ZORAN VRANES has bought into the new business plan of North East Stars, which involves the development and foreign transfers of players, by committing his services to the Pro League champions on an initial one-year agreement, pending a work permit.
And one month back on the Caribbean island he considers his second home, the former Trinidad and Tobago team coach is calling on all stakeholders to do their part towards improving the quality of football in the country.
“Football in Trinidad (and Tobago) is down very much,” said the 67-year-old Serbian, coach of TT’s team at the FIFA 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. “It was better in the past and I am not fully aware what the problems are now. It’s time all (stakeholders) must step up to do something more serious about the quality of the football. I can make my contribution but it is not up to the coaches only. Together we can all improve the opportunity for the players, the local teams and the national teams.”
Mikhail Awai, new Director of Football at North East Stars, said the club which is now run by majority shareholder, Ryan Nunes, has adopted the business strategy to develop players with the intention of transfers across Europe, Asia and Central America.
“Others should want to follow our business model,” said Awai.
“We will have academies from the 4-5 age group and upwards at various locations. Our business model is not to win the Pro League. We prefer to prepare players to send them abroad and make money from that. We have budgeted it will cost TT$1.5 million to TT$2m to run a club competitively, so it’s better to invest in more players from a development perspective.”
W Connection, the most successful club in the Pro League era, can argue that success on and off the field can be achieved simultaneously with their trophy cabinet stacked to capacity and having the most transfers to foreign clubs in the league’s history.
“I am satisfied with the plan (of North East Stars),” Vranes said of his decision to join North East Stars. “This season we are focused on developing young players, not to win competition this year and maybe not next year – after that, yes – but more than that to make business in Europe and Asia.
“It should not only be the plan of my club. We all need to get football back where it used to be especially with the younger players. They (the players) must also want to work harder to improve their fitness and technical ability.”