POLICE COMMISSIONER Gary Griffih has been a “godfather” to the Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s national football team in the absence of support from the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee and a non-functional T&T Football Association (TTFA).
T&T face both 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers in the coming months. However, sources indicate that without Griffith’s help, the team might have had to abandon both qualifying series.
Griffith has provided training facilities and meals, and has even paid for recent Covid-19 tests for the team, in the absence of FIFA’s Normalisation Committee, which is as broke as the almost insolvent TTFA itself, and constantly awaiting occasional funding from football’s world governing body.
Occurrences off the field have also begun to shroud what is happening on the field. Sources indicate that promises to pay monthly salaries of coaches at the end of May will likely not materialise now, along with players’ stipends for international service.
The players themselves have received multiple promises which have often come up short, and there is said to be very little confidence in what is promised to them by the FIFA committee, chaired by local businessman Robert Hadad.
One thing that is happening with the team is that through the police service and national security contacts, Griffith has been able to expedite the process of securing passports for some of the foreign-born footballers that national coach Terry Fenwick is interested in. By virtue of ancestral ties, these players are eligible to represent T&T at next month’s Concacaf zone World Cup qualifiers against Bahamas and St Kitts & Nevis.
Former England defender Fenwick had announced plans to further strengthen his squad after March qualifiers which saw the Soca Warriors beat Guyana 3-0 and draw 1-1 with Puerto Rico.
Recently, Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development, confirmed that Government departments had supported the TTTFA’s objective of getting passports for qualified foreign-born players.
“All the players that we have been pursuing, that TTFA have been pursuing, we have been able to get passports for those players,” Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe stated on a recent I-95 radio interview.
“As they continue to talk to more and get more on board, then the Government stand ready to continue to support and do the processing so those players will get their passports. But I know that the ones that we have pursued so far have been able to get their passports. That is the latest information that has been shared with me,” stated Cudjoe.
SOURCE: T&T Express