Grab a bucket of popcorn, a pair of 3D glasses, turn on your 60-inch television, take a double-shot of babash, then kick back in your sofa and get ready to watch one of T&T's funniest comedy of the year.
The name of the movie, in case you're wondering, is “TTFA's Musical Chairs”. It's a show where you have too many cooks stirring one pot at the same time trying to finish dinner in time for their March customers (Mexico & Panama) and guess what, all they have at their disposal is a pot and a burning flame with no ingredients.
With David-John Williams cast in the lead role, he is ably supported by co-stars Joanne Salazar, Ewing Davis, Allan Warner, Richard Quan Chan, Jamaal Shabazz, Muhammad Isa, Dexter Skeene, Dr. Alvin Henderson and Sharon O’Brien.
Since David John-Williams’ was elected as TTFA President two Novembers ago, T&T football has plunged headfirst into the deep unknown “where no man has gone before”, wait, it's a comedy not a science fiction. ... Anyway...
Teams are failing worse than elementary school students writing their Secondary Entrance Assessment examinations.
* - There are no active women's teams.
* - The Men’s U-15 team failed to get to the CONCACAF stage for the first time in 10 years.
* - The Women’s U-17 team went from reigning Caribbean champions—under the previous regime—to finishing third at CFU level and failing to qualify from the region.
* - The Women’s U-15 team went from third in CONCACAF to a group stage exit in the same competition, which included a record 22-0 defeat to the United States.
* - The U-20 team is in dire need of improvement and has barely scraped through to the CFU U-20 Championship Final Round schedule for February, without even kicking a ball. They got some embarrassing results to Antigua & Barbuda and Bermuda only to be saved by a draw between Cuba and St Lucia. Ironically, the team is coached by former W Connection youth coach Brian Williams.
Then the Russell Latapy story, a football icon who was known as the “little magician” on the field is now waving his magic wand into T&T football under the said president and could do no wrong despite his continual failure at different levels while other coaches are falling on the roadside like corn-vendors on the Solomon Hochoy Highway.
In September 2016 Latapy was unsuccessful as T&T U-17 head coach as he saw his team knocked out of the competition leaving Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Curacao (wow) and fifth place finishers Suriname (double wow) advancing to the CONCACAF Finals in Panama City later this year. His team finished sixth with just one win against Bermuda from three group matches.
Latapy had refused any friendly games leading up to the tournament, maybe his reluctancy to spend his boss' money probably played a pivotal role in his ceaseless employment?
For his troubles, Latapy was quickly promoted to Assistant Coach of the Men’s Senior Team alongside (guess who?) Jamaal Shabazz, another recyclable in T&T football. Shabazz has suffocated the game for decades like a python strangling a wild boar in the Amazon rainforest. Former TTFA Adviser Jack Warner’s colleagues, Muhammad Isa, was given the Technical Director position, and Shabazz an added bonus occupation as adviser himself. Oh yeah, he is also in charge of the Elite Youth Program. Talk about a man with many hats.
Shabazz runs Morvant Caledonia United (formerly Caledonia AIA), a professional Club based in the Morvant area where he says he wants to develop local football and bring the game back to the community, mind you, the Club is littered with foreign players and have been so for many years. If I'm not mistaking only one player Densill Theobald hails from the community. There might be more, but nothing to brag about.
Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene has been unchallenged in his position despite the stagnancy of the T&T Pro League for over a decade, drawing no major sponsors and supporters, at least for most parts, is now head of the TTFA's Technical Committee.
I've known David John-Williams for quite some time and I can tell you he does have a passion for football, however, I do have the right to question his nonconformist selection process of certain individuals and the methodology in which things are being handled.
Furthermore, expecting any kind of success after two games with an inexperienced squad might be wanting too much, especially from a coach who does not have a successful track record. Coach Hart was already on-board for the past 3-years, and it probably would have been appropriate to help him fix the problem instead of replacing him, but then again, that's just me, who am I?
After that quick commercial break we are now back to the show, thanks for tuning in. Belgium-born Tom Saintfiet was hired on a short-term contract as a replacement for former head coach Stephen Hart. What is really facetious is that Saintfiet's ultimatum from his new employers was quite forthright and predispose, “Win the next two World Cup games or you're out.”
Guess what? Latapy is still here and Saintfiet barely made it past a month, never even came close to the two World Cup games he was promised and is now on the breadline.
Saintfiet’s resignation came on January 10th. Now, no one knows for certain if Humpty Dumpty was pushed or if he genuinely resigned (lol), but he did make it clear from his Facebook page (not Ruby Tuesday) that: “From the first day of my unveiling, I did not get the support of the TTFA and its President; support which is needed to be able to do my job in a professional and successful way. I never got the chance to work with the players nor staff requested.”
“Perhaps I should have taken this decision right from day one of my appointment, after the President openly second guessed his own choice of employing me. But I gave him at the TTFA the benefit of the doubt.”
With a depleted squad, some uncommitted players and the exodus of several W Connection (former and current) players for dubious reasons, maybe this move was the turning point in Saintfiet's short-lived T&T career that broke the camel's back? I guess you'll have to do the math for me.
In a Soca Warriors Online (SWO) interview, Saintfiet was quick to highlight Stephen Hart's less than stellar 2016 record, stating that he had only won 3 games for the year. Saintifiet now finds himself in the same boat, if not worst. I'm sure it's a jab he would like to take back. You see, too many cooks spoil the broth, like I always say: “You are only as good as your boss thinks you are.”
Trying to pick your brain, figuring out who will be the next victim to fall into the TTFA's coaching web will definitely give you 'gray hairs’. One thing for certain is that the power of belief and the power of thought will move reality in the direction of what we believe and conceive.
Stevie Wonder could see another hammer drop soon on the next coach after T&T's next two World Cup matches carded for late March. Unless !!! You're Russell Latapy of course. Then again, current W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s name just fell into my hat, I meant pot.
Let's see if Ms. Carolina Morace will ever show up?
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You have been warned. Senna & Salt might be another option.