to end the
is quickly slipping away for a resolution of the money dispute
between the T&T Football Federation and the players
association in the interest of the development and advancement
of the game here.
Most importantly, if the impetus gained at the Germany World
Cup in 2006 is to be kept up in South Africa in 2010, then
the players of our most successful venture yet into the
World Cup arena have to become available for the build-up.
As we understand the dispute, the players are claiming they
were promised bonuses by special adviser to the TTFF, Austin
Jack Warner. The Fifa vice president has not said much but
seems to be sticking to a position that he made no such
promise to the players.
Now the matter is awaiting arbitration in Britain with a
newly formed players association hiring legal counsel to
represent their interests, with the TTFF adviser doing the
same. Hopefully there will be a speedy resolution to the
dispute, but in the meantime those players who are making
the claims, minus of course the likes of Yorke and Latapy
who have announced their retirement from the international
game, have not been selected to be the nucleus around which
a squad will be developed for South Africa.
It would be a scandalous waste of resources if the experiences
gained by these players at the World Cup in Germany were
allowed to go to waste. In almost any field of endeavour,
experience gained is to be built upon for advances to be
After this first venture at the World Cup finalsthe
hundreds of millions of dollars expended, the football skills
learnt, the coaching techniques and the immeasurable emotional
investment made by this countryit would be a waste
in every sense if T&T is not in a position to select
its best team.
Even before arbitration is arrived at, there should be a
truce between the federation and the players to allow them
to be selected and begin training with the younger players
for the 2010 venture. While the dispute is between Mr Warner
and the named players, the issues as articulated above are
far higher than anything involved in that tussle.
What we are talking about here is representation of T&T
on the international stage and the utilisation of all our
resources to affect the best possible outcome.
In tying the return or non-return of the players to the
national team, there is the danger that an outcome favourable
to the federation could mean that the players will become
disenchanted and refuse to return to the fold.
On the other hand, if the determination goes in favour of
the players, would Mr Warner and the federation determine
that these money-grabbing players no longer
have a place in a T&T team?
The alternative is to have the players rightfully rejoin
the team. Put another way, the dispute must be put in its
correct perspective and should not be made to determine
the future of the game in this country.
Already, countries with their eyes on the next World Cup
have begun putting their teams in shape, organising friendly
games one nation against the other and all else required.
T&T is limping along without a schedule of friendly
games and without a supporting structure in place.
Given the lift that the country received from its performances
in Germany last year, it could be that the resolution of
the rift between the senior footballers and Mr Warner should
be a project for Gary Hunt, T&Ts new Minister
Mr Hunt should be encouraged to use the good offices of
the ministry to bring the parties together to begin an ego-free
If not, T&T stands a good chance of following Jamaica
as being a Caribbean country good enough to qualify for
one World Cup but not good enough to develop the programmes
and procedures that would allow us to qualify for the next