T&T start Olympic qualifiers in July but neither coach nor squad in place; ex-TD advises TTFA to turn to minor leagues

Gems at Lajoya

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has been advised to turn to ‘minor leagues’, as the chronically under-prepared local football body is tasked to build a team from scratch to compete in the 2020 Olympic qualifying series, which kicks off in three months. The TTFA does not have a National Under-23 Team in training and is yet to even appoint a coach.

Trinidad and Tobago are drawn with the US Virgin Islands, Cuba and Barbados with only the winner advancing to a Caribbean play-off to determine the two regional representatives for the final Concacaf qualifying round. Jamaica, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago are the four Caribbean seeds.

In the end, the top two Concacaf under-23 football nations will advance to the Japan Olympic Games.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevin Molino (far left) leads Mexican opponents on a merry chase during 2012 Olympic qualifying action.

The TTFA has made a habit of sending out hastily thrown together teams in the past two years, often to disastrous effect—as the Women’s Senior and Men’s National Under-20 Teams can testify. At present, the Men’s National Under-17 Team are in a similar boat as Head Coach Stern John was given just six weeks to screen and prepare for their Brazil 2019 Under-17 World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, according to a former TTFA technical director, the future National Under-23 coach’s job moves from very difficult to nigh impossible when you consider that there has been no competitive football over the past five months for players over the age of 17.

And due to teething problems in the formation of a new TTFA-run ‘T-League’—which has absorbed Pro League and Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) clubs—the senior domestic football calendar remains in paralysis and can be postponed till as late as September this year.


The former technical director suggested that the TTFA, which banks as much as US$1 million or TT$6.7 million a year from the FIFA Forward Programme alone, may be best served turning to the minor league competitions they usually warn players to avoid like the plague.

“My suggestion is they need to have someone put together an age group minor league tournament,” said the former technical director, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It is absolutely crazy that you might have no league football until September and it is a disaster for our football.

“If they don’t want to use the minor league route, they can create a pool of players and split them between north, south, east and central [and Tobago]; and from those games you can choose players.

“I hope this will be discussed soon. But if the local league starts in September, how can we possibly compete?”

Photo: TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (centre) greets players (from right) Hughtun Hector, Alvin Jones and Maurice Forde before kick off against Police FC in the TTFA FA Trophy final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Wired868 understands that Technical Director Anton Corneal and TTFA Board Member Richard Quan Chan recommended Club Sando and Naparima College Head Coach Angus Eve and Police FC Head Coach Richard Hood for the posts of National Under-23 head coach and assistant coach respectively. However, the TTFA is yet to act on that advice.

It is uncertain what remuneration package might be offered to the Under-23 coaching staff. At present, the National Under-17 staff, which includes assistant coaches Kenwyne Jones and Caleb De Souza, is working pro bono.

TTFA President David John-Williams and General Secretary Camara David did not respond to questions from Wired868 on the local football body’s plans for the National Under-23s.

The 28-year-old David, who was controversially appointed as general secretary in February after moonlighting in the role for at least two months prior, has ordered technical staff members not to speak to the media without his explicit permission.

Photo: Concacaf draw for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying series.
(Courtesy Concacaf)
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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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  2. Jonathan Godette DC united U23/ D1 Universi

  3. Yea good point, they could use those set of player u name and use from the u 17 team.

  4. Lasana Liburd we need to move this from social media to public forum so All of can be aware of what’s the real scenario and hear the uncut uncensored revelations

  5. 1. How can you appoint a staff you can’t pay? I suppose we will get some volunteers who want to build their resumes.

    2. How do you select from a pool of inactive players? On the basis of reputation? Prior experience, which has been largely unsuccessful?

    3. More commess from the TTFA heads of government.

  6. So ah hope Alyuh understands now our players plying their trade in the real professional leagues abroad so the Coach just have to call them up and tell them about the tournaments even though they won’t be winning until as I have been saying that until someone get really vex and start to make certain that we have a real bomb squad always ready in our sweet country to be included in the selection eh Them really good yes

  7. Here’s a start:

    Levi Garcia (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona – Israeli Premier League)
    Noah Powder (Real Monarchs – USL Championship)
    Keston Julien (AS Trenčín – Slovak Super Liga)
    Kathon St. Hilliare (ŠKF Sereď – Slovak Super Liga)
    Nicholas Dillon (Al-Mujazzal Club – Prince Mohammed Bin Salman League)
    Luke Singh (Brøndby IF – Danish Superliga)
    Taofik Lucas-Walker (Ringkøbing IF – Danish 2nd Division)
    Morgan Bruce (Queen’s Park Rangers U-23)
    Che Benny (Leixões SC U19 – Portuguese 2nd Division)
    John-Paul Rochford (Portland Timbers Youth Academy)
    Jaydon Prowell (Portland Timbers Youth Academy)
    Coby McGregor (VfB Speldorf – German 5th Division)
    Cameron McGregor (DJK Teutonia St. Tönis – German 6th Division)

  8. Angus is a good choice. But…the maiin job requirement is “willing to work for free”

  9. Ah tired of the same thing OVER and OVER

  10. Exactly 3 months to the start of the 1st phase of the qualifying let see how long they will take to Name a coach and start training

  11. Where does the name of the Ex Technical Director appear? At the end?

  12. Well when there was a Technical Director the bootleg Coaches for all the national teams were failures including the Technical Director himself when he was the coach so nothing will get any better especially when they continue allowing the bootleg loosing coaches to coach the teams so my dictator president just carry on eh until the end of your next 4 yrs term when you win again in the elections in November Them really good yes

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