Sat, May


Anthony WolfeTrinidad and Tobago's senior national footballers may have a new coach, but they are hardly a happy bunch.

The latest issue to creep into the team is actually a revival of December's complaints over salaries owing over a 13-match stretch last year, including the Digicel Caribbean Cup.

The players have since been paid, but are dissatisfied with the amounts of money they have received. The Express have also learned that some of the T&T technical staff have also gone unpaid for a period over the last year.

When contacted by the Express yesterday about the problems the players are facing, Anthony Wolfe said players are not pleased they did not get what they were promised.

"We were a bit disappointed, but we leave it (and) let it pass," Wolfe said. "But we know that's not what they owed us. (But I knew) at the end of the day this story will (come) back up."

Wolfe—one of the 13 players still embroiled in legal action against the TTFF over monies owed them from the 2006 World Cup campaign— also gave his personal feelings on the matter.

"I am a footballer," said the North East Stars player. "(For) a good while I have been on the national team. It's a pleasure for me being there and playing for the country.

I prefer to play for the country (knowing I am) getting nothing (rather) than (having) them telling me that I will get $50,000 and I get $10,000."

When the Express contacted TTFF president Oliver Camps for a response on the matter, he insisted TTFF secretary Richard Groden was the most appropriate person to respond to the claims.

"I heard of some problem regarding that, but Mr Groden is the best person to answer that. He is the secretary," Camps stated.

Groden was even less obliging.

"I have nothing to say on the matter," the long-standing administrator said. "Any response would come from the TTFF via release."

But when asked if a release on the matter would be forthcoming, Groden simply said "no".

Wolfe wished T&T coach Otto Pfister the best in his new job, and pledged his support to do whatever it takes to help the national team recover from their current low.

He said the players were extremely disappointed at not being able to reach the 'Digicel' semi-finals, which would have taken them to the Gold Cup.

But he contended that until concerns like player and technical team payments and other issues were seriously dealt with, T&T will continue have problems on the field.

He said further that local players have been afraid to stand up for themselves for fear of being "victimised".

"We're 'fraid to say things because (players) feel they will be victimised by (TTFF special adviser) Mr (Jack) Warner," Wolfe said. "I respect him for what he has done for us as the godfather of football, but (the Federation) have to have that respect for us as well."

Having been one of the 16 players blacklisted after the 2006 World Cup, Wolfe says he is not afraid of anyone, but will continue to play for T&T if selected.

The Manzanilla native pointed to Jamaica's successful industrial action last year, saying T&T's footballers lack that unity.

"Jamaica stood up for some money that was owed to them …these guys before their next game, they protest, and I was amazed," he related.

I said to myself 'Them Jamaicans have belly'. But is not belly. Them fellers (have) togetherness. We have to get our act together as local players," Wolfe concluded.