The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) is banking on the goodwill of the local public and the sales pitch of marketing manager Anthony Harford to rescue its 2012 Digicel Caribbean Cup campaign after being snubbed by the Sport Ministry.
The TTFF had requested $423,218 from the Government but was turned down, via email, from the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed. The local football body revealed today that several individual football fans had dug into their own pockets to help finance the “Soca Warriors.”
The goodwill amounted to roughly $7,000.
Undeterred, the TTFF will continue to prepare its team with the hope of a last gasp rescue package from private companies and citizens. The “Soca Warriors” are due to leave for St Kitts and Nevis on Monday with its first Caribbean Cup qualifying match on Wednesday against French Guiana.
The Caribbean Cup serves as a qualifier for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. If Trinidad and Tobago pulls out, it might be two years before the senior footballers have another competitive match while they could also face sanctions from FIFA and the CFU.
“All other arrangements and necessary efforts are being made in an attempt to ensure that the team departs on Monday,” stated a TTFF release today. “There continues to be ongoing discussions with partners and the TTFF remains hopeful that the team goes on to participate in the tournament.”
Interim senior team head coach Hutson “Barber” Charles, a former “Strike Squad” stand-out, admitted that it was impossible for the squad to ignore the confusion around the Caribbean Cup campaign.
At present, Charles operates with one assistant coach rather than two. Derek King, a former Joe Public head coach, accepted the call-up to Charles’ technical staff. Angus Eve, who also serves as head coach at Pro League team North East Stars, declined.
King and Eve are both still owed salaries from their spells as national under-23 coaches earlier this year.
Charles will also have to take the unusual step of discussing the composition of his final squad with the TTFF marketing manager.