Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips described as "disappointing" the failure of the Trinidad and Tobago Under-15 football team to compete at the ongoing, inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 championships.
The team were unable to travel to Cayman Islands for the tournament as they were unable to book flights at the last minute, which forced them to pull out of the tournament.
Phillips told the Express yesterday that the Ministry of Sport has supported the TTFA on many occasions.
"Not on the budget and still getting support and being able to go to places like Estonia and Romania. Getting five matches in preparation for the Gold Cup. Our under-17 women, our under-20 women, and our senior women going on tour in the spread of a summer," he said.
"Yes, we are very disappointed with what has happened with the boys under-15 team, but overall the Ministry of Sport has been very supportive of us."
It is obvious the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is not biting the hand that has fed them several times in the past, and continues to feed them.
Only on Thursday, Minister of Sport Anil Roberts described the operations of some National Sporting Organisions (NSOs), including the TTFA, as incompetent. Roberts spoke specifically of the National under-15 football team issue, and presented documents to support his argument.
He specifically accused the TTFA and T&T Hockey Board (TTHB) of submitting very late requests for funding, and then blaming the Ministry for problems encountered.
“We cannot make (up) for the incompetence of officials in NSOs,” the Minister said at a press conference at his Abercromby Street office on Thursday.
Phillips’ response was diplomatic, rather than confrontation. "In spite of the comment (Roberts) made yesterday, I have to look at the entire picture and be sensible and sometimes philosophical," the son of former national goalkeeper and ex-technical director of T&T football Lincoln "Tiger" Phillips said.
"The Ministry has been very supportive of us on the vast majority of our tours.
“So, as disappointing as the events surrounding the under-15 tournament are, I think people have to be fair and look at the total picture, and look at it with some perspective."
Phillips admitted that much of the TTFA events for 2013 had not been budgeted for. Phillips could not explain why because it was before his May appointment.
He, however, explained that the under-15 tournament was not planned for since it was a new concept that CONCACAF had come up with.
"The tournament was officially announced in June, and the budget was sent in later on in the month, " Phillips said. "The July 31st submission (which the Minister spoke of) was in regard to our services level package. That was the omnibus package for all of our teams for 2014. The budget specific to the Under-15 tournament would have been sent in later on in June."
Phillips further added that he expected the TTFA's plan to move away from heavy Government funding to bear some fruit by mid-October. He said that there were very promising meetings with several corporate entities, and that some help should be coming to the TTFA when their new budgets are presented later in the year.