President of the Republic, Anthony Carmona and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee both praised the performances of the national Under-20 women’s team who placed fourth in the 2014 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship in the Cayman Islands on Sunday.
President Carmona said the Under-20 women “displayed grit and determination to become real contenders in the Cayman Islands qualification tournament.”
The T&T women lost 7-3 to Costa Rica in overtime in their third place playoff contest, having led 3-1 at halftime and held that lead until two minutes from the end of regulation time. They were scheduled to return home last night.
“I can tell you I felt a great sense of national pride and joy when I saw how those young women fought on behalf of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,” Carmona said during the launch of the TTFA’s Youth Football Community Clinics at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday.
Tim Kee said the women played hard and the defeat will give an indicator to the technical staff and coaches about what they need to do to ensure the team remains competitive in the future.
“From what I saw yesterday, remember we led 3-1 at half time, I get the impression that they were leg-weary, because it was a hectic schedule and that will of course point our technical staff in a direction to correct things like that,” he said.
“I know some initiatives have been taken in the past about fitness and the level of preparedness that is necessary for those types of games and I know that we made a decision to make it a policy, so you would not see a recurrence of that moving forward, but those things do not happen overnight.”
He added with caution: “I am not knocking them for lack of fitness, but I expect that by the middle of this year we will have some really fit players.”
Speaking about the TTFA’s financial position and the money the organisation still owes to various people, Tim Kee said: “We are trying to settle-up our debts.”
Asked about how much of the TTFA debt has been repaid, Tim Kee said “about 60 to 70 per cent in many regards, in other situations, especially huge debts like for (Russell) Latapy for example. We have not paid him yet but the “Soca Warriors” got a huge amount. As for the other big debts, we are trying to pay incrementally...as money comes in we try to pay it.”
Former national star and ex-coach Latapy withdrew a lawsuit against the TTFA for more than $5 million in compensation after both parties arrived at an out-of-court settlement.
And although Latapy is yet to get actual payment, Tim Kee said, “I have taken responsibility on behalf of the Association to settle a debt that before now was denied and we will see how it goes there. But I know for a fact that he will get his money.”
He also noted that the former footballer left the TTFA headquarters “pleased and satisfied” following their last meeting on Sunday.
“We depend on sponsorships and no sponsor is going to give you money to pay debts,” Tim Kee explained. “We have to utilise what they give us to put resources in place to generate income.
TTFA Director of Communications Shaun Fuentes noted that the TTFA is in the process of preparing the team for the Argentina game on June 4. He said that there is an international date in March and that the TTFA is hoping to utalise to get some match practice.
In the meantime, he said coach (Stephen) Hart will continue to scout for players in the local Pro League and in foreign leagues.
“He (Hart) is really interested in seeing what local talent we have at our disposal. We expect to have (Leo) Beehakker back at some time and we expect him to be a huge part of this Community Clinic the TTFA is undertaking along with technical director Anton Corneal,” Fuentes added.