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Clint Marcelle
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Former national midfielder Clint Marcelle is all for football.

Despite having his close friend, schoolmate, and ex-national colleague Ross Russell as one of the candidates for Saturday's annual general meeting (AGM) and the election of officers for the Northern Football Association (NFA), Marcelle said he will be throwing his support behind the person who has the sport and the zone at heart.

And he noted also that he will support the person who is more realistic in his desires.

Following the resignation of former president Anthony Harford in October, the battle for the top spot will be contested by Russell, who for many years, has been a part of the national coaching set-up as a goalkeeper coach, and Richard Piper, a close friend and former work colleague of Harford at All Sport Promotions.

The AGM and elections, carded for the Cascadia Hotel in St Ann's, will be the first face-to-face event to be held since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions. The NFA received permission from Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith for the election to be held face-to-face instead of virtually, as was done at the T&T Super League's (TTSL) AGM, on Sunday.

However, Marcelle who played professionally in England and Portugal for several clubs, including FC Felgueiras, Scunthorpe United, Goole, Hull City, Darlington, Harrogate Town, and Hucknall Town, among others said: "Once these people are going up for the right reasons, for football and not for other stuff, then I am all for it, but they are yet to convince me that they are going up for football and to make football better."

He told Guardian Media Sports: "At the end of the day, the same old faces that you are seeing in football, I have seen since I was a schoolboy. So it's time that we make a transition and bring in new blood, new faces, and new ideas. We have enough past footballers who I am sure would make great administrators of the game also. My congratulations go out to Clayton Morris for winning the presidency of the TTSL. For me, that is a start in the right direction."  

Russell will have on his slate the support of Anthony 'Dada' Wickham, the Trendsetter Hawks coach, as his first vice president, while Rodney Stowe was recently confirmed as the second vice president.

Russell's slate also comprises Michael Thomas and Nevick Denoon as secretary and assistant secretary, with Sedric Hazelwood as an ordinary member.

Yesterday Wickham, who has made a name for himself as a development coach, said their intention is to give the power of decision-making and operation to the clubs, saying the clubs must be consulted when dealing with all issues.

"The clubs have been very despondent with the way things have gone in the zone, for instance, there are clubs who have been owed since 2017, and others who were not paid prize monies for the past two years," Wickham said.  

Russell told Guardian Media Sports that he took up the challenge to run for the presidency after he observed the interest of club participation, spectator- excitement, and sponsorship in northern football have all totally disappeared.

Piper’s slate will comprise Derek Edwards, the Petit Valley Diego Martin United manager as his first vice president, and Tristan Charles, the manager of Santa Cruz United as his second vice president.

Marcelle called for the commercialisation of the sport in the zone, saying: "Football is business now and the zone needs to operate and be run like a business, for instance, if someone is hoping for the presidency, they need to say what are the benefits to the zone. Do I get a sponsor for the next three years or do I get a sponsor for the next five years?"  

"These are things that concern me because somebody will come about and sponsor the zone this year but next year it will be like, what's going on? So we need long-term planning for the zone."

With just a few days to go before the election, Marcelle is yet to hear the plans of the candidates, noting that his support will be shown when he hears the respective proposals.  


SOURCE: T&T Guardian