Sat, Jul

2024 TTFA Elections

The TTFA Election 2024 is the opportunity for the re-engineering of football and all sport in communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of four Caribbean countries that have participated in the FIFA World Cup Finals competition; the other three being Cuba in 1938, Haiti in 1974, and Jamaica in 1998. T&T participated in 2006.

The greatest opportunity for another T&T participation is in the FIFA WC 2026, for which six-and-a-half places are on offer to the CONCACAF region, which has moved upward from one place in 1974, to three-and-a-half places in 2006.

The big picture of the Caribbean today is reminiscent of the struggles for independence in the 1960s and the efforts to bring about the formation of the Caricom, all similar to that of accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice by countries in the region.

I contend that football is the catalyst for re-engineering the national socio-structure and delivering economic benefits by creating jobs in sport throughout all communities, with the establishment of a sport industry, both in T&T and the wider Caribbean.

It was a privilege to attend the many lectures and consultations by Dr William Demas around the Caribbean to encourage countries to become members of Caricom; to have the challenges common to various countries addressed on a unified front. I am grateful he agreed eventually to the establishment of a Caricom Desk for sport, which must be revived and equipped to facilitate the Caribbean sport sector which as an Industry, would be only second to the energy sector of the region; and will have the capacity to be linked to the entertainment sector for major job creation.

Back at home, the stage is now set for the TTFA membership to duly elect from two slates, the president for the new four-year term 2024-28.

I must first congratulate Kieron Edwards and Dennis Latiff for the successful outcome of our meeting held on March 26, to ensure the necessary compromise to have the election conducted between two slates. My reasons for so insisting, were based on the facts that after the retirement of former TTFA President Ollie Camps, the stage was set for the first election for president in 20 years and with the withdrawal of one candidate, Raymond Tim Kee was automatically installed in November 2012, as the sole candidate for president. At both elections in 2015 and 2019, the two major candidates were separated by not more than six votes.

It is my view this election is two years later than the ideal time required to successfully prepare for the largest football competition, the FIFA World Cup 2026, to be hosted in the CONCACAF for the first time since 1994.

The TTFA election to be held on April 13, will determine the Executive to restructure and develop football in Trinidad and Tobago, while urgently redoubling much required initiatives to ensure qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

Restructuring by a new TTFA is needed in order to develop the best possible product on the football field, creating wider participation, training and development, from grassroots upwards. Highly competitive community leagues, strong well-structured and supported community league teams competing within the zonal level are also necessary so as to provide attractive inter-zonal competitions, all providing the base for the establishment of a privately-owned Trinidad and Tobago national professional league at the top of the football pyramid.

The goal is derived from forums, a Government of T&T zero employment symposium, seminars and public consultations, with football stakeholders making significant contributions, the last of which was held in 2019, throughout the country, for which neither the report, strategic plan or recommendations have been reviewed or considered to date for implementation. In addition to the manifesto and 100-day plan, there are two critical recommendations for the new TTFA Executive:

1. The appointment of an independent Constitution Committee to review the Articles forwarded by the TTFA Constitution Committee.

2. Hosting a member and stakeholder consultation to review and contribute to the further development of the strategic plan.

For those of us committed to the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago, we fully understand the need to secure the unequivocal support of the unified TTFA membership to achieve the desired goal. For while the goal is quite easily outlined, there is no short cut, quick fix, or magic wand. Only dedicated can address the large task to be undertaken, which will demand all hands-on-deck in the new TTFA.

Welcome on board, join the movement to restructure and develop the TTFA, football, all sport disciplines, and the entire entertainment sector, in T&T and the entire Caribbean.

—Selby Browne is president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago and was at one time in the running to contest the upcoming TTFA elections.

SOURCE: T&T Express