Dennis Lawrence, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, has made a call for improvements, within both the TT Pro League and the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL).
Lawrence was speaking at a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Friday.
Asked about his view on the state of the Pro League, T&T’s top domestic football league, Lawrence acknowledged, “I think the League is in a state at the moment (in) that it needs assistance.
“The League is not where it should be, in my view, and I think we’ll like to see that improved. One of the biggest things (affecting) the League at the moment is the funding.
“If we can try and come together, working with the League, working with the TTFA (TT Football Association), if we can try and help in the funding department, that can only improve the League,” Lawrence continued. “If you have a strong League, it helps the national team.”
The ex-national central defender noted, “We need to try somehow or the other to come together to try and improve the Pro League. The people who are working in that League, I’m very sure they’re working very hard, but they need help. The idea is to try and be able to help them (to) improve the Pro League.”
Another local football tournament which have been in the news lately, albeit for the wrong reasons, is the SSFL.
Questioned as to what can serve to improve the competition, Lawrence, the ex-Malick Senior Comprehensive (now Malick Secondary) player, replied, “I think people need to start taking responsibility and recognise that they are students.
“We cannot afford to sacrifice winning by any means necessary. We need to do the right things. These are students and they must remain students, who are allowed to play in a curricular activity, away from school. We cannot afford to lose the focus on that.
“The idea is now for the League to just understand that we need to keep it as a Schools League and not run it as a top professional league. Hopefully, they would get that sorted and that would only help to develop players for the Trinidad and Tobago team.”
Lawrence was appointed as the T&T men’s coach in January, but failed to guide the team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
He admitted, “I think the two games that let us down in that World Cup campaign (were) the Honduras and Panama ones (in September) because, up until Panama, we were still in with a chance to qualify for Russia.”
Lawrence said, “What I would probably do different is try now to see if I can have more contact time with the players. That would be probably the biggest change I would make. The idea now is to put together a programme that will give us that opportunity (so) when competition-time comes around again, we’re ready.”
Recently, football administrator, match commissioner and announcer Wayne Cunningham has been performing duties as the team’s media official.
But he stated, “It’s temporary. Shaun (Fuentes) is still on leave. We have some big events coming up. We should see him back soon, according to what I’m hearing. But I’m just doing what I’m appointed for.
“(I was) asked to be here as the media consultant for various things, with my main focus on the men’s national team. And that’s where it is up to now,” Cunningham ended.