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Camacho wants CAC gold for T&T stickmen, women

By Mark Pouchet

Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) president Douglas Camacho says his objectives for the men’s and women’s senior national teams in 2014 are good medal performances at the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

And Camacho said the misunderstanding that led to an open conflict with the Ministry of Sport is behind the TTHB, which is looking forward to engaging the Ministry for the betterment of hockey.

“The Commonwealth Games (to be hosted in the Isle of Man) will be really good preparation for CAC, which is critical for us to get into Pan Ams with. So the objective at CAC is gold for both the Men’s and women’s teams. That would be the TTHB objective and that’s what we will be looking for,” the former Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (T&TOC) president said.

For the Commonwealth Games, he said that the Men’s team—which qualified as first reserve team after the withdrawal of fourth-seeded Pakistan—and Women’s team (they qualified by right for the ninth spot of the ten-team tournament) will both aim to give good account of themselves.

“But again, it’s going to be a tough challenge for both,” Camacho said, before adding that the men’s draw include seven of the top ten teams in the world.

Concerning the disputes about funding for the men’s and women’s hockey teams at the Pan Am Cup last year, Camacho said: “I would like to think that is behind us (the TTHB and the Ministry of Sport) now. I can’t speak to the Ministry, per se, but we have met with SPORTT going forward into the 2013-2014 year, and I would say the meetings have been respectful, have been very cordial. They are very clear about our position and we are very clear about theirs and we understand their position and now we press forward in that regard.”

Camacho said 2014 will be an unusual year because of the two international events—the Commonwealth Games and the CAC Games, which fall within the gambit of the TTOC.

“The Ministry of Sport through their funding organ SPORTT has made it very clear it will be channelled [through] the TTOC for those events,” Camacho said.

He said they have a budget and will have to supplement it with their own fund-raising initiatives, especially if they are to participate in FIH Indoor qualifiers and FIH World League events, this last critical if they are to qualify for World Champs and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

“But he said if they have to make the hard choice to sacrifice one, the TTHB will have to because “we can’t be responsible at a technical level and irresponsible at the financial level”.

Camacho regarded 2013 as a rebuilding phase for the women’s team, which included a healthy 40 per cent of Under-19 players and a fantastic one for the men, who won a historic bronze at the Pan American Cup in Ontario, Canada last August, their first medal in that competition for 47 years.

“It is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the character of the individuals and the work done by Kwan (Kwandwane Browne) and Glen ‘Fido’ Francis,” he said, adding that Francis was currently interned at a UK Premier League team getting exposure to coaching at the top level.

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