on Thursday 22 and Saturday 24 March.
The Women Soca Warriors face Panama from 6.30pm on Thursday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva and from 4pm on Saturday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.