New TTFA president will chair technical committee; Sancho tipped for role

New Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Kieron “Bo” Edwards is set to be installed as technical and development committee chairman, as the new executive committee prepares to resuscitate the local football body’s standing committees.

The technical and development committee, according to the TTFA constitution, advises the executive committee on: all amateur and grassroots football, all aspects of football training and technical development, and the appointment of national team head coaches.

New TTFA president Kieron Edwards (left) poses with outgoing Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad after elections at the Home of Football on 13 April 2024.
Photo: TTFA

It is unprecedented—certainly over the last four decades at least—for a sitting president to also serve as technical chair.

The last four technical committee chairmen were: Keith Look Loy, Richard Quan Chan, and Dexter Skeene. Look Loy was a former national coach and Fifa technical director, Quan Chan was a national hockey coach, while Skeene was an academy coach with high level playing experience as a former Men’s National Senior Team player.

“I have been a director of several tournaments and I’ve been a manager of a professional club (Central FC),” Edwards told Wired868, when asked about his suitability for the role. “I also have a coaching license.”

Edwards, who was elected president on Saturday by a 38-19 margin over challenger Colin Wharfe, has a TTFA ‘C’ License and said he intends to pursue his ‘B’ License. Incidentally, if he were to try to upgrade his coaching credentials, he would be marked by his own employee: technical director Anton Corneal.

TTFA technical director Anton Corneal and former national youth team coach Anton Corneal.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ CA-Images/ Wired868)

Article 45.4 of the TTFA Constitution states: “The members of the standing committees shall have altogether the capacity, knowledge, ability, and experience required to fulfil the tasks and duties of their respective committees…”

It is debatable whether Edwards would consider himself suitably qualified to evaluate the tenure of high-level coaches. However, the new president noted that there would be “experts” within his committee to ensure there is no paucity of ideas on technical matters.

Rather, Edwards said his executive wants to ensure that the TTFA’s most important committee is fully operational in the shortest possible time frame. And he hopes to demit the portfolio within a year, once a suitable replacement is found.

He also pointed to Jamaica’s pending trip to Turkey to participate in a Uefa U-18 Friendship Tournament, alongside the likes of Saudi Arabia, Mali, Ecuador and Slovakia, as another example of the benefit of an active technical committee.

Trinidad and Tobago National U-20 playmaker Lindell Sween (left) attempts to glide past Jamaica captain Kobi Thomas during international friendly action at UTT Campus in O’Meara on 25 January 2024.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Edwards noted that Jamaica’s participation in the Uefa exhibition competition was recommended by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) technical committee, led by Rudolph Spied.

“It was important for me to take on that responsibility (as technical committee chair),” he said. “We will have the experts be part of the committee as well, but we have to ensure that committee is functioning well.”

Former Pro League chairman and 2006 World Cup defender Brent Sancho is expected to serve on Edwards’ technical committee. Sancho, the founder of Central FC and a controversial former minister of sport, was a board member under previous TTFA president William Wallace.

“Sancho is someone we are looking at to be part of that technical committee because of his standing within football,” said Edwards. “Once persons are willing to work within football and take away the ego, we are willing to work with them. It is about bettering football.”

Former Pro League chairman and Central FC managing director Brent Sancho.
(via TTFA Media)

Incidentally, the previous TTFA Constitution mandated that the chairman of standing committees, with the exception of the audit and compliance committee, shall be members of the board of directors (executive committee).

It would have made Edwards and his first vice-president Colin Murray the only plausible Team Progressive members for the technical committee job. (Murray is a former Fatima College and Carib FC head coach, although neither coaching job was in this millennium.)

However, the amended Constitution (article 45.2) gives more leeway for the TTFA to seek chairpersons from outside its executive committee:

FC Santa Rosa owner Keith Look Loy leads a march for peace in Arima on 17 March 2018.
Look Loy was the TTFA’s last technical committee chairman before normalisation.
Photo: Annalicia Caruth/ Wired868

“Chairpersons, deputy chairpersons and other members of the standing committees may be members of the executive committee with the exception of those of the referees committee, who may not belong to the executive committee.”

