An emotional Brent Sancho said yesterday that over the past eight years members of the Soca Warriors team faced humiliation and some of their careers ended as they waited for monies owed to them.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that US$1.3 million would be paid to the Soca Warriors - the balance owed to them by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
Some of the players were present at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s yesterday- Sancho, Cyd Gray, David Atiba Charles, Anthony Wolfe, Stern John, Cornell Glen and Aurtis Whitley.
The other six players who will be receiving money are out of the country.
“It’s been eight years, 2,924 days, 70,176 hours. I am overwhelmed. On behalf of those of us who have been fighting a long, tough legal battle to get our just due payment for our efforts at the FIFA World Cup, Germany 2006, this moment means more than any of us can describe,” he said.
He said when the Soca Warriors team returned in June 2006 from Germany, they were heroes, loved by all.
“We didn’t expect asking for what we were promised to be met with eight years of humiliation, torment, black listing and even some cases, career loss,” he said.
He praised the Government and Prime Minister and expressed gratitude for finally acknowledging their pleas.
“And what a time for it to happen. Here we are on the eve of World Cup 2014, Brazil and when our own memories of that time return mixed with the emotions of our unsettled payments, we can truly celebrate and pay tribute to those who have chosen to honour us,” he said.
He noted that the Government had no legal obligation to settle assist the Soca Warriors but now the country can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
“Those who played their hearts out have asked me to convey their sincere appreciation.We will all follow the events in Brazil this week with an unfettered spirit and only great memories of the time the Trinidad and Tobago anthem played on the football field in Germany. Thank you all for the recognition. Each one of us, humbly accepts this gift from the nation. We feel acknowledged and deeply grateful,” said Sancho.