Zoran Vranes and Leston PaulThe Tobago National Under 20 men’ team walked away with the bulk of the top accolades at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s 2009 Awards Ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom on Wednesday night.
Honourable President His Excellency George Maxwell Richards was the feature guest and he presented three of the evening’s top awards to  members of the National Under 20 team which captured the 2008 Bmobile National Super League crown before going on to qualify for the 2009 FIFA World Youth Cup in Egypt.

T&T Under 20 captain Leston Paul was named the TTFF’s Youth “Player of the Year” while head coach Zoran Vranes and manager Chris De Silva took home the “Coach of the Year” and “Administrator of the Year” awards all receiving their honours from President Richards.

The Youth Female “Player of the Year” went to National Under 17 player Kaylor Taylor while Ahkeela Mollon, who is based in Sweden, was named the Senior Female “Player of the Year” and the male version was copped by English-based striker Jason Scotland.

Pro League outfit Caledonia AIA which took away the FA Trophy, were also presented with the “Fair Play”  award.

The respective awards for the Super League were also presented on the evening which came to a close with a lively performance by long songstress Denise Plummer.

The ceremony’s feature speaker was Jeremy Jones, Head of Enterprise Operations RBC/RBTT  Bank Limited.  Jones also has over 15 years experience in Law Enforcement and Corporate Security Management in England and Trinidad and Tobago.

Jones’ delivery grabbed the attention of present.

“As I look around our society today and I survey what I can only term the wasted youth in our environment and reflect upon this wasted youth, I wonder to myself when I see the latest statistic whether or not  I can strip that person of their gangster lingo, of their alias, their gangster garb and maybe for a second envisage that person in a semi-professional team uniform, or perhaps a Trinidad and Tobago uniform, maybe even a Sunderland away kit.

I wonder to myself if this wasted youth in our country is potential loss forever, potential that we will never know, may have been realized in a special way… perhaps that headed goal in a competition that carries us forward into a World Cup tournament. I cannot help but wonder if that life cut short in our ghettos, that life cut short by a bullet and the conspiracies of our ghettos has killed that potential… the potential of a Dwight Yorke, a treble medal winner for Manchester United… the potential of a Hasely Crawford – a golden Olympian,” Jones stated.

“I wonder as well whether that potential is such a rare thing in our country that perhaps that wasted youth does not matter… perhaps that wasted youth was never intended to blossom into what we know and recognized as our sporting heroes. Is it that rare I wonder. If we are looking for potential, for raw talent…we haven’t got far to look,” Jones said during part of his address.

He described aspiring athletes, particularly footballers as the heroes of the nation. The likes of a Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Hasely Crawford and Brian Lara must be celebrated and be taken to the communities to tell of their experiences on way to achievements as a way of inspiring others.

Directing his message to the “Soca Warriors” particularly the Under 20s heading to Egypt., Jones also said  that sport was one of the detours to take the country away from heading down a road where it will be difficult to return from.

“They (Soca Warriors) carry more than just the hopes of our country in a sporting event. They carry the hope that somewhere, somehow, in some community, a young man maybe touched by your achievement, by your discipline, by your tenacity, by your determination and by your success and may use that as a model to instead of taking up the gun and the gang culture.. to take up a ball and to find a field,” Jones added.

TTFF 2009 Honour Roll

– SEGMENT 1 – Bmobile National Super League Awards:

Youth Award – DEFENCE FORCE F.C. ($3000 in equipment & trophy)
League Runner Up – JOE PUBLIC F.C. ($65,000 & medals)
League Winner – NATIONAL UNDER 20 ($120,000 trophy & medals)
Knock Out Winner – NATIONAL UNDER 20 ($35,000 & trophy)
Five footballers of the year: (award & $1000 each)
Footballer of the Year (award & $2000): KENTON ANDREWS – ECONOMY STRIKERS

SEGMENT 2 – TTFF Awards (except Player of the Year & Team of the Year):

Fair Play Award – CALEDONIA AIA
FA Trophy Winners – CALEDONIA AIA
Assistant Referee Female. – CINDY MOHAMMED
Assistant Referee Male – DION NEIL
Referee of Year Female. – SHANE DE SILVA
Referee of Year Male – NEIL BRIZAN
Most Improved Player Female –REHANA OMARDEEN
Most Improved Player Male –ANSLEM JACKSON
Match Commissioner of Year – BORIS PUNCH

SEGMENT 3 His Excellency presents Player of the Year & Team of the Year Awards:

Youth Player of Year – Female- KAYLA TAYLOR
Youth Player of the Year – Male- LESTON PAUL
Female Player of the Year – Senior- AKHEELA MOLLON
Male Player of the Year – Senior – JASON SCOTLAND
Administrator of the Year – CHRIS DE SILVA
Coach of the Year – ZORAN VRANES
Team of the Year – NATIONAL U-20 TEAM