Speaking for myself and most of the players of the National Football team, we are disappointed the way we have been treated by the authorities overseeing Trinidad and Tobago’s football.
Sacrificing and qualifying for the big stage – the 2006 World Cup, we thought things would have taken off for the better at least, but for some reason we feel like it’s gone backwards and it’s disappointing. It feels like we have done all this for nothing, it feels like it was just a ten-day hype. What we hoped is that this would have put the foundation in place for future national players and teams. If this is the way things are going to go, then there’s little or no chance that we are going to see another World Cup.
By now you should figure out that I am referring to the current row between the TTFF and the World Cup players over financial matters.
Under the circumstances we have tried to be very professional about it. It is difficult but the guys have gotten on with it and trained hard the last couple times we met. It’s good that we have a honest group of guys who want to do well for the country and their families and for the betterment of the game in our country.
We had no bargaining rights before we went to the World Cup but now things should be different. We are a World Cup team and every time we put the shirt on when we represent T&T we should be at least respected for doing it. We felt that this is how we should be looked at and it’s not the same on our end since the World Cup, we aren’t being treated that way.
For instance some of the organization is not up to par when we are preparing for matches. Some players from the UK even had to go sort out their own visas to go To Austria for the game this week.
This is not to victimize the authorities but it is a way of simply trying to say that certain things need to happen for the team in order to have it fully prepared for matches on the world stage. We don’t want what happened leading up to the World Cup and during the tournament itself to just be a one off. Everything was in place then, so then why can’t it be consistent now and this will in some ways prepare us better for future qualifying tournaments.
The facilities in Trinidad are a joke now as well. It’s difficult for any player who is a professional to properly develop themselves on the kind of fields we have back home. The long time mentality about players who can play and learn the game the hard way on bad fields will turn out better is something of the past. When you come from playing on the kind of fields in the countries abroad to then come home and play on sometimes hard uneven surfaces or very sloppy ones when the rain comes is the worst thing a player can experience. We trained on a field in Austria under rain on Monday and there was not a touch of mud on us after the session. How difficult can it be to maintain five stadiums after the 2001 Under 17 Finals. Those venues are slowly going down. And our national stadium was not the least impressive during the recent matches against St Vincent/Grenadines and Panama.
I do hope that these matters are resolved in good heart and that football will be back on the rise for us.