ANTON CORNEAL had not been paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for a single month since he took up the position of technical director of the TTFA in January 2012. He had survived because Government had agreed to assist the TTFA by paying half of his salary. But over a two-year period, Corneal had gotten only eight installments of half-salary, and payments have generally not been on a regular cycle. The financial strain was too heavy to bear.
After ten years involved with the TTFA, on Tuesday Corneal submitted his resignation after taking into consideration the heavy financial burden his work with the TTFA has had on his family life. Corneal bears no grudges with his former employer, and has not shut the door on a return to the Association, if the financial situation improves.
He said his role as technical director was negated by lack of funds to put programmes in place, and begged corporate T&T to become involved with football. Corneal specifically cited the need to fund the national women’s team’s attempt to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in a couple of months, and also upcoming qualifying tournaments for two national youth teams.
A well-qualified coach, Corneal has not ruled out working abroad as his next step, but would prefer to remain in T&T. Corneal added that while national youth team coaches and technical staff similarly have not been paid for a year, he needed to make a decision in the best interest of his family.
“It was because of the inability of the Association to support my salary,” Corneal said was the primary factor leading to his resignation. “It has not been done for a long time (salary paid), and I have a life to live like anybody else.”
Corneal added that due to the TTFA’s current poor financial standing, there was great difficulty implementing his programmes as technical director.
“I am praying football gets the type of support it needs. If I don’t have the system to put things in place, my role there is almost negated,” Corneal said. “I have to find a way of living. I have a family to maintain. I had to take action now. What I did before was sacrifice for the country.”
Yesterday, the TTFA issued a release confirming that Corneal had stepped down as technical director. TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee said it was unfortunate Corneal had to leave under such circumstances.
“Mr Corneal issued his letter of resignation to the executive committee of the TTFA on Tuesday morning,” the TTFA stated.
Tim Kee added: “Enough words cannot express our gratitude to Anton Corneal for his endless hours of dedication and service to the Association in his capacity as technical director. It is in fact with regret that we have to see his tenure as technical director come to an end in this way and under these circumstances. His knowledge of the game is unquestionable and his passion for country is indeed admirable,” Tim Kee stated.