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Director of Football at North East Stars Mike Awai has come under fire for his views which were reported in this newspaper that school football is killing player-development in T&T.

A number of top coaches, all of whom have passed through Secondary School Football League (SSFL) system, such as Nigel Grosvenor who is the head coach at Queen’s Royal College (QRC), Travis Mulraine, the Arima North Secondary boss and Michael Grayson, the coach at Trinity College East, have expressed their disagreement with Awai’s statement which was published on Sunday, have said it is instead the clubs that are not developing the young players.

Yesterday, Grosvenor in a two-page email said as a Dean, teacher and football coach for over 34 years he wouldn’t even try to call names of people who have passed through the SSFL but reminded Awai, there are doctors, lawyers, Army and Police personnel, and professional footballers abroad and right here in T&T that have passed through the school system.

According to Grosvenor: “Apart from the books and playing football for your school, this is what school is all about, all of this together is education, all of this is development.”

The long-serving St Anthony’s College coach, who was recently joined by Kenwyne Jones as his assistant at QRC, scuffed at Awai’s comment that there are no developmental coaches in the school system and point to Grayson, Mulraine, Sean Cooper, an former national youth coach at Presentation College, Angus Eve, another former national youth coach who coaches at Naparima College: Reynold Carrington, the St Benedict’s College coach, Trevor Spicer, the St Mary’s College coach, Trinity Moka, Ken Elie, a former national and Defence Force coach and himself.

Grosvenor said: “I want to remind you (Awai) that your son is a product of the same SSFL. He attended two schools playing in the SSFL, got his passes received a full scholarship to a University in the USA, got his degree, and is now making five times the amount of money the highest player in the pro league makes. It is really sad to hear you (Awai) bring down the SSFL like that. Let us see how we can enhance the players in the SSFL not try and bring them down.”

Grayson reminded that all the school’s league has the country’s young players for a maximum of five months, noting the other eight months they are in the possession of the clubs.

“Coaches like Anton Corneal and Bertille St Claire have taken youth teams to the Youth World Cups so where did the players come from?” asked Grayson, who also called Awai to say what are the so-called clubs, academies and Youth Pro League teams doing if the schools are not developing the players.

Grayson, who has represented T&T in football both as player and coach, said he was not surprised that the school’s league was being blamed for the country’s poor showing at Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and called on Awai to say exactly what he meant by no developmental coaches in the SSFL.

Mulraine, a former QRC midfielder, believes the clubs are in fact, not developing young players at all, and challenged any pro league clubs to prove him wrong. He, in fact, expressed an opposite view to Awai, saying clubs should instead be developed through the schools as they do not have access to the resources to develop players, such as its own fields, rooms to hold board sessions, AV or computer rooms, gyms, laundry and hall etc.

Mulraine, whose exploits on the football field for QRC has landed him the opportunity to represent the country at both junior and senior levels as well as at club level in T&T football, said it’s insane to say there are no development coaches at schools, when coaches such as Jean Lilywhite and Roderick Warner, are among many others who have spent their careers developing players.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian