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UFCTT: How long will normalisation comm use pandemic as excuse for postponing youth development?

“[…] The challenges of today are not unique to Trinidad and Tobago but [are] being experienced in varying degrees by all nations whose players will be participating in this tournament, and any youth tournament worldwide.

“Some country’s pandemic experience has been much worse than our current situation. But proper planning and the awareness of the importance of such tournaments to a player’s development has seen them prioritise their participation.

“Why couldn’t we do the same?”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Miakayla St Clair (left) tries to hold off Cuba’s Cinthia Canoto during CFU Girls U-14 Challenge Series action in Couva on 29 October 2019.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/CA-Images/Wired868)

The following press statement from Unified Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (UFCTT) interim president Jefferson George was issued in response to the failure of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—run by a Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee—to accept an invitation to participate in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Boys and Girls Under-15 Challenge Series from 22-29 August in the Dominican Republic:

The Unified Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago would like to express deep disappointment, in the development opportunity denied to the under-14 footballers of our country.

The association observed with concern a recent newspaper report, which announced that the Trinidad Tobago Football Association (TTFA) declined an invitation to participate in a CFU Under-14 football competition. The report further quoted the TTFA’s acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed as saying that the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the re-opening of Trinidad and Tobago’s border was to blame for the decision.

Eighteen months marks not only the length of time that the normalisation committee has been at the helm of Trinidad and Tobago’s football, but also covers the period that the nation has been in the grips of this pandemic.

Photo: TTFA acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

The first obvious question therefore is how long will the pandemic be an excuse for postponing our youth development?

The challenges of today are not unique to T&T but is being experienced in varying degrees by all nations whose players will be participating in this tournament, and any youth tournament worldwide.

Some country’s pandemic experience has been much worse than our current situation. But proper planning and the awareness of the importance of such tournaments to a player’s development has seen them prioritise their participation. Why couldn’t we do the same?

Secondly, with the knowledge that the TTFA has no control of the borders or the pandemic, what is the plan to restart football in general and more specifically youth football—a necessary tool in the development cycle of our young players?

The UFCTT would like to commend the Caribbean Football Union on the excellent initiative of hosting the tournament. We believe it is exactly what is needed to improve football regionally. 

Photo: Mexico goalkeeper José Eulogio (left) slices an attempted clearance under pressure from Trinidad and Tobago forward Ja-Shawn Thomas during the TTFA U-15 Youth Invitational tournament at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 21 July 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Unfortunately, T&T continues to miss out on these opportunities to better our standard of play because of a lack of planning and preparation by those tasked to do so.

One just has to look as far as Russell Latapy, Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and a few of our footballing legends who succeeded at international level to see the number of regional and international games they would have played by age 15.

This current crop of players has played none, and through the negligence of the normalisation committee has missed out on an excellent opportunity to do so. What further adds to this travesty is that these youth are already starved of local and community competition.

‘There are four things that come not back’ [and] neglected opportunities is one that will impact this generation of T&T footballers.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

The UFCTT is therefore encouraging the TTFA, led by the normalisation committee, to prioritise youth development and take advantage of every opportunity to expose our players to international matches.

Editor’s Note: The participating nations in the CFU Under-15 Challenge Series are Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, US Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, Curaçao, Haiti, Aruba, Grenada and hosts Dominican Republic.

Haiti, like Trinidad and Tobago, are under a normalisation committee while their country is in a heightened state of turmoil due to the recent assassination of president Jovenel Moise, a fatal earthquake, Tropical Storm Grace, and Covid-19. They sent both a boys and girls team to the CFU tournament.

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6 comments

  1. I could just hear Wallace and Look Loy talking over Whatsapp after these recent developments. “We told them so, Look Loy,” says Wallace, “But they didn’t listen.”
    Shaking his head, Look Loy could only respond, “Wally, you still huttin’ yuh head over them fellas? Let them take that in they tail; they wanted we out so let them deal with that now.”

    • Maybe they saying that but I don’t think they hurting any less than the other people in Trinidad and Tobago who love football. So sad.

      Could Wired868 help to clarify when the normalisation committee’s mandate expires under Fifa law?

      The Fifa release appointing three of the five members dated 27 March 2020 stated;

      The normalisation committee will act as an electoral committee, and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the TTFA elections under any circumstances. The specified period of time during which the normalisation committee will perform its functions will expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its assigned tasks, but no later than 24 months after its members have been officially appointed by FIFA.

      • Lasana Liburd

        That timeline has not changed. In Fifa’s last public correspondence on the matter, which I believe came in November 2020, they pointed to March 2022 as the end of the watch of Robert Hadad and company.

      • So, will the NC with its mandate to act as an electoral committee determine the eligibility of candidates in the inevitable elections?

        They also have the authority to “….review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress.”

        This could make for a very interesting Congress in 2022 with the Normalisation Committee seemingly able to determine the outcome of any elections.

        It would be a shame if the elections turned out to be a sham for Fifa to maintain control of the TTFA through its chosen surrogates rather than a representation of the will of the TTFA membership.

  2. Lasana Liburd

    Robert Hadad, Judy Daniel, Nigel Romano, and Trevor Nicholas Gomez appear to be interested in everything but football.
    Why then did they agree to run a football association?

    • Earl Best

      I don’t $uppo$e you are really a$king u$ to an$wer that que$tion, are you?

      Hadad $aid he wa$ bringing bu$ine$$ acumen to football $o the que$tion to be a$ked is who$e bu$ine$$.

      Or, put another way, bu$ine$$ for whom? Footballer$?

      Ha!