Fri, Jun


The normalisation committee’s (NC) four-prong mandate/task given by FIFA approximately one year ago is no easy assignment.

Save for those in the closed circuitry of the NC, no one really knows the phone call conversations between officials of FIFA and the NC or who might be silent contributors. And so, what I share here is my approach had I been given this “Mount Everest” assignment. It must be noted that persons mentioned below for subcommittee contributions have not been personally contacted for the proposed roles that I am recommending.

The four mandates with proposals:

Establish a debt repayment plan that will be implementable by the TTFA: The existing committee of Robert Hadad, Nigel Romano, Judy Daniel, and Trevor Gomez would be suited for this daunting task. An ANSA McAL person — and I have one in mind — Mr Selby Browne is another on this list. Understanding of the value of sponsorship at the international level is key.

Review and amend the TTFA statutes and ensure its compliance with the FIFA statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress: Attorney Daniel should proficiently handle this. Others with experience in local, regional and international football matters should be considered.

Using the backward design approach, understanding the operations of FIFA, its committees and subcommittees, is crucial. People on my list would include attorney Sheldon Phillips. Legal background aside, he has experience as a former general secretary of the TTFA and in World Cup organisational functions. Because of his background Ato Boldon would be approached, as would Osmond Downer who is an important figure in all facets of football and people relations!

Run the TTFA’s daily affairs: This subcommittee should possess knowledge of the intricacies of this business, one that is tied to CFU, CONCACAF and FIFA. Those that I would seek to include here are, Sheldon Phillips, Wayne Mandeville, Osmond Downer, Keith Bailey, and Barry Nelson of Tobago.

Organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate. I would again approach, Sheldon Phillips. Dr Alvin Henderson would be an outstanding resource. Clearly, I would “mandate” that Clayton Morris (former T&T football captain) accepts. Other important persons are, Douglas Camacho, Larry Romany, Boldon, Shaka Hislop, Mandeville, and Michael Cooper.

At this juncture, I am resolved that the following two persons should be included in advisory capacities. They are the two immediate past presidents of the TTFA and respectively, one, a proven Pro League club owner and, the other, a very successful president of the Secondary Schools Football League.

Time is of the essence and so, we steal from the once Japanese practice of “not having to reinvent the wheel.” And for this very reason, we have in our midst, a very important piece to the puzzle. Persona non grata or not, once Jack Warner is still alive, then football has life. JW is full of insight into all the above major FIFA mandates. I am prepared to visit with this “library” and solicit guidance.

One remaining piece

I promise, there is only one remaining piece — that, clear-in-your face last piece! That piece is the inspiration that is Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. The “Beautiful Game” is now set in motion by the visit of FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino to T&T during the opening of the Home of Football where they “sat and supped” together in 2019. Dr Rowley understands this role and can navigate this walk because of his constitutional astuteness, integrity, and credibility.

All involved persons in this very important exercise must have these discussions with a pure heart and clean hands mindset – as with a genuine fiduciary seeking the interest of others above self.

The mindset needed now is, “go and sell everything that you own and come follow me.” No egoic self! No better notion to formulate than the message of the Honourable Nelson Mandela. If there was no Archbishop Tutu, that “Long Walk to Freedom” dream might still be in sleep state! His is the stark reminder that everything we do SHALL be about our children! Of course, the elderly need that joy and hope to rid themselves of this long, disenchanted period in our football. It is as Mandela reminds us: “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of our children.”

Scripture is what I use as one of my two closing remarks to the Editor: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Vision and mission together is the pathway to success. The second is, my very own recital of the qualities of a true champion – “one who gets up when lame; shares the fame; and, always takes the blame (1986).”

I am no Dr Anthony Fauci or Bill, and though the way forward is narrow, I see the “Gates” ahead opening with these recommendations. I know Gianni Infantino would be “pleased-for-so!” Let’s go, Hadad and Romano!

—Dr Hannibal Najjar is a former Trinidad and Tobago national senior and youth team coach

SOURCE: T&T Express