The "Soca Warriors" have not been overwhelmed by public support in Trinidad and Tobago since their 2006 World Cup exertions but their battle for improved conditions could receive a significant boost on foreign shores this month.
England's Players Football Association (PFA), FIFPro and British anti-racism organisation, Kick Racism out of Football, stage a play to raise funds on March 22 in London and will offer 10 pounds ($121) from every 20-pound ($242) ticket sold to help revamp Trinidad and Tobago's defunct players' association, the Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT).
The play, which is called "Your Hearts Out For The Lads", starts from 7.30 p.m. at Hackney Empire and centres on a World Cup qualifying match between England and Germany on October 7, 2000-the last fixture at the old Wembley Stadium-which brought racial tensions to the fore at a London pub.
England football clubs were also invited to send shirts for auction with the proceeds going to FPATT. Several teams, including Luton Town, Stoke and Barnsley, have already responded positively to the request.
FPATT was formed four years ago after a walk-out in protest of training conditions by more than a dozen local-based national players, two days before an international friendly against Finland. The national team, which was then coached by Hannibal Najjar, played with a second string team and lost the friendly 2-1 while the unhappy players started an association.
FPATT's initial executive committee comprised president Brent Sancho, vice president Kelvin Jack and secretary Travis Mulraine, while Gary Glasgow, Cyd Gray, Dale Saunders, Lyndon Andrews, Ian Gray and Trent Noel were also members.
Sancho, who represents England League One club, Gillingham, said FPATT lacked the funds or man power to sustain itself after its launch but explained that one or two people-including a former international football star-were already lined up to run the organisation.
"When you look at the career of footballers and how short it is, you can understand the need for a players association," said Sancho. "We want to help to provide legal assistance and advice for the players of Trinidad and Tobago during and after football...whether it is starting a small business, saving money, doing their A' levels or whatever.
"We plan for FPATT to be very similar to the English PFA and hopefully we can have the same success."
FPATT's resuscitation was a priority for the Warriors even before the World Cup as the players agreed to divide bonuses in 25 parts with one share reserved for the association. A pay dispute with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) has frozen the disbursement of such funds, though.
Sancho, who was one T&T's best players at the World Cup, is one of 17 Warriors who threatened legal action against the T&TFF as a result of the bonus dispute. The defender was not invited to represent his country since the prestigious tournament in Germany, while there are concerns that his colleagues might have been blacklisted by local football's governing body.
"I hope (my international career) doesn't end that way," said Sancho, who scored an own goal in Trinidad and Tobago's final World Cup fixture which was a 2-0 loss to Paraguay. "I still believe I had another World Cup in me I still have a lot to contribute to Trinidad and Tobago football on the pitch.
"I am still learning the game and getting better because defenders mature with age but team selection is not up to me."
Sancho urged citizens living in Britain to support the play while he also called on the Trinidad and Tobago government and private sector to match the generosity of the English PFA.
"Before the World Cup, a lot of companies pledged money but we haven't seen any of it," he said. "The World Cup already seems a distant memory
"It is sad that we have to start this in England because it is about Trinidad and Tobago being a proper and better football nation."