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Eve: TTFA killing dreams of young players; DJW and co jet off to Japan and France

Club Sando and Naparima College head coach Angus Eve has vowed to take over two dozen young footballers to see Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe, in a last ditch effort to save their dream of participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying series.

Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Camara David confirmed that the local body has decided to withdraw the Men’s National Under-23 Team, so as to ‘focus its resources on other competitions for the rest of 2019’.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team captain Jabari Mitchell (right) skips a challenge during 2017 World Cup qualifying action against Bermuda at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa on 19 February 2017.
Mitchell was part of the pool to represent T&T in the 2020 Olympic qualifying series.
(Copyright Carlos Borbon/Straffon Images)

David said the TTFA had to be careful while spending its ‘limited funding’ and suggested that the Men’s Olympic series was not a priority, partly because the team had little chance of qualifying anyway.

“The Concacaf Men’s U-23 Olympic Qualifiers has proven to be the most difficult competition to qualify for, as only a maximum of two countries from the region will qualify for 2020 Tokyo,” stated David, via a press release. “Additionally, given the lack of resources and preparation of the team, the TTFA felt that it would be unfair to the republic to send an unprepared team to a participate in the tournament.”

Eve suggested the TTFA decision and the reasoning behind it was further evidence that the David John-Williams-led administration was not up to the job. Not only is the TTFA failing to develop its players, he said, but they are now asking them not to dream big.

“My feeling after reading that [release] is one of utter dismay, simply because of the message we are sending to young people,” Eve told Wired868. “Because something has not been achieved thus far we should give up on it? So Iceland should not have tried to qualify for the World Cup because they never went before? We should not have tried in 2006 because we had never done it?

“Maybe Trinidad and Tobago should not go to the [2019 Concacaf] Gold Cup because we have never won it before. The message that they seem to be sending to our young people is to give up on your dreams.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Judah Garcia (centre) celebrates his late winner against St Vincent and the Grenadines with teammates Mark Ramdeen (left) and John-Paul Rochford during U-20 Concacaf Championship action at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on 1 November 2018.
(Copyright Concacaf)

Eve said he has been inundated with calls from young players and he intends to seek a private meeting with Cudjoe on their behalf.

Roughly three decades ago, Eve was a member of the National Under-20 Team that created history by qualifying for the Portugal 1991 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which was Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever appearance at a FIFA competition. And, at senior level, he remains the country’s all-time most capped player.

Eve insisted that the young players today deserve the same opportunities he had and listed Levi Garcia, Judah Garcia, Jabari Mitchell, Kathon St Hillaire, Kierron Mason, Isaiah Hudson, Jarred Dass, Martieon Watson, Noah Powder, Keston Julien, Kareem Riley and Justin Sadoo as members of his National Under-23 pool who were likely to have been involved.

In Eve’s last spell as Under-23 coach, he led a team that included the likes of Kevin Molino, Kevan George, Sheldon Bateau, Mekeil Williams and Daneil Cyrus. He believes the current crop possesses even more talent.

“These boys have earned this chance by reaching a certain level of excellence in their football,” said Eve. “Even if they don’t qualify for the 2020 Olympics, they would have the chance to play in front of scouts and possibly secure a professional contract or scholarship that can change their lives.

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 and Riley are both in the pool for selection on the National U-23 Team for the 2020 Olympic qualifying series.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“Thanks to football, I’ve seen the world. I’ve travelled to countries like Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, England, Italy, etc. That’s where my football talent took me and I want these kids to have the same opportunities.

“This is a very talented crop and it is a travesty not to give them a chance.”

Eve noted too that he had just two weeks notice before the Pan American Games in 2012 and came out of the tournament unbeaten after successive draws with Uruguay, Panama and Ecuador.

“Nearly half of that Mexico team is playing in Europe now like [Raul Jimenez at Wolves],” said Eve. “We didn’t win the tournament but guys like [Kevin] Molino and Marcus Joseph and so on got trials after the competition and most of our players from that team eventually played abroad and went on to play for the senior team.”

Eve said he was happy to step aside as team coach if John-Williams was being spiteful towards the team due to his criticism of the current administration.

“It is only one team they have blacklisted and only one coach [John-Williams] has spoken about,” said Eve. “Keith Look Loy, Anthony Wolfe, Kelvin Jack; they have all spoken out against this administration. But it is only after my interview with Wired868 that the president saw it fit to make a public statement. And it seems to be only one team that is being singled out.”

Photo: Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence (far right) poses with TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right), team manager Richard Piper (second from left) and Camara David (far left) in 2018.
(Copyright Alan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

TTFA Board member Keith Look Loy confirmed that the decision to jettison the Men’s National Under-23 Team was not taken by the Board. It is uncertain whether John-Williams made the call himself, in tandem with David or through his newly constituted emergency committee, which comprises of: John-Williams (president), Ewing Davis (vice-president), Selby Browne (VFFOTT), Richard Quan Chan (SFA), Anthony Moore (TFA) and Bandele Kamau (EFA).

