Eve: T&T football is going backwards and DJW should resign; national youth players now working in construction!

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Men’s National Under-23 Team head coach-in-waiting, Angus Eve, is urging Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams and his Board to accept that they are not up to the job of running local football and resign with immediate effect.

Eve’s plea came within 24 hours of a press conference, chaired by TTFA Board member and supposed technical committee chairman Richard Quan Chan, which revealed that the body is set to scrap its Men’s and Women’s Olympic Teams due to financial issues.

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)

Quan Chan is also part of John-Williams’ Emergency Committee which has become the de facto driver of the local game outside of the Board. The full committee includes: John-Williams, Ewing Davis (vice-president), Selby Browne (VFFOTT), Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA) and Bandele Kamau (Eastern FA).

Eve is Trinidad and Tobago’s all-time most capped senior team player and wore red, black and white at the Portugal 1991 World Youth Cup, which was the first time that the twin island republic qualified for a FIFA tournament.

A serial winner at Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) level as Naparima College head coach, he lamented that the country’s talented young players no longer have the opportunities of their predecessors.


“People are saying our football is going backward and they are 100 percent correct,” said Eve. “In our days, you went from Under-14 to Under-16 to Under-17 to Under-20 to Under-23 to Senior level. At the end of that process, what you have is a well-rounded player with the requisite experience to play at senior international level or professionally abroad. But now our teams don’t go out and are not prepared for football and the young men don’t stand a chance.

“Look at the gap that exists between the National Under-15 Team and the Senior Team, which are the only teams that are in training. A gap like that is unheard of. I believe if the current TTFA board and president cannot run football, they should put their hands up and resign and give someone else a chance to come in and fix the ills that are going on.”

Photo: Naparima College coach Angus Eve points the way during SSFL action against Presentation College at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on 27 September 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Eve, who also coaches Club Sando in the Pro League and is a former National Under-23 coach, revealed that he was asked by ‘several members of the TTFA’ to give his coaching services pro bono to the national youth team.

Did the construction workers at the TTFA’s Home of Football building work for free? He turned down the request outright and said he would do so again if asked.

“I have worked very hard to build my reputation as a coach and I believe the TTFA is a multi-million dollar organisation that gets funding every year from FIFA,” Eve told Wired868. “If you are building a hotel that means you have money. Not so? Our coaches are getting jobs outside of Trinidad, which means there are people who value [us].

“I believe no local coach should work for free because they worked very hard to get to this point—and I am very adamant about that. Because if the TTFA got a windfall of money right now, they would go and hire Pep Guardiola or one of those big-name foreign guys; they wouldn’t hire us.”

Yesterday, Quan Chan blamed Concacaf for the possible dismantling of the two national teams for supposedly sending late fixtures to the TTFA. In fact, the Olympic Games has been held at four year intervals without fail since 1948—71 years ago—with the qualifiers occurring in the year before the tournament.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National U-20 Team pose before kick off against St Vincent and the Grenadines during U-20 Concacaf Championship action at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on 1 November 2018.
The U-20s would likely have formed the nucleus of the National Under-23 Team for the 2020 Olympic qualifying series.
(Copyright Marissa Homer)

Eve said he was interviewed for the position in 2018 and then asked to resubmit his CV earlier this year. And, despite the TTFA’s unexplained delays, he began to put things in place as soon as he was unofficially declared a frontrunner for the post.

“When they called me two months ago and it was purported in the press that I was the frontrunner,” said Eve, “I immediately contacted players like [Justin] Sadoo and [Jarred] Dass along with coaches like Reynold Carrington, Anthony Streete, etc, who have players we may want to include or can add to the programme. I didn’t want to start behind the eight-ball.

“I even talked to coach Dennis [Lawrence] about players abroad who made themselves available to represent Trinidad and Tobago and could have played for the Under-23s. I had already started due diligence and the boys are very interested.”

Eve said the reality for local footballers at present is bleak at domestic and international level. It is more than six months since there has been any competitive senior club football in the country and he is worried at the prospect of the Pro League and Super League organisations being absorbed into the TTFA.

Photo: Then Presentation College (San Fernando) captain Kareem Riley (right) and Naparima College playmaker Justin Sadoo chase after the ball during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
Sadoo was earmarked for a role on the National U-23 Team for the 2020 Olympic qualifying series.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“Most of the boys [who can play for the National Under-23 Team] are now working in construction or at a Mitsubishi plant in south and so on, because there is no football in the country,” he said. “We have not even had a [TTFA] FA Cup competition in years, so I can’t see how the TTFA can run any league. They called a meeting [for the new local football competition] but can’t even say when the league is starting or what it is called. It is embarrassing.”

Eve dismissed John-Williams’ repeat cries of poverty and pointed out that countries with less were doing more than the TTFA. He suggested it was a matter of priority and again returned to the president’s controversial Home of Football project, which is now a High Court matter due to a galling lack of financial transparency.

At present, FIFA gives over TT$10 million annually to the TTFA. Eve suggested the John-Williams-led body was not making best use of its financial resources.

“FIFA gives money every year for the development of football, not the development of a hotel,” said Eve. “Other nations like Haiti use their money to invest in players and coaches. You cannot tell me we have no money and at the same time build a hotel. Who is going to stay in the hotel if there is no football going on? Cyclists? Swimmers?

“[…] This is not me knocking the idea of the Home of Football. I’m talking about the wisdom of doing it now when there is no money to spend on developing football. Players like [Kevin] Molino, [Sheldon] Bateau, Mekeil Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Shahdon Winchester, Jomal Williams, Adrian Foncette; all of them were our Under-23 players [who I coached] and graduated to the Senior Team.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (far right) oversees work at the controversial Home of Football.
(Copyright CA-Images/Wired868)

“Now all we have is teams like the Under-17 Team that are hastily organised and have coaches who are putting themselves up to be ridiculed by working for free. The TTFA president and his board should resign with immediate effect and give someone else the chance to do the job.”

