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TTFA drops the ball again

Published: 
Saturday, September 15, 2018
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National team members during their training session yesterday at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Photo by:ABRAHAM DIAZ

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs (MYSA) Shamfa Cudjoe along with senior officials of the Ministry met yesterday with general secretary of the T&T Football Association (TTFA), Justin Latapy-George and Jinelle James, manager of the senior women’s national football team, in light of the recent claims circulating on social media in relation to the lack of support shown to the T&T senior women’s team.

The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs advised that no formal request was made to the ministry by TTFA for assistance for the CONCACAF qualifiers for the FIFA women’s World Cup, or any other activities this year.

Last week, a request was made for assistance with transportation for the locally-based players to be transported to and from training at the Ato Boldon and Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Couva and Marabella, respectively. Then, the Ministry provided its buses to be used by the team.

On Monday, James contacted Patrice Charles, director of Physical Education and Sport, MSYA to inquire about assistance for the team, in its efforts to have the foreign-based players travel to Trinidad to join the locally based players for training.

Charles provided the necessary guidance to James and informed her that a formal detailed request must be submitted by the TTFA, on its letterhead, to the Ministry, since the TTFA is the national governing body that has remit over the national team.

However, on Tuesday, the MSYA through Charles received an informal email from the manager requesting a total of $159,360, to cover the cost of airfare for 28 persons, in the effort to have all foreign-based players travel to Trinidad for training and preparation.

Following the developments in the media relating to the issue, Minister Cudjoe called the management of TTFA to a meeting to discuss and attempt to resolve the matter.

At yesterday’s meeting, Latapy-George claimed that neither he nor the executive of TTFA was aware of the proposal being made by James and he requested that James’ proposal, be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Latapy-George further stated that the executive of TTFA is in the process of considering other options, contrary to what James proposed, to facilitate the preparation of the players, that may consist of having the locally-based players travel to the USA to train with the foreign-based players, rather than have the USA-based players fly to Trinidad. He also stated that the TTFA executive is also in the process of finalising arrangements for a coach and other technical support for the team.

Latapy-George stated that the executive would like the opportunity to meet and reason with the team’s management in order to properly discuss the matter at hand, and subsequently produce a detailed proposal along with a formal request for funding to the Ministry.

Minister Cudjoe reminded the TTFA officials that time is of the essence and that the team is depending on the TTFA management to work diligently and harmoniously in the best interest of dedicated players, and football by extension.

Minister Cudjoe gave the officials a deadline of Monday (September 17), no later than noon, to submit the relevant proposal for consideration by the ministry.

In a release, the ministry said: "Given the fact that the end of fiscal year 2017/2018 is upon us, the Ministry will explore all possible means in order to provide the necessary assistance to the team, once the required documents are submitted.

"The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs remains committed to providing the relevant support in ensuring that T&T attains the highest standard of athletes at the international level. Further, the future of the sport in T&T is in good hands under the leadership and guidance of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs."

On August 10, Charge d Affairs John McIntyre of the United States Embassy accused the TTFA of dropping the ball by not making a timely request for visas for the girls Under-15 team to participate in a CONCACAF tournament in the USA. The team did not travel.

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