13 Jun 2008
- Written by Ian Prescott (T&T Express)
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CLAYTON MORRIS, the coach of the Trinidad and Tobago national futsal team, is pushing for the establishment of a National Futsal Football League as a means of lifting the level of the sport in the country. Morris was speaking following his team’s participation last week at the 2008 CONCACAF Futsal Championship at the Domo Polideportivo in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where Caribbean champions T&T failed to grab one of the three qualifying places for the World Futsal Championship.After four years playing Futsal, T&T have won both Caribbean Championships but have yet to make a dent at the CONCACAF level.
Morris said he was advised by the Guatemalans to establish a league here, because it was felt that we have natural talent. With that in mind, he said the first step is to have a community competition throughout T&T after which each community will choose a representative squad to compete in a 10-team National Futsal League.
’For the financing, we are targetting the Ministry of Sport through the Sports Company since we would like them to see it as a community project,’ Morris said. ’The establishment of the league could go into next year, but I think the community aspect could begin soon.’
A hat-trick by Defence Force winger Jerwyn Baltazar in a 7-3 losing effort to Mexico was the highlight of T&T’s trip to Guatemala. T&T were unfortunate to be drawn in the toughest group, from which the eventual finalists, Guatemala and Cuba emerged. Guatemala eventually took the title 5-3 on penalty kicks after they drew 3-3 with Cuba at the end of extra-time. United States also qualified for the global tournament by beating Panama 7-1 for third spot.
T&T opened the tournament with a 5-0 defeat to Guatemala, and then lost 9-2 to Cuba before going under to the Mexicans.
’It wasn’t a case where it was one-way because we were competitive and also had chances. No one was able to beat us in double figures like what happened with Haiti, who was beaten 13-0 by Costa Rica. What we lacked was the exposure that some of the other teams had before the tournament.’
Morris explained that coaches from Cuba, United States and Guatemala spoke of playing regular competitions and making overseas tours ahead of the tournament. He said they were sympathetic to the T&T team whose preparation was inadequate.