Wed, May

TTFA 2024 presidential candidate, Colin Wharfe

The thought of a rise for T&T on the FIFA world rankings to 81st or 80th may seem a bit far-fetched to date, but Colin Wharfe, one of two presidential candidates for the coming T&T Football Association Elections on April 13, is promising this.

The current chief executive officer (CEO) of the T&T Premier Football League told listeners and viewers during last Thursday’s CNC3 Morning Shot programme that he had in-depth discussions with the sport’s stakeholders after the first season of the T&T Premier Football League, which features a Tier 1 and Tier 2 football leagues.

The discussion was aimed at highlighting the shortfalls and determining how to strengthen the leagues. Among those discussions were officials from the sport’s world governing body FIFA, the government, and the clubs, among others, and apart from just strengthening the leagues, Wharfe said of critical focus was the country’s senior men’s national football team, which defeated the United States in a crucial CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, but still barely had any movement up the world rankings.

“After the end of the first season in the TTPFL, we sat with FIFA and all of the stakeholders, the clubs, the private sector, the government, and so on, and the specific marker with respect to the performance on the field for the senior men’s national team was to move over the next four years, 15 places from where they are now, that’s the marker.

“I interrogated the senior men’s national coach and said this thing looks very serious because you’ve just beaten the United States, and you almost didn’t move. So I jokingly said, to get to 15 places you’ve got to beat Brazil.

“And he, Angus Eve, was very comfortable taking up the challenge, that’s the first thing. The second thing is that the absolute priority in terms of football is to ensure that after the March 23 game, the Canada game, is to ensure that the senior men’s coach has all the tools and requirements that they need to be successful in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, that is priority number one.”

He noted further, “And you would have seen from the last season, the team that beat the USA, well half of that team came from the TTPFL. The other thing I would say in terms of priority is that the statutes required us to institute article 80 of the Constitution, which is essential, in addition to making ourselves compliant, to make every member and the members of those members compliant also.”

Wharfe will be going up against Kieron Edwards for the post of president when the elections are held. Both men will be attempting to take the reigns of local football management when the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee makes its exit soon.

However, Wharfe has had to deal with rumours that he will be the voice and representation of FIFA if he is elected into office. Yesterday he sought to clear the air on this assumption, saying neither Robert Hadad, the chairman of the normalisation committee nor FIFA was responsible for his contesting the elections.

He made it clear that anyone who is elected into office will be required to report to FIFA. Wharfe attempted to lay it all on the table by saying he was asked by member clubs to go up.

Wharfe was the brainchild of the Tiger Tanks Under-20 Tournament two years ago, and due to the successes he had, he was again asked to take on the role of running a new top-flight local league, which had been unsuccessful in previous years as stakeholders failed to agree unanimously on a common path.

He said he was then asked to submit a resume which went straight to the FIFA and the rest was history.

He jokingly said the thought of him being the man on the ground for FIFA was flattering, but assured that anyone elected into office after April 13 will have to operate under the framework of FIFA.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian