Brent Sancho, a former national defender and chief executive officer of Digicel T&T Pro League club, DirecTV North East Stars said there is an exciting crop of youngsters coming through the Pro League and it bodes well for the future of T&T’s International ambitions.
The very vocal Sancho noted that much of this must be credited to visionaries such as David John-Williams at W Connection who has spent ten years and a lot of his own money in developing talent and former San Juan Jabloteh coach, Englishman, Terry Fenwick.
“Fenwick is another example of a coach with a passion for developing talent, and I hope we get to see him involved again in the Pro League sometime soon."
Sancho maintained that too many people focus on results to the detriment of long term development.
“T&TFF should have a stated programme of development targeting the 2022 World Cup” said Sancho. “We should be aggressively recruiting 9-13 year olds with a formatted development programme including international schoolboy fixtures.
There is already a scouting pool in place, with Pro League clubs all running Under-13 teams, yet I have never been contacted by T&TFF to identify players or attend moratoriums on schoolboy coaching.
Youth development is an essential role of T&TFF, yet they seem to think that boys wake up on their 17th birthday as a fully developed footballer with understanding of tactics.
Players have to be proficient at the basics at a young age so skills such as ball control, first touch, positioning and vision are all second nature. We always start at a disadvantage, with other countries benefiting from a progressive youth development structure.
It also provides an excellent development opportunity for young coaches, administrators and match officials.” Sancho added “We have the natural talent in T&T, but this is not enough.
Youngsters must be schooled to develop a professional ethos which will carry them overseas to the bigger leagues. Education is essential as scholarship to US colleges is an ideal route, one that players like myself and Kelvin Jack benefited from.”