Sat, Jul

Newly elected T&T Football Association president Keiron Edwards, third from right, poses with fellow new members of the TTFA executive, ordinary member Allan Logan, from left, Andrew Boodoo (ordinary member), third vice-president Jamieson Riques, second vice-president Osmond Downer, Ryan Nunes (ordinary member) and Shelton Williams (ordinary member). Missing are first vice-president Colin Murray and Alicia Austin (ordinary member). PHOTO BY: Vashti Singh

Kieron Edwards has been given the responsibility along with his very experienced Team Progress slate to take T&T football into a new era.

This as Edwards, the Eastern Football Association (EFA) president, was elected as the new president of the TTFA by a vote count of 38-19 over Colin Wharfe and Team Transformation at the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva, on Saturday (April 13).

The voting delegates were required to register their vote, via secret ballot, at the Elective Congress for either one of the two slates – “Slate Edwards” or “Slate Wharfe”.

The appointment of Edwards who will serve as the head of local football for the next four years also brings to an end the tenure of the Robert Hadad-led FIFA-appointed normalisation committee after four years in charge of T&T football after the reign of then-newly elected president William Wallace was swiftly brought to a calamitous end several months into his tenure.

The other members of the new TTFA executive include sports commentator Colin Murray (first vice-president), former FIFA referee Osmond Downer (second vice-president), Jameson Rigues (third vice president) and ordinary members, Ryan Nunes, Andrew Boodhoo, Allan Logan, Alicia Austin, and Shelton Williams.

The other members of Wharfe's slate were Colonel Keston Charles (first vice-president), Renee John-Williams (second vice-president), Huey Cadette (third vice-president), and ordinary members Colm De Freitas, Riaz Ali, Lee Davis, Makan Hislop and Richard Mason.

Speaking following his Team Progress triumph in the election a beaming Edwards said he was happy, humbled and honoured to be the new president of the TTFA.

"After four years of normalisation committee, I think the members would have given me a bit of confidence with the vote and I am ready to work."

Commenting on the work done by his team in the build-up to the election, Edwards said, "Our slate would have done the work and left it in the hands of the membership and they made their decision. So, it was up to the members and they decided to give us the confidence and we are really humbled and honoured by it.

Looking ahead, Edwards said he will be having a relaxing "Sunday" (today) before he gets to work tomorrow (Monday).

He said, "The campaign has been hectic and I intend to hit the ground running on Monday, meet with the NC chairman, work on the handing over and meet with the members of staff to engage with the team."

Edwards said he intends to engage corporate T&T, and the Government in terms of their assistance to football and the assets that belong to the TTFA.

"So, it's going to be a collective approach we intend to deal with and it's one that we have been saying during our campaign as well.

"It's a members-first approach, one of inclusion and partnerships and it will continue during our tenure.

Asked to comment on senior men's coach Angus Eve's squad, Edwards said, "My vision is similar to that of T&T nationals in terms of ensuring that they qualify for the next World Cup not just for football but for T&T because it's a unifying and healing thing.

"We know the power of football throughout the world and we intend to utilise football to leave a positive mark on T&T.

Concerning Eve's position as coach, as well as general secretary of the TTFA, Edwards made it clear that he intends to honour all contracts of those employed currently and assured that coach Eve will be given all the support to qualify the team for the next World Cup.

He added, "It's not a situation of moving people, it's about giving the support for T&T and enhancing what we do and ensuring that we have the correct development and ensuring that we do qualify for tournaments and also that we do well in these tournaments.

Edwards was also full of praise for the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee, saying, "The NC played a crucial role in T&T and we need to understand that and we need to acknowledge the service that they would have given to T&T football.

"It's not easy to give four years of your time to an organisation that you may not have wanted to in the initial stage, meaning that you didn't put yourself forward for the member to elect you.

"So, you first have to tip your hat to the NC and the chairman for the work that they would have done.

"We all have different views in terms of how we operate but in terms of the service given, you have to give credit to them for that.

"They would have done a tremendous job on consolidating our debt and having it there in one place now through FIFA and we have to give respect to that and you have to give to the NC as well and the team that would have worked on that and we now have the ability to lay a new foundation for football."

Beaten candidate and Team Transformation head, Colin Wharfe praised the voting process saying it was excellent.

However, said he was expecting somewhat of a different outcome.

He explained," You get commitment and understanding from individuals and it didn't pan out that way. So they may have changed their minds, I have no idea, but it is their democratic right to do as they wish."

"In the final analysis, they made a selection and we got to honour that solution," ended Wharfe.

Despite his loss, Wharfe the chief executive officer of the T&T Premier Football League said he will continue to do his job while awaiting the newly appointed TTFA executive to make their determinations.

Hadad also praised the election process saying that it was very professional and he was also delighted with the full turnout of the TTFA membership.

"It demonstrated the type of support T&T football has from within and the future is bright."

Hadad also thanked FIFA and Concacaf for their support and advice in getting local football to this point.

He added, "The NC process is completed but one outstanding matter is the BIA process which is still pending, as well as the two matters before the court, which will continue to be looked after the Trustee Maria Daniel, but other than that the TTFA is debt free apart from the FIFA loan which will be repaid in ten years."

New TTFA executive

President: Kieron Edwards

First vice-president: Colin Murray

Second vice-president: Osmond Downer

Third vice president: Jameson Rigues

Ordinary member: Ryan Nunes

Ordinary member: Andrew Boodhoo

Ordinary member: Allan Logan

Ordinary member: Alicia Austin

Ordinary member: Shelton Williams

SOURCE: T&T Guardian