Sat, Dec

Dr Hannibal Najjar, former Trinidad and Tobago head coach.

Despite being vilified in contrasting ways, the pair of David John-Williams and William Wallace, both former presidents of the T&T Football Association, are being seen as the ones to steer T&T football to a position of stabilisation, together.

So says former coach and Technical Director Hannibal Najjar on Tuesday, as he believes both individuals have assets that will be helpful to T&T football moving forward.

Najjar said, both men agreed with the idea of working together in principle last year, and he gave the assurance he will attempt to reach out to them again to see what can be done. This means both men would have to put aside their differences to join the same slate for the T&TFA Election, which will be determined by the current Normalisation Committee, being led by businessman Robert Hadad.

In November 2019 the team of John-Williams was replaced by Wallace's United T&TFA, following a hotly contested election at the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva.

John-Williams failed to convince the membership that he was transparent and accountable during his reign as president, as this was challenged by United T&TFA member Keith Look Loy in the courts midway during his four-year term of office which started in November 2015.

John-Williams was also chastised for his handling of the construction of the Home of Football, among many other issues. But later, the same membership joined forces to remove Wallace, after a FIFA said that the Wallace administration had placed local football on the brink of insolvency and illiquidity, despite them being in office for just three months.

Najjar, who described the sport as being the lowest of low at this point said: "I believe that William Wallace has the spirit in him to be a part of something, anything, that will help football, really from a gentle leadership place. It's like having two kinds of leaders, one who is determined but has a gentle approach to how he would have led, and one who is determined and has a more courageous, bolder way to go forward, which is what David has. I am going to call both of them and speak to them that I am going to try to re-engage the idea of both of them being brought in, in some way, initially, separately and or together by the Normalisation Committee, for them to see how they can utilize what is existing and not to try and do it on their own."

At present, the Hadad-led normalization committee of Attorney Judy Daniel, and businessmen Nigel Romano and Trevor Gomez, is nowhere close to achieving the mandate set out by the sport's world governing body of 1. Establishing a debt repayment plan that will be implementable by the TTFA; 2. Review and amend the TTFA Statutes and ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress; 3. Run the TTFA’s daily affairs; 4. Organize and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate.

According to Najjar: "I feel hopeful, and I feel we have hit our heads up against a wall right now and I think Hadad and them are concerned with the image that is out there right now, with all that is going on and them being rejected or some question mark over their heads by the coaches, particularly the local coaches, and these committees that they have kind of ostracized."

Najjar who coached T&T between 2002-2003, believes it will foolish for the membership to write off both men because of their past, as they still have so much to offer.

Contacted for a comment, Wallace said he prefers to stay out of the football right now as there are too many people with personal agendas. John-Williams on the other hand refused to comment.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian