Sat, Nov

Tim Kee: Soca Warriors getting a raw deal.

Raymond Tim Kee, president of the T&T Football Federation, believes the current Soca Warriors squad is getting a hard deal when it comes to funding from corporate T&T and Government.

Speaking yesterday after watching the senior team’s practice match with the combined Olympic Games qualifiers/Pan American Games squad, Tim Kee, who is also the Mayor of Port-of-Spain, sought to further clear the air over statements made on the weekend by Minister of Sport Brent Sancho, with regard to the TTFA spending 90 per cent of $9 million promised by the Government last November.

In requesting funding for the senior team’s preparations for the Concacaf Gold Cup which begins next month in the USA, Tim Kee said that funding promised by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had not come through as promised so far.

However, the claims by the top T&TFA official was then dismissed by former Soca Warriors World Cup defender and current Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho, who said the local federation had already used up 90 per cent of a $9 million Cabinet note, which the Prime Minister and then acting Sport Minister Rupert Griffith promised.

The commitment to support the senior Soca Warriors came after the national team had threatened to boycott the Caribbean Football Union Cup final against Jamaica in November last year due to unpaid salaries to players and members of the coaching staff.

On return home from the tournament, where the Soca Warriors ended second to Jamaica following a 5–4 penalty kick loss after a goalless draw, Persad-Bissessar hosted the team and following discussions, promised to support the team’s Gold Cup preparations financially.

But a visibly upset and frustrated Tim Kee added: “Back in November, the players were asked to return to T&T and they were met by the Prime Minister and given their owed salaries, and were also told that there will be no challenges between then and now in preparing for the 2015 Gold Cup, and now this talk about the T&TFA using up majority of the team’s funding is not so.”

Coach Hart fed up

The TTFF president added: “Mr Hart even wrote me and told me he was really getting fed up of the whole situation because he did not know that we spent all that money and he wanted to know when it was spent for the senior team and how.”

“The team has an upcoming tournament to get ready for and have friendly matches to play and the coach has to know how he is going to prepare the team, while the players have to know what is taking place with regard to overseas travel as well so they can let their families be aware of what is happening in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements at home.”

According to Tim Kee: “All that environment of uncertainty is causing a negative effect on our players and the coach, because if the coach is not as happy as he ought to be, what do you think will happen to the players who are under his charge.

“So that statement which was in the papers earlier this week about the TTFF exhausting 90 per cent of its allocations already has caused a lot of discomfort for the coach and his players.

Tim Kee added: “The Prime Minister was talking to the senior players of the men’s team when she made those promises, so for them to use money from that same promised budget for the men to pay the Women Soca Warriors bonuses and all other stuff with regards to other teams and then say we have used up 90 per cent of the budget is news to me.”

Women Soca Warriors bonuses

On December 2, 2014, the Government, led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, handed over $1.5 million in $50,000 cheques to individual members of the T&T Women Soca Warriors, their management and coaching staff, as reward for their performance at the Concacaf Women’s Championship, where they placed fourth and earned an inter-continental playoff spot with Ecuador.

The event was hosted at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, with high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Sport, the Sport Company and the (TTFA).