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For­mer FI­FA vice-pres­i­dent Austin Jack Warn­er, who has been in­volved in foot­ball in many ar­eas lo­cal­ly and in­ter­na­tion­al­ly and who is wide­ly ac­cred­it­ed with en­sur­ing that Trinidad and To­ba­go was able to qual­i­fy for its first and on­ly World Cup in 2006, says he agrees with new­ly-elect­ed TTFA pres­i­dent William Wal­lace's de­ci­sion to do an au­dit be­fore un­der­tak­ing any ma­jor ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The rea­sons giv­en for that, was to do an au­dit of the foot­ball house and to make sure that noth­ing is lost in the tran­si­tion and that the clo­sure is tem­po­rary, if those are the rea­sons I have no prob­lem with that …the house of foot­ball must nev­er be treat­ed like the Cou­va’s Chil­dren hos­pi­tal,” Warn­er said dur­ing an in­ter­view onI95FM on Tues­day night.

Asked if he felt clos­ing the Home of Foot­ball in Cou­va less than a week af­ter it was of­fi­cial­ly opened was a good idea, Warn­er said, “Well I do not think that Mr (William) Wal­lace is that sil­ly to adopt that po­si­tion. What I think he has to do and he has said that pub­licly is to do an au­dit at all lev­els, he has to know what the TTFA has, who they owe, he has to know what are their as­sets and what are their li­a­bil­i­ties and there­fore if the clo­sure of the House of Foot­ball is tem­po­rary, then so be it.”

Wal­lace was elect­ed as pres­i­dent at Sun­day's TTFA AGM, re­plac­ing in­cum­bent David John Williams by a vote of 26-20.

Asked if he was sur­prised by Wal­lace’s suc­cess, Warn­er said, “On the con­trary, I am not sur­prised. I am sur­prised that Wal­lace did not get more votes, …be­cause I think that what John-Williams mis­un­der­stood and he and his FI­FA and CON­CA­CAF col­leagues and even the Prime Min­is­ter …what they mis­un­der­stood is that foot­ball is on the field of play, peo­ple want to see re­sults, they want to see suc­cess­es, spon­sors want to come in and you could build a House of Foot­ball four times in one year, that does not equate to suc­cess on the field of play…,” he said.

“I feel that any­one but Williams who is pas­sion­ate about the sport can do well and will do well, and Wal­lace is well gift­ed with the tal­ents to do well. He is Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball pres­i­dent, he is act­ing prin­ci­pal of a school, he knows about young peo­ple and what they want but most im­por­tant­ly, he is one who has a vi­sion of where he wants to car­ry the sport…and I think one les­son which has to be learnt by Wal­lace and for me the most im­por­tant one, is that any­one can build a House of Foot­ball, but it takes a true leader to build a home and he has now to build a home."

Warn­er ad­mit­ted that he had been up­set that T&T's foot­ball had been al­lowed to de­gen­er­ate to the point where they now sit at 104th on the FI­FA rank­ings. He al­so said he was un­hap­py that Caribbean Foot­ball Union mem­bers al­lowed CON­CA­CAF to change the World Cup qual­i­fy­ing for­mat to the detri­ment of the small­er coun­tries.

“I am bi­ased against those who sit qui­et­ly by and al­low CON­CA­CAF to kill World Cup foot­ball qual­i­fi­ca­tion by hav­ing an elit­ist for­mat …I am against those things and more," he said.

“Time will tell, I am not go­ing to make any pre-judg­ment on Kei­th Look Loy and how he op­er­ates or An­tho­ny Har­ford or any­body else. Time will tell, I know guys who were one way be­fore an elec­tion, even in pol­i­tics and once they get in­to po­si­tion, they are dif­fer­ent, pos­i­tive­ly or neg­a­tive­ly, so let us wait and see and not make any pre-judg­ment. All stake­hold­ers should be called and out of that get a man­u­al a blue­print for the fu­ture."

Asked if he was ever ap­proached by John-Williams, Warn­er said, “In four years, not once, I want to re­peat that, in four years David John-Williams nev­er asked me once for an idea on any­thing in foot­ball, be­cause he had all the an­swers. That is why he is where he is to­day.”

How­ev­er, Warn­er claimed Wal­lace vis­it­ed him sev­er­al times and as late as a month on the vi­sion for foot­ball.

"We spoke at length and he was a good lis­ten­er. I want to see now how he will put in­to prac­tice what he has been told."

He added, “There is no quick fix in foot­ball, you can­not have a Nescafe men­tal­i­ty, you have to build from the ground up."

Warn­er al­so be­lieves coach Den­nis Lawrence should re­main in the job, but said an over­seas coach should be brought in to work with him. How­ev­er, he said he was al­so con­cerned that CON­CA­CAF was no longer de­vel­op­ing re­gion­al coach and of­fi­cials.

Re­spond­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle which sug­gest­ed he (Warn­er) is ad­vis­ing Wal­lace's TTFA Unit­ed team, Warn­er stat­ed, "I am dis­mis­sive of that and I am say­ing if even that was the case, and it means, and by the way, that is not the case, and it means that is the be­gin­ning of the way to lift foot­ball in the coun­try so be it. What’s wrong with that? I have been in foot­ball for 30 years at the in­ter­na­tion­al lev­el and I still be­lieve that any­body who wants to ask me some­thing in foot­ball, I must an­swer them and ad­vise them, if they come to me yes, if not so be it.”


SOURCE: T&T Guardian