Brian Williams, the former Fyzabad Secondary School football coach has called on stakeholders, including Secondary School Football League (SSFL) executives, teachers, players, principals and other key stakeholders to address the issues with players’ ineligibility to compete in the competition in the coming years.
His call comes in the wake of the ongoing issue which has seen Fyzabad Secondary suspended from further participation in the League after it was discovered that falsified documents were submitted in the registration of two of its players, mid-fielders Dez Jones and Maurice Dick.
Upon completion of an investigation by the SSFL and the subsequent decision by the league to debar Fyzabad from further participation in the League for the rest of the season, the school also took a decision to withdraw all its teams, including the girls team, boys under-14 and under-16 from participation in SSFL competitions for the rest of the season.
The issue has since been taken up by the Ministry of Education while the players have both maintained their innocence.
Williams, an ex-T&T defender and member of the famous Strike Squad in 1989, and who has worked specifically on youth development for many years, believes the situation needs to be ironed out at all levels as a matter of urgency, saying “I believe that there are other players in the system who are in school illegally and have been playing football”.
Williams who resigned as coach of the school when the issue was revealed said “Before I took up the job at Fyzabad, I heard about situations where players didn’t have required qualifications at schools to participate in the Colleges League. I also witnessed one day a player coming from the workplace and represented his school at a school game, and this baffled me. This means attendance at school was not taking place.”
Williams, who had spent only two months and two weeks in his job at Fyzabad, said the recent development is an act of dishonesty which has now become a reflection of the society we live in, and he is pleading to our elders and leaders to set a better example for our young people to follow.
“Children learn what they see. Being dishonest and corrupt have become a norm, so much so, it is about who is caught. We see it happening at the workplace, in politics and in almost every corner in society.
This is absolutely no encouragement for young people today who are in need of positive role models”
According to Williams the SSFL’s Credentials Committee, teachers and principal, as well as Supervisors at the Ministry of Education should do more in-depth checks when the players’ certificates come before them.
“The time has come for us to check the original certificates of students, even if it means delaying the start of football” Williams said.
He calls on teachers and administrators to be honest with students and steer them in the right direction, as it will be their nurturing and advice that could make the difference between a successful child and one who could go astray in the future.