A Tropical Storm Warning yesterday left the Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 women in St Kitts in distress after all flights were cancelled.

The TT Under- 17s, fresh off their CFU 1st round qualifiers where they reeled off three convincing victories including a 4-0 drubbing of their hosts on Wednesday, were expected to return home yesterday. But with flights grounded because of the Tropical Storm Warning, the national team were forced to bunker down in St Kitts.

This caused tremendous concern to team members though as the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) revealed they would not be able to foot the bill for the extra days the team had to stay. 

And with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) scrambling to source funds for their extended stay, yesterday proved somewhat of a nightmare for members of the team. 

A local television broadcast last night quoted the brother of one of the TT footballers as saying some players went without food for most of the day as their hotel ceased all services to them past their check-out time. 

Sheldon Phillips, General Secretary of the TT FA, expounded on the situation. 

“All the teams’ flights were cancelled but there was actually some concern that they would be stuck in Nevis but they were able to get over despite the ferry shutting down service. They are set to leave on Saturday. 

“They are staying at a hotel in St Kitts and we are working out something right now. CFU had indicated they weren’t in a position to take care of the extra day so we’re going to have to foot the bill or find a backer to foot the bill. That’s not going to be an issue, it looks like we’re going to secure that,” he said. 

He stressed though that the players are comfortable and “as happy as you can imagine them to be after such a dominating performance, scoring 16 goals and didn’t have a goal scored against them. Everyone is comfortable and safe and in good spirits.”

Asked to divulge who the TTFA has approached to assist in the expenses, Phillips revealed: “We’re speaking with the (Sport) Ministry and (it’s set) they’ll be well taken care of. I want to acknowledge the Sport Ministry and the Sport Company for coming in and helping us in this situation.” Minister of Sport Brent Sancho though was not flattered by the compliment paid to his Ministry and the Sport Company who stepped in to provide accommodation and meals for the athletes at the Bird Rock Hotel in St Kitts. 

“That’s not good enough for me. I am mortified to know our young women were stranded in St Kitts with the hotel about to kick them out,” he told Newsday yesterday. 

The Sports Minister continued, “Why are they operating? What is their existence? What have they done with the money they got from the Gold Cup? We paid travel, accommodation, players, coaching staff. What have they done?” TT U-17 Team manager Lyndelle Hoyte Sanchez, in a TTFA media release said the contingent was safe and in good spirits. 

“We are safe and being taken good care of by the hotel manager and staff. We wish to thank the FA and the Sport Company for its assistance in the matter. At this time, our team staff is also ensuring that the players are in good spirits. We are just experiencing some of the after effects like wind and rainfall but nothing too serious."