Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Men’s Soccer Team head coach Stephen Hart believes it is time that the country’s national teams begin receiving some of the benefits that those representing the country on the international stage should be privy to.
And by saying that, he does not mean big pay outs or overwhelming favours but rather the basic conditions that should be afforded those involved in the efforts.
“I think at the end of the day, all these boys are hoping for is some love from the people,” Hart told TTFA Media.
“We have guys playing with the national team who are in love with their country and want to make a positive impact… who go out there and give everything for their country but sometimes feel like it’s going totally unnoticed and that could never be a good thing. And this is happening especially when they compete against other athletes or countries where there may be a vast difference in the conditions of those we are coming up against,” Hart said.
Despite coming second in the Caribbean Cup in December and then advancing to the quarter-finals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, T&T’s best showing since 2000, the national team is yet to attract a major sponsor and the TTFA has been depending on the Ministry of Sport and Sportt for funding for training camps, travel and allowances. T&T also defeated hosts Saudi Arabia 3-1 a few weeks ago to take third place at the OSN Cup. Currently, the National Women’s Under 17 team is involved in World Cup qualifying action in Haiti while there are intentions to have the Under 15 Boys team undergo training camps in Colombia or Panama.
TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee and General Secretary Sheldon Phillips are actively involved with the TTFA Marketing Department in trying to lure partners on board. But Tim Kee, a former vice president of the TTFA, is hoping the usual cycle does not continue.
“We have been meeting and making presentations with potential partners and we remain optimistic about the outcome,” Tim Kee stated.
“But what I would not like to see happen is that those who are waiting on the right time, do not wait until a month before our first World Cup qualifier for 2018 to tell us that they want to be part of the campaign.
“In all of our meetings with some of the more progressive countries, we’ve noticed that resources and proper funding is available to them at every stage, from preparations months and years before a World Cup or a major international tournament. This affords the coaches, the players and the governing body to plan and execute with that in mind only and without having to worry about a lack of resources or monies,” Tim Kee added.
Meantime, Phillips is in the midst of concluding agreements for potential international friendlies both at home and on foreign soil for October and November with New Zealand being one of the possible candidates. Further information on these events will be revealed in due course.