T&T’s most prestigious football tournament, the National FA is set to return after a two-year hiatus, but the Central Football Association (CFA) being led by businessman Shymdeo Gosine, could have no representative teams.
T&T Football Association vice president Ewing Davis revealed that a decision was taken to include all the teams in the T&T Pro League, all in the T&T Super League, five teams from the Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) and six from the other Regional Associations- the Northern Football Association, Eastern FA, Central FA, Southern FA and the Tobago FA, for a total of 64 teams in the first draw.
Some of the regional associations held their own FA tournament earlier this year in a bid to meet the deadline date of August 19 (Saturday) to ensure their participation, while other zones opted to use their winners from the previous year.
CFA general secretary Clynt Taylor told Guardian Media Sports yesterday his association received no correspondence about the tournament. As he scrolled through his emails Taylor said: “They usually send information to us via email and I have not received any correspondence about the National FA, so I guess we will not have any teams in the tournament then.” He hinted there may be something sinister about this new development since all other regional associations were informed about the tournament.
The CFA recently won a battle over the TTFA to have Samuel Saunders replaced as its representative on the TTFA’s Board of Directors. In a bid to find out if correspondence was sent to all the regional associations, Guardian Media Sports attempted to reach Justin Latapy-George, the TTFA general secretary but calls to his phone went unanswered yesterday.
The last time the National FA was held in 2015, pro league campaigners North East Stars won it by beating rivals W Connection 5-4 on penalty kicks.
It will be the first staging of the FA under the David John-Williams administration which assumed office in 2015, and plans are underway to produce a tournament that will be the best run, that will carry the highest cash prize and be of the best quality. However no information about the prize structure was forthcoming as Davis said his association was still in the process of securing a sponsor for the tournament. Director of Football Muhammad Isa said however that the idea was to have cash incentives for each round of football.
The TTFA will hold a press conference on Tuesday at its office at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain Couva at which time the draw will take place. Apart from the pro league and super league teams, the TFA held its FA recently and have submitted Gold City FC, Calder Hall FC, Black Rock FC, Signal Hill United, Leeds United and Stokely Vale United as their representatives, while in the Northern FA, Step By Step Maple, Malta Carib Alcons, Block 8 Police Youth Club, Cultural Roots, St Francois Nationals and RSSR are the qualifying teams.
The ECFU did not have a qualifying competition and have chosen Tamana United, Sangre Grande United, Biche United, Damarie Hill Youths and Manzan United by viurtue of their successes last year. The EFA will be represented by WASA FC, Trinity Rangers, FC Maloney, Red Hill FC, La Horquetta XF and Creek SCC while the SFA has chosen last year’s top performers Erin FC, Pitchmen FC, Santa Flora FC, San Fernando Giants, Serial Strikers and Pele Pele.