And so am I! After spending the majority of my life on the playing fields in almost every community savannah straight into the grand savannah and everywhere else, it hurts my heart to even speak of the last decade of our football.

Why Is Our Football Failing?

No. I am not speaking about the failure to win a title, neither am I disturbed as to the management not being able to put machinery in motion, especially when we had a number of experienced coaches who have actually taken national teams to the World Cup finals, U-17 in Korea/Japan, U20 Egypt in 2009 and U20 in Portugal in 1990.

I recall the days when Haiti literally robbed us of the chance for which we fought to qualify for the World Cup in Germany in 1973. We lost a close encounter in 1990 when USA edged us out of Italy 1990.

At that time of my life, I also felt that our national teams were serious contenders for qualifying for almost every World Cup final, including the junior tournaments.

Today, we have failed in our efforts on the field, which should disappoint the people of this country. We should not be surprised with the present decay of respect to our coaches. The same treatment was given to stalwarts like Everard Cummings, Bertille St. Clair and Anton Corneal.

Little did we know that our lack of desire to choose qualified persons to take the standard higher, did a wonderful job of destroying the fabric of football in Trinidad and Tobago. This wasn’t just on the field, but off the field as well e.g. ridiculous practices which lent itself to players and coaches not receiving their salaries.

Football’s Cashflow Problem

No wonder why some citizens decided to try their hand at investing on pro league and super league football. Within a few years, even with a few sponsors, there were periods where prize monies were not available for payment to winners. It became more distasteful where players were not able to get their salaries. Investors decided to start running cap in hand to seek monies to pay players of the participating clubs whose members were franchise holders by approaching the government for subventions annually.

From then on, the decay was well on its way to the lowest ever, where even national players had to wait for their salaries for a considerable period to receive their pay-packets. Today, because one is not able to improve this disgusting situation, the quagmire is more glaring.

Yet Another Promise

An edifice which the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association calls the “Home of Football”, is boasting that they will re-establish the high standard of football in this country. The FIFA President and the Concacaf boss joined our Prime Minister to lead the opening ceremony and complimented the TTFA for this wonderful edifice.

It was a wonderful time for the special invitees, many of whom who could be wondering about the value of a hotel, against millions of dollars which are owed to coaches who were waiting for years for some form of financial solutions.

The following days, the media brought out news to the effect that owed monies to three coaches were officially decided. The total sum was approximately thirteen million dollars. How could the TTFA spend huge millions to build a “Home for Football”, and as one official claimed, “the TTFA does not owe a penny on same.”

It was shocking to almost everyone except those who may have the answer.

Uncovering the Truth

The hierarchy is facing an annual general meeting of the TTFA. One of the major factors regarding a general meeting is an audited financial statement, and the findings of the auditors will be interesting to say the least.

My heart is broken for Football in Trinidad and Tobago. However, to my friends and neighbors in the various Caribbean Countries, please take a close look at the total incompetence of one of the larger Caribbean Football Union countries.

I have had the opportunity of being on assignment on all these islands, and it always appeared to me that, despite their smaller finances, they have been able to keep their financial commitments to their players.

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Honorary Dr.Alvin Corneal HBM. Alvin is one of a handful of sportsmen who represented our national Football (Soccer) and Cricket teams concurrently between 1955 and 1971. He was also a member of the first-ever West Indies Football team which toured England in 1959. He played both sports professionally as a player and a coach to all levels of National Football teams. He had previously held positions as National football Coach of junior and senior teams, Technical Director of the TTFA, Technical Director of Concacaf, and the prestigious positions as FIFA Technical Committee Member and currently, a FIFA Technical Advisor. He is also a presenter/ analyst for Radio and television on all local, regional and International Sports. He is the recipient of a national Award from his country, Trinidad and Tobago for his outstanding service to the people of the region in Sport and ideal Character personality. He was also chosen to receive the Country’s Republic day award for the year 2011. He has been inducted into the Country’s Hall of Fame.