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Dear Editor: Don’t just blame the players, blame the normalisation committee too!

“[…] Players also were told that they wouldn’t be paid stipends because it didn’t factor into the TTFA’s budget. So they’re supposed to make it to training at their own expense when they’re not being paid for their profession? 

“A number of players had to seek regular jobs as they’re unable to play football and provide for their families. And the TTFA thinks this isn’t something they should provide relief for? Is this why we got rid of United TTFA?”

The following Letter to the Editor on Trinidad and Tobago’s elimination from the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying series was submitted to Wired868 by Marlon Jones:

Photo: (From left to right) TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes, head coach Terry Fenwick, normalisation committee chair Robert Hadad, team manager Adrian Romain, and assistant coach Derek King pose at the Piarco International Airport before the team’s departure for Santo Domingo on 18 March 2021.

Imagine coming home and hearing that the Soca Warriors drew 0-0 with The Bahamas. I mean the Bahamas, of all teams?! 

“Wait nah, we cudna even beat the Bahamas?!” I replied. “Nah man!” 

And now, we’re out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. As hurtful as it is, I’m not blaming the players one bit. This whole thing was a conspiracy from the beginning. Lack of foresight on the part of many caused this to happen; and yes, there was politics involved.

Let’s start with the normalisation committee being installed by Fifa. A fairly-elected executive comes into office and bam, you replace them for no good reason. Did the stakeholders stand up for our football? No, they sided with Fifa. The prime minister at one point seemed to be taking a so-called neutral stance in the issue, then got sarcastic when the High Court ruled against Fifa. 

As for the sports minister? Shameless Shamfa decided to publicly lambaste the then TTFA executive and tried to bully them out of office. SporTT and several other supposed concerned bodies decided to accept the NC and with the Appeal Court ruling, United TTFA were on their way out.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) plays with a football while Fifa president Gianni Infantino (centre) and then TTFA general secretary Camara David busy themselves during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

So we accepted normalisation and folks like Brent Sancho gave their mouths liberty. What happened next? No football was being played. 

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh decided that no contact sport should be allowed. How the hell do you prepare for a tournament without a domestic league taking place? So you just guess which players have the ability and you call them out to training? 

But hey, there’s no need to worry as long as we have Fifa funding right? Right.

Then there were the internal issues with the team. Players not receiving their salaries, as well as a request for an eight-day overseas training camp turned down. According to a well placed report, the NC decided that such a request ‘wasn’t cost effective’. We have two must-win World Cup qualifying matches to play, and they’re insisting on being cheap! 

Now that we’re out of the World Cup, I wonder if the plan was to go cost effective by not qualifying?

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago pose before kick off against the Bahamas in Nassau on 5 June 2021.
Nine of the 11 Soca Warriors starters play professionally in North America and Europe.
(via TTFA Media)

Players also were told that they wouldn’t be paid stipends because it didn’t factor into the TTFA’s budget. So they’re supposed to make it to training at their own expense when they’re not being paid for their profession? 

A number of players had to seek regular jobs as they’re unable to play football and provide for their families. And the TTFA thinks this isn’t something they should provide relief for? Is this why we got rid of United TTFA?

The team was doomed to fail right from the start because we keep getting in the way of its progress. No domestic leagues, players unable to ply their trade, inactive, inadequate leadership, and a team that has only three days at best to gel before an important game. 

Not to mention, an administrator that doesn’t listen unless there’s a protest or players boycott of training. Now that we failed, we can go back to blaming William Wallace, Keith Look Loy, the players, and the coach for the downfall of the sport. 

Or maybe we can call a motion of no confidence in the normalisation committee, hold an election and brainstorm on how we can resurrect our football.

Photo: Robert Hadad is co-CEO of Hadco and board member at the International School in POS.
Hadad was appointed head of Fifa’s normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago on 27 March 2020.
(Copyright Gary Jordan Photography ©2017)

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2 comments

  1. As flies to wanton boys are we to the (Fifa) gods; They kill us for their sport.

  2. You really hit the nail on the head here. Mr Wallace and his team was treated unfairly they received no support now look where our football is at. Sad