‘Warriors’ may withdraw from Caribbean Cup
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Thursday, October 4 2012
THE national football team may be forced to withdraw from the forthcoming Caribbean Cup as the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) currently cannot afford to pay for airfare and allowance for the team.
The Soca Warriors are scheduled to tackle French Guyana on October 10 in St Kitts before taking on Anguilla (October 12) and the hosts (October 14) in their next two first round fixtures in that country.
But in a media release yesterday, Anthony Harford, TTFF Marketing Manager, explained that their campaign has been seemingly grounded before it has kicked off as the Ministry of Sport has given them “a negative response” to their requests for funds.
It was also revealed that no money has been received from the Ministry since March this year and the sponsorship funds raised to date have supported the Under-17 and Under-20 teams, both of which played their qualifiers without Government support.
TTFF Marketing explained that apart from the embarrassment and disappointment of not participating in the Caribbean Cup, this country could face sanctions from FIFA and CFU (Caribbean Football Union) for their withdrawal from the tournament. TT would also automatically miss out on an appearance in the Gold Cup for the third straight time.
In the media release, Harford revealed an excerpt of an e-mail from Ashwin Creed, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, where Creed declared “the Ministry focus is (currently) on development given the abysmal performance of the senior team.”
Harford noted that TTFF Marketing had requested $423,000, $218,000 to pay for airfare including the return of five overseas-based players, player and staff stipends, a weekend camp and accommodation for four persons. The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) was paying for 25 out of the 29-member TT contingent. Harford explained they received information that the Ministry has paid one bill for the Under-17 tournament but they have not communicated that to the TTFF or TTFF Marketing.
“It is understood that this invoice was just over $250,000 and paid directly to a hotel.”
He stressed, however, that TTFF Marketing will be “continuing its drive to meet the other outstanding invoices for these national teams including payment to other hotels, coaches, catering and transport.”
The current development is another blow to football locally which has been on a steady decline since the national team qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2006. The national team failed to qualify for the last two Gold Cups and were painfully kicked out of the 2014 World Cup campaign to neighbouring Guyana at the first hurdle having played just one warm-up match a week before World Cup qualifiers commenced.
Recently, a national Under-20 preparation camp in the USA had to be scrapped by the TTFF as funding was hard to come by. Reports have also emerged that TTFF Technical Director, Anton Corneal was not paid for several months.