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Thu, Jan

Cyrus thanks Hadad: 'He lived up to his word'
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T&T men’s senior footballer Daneil Cyrus said he respects chairman of the normalisation committee Robert Hadad for sticking to his word and paying national footballers their salaries.

Among those who were liaising with the normalisation committee concerning salaries was the Coaches Steering Committee which includes Jefferson George, Wayne Sheppard, Angus Eve, Clayton Morris and Richard Hood. A member of that committee told Newsday at 5.30 pm on Tuesday that he had been paid.

Approximately 40 coaches and technical staff members of national senior and junior teams were owed money for various periods.

The coaches that had three-month contracts were paid in full, but coaches and staff with longer contracts received 50 per cent of their salaries. All the players are expected to get paid in full.

Cyrus, who could not recall the length of time he was not paid, said the footballers are breadwinners for their families and he was grateful. “To be honest the main focus for the players is to be fathers where they have to take care of their families.”

The defender said not being paid can affect team performance.

“It was kind of hampering with our performance in a way. I don’t want to make excuses where we were losing games and we were not doing good.”

Cyrus is delighted for the local players especially. “At the end of the day I was playing outside, but what about the other guys who were playing home where the (TT Pro League and TT Super) League were not playing for a while where plenty players did not get a salary for a long time and they were looking out for this money…Hadad came in and as he came in he started to show progress.”

Over the last two years, Cyrus has had stints with Mohun Bagan AC in India and Erbil SC in Iraq.

The payment of salaries is a Christmas gift, according to Cyrus. “I am happy to see some of the players receive this money because it is close to Christmas where you have a family and everything (to take care of).”

Cyrus, 30, has 90 caps for T&T after making his debut in 2010.

Cyrus was satisfied that Hadad stayed true to his word. “I spoke to Hadad and I asked him if I could hold him to his word and he said, ‘Yes.’ Most of us had a conversation and he lived up to his word, so I respect him full 100 (per cent) for this.”

This is the first time national players and coaches will be paid since the normalisation committee was formed by FIFA in March to run local football. The normalisation committee inherited a debt of over $50 million and the committee has been trying to reduce that debt and pay outstanding salaries.

In November, FIFA lifted a two-month suspension on the TTFA and T&T are now free to compete in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments such as World Cup qualifiers that begin in March. The TTFA, formerly led by William Wallace, was involved in an eight-month court battle with FIFA over its decision to appoint the normalisation committee and remove the TTFA executive.

With the suspension being lifted and players and coaches being paid, Cyrus said local football is on the right path.

“The direction is good, everything going good so far,” he said.

Defender Radanfah Abu Bakr will not benefit from the payment of salaries as he last played for T&T in 2017.

He said if the situation continued it could have had a negative impact on players.

“The reality is that is your job as well. That is how you take care of your family…as much as you try to cross the white line and forget about those things it is inevitable when it is dragging on and on. It must take a toll on you mentally as well. For some guys it does inhibit you a bit when you are playing and when you training and maybe it does affect your commitment to the team.”