New TTFA exec set to veto National U-17’s Florida tour plans for Jamaica outing

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is poised to change the travel plans of its Men’s National Under-17 Team in what looks to be the first meaningful change of the new Kieron Edwards-led executive.

The young Soca Warriors were due to depart today for a seven-day camp in Florida. Their overseas schedule included practice matches against the highly rated Montverde International Academy, a combined team of American boys with the ability to get Trinidad and Tobago passports, and an unspecified Orlando-based team.

The Trinidad and Tobago Boys National U-15 team pose before kick off against Honduras in the Concacaf U-15 Championship at the Dominican Republic on 6 August 2023.
Several Under-15 players now comprise the current National Under-17 team.
Photo: TTFA Media

The tour was arranged at least three months ago by TTFA technical director Anton Corneal, with the majority of the funding coming from a Fifa subvention specifically assigned for the youth team.

However, the Robert Hadad-led Fifa-appointed normalisation committee never completed the relevant bookings.

And Wired868 understands the new TTFA executive committee, which was voted into office on 13 April, allegedly ruled that the trip was not the best use of resources.

Instead, the National Under-17 team should travel to Jamaica for a camp between 1 and 8 May. Their itinerary is expected to include several international friendlies against the junior “Reggae Boyz”.

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

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

Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to get a comment from the TTFA president on his executive’s plans for the National Under-17 Team.

Edwards, the Eastern Football Association (EFATT) president and manager at Pro League club Central FC, has already indicated that he will head a soon-to-be reinstated TTFA technical committee, which would place him directly over Corneal in the organisational chart.

In his election campaign, Edwards suggested several changes to the TTFA’s current developmental programme, including dismantling the High Performance programme and restoring elite zonal youth teams instead.

Trinidad and Tobago technical director Anton Corneal (background) makes a point to the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 players after their 3-2 friendly win over Jamaica at UTT Campus, O’Meara on 25 January 2024.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

The current TTFA High Performance model started under president David John-Williams and was retained by Corneal under the normalisation committee.

Former TTFA technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy vowed to change Trinidad and Tobago’s elite youth development setup, after the William Wallace-led administration was voted into office in November 2019.

However, their turn at the helm lasted barely three months.

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 outfit, which will compete in the 2025 Concacaf Under-17 Championship, are led by coach Shawn Cooper and boast of a core group of players who performed creditably at the 2023 Concacaf Under-15 tournament.

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Riquelme Phillips (right) runs at the Puerto Rico defence during Concacaf U-15 Championship action in Santo Domingo on 8 August 2023.
(via TTFA Media)

Trinidad and Tobago whipped Qatar 3-0 and downed Costa Rica 2-0 at Concacaf Under-15 level last year after narrow defeats to Puerto Rico (2-1) and Honduras (2-1) in the Dominican Republic.

Some of the country’s precocious talent who competed at the 2023 Concacaf Under-15 competition are: Caden Trestrail (Fatima College), Nkosi Foncette (Presentation College, San Fernando), Riquelme Phillips (Speyside High), Criston Gomez and Stephen Ollivierie (both Arima North Secondary).

Foncette lifted the 2023 National Intercol trophy with the “Pres Lions” while Trestrail played a role in Fatima’s Premier Division triumph.

Presentation College (San F’do) midfielder Nkosi Foncette (centre) tries to force his way past St Anthony’s College defenders Russel Francois (left) and Amari Dunbar during the National Intercol final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 7 December 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Phillips, Gomez and Ollivierie were regular fixtures for their respective schools, which won zonal Intercol trophies.

The young Warriors will be disappointed to miss out on a trip to Florida. But they will cross swords with regional rivals, Jamaica, instead.

The Jamaica Football Federation has sanctioned 10 friendly matches against Trinidad and Tobago in the past 15 months.

Trinidad and Tobago flanker Keston Richards (centre) tries to hold off two Jamaica defenders during international friendly action at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 25 July 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

The two nations played each other in four senior international friendlies (two in Jamaica and two in Trinidad), two under-20 matches (both in Trinidad), two under-17 matches (both in Jamaica) and two under-15 matches (both in Trinidad).

The Caribbean nations are poised to resume pleasantries, as Edwards’ slate is apparently ready to overrule Corneal on the best possible tour for the young men at this stage of their Concacaf 2025 Under-17 Championship preparations.

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