The TTFA constitution allows for an emergency committee to handle urgent situations that pop up between Board meetings. However, John-Williams has been accused of using it as a ‘hand-picked cabal’ to circumvent the authority of the Board.

Four of the TTFA’s six emergency committee members will have all expenses paid trips to Japan and England this week—presumably paid for by the host body. The Board, according to Look Loy, was not consulted with regards to which administrators would travel either.

Davis and Quan Chan are in Japan with the Men’s National Senior Team while John-Williams, Browne and David are due to travel to France for the Women’s World Cup—along with WoLF president Sharon Warrick who the president was obliged to carry due to her role.

Look Loy said it was unconscionable that John-Williams would use the women’s tournament as a free trip when he has done so little for the Women Soca Warriors.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago player Jonelle Cato uses Instagram to urge the TTFA to support the Women’s National Team.

Last year, Women’s National Senior Team manager Jinelle James called John-Williams a misogynist for his alleged disregard to the team while goalkeeper Saundra Baron said she felt the president couldn’t wait for them to be eliminated so he could be done with them.

“The irony of these men representing the TTFA at the Women’s World Cup when the TTFA sat on its hands and actively destroyed our team in qualifying is savage,” said Look Loy. “The TTFA does not take women’s football seriously; and one is led to believe that the presence of the women’s teams in the order of tournament priority just released by TTFA’s inner circle is just window dressing to secure FIFA funding and to save face at the conference.

“This is shameful. And the participation of Selby Browne—a formerly relentless critic of the DJW regime—in all of this is shameless.

“[…] These trips are merely pay back for services rendered.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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53 comments

  1. Sorry at the end big thumbs should read I know

  2. Suprised! But have to agree he killed hundreds of dreams. But when will it end? Time it stops, i know if he is given the team he wants they will do well the playing feild is the same size for all teams we have quality under 23 players. However our national coach refuses to cap hemthe team in Japan should be littered with touth, may e he wanrs to win the gold cup? We should be preparing for world cup qualifiers yes? Giving young players caps and experience but maybe what do o knoe

  3. Were some veteran players tested positive for marijuana. Is that being covered up to protect their careers? Should we start discussion on use of marijuana debarring athletes from competing.

  4. What about Isiah lee jean paul Rochford keshawn Hackshaw just to name a few what a way to justify to sport minister reason for not having team prepared. All this man wants is head li es for himself we need new minds to lead local forward we must send a team to the qualifers i pledge five hundred to the cause and challenge you all football lovers to match or better lets raise the money

  5. You did not do you job by preparing team. Then, you trying to bullshit the public by stating that it is unfair to the republic to send an unprepared team for which you were responsible for preparing Hummmmmm. My heart hurts for my/our young footballers.

  6. Lasana Liburd didn’t even have to say DJW was on that trip. It goes without saying those guys feel entitled to see the world through football.

    They don’t even care about the optics. How on hand they complain about resource constraints and on the hand non-essential personnel are traveling to Japan.

  7. If things like this keeps happening the the young players what’s the youths who’s up an coming have to look forward too

  8. Is Jet yuh say yuh know pal!!!

  9. Sporting organisations like TTGFA must get their act in order and stop playing on emotions to get funding for national teams, especially at the last minute. And the Ministry of Sport, SporTT, etc. must lay the ground rules, especially for financial transparency and governance.

  10. Under this administration…have we ever sent a team for a tournament fully prepared?? What dotishness am I hearing …i cant believe a man would be so dunce to use a statement like that to back up his decision

  11. Well dam! Trinidad and Tobago really got it bad

  12. All I want to say is we’re are having to many excuses about lack of financing and etc .to Prepare our teams to compete at The levels we need to be at. Sorry to say we miss JAKE

  13. “Additionally, given the lack of resources and preparation of the team, the TTFA felt that it would be unfair to the republic to send an unprepared team to a participate in the tournament.”

    Isn’t this the norm? What has changed. We sending an underprepared team to the GC

  14. The inner circle destroying young men/women and football with every press release they make⚽⚽⚽

  15. What about kwesi allan.. Anthony Herbert. Both are doing well with our cedar stars USL 2 team!

  16. Even with a larger field we are likely to not qualify for Qatar 2022 based on the ridiculous slections Dennis going on with. The U-23 pool is our best chance for 2026, the Olympic qualifiers is a superb opportunity for the long term development but what would this administration know about football much less development

  17. Maybe no W Connection players in that group??

  18. This is so sickening. Are these trips opportunities for these so-called “administrators” to frolick on the same short funds that could be diverted to developing the local game? These talented pool of players are going to lose out on opportunities and avenues to pursue their dreams because of these jokey decisions…smh

  19. Nigel Myers, this is not a bad looking pool eh?

  20. That’s how players give up on the dream they once had smh