Team Progressive can therefore look beyond its executive for its new technical committee chair, when they decide on a change from the current president.

Edwards’ team did not exactly get off to a smooth start on Monday when they were an hour and a half late for the handover from the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee.

New TTFA president Kieron Edwards (fifth from left) stands with members of his slate after being elected by the membership at the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 13 April 2024.

TTFA staff were ready to meet Team Progressive at 9am. However, only ordinary member Ryan Nunes showed up at around 9.30am, while Edwards and the remainder of his executive did get to the Home of Football in Couva until 10.30am—due to crossed wires over the time of the meeting.

Since then, though, Edwards said his executive met with several office staff and technical staff members, including Soca Warriors head coach Angus Eve and Corneal.

Team Progressive also appointed chairpersons for all the standing committees, who are now expected to draw up a list of committee members for ratification.

Trinidad and Tobago players congratulate Alvin Jones (second from right) after his decisive goal against USA in CNL action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

“Before anything is done, those standing committees are to be put in place,” said Edwards. “[…] Hopefully within a week or less, all of those standing committees will be populated.”

The new TTFA executive committee is also in process of getting access to the relevant accounts to ensure that the business of football continues smoothly—and all administrative staff can be paid at the end of the month.

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-17 team, headed by coach Shawn Cooper, are supposed to head to Florida for a camp and exhibition matches between 23 and 30 April. The Florida tour is a key part of their preparation for the Concacaf Under-17 Championship this August.

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Shawn Cooper (top) talks to his players during the 2023 Concacaf Under-15 Championship.
(via TTFA Media)

However, Edwards said they cannot provide any guarantees to that squad until they have control of the TTFA’s accounts. At the moment, general secretary Amiel Mohammed is sourcing the relevant documents for the trip to see if payment deadlines can be met.

“Hopefully that will be sorted out by today or tomorrow, so it is difficult to say if we (the National Under-17 Team) are going or not going,” said Edwards. “We are working it out currently and having discussions with the technical director and the staff.”

Edwards described his meeting with Corneal as “brief”, but he said he had an excellent discussion with Eve.

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve looks on from the sidelines during their contest with Saint Martin at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 29 January 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“I have had a good relationship with coach Angus Eve for years,” he said. “We had a great discussion and hopefully people will see the fruits of that discussion the next time the national team takes the field.

“We are on the same lines. We will work well together and I am only looking for good things from the Men’s Senior Team.

“All support will be given to the coach and the boys to ensure we qualify for the 2026 World Cup and stay within Group A in the (Concacaf) Nations League.”

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Rampersad (center) tries to make room for himself during CNL action against USA at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Wired868 asked for more details on what his administration hopes to add to the Soca Warriors.

“Eighty percent of qualifying happens on the field—but that other 20 percent, once we operate well, can really help the team,” said Edwards. “So, it is important that we ensure that 20 percent is done to a level of excellence.

“Once we execute, the boys will be in a better position to perform on the field.”

Trinidad and Tobago spectators look on as the Soca Warriors tackle Nicaragua in CNL action at Bacolet on 27 March 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

The football public will judge for themselves soon, as the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team kick off their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign at home against Grenada on 5 June in Group B.

Two from five teams in Group B—which also include Costa Rica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and The Bahamas—will advance to the final Concacaf qualifying round.

As technical committee chairman, Edwards will play a key role in ensuring the Soca Warriors are ready for battle. And, in the aftermath, he and his fellow committee members will recommend what happens next to the TTFA executive committee, which he also leads.

New Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Kieron Edwards.

Current TTFA executive committee: president Kieron Edwards, first vice-president Colin Murray, second vice-president Osmond Downer, third vice-president Jameson Rigues, and ordinary members Alicia Austin, Inspector Andrew Boodhoo, Allan Logan, Ryan Nunes, and Shelton Williams.

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