Trinidad and Tobago senior football team captain Dwight Yorke was yesterday named the 2005 Male Footballer of the Year when the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) end-of-season awards ceremony and brunch took place at the Calypso Lounge, Crowne Plaza.
Yorke, who plies his trade as a member of the Sydney Football Club in Australia, had his award accepted by his brother Clint.
Yorke came out of retirement after he and close friend Russell Latapy chose to quit the World Cup 2002 campaign following a fall-out with then national coach Rene Simoes, a move which met with much public disapproval and consternation.
But Yorke's re-entry to the national senior squad last year played a pivotal role in helping the national squad, the Soca Warriors, complete their historic qualification to the Germany 2006 World Cup, making Trinidad and Tobago the smallest country to ever participate in the much-vaunted and popular tournament.
In fact, in the second qualifying play-off match away to Bahrain, Yorke delivered the pin-point left-side corner that lanky defender Dennis Lawrence memorably headed into goal to ensure T&T's qualification.
Ironically, prior to the start of the 2006 World Cup campaign, FIFA vice-president and T&TFF special adviser Jack Warner had called Yorke a cancer to the game and claimed that the Sydney FC footballer would never play for Trinidad and Tobago again.
Yesterday, Warner was among the gathering applauding as Clint Yorke accepted the honour for brother Dwight.
The usually loquacious Warner never spoke yesterday as master of ceremonies Anthony Harford related that Warner, who last week was found to have violated FIFA's code of ethics over the sale of World Cup tickets, was saving his voice for the UNC rally later yesterday at Mid-Centre Mall, Chaguanas.
Not needing to save voice, though, was feature speaker and former national footballer Sedley Joseph, whose address traced T&T's football at the top level from the 1950s to the present day.
Joseph called for more financial support for T&TFF technical director Lincoln Phillips' development plan and also advised the T&T Pro League they needed more "personalities" to draw the crowds.
Also addressing the crowd was TSTT representative Amoy Van Low, as well as T&TFF president Oliver Camps and Minister of Sport Roger Boynes.
Boynes revealed that details of the Government's contribution to the Soca Warriors' budget and to members of the team for their successful World Cup qualification will be made public soon.
"You are probably waiting to hear what's up with the budget for the Soca Warriors' participation in Germany," he told the audience. "The budget will be under discussion this week by the Cabinet and we are pretty calm about the matter so you can follow our lead on that..."
Boynes continued: "All of us know, what the Government, led by the honourable Prime Minister, will do to honour the Soca Warriors is going to be something significant. The Government is going to give something of lasting value and that's all I am willing to say without letting the cat out of the bag."
T&TFF Honour Roll
- Most Promising Player-Jason Marcano (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh)
- Referee Quartet of the Tournament-Neil Brizan, Joseph Taylor, Michael Ragoonath, Richard Piper
- Most Entertaining Team-Vibe CT 105 W Connection
- Goalkeeper of the Tourn-ament-Cleon John (Defence Force)
- Coach of the Tournament-Kerry Jamerson (Defence Force)
- Fair Play Award-Vibe CT 105 W Connection
- MVP of the Tournament-Wesley Noriega
- FA runners-up-Defence Force $22,500
- FA Challenge Trophy-CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh $46,500
- Referee of the Year-Neil Brizan (Male), Shane De Silva (Female)
- Youth Player of the Year-Jesse Fullerton (Male), Patrice Superville (Female)
- Coach of the Year-Brian Williams (United Petrotrin)
- Association of the Year-EFA
- Team of the Year-Defence Force/NFA
- Player of the Year-Dwight Yorke (Male), Kenya Cordner (Female).