Thu, Dec

TTFA board appoints Camara as general secretary in secret ballot; Stern named U-17 coach.

Camara David, a UWI Sports Management part-time lecturer and former Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) general secretary, will assume the post of Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary for the next 12 months, after he was appointed by the TTFA board last night.

David, who is just 28 years old and holds a FIFA Masters Degree in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, will officially replace Justin Latapy-George on 1 March 2019, although, in truth, he began making appearances as ‘general secretary’ since December 2018—to no little controversy.

At the TTFA’s 2018 AGM, members moved a motion crediting Latapy-George for his efforts and urging football president David John-Williams not to make a change, with just eight months left in his term. Not for the first time, John-Williams proved that he is his own man.

The TTFA constitution dictates that only the president can propose the hiring or dismissal of a general secretary—which is essentially the CEO of the local football body—but the board ultimately has the power to accept or reject his suggestion.

Last Wednesday, John-Williams raised the issue of hiring David but opted not to put it to a vote with an estimated eight from 13 board members opposed to the change.

Yesterday, there were 11 members present—Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties) and Julia Baptiste (TT Pro League) were both absent—for the reconvened meeting; and the president started the gathering by immediately demanding a vote. Tellingly, John-Williams requested a secret ballot, as was used the previous week to re-appoint Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence—on the suggestion of new board member and Eastern Football Association (EFATT) president Bandele Kamau.

And the vote was allegedly tallied as five for David and five against with one abstention.

John-Williams then used his casting vote as president to break the deadlock and install his namesake—an ambitious young man who has been virtually inseparable from his side over the past year.

Unlike Lawrence, David’s contract will be passed before the board and should include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). John-Williams, who refused to reveal Lawrence’s salary to the board, is believed to have already shared the financial terms for the new appointee which was considered an acceptable sum.

David is John-Williams’ third general secretary in his still uncompleted term, which is an unprecedented figure. Counting a five-week stint as interim general secretary by Paula Chester-Cumberbatch in the lead-up to the 31 November 2015 election, the TTFA had three general secretaries in 18 years prior to the current president taking office.

Azaad Khan served as general secretary for John-Williams’ first year in office before he opted to hire Latapy-George in late 2016. Latapy-George was walking on borrowed time since September 2018, though, when he admitted to Wired868 that John-Williams ordered him to withhold information from the board on the resignation of former vice-president Joanne Salazar.

Soon after, John-Williams told Latapy-George to begin looking for a new job and it was an open secret that the president would jettison him as soon as the AGM was out of the way.

Last night was the end of the line for Latapy-George and the beginning of the David era, which may generate little enthusiasm for half of the board and a significant portion of the general membership.

“I am thankful for the faith the president and the Board of the TTFA has put in me and I am very optimistic about the challenges ahead with God’s guidance,” David told TTFA Media. “The association is slowly but surely finding its feet on solid ground and I’m excited to be part of the change. Bringing back the public’s trust in the association and their love for the game is key and part of the major objectives I intend to achieve.”

In no less meaningful news, the TTFA board also agreed to activate the Men’s National Under-17 Team, which will have roughly two months to prepare for their opening 2018 World Youth Cup fixture.

The Junior Soca Warriors open their campaign against Bermuda on 1 May at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida while they tackle Jamaica and Mexico on 3 and 5 May respectively. Three of the four Group E teams will advance to the knock-out stage.

National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John, who has barely a year and a half’s experience as a head coach at Pro League outfit Central FC, was named National Under-17 Team head coach. The remainder of the staff will be appointed on 7 March.

John’s willingness to work without remuneration—other than his current stipend with the senior team—is believed to have been key to his selection. Similarly, the TTFA will try to fill the Under-17 Team’s technical staff with persons who are willing to work for free.

The TTFA also promised to place advertisements for coaching staff to run the Women’s National Under-17, Under-20 and Senior Teams. All staff members will be hired for two years while the new role of Head of Women’s Football—which is essentially a women’s technical director—will come with a four year contract.

Discussions between the Pro League and Super League clubs on the proposed merged league will continue from Ash Wednesday—on 6 March—from 6pm at a venue to be determined in Couva.

TTFA board members who met last night: David John-Williams (president), Ewing Davis (vice-president), Raeshawn Mars (Northern FA), Richard Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA), Joseph Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association), Sharon Warrick (Women’s League Football), Collin Partap (Central Football Association), Keith Look Loy (TTSL), Bandele Kamau (Eastern FA), Selby Browne (Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago).

Absent: Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties Football Union), Julia Baptiste (TT Pro League).

Stern John on his appointment as T&T U-17 Men's head coach