Several officials from member associations within the Caribbean Football Union converged on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association Home of Football facilities on Saturday and following a tour led by TTFA President David John-Williams were all left highly impressed with what they saw with their own eyes.
What is now on display at Balmain Couva is being seen as a form of economic survival for football in T&T and the larger Caribbean countries.
During a visit of the facility on Saturday by the general secretaries of countries in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), the representatives of the Jamaican Football Federation- Dalton Wint, Antigua/Barbuda Football Association- Rohan Hector and Edwyn Wood of the Barbados Football Association, said not only are they impressed with the facility, but it will help them save more money on travel and for camps.
Hector said, “Quite often we find ourselves having to travel to the United States and other places to play tournaments, which becomes onerous on our economic position, so we think we can play these tournaments in T&T and in the future Antigua & Barbuda and other places around the Caribbean.”
He noted further, “This is a very important step for football development in the Caribbean. We are going to learn from this. We are going to get some information to see what we can do, because we are building our facility, and one of the next steps is to build our dormitories and gyms and several other things. And from the technology being used here, there are things that we can apply in Antigua & Barbuda.”
Wood told the media that T&T’s Home Of Football (HOF) is a model for other football associations throughout the Caribbean.
He believes it will be a special help economically, for the David John-Williams-led football association- “We’re always spending huge sums on accommodation for national teams, for camps, so this is an example where, not only can we save money, but the location is ideal for income generation, as we have swimming next door, the cycling Velodrome. So it’s a facility that can be used as an income-generating facility to help sustain the association, for a long time.”
Wint, on the other hand, said the facility should be replicated through the Caribbean. “It’s a facility that takes care of all the needs, as it relates to football. One of the biggest expense we have in football is to have people housed at a facility, and most of us have to pay huge sums at hotels. It is a money-saving venture, it’s an income-generating venture, and so we are really pleased with what has been exposed to us today.”
The HOF facility is equipped with training fields, mini hotel, entertainment centre, indoor and outdoor pitches for futsal, beach soccer etc.
The visit, part of a FIFA/CIES/UWI football executive programme for officials from Barbados, T&T, Grenada, Jamaica, Aruba, St Kitts/Nevis, St Lucia and other nations benefiting from a series of courses offered by the CIES. FIFA Development officer Marlon Glean was been part of the touring party over the past week.