The Soca Warriors Online (SWO) recently caught up with former Technical Director Lincoln "Tiger" Phillips as well as former Soca Warriors defender Brent Sancho and asked them for their opinions on former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) vice-president Raymond Tim Kee, as he prepares to run unopposed for the post of TTFF president.
Emails went out to Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, former strike squad member Marlon Morris and current TTFF Technical Director Anton Corneal on the topic at hand, but I received no response. I was however grateful to Dexter Skeene and TTFF media man Shaun Fuentes for their keen interest finding out how yours truly was coping in the aftermath of the history making Hurricane Sandy. Marlon Morris also asked for a phone call which was impossible at the time because of the effects of Sandy.
Note that this interview was done before the news was released that the only person remaining to oppose Raymond Tim Kee for the TTFF president position, Colin Murray, had pulled out of the election, essentially creating a one-horse race. The Carib Brewery Sponsorship and Promotions Manager called it quits citing personal reasons for his decision.
The TTFF’s Interim President Lennox Watson also ruled himself out of the November 11 election, over a week ago.
And despite a valid call from a member of the Central Football Association (CFA) General Council, Keith James who queried the choice made by the group to back Raymond Tim Kee for the position of president of the TTFF, his cries fell on deaf ears and it was normal business here in T&T.
James further stated that: “I think we, the member clubs of the CFA, have a say in this. We are supposed to hear from each of the candidates their action plan to take the TTFF out of the mess our national football is in right now."
He also called for the CFA to practice truth and honesty, while creating a new culture in how things are done within the group.
Former Dundee defender Brent Sancho was first off the blocks and gave us his honest and candid opinion on the one man race for the head spot.
Sancho stated: "I know Raymond on a personal level for a while now. He seems to be a level headed individual in the numerous conversations we have had."
"There will be obvious concerns regarding his previous role in the current regime, and whether or not he could have voiced or stand up against the atrocities of the TTFF."
"My concerns however is not so much about Raymond but what possibly can be done in an organization which seems to have most of the current regime still intact and bent on continuing the horrendous trend of unaccountability, lack of transparency, lack of vision, poor infrastructure, mismanagement of funds and the inhumane treatment of it most prized assets, the players”, ended Sancho."
Tigers take on the TTFF presidential election
In the meantime, Lincoln Phillips got down to a more detailed view and express his opinion in a more tailored approached.
Lincoln stated that: "I have worked with him extensively on many programs while I was Technical Director for the TTFF. In fact, not only will I give you my thoughts of Raymond, I will also share my thoughts on his opponent Colin Murray and the direction that I strongly recommend the TTFF should take regarding this most important election."
"For the 7 years I worked with Raymond, he was always a source of inspiration. As one of the most upstanding and outspoken members of the TTFF's Executive Board, all the members of the TTFF held him in high esteem for his integrity, honesty and decorum. Whenever a situation or issue occurred where the TTFF needed a highly respected representative, Raymond was usually selected for the task."
"In the early days, when the TTFF was really struggling, he allowed the Association to utilize his premises; without cost. On several occasions he bankrolled various activities for the TTFF when they had no money to meet their expenses; with NO EXPECTED RETURN except the satisfaction that the games went on. In the football scene, he was responsible for initiating a successful Futsal tournament which brought out talent from Lavantille/Morvant/Beetham Gardens area."
"This tournament saw the TTFF team excel against some of the top teams in the CONCACAF; barely losing to Costa Rica in a close encounter. With no Futsal experience, our players put on a show and were only limited by inexperience in their run to make the Futsal World Cup Finals."
"He has done a lot for TTFF and has always been in good standing with the football community. As far as I'm concerned, Raymond's interaction within and on behalf of the TTFF and football is entirely beyond reproach."
"On the political front, a relevant matter considering the current state of affairs between the TTFF and Ministry of Sport, Raymond is a highly respected member of the Opposition Party, PNM, by both the rank and file of the Party as well as members of their Executive."
"More significantly, however, Raymond is equally respected by the current PP government partly because of his stature in the community. As the person in charge of CEPEP under the former government, Raymond was recommended by a member of the PP government to assist them on a couple of projects. While another PP Member said, ".... he is a PNM", the immediate response was, "but he is a good man!". That carries weight now more than ever."
"Now, I also know and regard Mr. Colin Murray as a close friend. In fact, I have known Colin since he was 10 years of age. Like Raymond, Colin is a consummate gentleman who from his position at Carib is highly regarded in the business world as one of the best managers not only in T&T but the Caribbean. I have had the opportunity to discuss several initiatives with Colin and have found him to be the type of person who is not afraid to take risks nor stand up for a good idea; no matter how unorthodox that idea may be."
"He is a very creative manager who is well liked and respected by his peers as well as his staff. I have always admired his loyalty, work ethic, and how his staff goes about their job with a sense of satisfaction and love for working with him."
"However, the question is who is the best person for the job of President of the TTFF? So in choosing between these two candidates as you have asked, let us make perfectly clear what the job entails. The job is an executive position that requires a person with executive experience. It is not a managerial position."
"In my view, the TTFF requires leadership from the executive level and once that leadership is established, managers in charge of various departments and initiatives will carry out the appropriate vision of the President and Executive Committee."
"So in my view, Raymond Tim Kee is the best choice. Not only for the reasons I shared, but also because he is the one person who possesses executive experience, knows the TTFF inside out, and has the bearing to lead an entity through its most challenging chapter. The next TTFF president has no time to learn on the job and must hit the ground with a plan ready to move in a decisive and deliberate manner."
"I sincerely hope that if Colin is elected, Raymond would offer his support and Colin would do the same should Raymond emerge as the favored choice of the voters."
"We do not have the luxury to have winners and losers among these two outstanding men. In fact, TTFF and the football community should feel fortunate that they are getting two high-caliber businessmen to run for the office of the President who have the capacity to set a new and hopeful course for football in Trinidad and Tobago”, ended Tiger.
Soca Warriors Online would like to express our gratitude to Brent Sancho and Lincoln Phillips for taking the time from their busy schedules to do this interview. We wish them all the best!
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