John-Williams and TTFA general secretary Camara David refused to comment on the management of the football body’s finances and the long-term impact of the dismantling of national youth teams.

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About 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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  1. Utter bullshit…djw needs to go and Angus damn right not to work for free …shit

  2. I totally agree that T&t football is at best stagnant and heading backwards rapidly.But that still does not explain the product being put on the field at major competitions by these so call coaches. After working for weeks and months with these young upcoming players.why can’t they adjust to playing at the international level. We the citizens are assured that they are fully ready but when the games are played we soon see the inability of our players to play at this level. How can other nations youths improve over time but we can’t. I just ca’t understand it. T&t style football is not working on the international stage. I’m hoping that Angus Eve can start that change. Its about time and it’s not about football politics and more about knowing what it takes to get the job done from a technical standpoint. For the love of my country and it”s football.

    • Keith Look Loy blame Concacaf, blame the Futsal peeps, blame Tim Kee, blame the US Embassy… What the heck is this primary school? Put the big man pants on admit the job was bigger than you thought, you’re unable to handle it, and step to heck down..

  3. TNT football was doomed by the debacle that was the post 2006 world cup finals by the worst poison to effect any sport in any country in the history of the world. More than a decade later and we still can’t recover! One man single handedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of so many…..and to think some see him as some sort of martyr! Unbelieveable!

  4. TTFA needs strong leadership but who’s gonna step up

  5. Cuba sends teams that they think will qualify.we send teams because somebody needs ah plane ride.

  6. I was in dialogue with Jamaal Shabazz and others on this Forum.. some months ago about this… of course many didn’t agree

    “I believe no local coach should work for free because they worked very hard to get to this point—and I am very adamant about that. Because if the TTFA got a windfall of money right now, they would go and hire Pep Guardiola or one of those big-name foreign guys; they wouldn’t hire us.”

    I said then that we would undermine coaches and football… thank you Mr Eve for having the balls to stand up for this…

  7. So what about taxpayer monies?

    • Jo Ann FIFA has very strict rules about governments interfering in football affairs. Tax payer money cannot fund football teams playing in FIFA tournaments.

    • Clint Gordon it’s 100 percent untrue to say taxpayer money doesn’t fund teams in football tournaments.
      The Soca Warriors went to Germany in 2006 on the back of over 150 million in taxpayers money for instance. And it is the Ministry of Sport who paid for the last three national teams to go to their respective tournaments.
      FIFA rules only talk about interfering with the operation of the football body such as if the Govt were to physically stop djw from carrying out his duties as president. That’s all

    • All over the world, governments hold football officials accountable for dodgy behavior. And as well all know the FBI was even arresting non-American FIFA officials.
      Shouldn’t that have been enough to kill the Jack Warner-fuel myth that governments must turn a blind eye to anything football officials get up to?

    • Help me here..some of these comments read as if these coaches are meeting DJW for the first time,,Are they?

    • Rae Samuel We have seen this before. Some people get caught up like moths near a flame? in the presence of someone who has managed to get exclusive access to decision making power and money in an organisation. People stick around, delusionally believing, they will benefit in the long run from the dictators benevolence. This starves anyone ‘on the outside’ of any chance of being involved on the basis of merit.

    • Clint Gordon except that’s a very general statement that amounts to nothing

  8. Good call Angus…..more coaches need to speak out in unison.

  9. Lasana, you are a serious man about development. You should undertake a review of Haiti football over the last 3 -5 years and determine how they have used
    FIFA funds for development purposes. They are the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but understand the need to develop youth footballers.

  10. Absolutely correct! King David can’t be proceeding apace with Palace-building while the entire football peasantry is in tatters… Reminds me of the heyday of Papa Doc in Haiti; King David probably wishes that his Tonton Macoute was stronger than just Prancing Knave and Swiveling SWilson.

    Just an observation here: is it that the men’s senior team exists only because, without it, FIFA wouldn’t even fart in our direction… All other age groups or female teams could suck salt, ent?

    • Damian R. Scott, FIFA rules are apparently that you must have two active teams to retain your status as a football nation.
      Apparently, David John-Williams decided that those two teams should be the men’s senior and under-15 teams.

  11. I agree with most of the points made by Angus, who is clearly ( and rightly) feeling frustration with the situation. But we should clarify that the fifa funding for the home of football was specifically for that project. There should be no need to use other TTFA money for the project. The home of football is not ( or should not) be the reason TTFA has no finances.

    • Kevin Harrison but do you know that no other money was spent on that project?
      If you do then you might be the only person other than David John-Williams who has seen the complete financial breakdown for the Home of Football. That would be the only way to know for sure.

  12. I guess this means Angus not getting the u23 job anynore, if we end up with a team.

  13. Another day in the land of sweet Trinidad where people do what they want and rape the country of millions and no one can hold them accountable

  14. I ready to resign today. But not alone. I have asked those Board members who disagree with the daily nonsense of the Big Boss and his cohorts to resign en masse.

    Resignation by ONE of us would be of little consequence. But he has constitutional cover for his shenanigans with his Emergency Committee. The only reason I stay on the Board is to have a sense of what os going on – or not. The Board has long been redundant, and morseo with the arrival of reinforcements for the Big Boss in the form of the newly appointed VFOTT and EFA representatives.

  15. Have been saying this for some time and in wholehearted agreement with every point expressed.

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