Sun, May

Everald “Gally’ Cummings (left) not optimistic about T&T football.

Nothing’s changed

FORMER national footballer and coach Everald “Gally’ Cummings sees very little light at the end up of the tunnel when it comes to football in Trinidad and Tobago and blames a series of poor administrators for taking the game to its current low.

“I don’t know where we can go,” Cummings said, “What I know is where we are at this time. It’s something that I predicted.”

Cummings was speaking on TV6’s Morning Edition on Tuesday where he was highlighting his 386-page autobiography, a document of his 60-year journey in local football, which saw him selected to the national team as a 16-year-old Fatima College schoolboy.

His son, former St Mary‘s College standout Gabre Cummings, was responsible for the technical aspects and research on the book which is available nationwide at Nigel R Khan bookstores; Metropolitan book store, located at Capital Plaza , Frederick street, Port of Spain; Charran’s Book Store, Main Road, Chaguanas; and the Paper Based Bookstore, located at Normandie Hotel, St Ann’s.

Cummings lamented the decline over time from when his 1989 “Strike Squad” filled the National Stadium, to now when football lovers are more interested in foreign club teams than the T&T side.

“We have no more loyal spectators in Trinidad and Tobago,” Cummings declared. “We need to bring back the kind of football we played...and that was the type of football we played in 1989.”

Cummings also said there was great need for an administrative reset in local football.

“We need honest people coming into the fray and doing their best, not just for Trinidad and Tobago football, but for Trinbagonians,” he insisted. “We need young people getting involved and understanding the history of Trinidad and Tobago football, so we could get your own (football) administrators—just as we have young professionals.” In his book, Cummings catalogues a long history where local administrators have failed both football and its supporters. He remembers resisting attempts by a team administrator to turn him into a messenger boy in 1966 rather than being a teenage footballer who was selected to the national team. Having been ostracised for making a stand then, Cummings was often at odds with local administrators over his long career as both player and coach.

“I thought they were always about themselves, not the players,” said Cummings, “and that is the same way it is today.”

On Page 269, Cummings referred to the overselling of match tickets for T&T’s World Cup qualifier against the United States on November 19, 1989 as being cruel and criminal.

“If the stadium had crumbled on that day, as the architect confessed to in the Seemungal Enquiry, my entire family, other people’s family and spectators would have all died,” Cummings surmised.