At a media conference Monday afternoon the Honourable Anil Roberts announced a bold initiative to enhance the pool of talented footballers in Trinidad & Tobago. Just a day before the national senior team plays a consolation home game against Guyana, Minister Roberts declared that there is a silver lining around the dark cloud of the country’s ignominious exit from the first round of World Cup qualification.
The proposal is to rebuild from the ground up, focusing on identifying talent among youth (under 15 years) in communities and schools, as well as nurturing coaches at this level in order to increase the country’s chances of competing successfully in elite competition. The process will start with an open invitation for coaches from across Trinidad & Tobago to submit resumes for consideration. Once selected, coaches will be assigned to specific geographic areas and will be paid by the Ministry to scout for talent in those areas, conduct screening exercises and work regularly with a chosen few athletes who have potential. Competitions will then be organised among these areas to expose the footballers to club and national level coaches who may select young prospects for their teams.
On the macro level, Minister Roberts also indicated that there is to be a national consultation on the way forward for football, which will be held on 28 November 2011. Another open invitation will be issued to all interested and concerned parties to submit in writing their ideas about the structure and philosophy that should be adopted in order to improve and advance the game locally.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Ashwin Creed indicated that the new initiative will be funded out of the original allocation of TT$43m for the senior national team’s Brazil 2014 campaign. Mr. Creed indicated that meetings with All Sport Promotions to reconcile the expenditure, amounts outstanding as well as the available balance will continue this week.
Further details about the 28 November consultation, as well as the call for coaches will be published in the daily newspapers from next week.