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Dear Editor: Where is National Elite League? What exactly is TTFA doing for domestic football?

“[…] Coming out of the Covid pandemic shutdown, there were a few tournaments that allowed for a return to play, namely: Ascension tournament (catering to senior men), NLCL U19 Community Cup, Tiger Tanks U20.

“[…] Nowhere in that list of tournaments is a TTFA-run or organised tournament or league. We would have heard plans for a ‘national elite league’ to be held by the TTFA and which should have kicked off in September of this year. We are now heading into November without any further updates…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the perceived failure of the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee-led TTFA to serve domestic football was submitted to Wired868 by ‘A Very Concerned Football Fan’:

Trinidad and Tobago players react to Thailand’s winning goal by midfielder Supachok Sarachat at the Chiang Mai Stadium on 25 September 2022.
(via TTFA Media)

What seems to be the problem with football in Trinidad and Tobago? Our senior men were ranked 25th in the world in 2001. We are now ranked 104th in the world, while our women are ranked 73rd currently.

Coming out of the Covid pandemic shutdown, there were a few tournaments that allowed for a return to play, namely: Ascension tournament (catering to senior men), NLCL U19 Community Cup, Tiger Tanks U20.

KFC Munch Pack

Those were followed by WoLF, which catered to ladies, and we are now in the throes of the biggest and best run tournament namely the Secondary Schools Football League, catering to boys and girls.

Nowhere in that list of tournaments is a TTFA-run or organised tournament or league. We would have heard plans for a “national elite league” to be held by the TTFA and which should have kicked off in September of this year.

We are now heading into November without any further updates on that league. Is it cancelled?

La Horquetta Rangers midfielder Real Gill (left) tries to evade a Police FC defender during Ascension Tournament action against Police FC at the Phase 2 Recreation Grounds on 1 April 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

I would submit that the TTFA Normalisation Committee has a lot to prove to football stakeholders. They have been in office for a long enough period to allow for tangible football initiatives, whereby stakeholders can measure progress on the field of play.

We all need to understand the answers to the following:

  • Where does FIFA development funding go?
  • Do the regional associations (or zones) get any funding to assist with their footballing initiatives?
  • What is the current status of the “national elite league”?
  • Does the TTFA NC administration have the capacity to organise and properly run a national league?
  • Has the TTFA NC administration consulted with stakeholders like Ascension, NLCL, Tiger Tanks, or WoLF? If not, then why??

I’m often reminded “pride cometh before a fall”. We have fallen, and continue to fall. Should we not all be in this for the betterment of the game?

We can only hope egos can take a back seat in this regard.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad has refused to answer any questions on his stewardship at the helm of the TTFA.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Many would recall our Men’s Senior and Under-20 Team national head coach Angus Eve recently bemoaned the lack of organised league football, which had a negative effect on national team selection and preparation. The clock is ticking and other sports are back with developmental activities at various age groups being run by their national governing bodies, for example cricket, and track and field.

Meanwhile football is dithering and seemingly on life support.

Where are the footballing stakeholders who care? When are the next TTFA elections?

Many would argue that we need a progressive TTFA administration sooner than later.

Costa Rica players Melissa Herrera (left) and Raquel Rodriguez (right) celebrate in front of Trinidad and Tobago attacker Maria-Frances Serrant during Concacaf W Championship Group B action on 8 July 2022 in Mexico.
(via Concacaf)

Nationwide, jobs are in short supply and too many of our young people are idle and being made susceptible to crime and gangs. It’s past time to stop accepting mediocrity on the field and off the field, including in the boardroom.

Our combined stakeholder mission is critical.

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