Selby Browne believes TTFA's election of new president an opportunity to restructure football

By Sports Desk April 12, 2024
TTFA's Presidential candidates. TTFA's Presidential candidates. T&T Express

With a new president to be installed at the helm of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) on Saturday, Selby Browne, president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation believes it represents an opportunity to reset football in the twin island republic and the wider Caribbean.

The new administration to be led by either Kieron Edwards of ‘Team Progressive’ or Colin Wharfe of ‘Team Transformation’ unit, will mark first self-governed TTFA in more than four years. This as William Wallace's administration was removed months after he was elected in November 2019, as FIFA intervened and installed its Normalisation Committee in March 2020, citing financial concerns.

That Normalisation Committee remained in charge until late last month when it made way for the TTFA to elect a new administration. For Browne, who withdrew from the presidential race, football is the catalyst for re-engineering the national socio-structure and delivering economic benefits by creating jobs in sport throughout all communities, with the establishment of a sport industry, both in T&T and the wider Caribbean.

He recalled that Trinidad and Tobago is one of four Caribbean countries to have participated in the FIFA World Cup Finals competition, the other three being Cuba in 1938, Haiti in 1974, and Jamaica in 1998. T&T participated in 2006 and it is Browne's hope that they will make the next global showpiece in 2026.

"It is my view this election is two years later than the ideal time required to successfully prepare for the largest football competition, the FIFA World Cup 2026, to be hosted in the CONCACAF for the first time since 1994. The TTFA election will determine the Executive to restructure and develop football in Trinidad and Tobago, while urgently redoubling much required initiatives to ensure qualification for the 2026 World Cup," Browne said in an opinion piece recently published in the T&T Express.

"Restructuring by a new TTFA is needed in order to develop the best possible product on the football field, creating wider participation, training and development, from grassroots upwards. Highly competitive community leagues, strong well-structured and supported community league teams competing within the zonal level are also necessary so as to provide attractive inter-zonal competitions, all providing the base for the establishment of a privately-owned Trinidad and Tobago national professional league at the top of the football pyramid," he added.

That said, Browne pointed out two critical recommendations for the new TTFA executive, the first being the appointment of an independent Constitution Committee to review the Articles forwarded by the TTFA Constitution Committee, while the other involves hosting a member and stakeholder consultation to review and contribute to the further development of the strategic plan.

"For those of us committed to the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago, we fully understand the need to secure the unequivocal support of the unified TTFA membership to achieve the desired goal. For while the goal is quite easily outlined, there is no short cut, quick fix, or magic wand. Only dedicated can address the large task to be undertaken, which will demand all hands-on-deck in the new TTFA," Browne stated.

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