National Teams Technical Staff members discuss structures and approach

Various members of the Technical Staffs of the Trinidad and Tobago Nationals teams and the TTFA’s technical department assembled for a meeting at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday during which in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics.

The topics included the new TTFA structure; Project 2026; Tournament dates; Code of Conduct, Media guidelines; Period report; Insurance/Incident report; What football do we want? Who are We?

The items discussed under “Who are We” included –

What are the characteristics of the Trinidad and Tobago player?
What are his/her strengths/weaknesses?
How do we Play?
Do we want to play a standard formation?
Who and what is Trinidad and Tobago and what is our identity?

TTFA Technical committee chairman Keith Look Loy led the meeting which was attended by senior men’s team head coach Terry Fenwick, Assistant coach Derek King, who is also the Under 20 Men’s head coach, assistants Stern John and Angus Eve (Men’s U-17 head coach), Goalkeeper coaches Ross Russell and Clayton Ince, Boys Under 15 head coach Keith Jeffrey, Women’s Team U-20 and U-17 head coach Richard Hood, Senior Men’s Team manager Basil Thompson, Women’s team managers Nadia James and Maylee Attin-Johnson, National Team Director Richard Piper, Women’s Football director Jinelle James, equipment manager Michael Williams, Club licensing and compliance director Norris Ferguson and Technical Director Dion La Foucade along with a host of other technical staff members.

“Today is a historic day. Never in the history of the TTFF/TTFA has there been a meeting like this where the entire brain trust of the Football association, all of the technical staffs, not just the coaches , but everyone from physio, trainer, goalkeeper coach to head coach all assembled in one room to talk about the national teams programme and where we want it to go, how do we revive our football fortunes and how do we fly our flag again on the international level and how do we get back to World Cups again.

“We started with some administrative housekeeping talking about different policies that we are introducing such as code of conduct, incident report and insurance and media policies but the heart of the discussion was about what kind of football do we want to play, who is Trinidad and Tobago and what is the Trinidad and Tobago player. We had a very useful discussion about that in front of a full house,” Look Loy told TTFA Media.

“We isolated a number of principles in attack, in defence and general principles that we want to see employed by all our teams. Formation is not the issue. But there are general principles we want to see in our football for example play from the back, maximum efficiency and quick rotation of the ball in our half, two touch, get it to the sides of the pitch, midfield support, forwards who go in behind the defence or dropping off into a pocket, get it down the sides of the pitch, play the ball in, when we lose it go get it back quickly… how we want to organise our play and so on.

“We are on the same page with that. We expect that all of the teams will begin preparing to play like this with the Senior men’s team being the headship team,” Look Loy stated.

A document will be prepared and used in the TTFA Academy and coaching courses and filtered down into the regional programmes for scouts to now identify players to be taught to implement the preferred type of football.

“It’s a huge exercise to put all the teams and coaches on the same page, respecting the individuality of each coach and each player of course so  that when we go out to play be it the under 15s right up to the senior team on both sides of the gender divide, people know this is a Trinidad and Tobago team,” Look Loy said.

“I prefaced everything by making the point that our football is in a crisis. We have fallen away dramatically from where we used to be. We now have to identify who we are, what we want to do, how we intend to solve this issue and get back to where we want to be which as I said is on the top level of Concacaf and on the World Cup stage.

Collective Effort! Egos Aside!

“I made the point that this requires collective effort. Nobody reaches this level of football without having an ego, be it a player, a coach, a manager, even an equipment manager who wants to think that I am good enough to be the best equipment manager. You need to put the egos aside. There is going to be need for sacrifice of ego. The star of the day has to be the national teams programme and the national teams. When the team does well the entire programme does well, the coaches and the staff will get their credit,”Look Loy added.

“These teams do not belong to us. We come and we go. The coaches come and go, the committee comes and goes. Look Loy comes and goes. There will be another technical committee chairman at some point in time. We are the custodians of this programme and these teams and we have to service the needs of the national teams programme and the people of Trinidad and Tobago who want us to do well and who we have to give reason to smile and laugh again when they talk about our football. I made the point in the gathering that we well remember the day we beat Bahrain to go to Germany 2006. The adrenaline rush. We want to experience that again. We must make it an expectation and we must make it a disappointment if we don’t qualify. The pride of being a Trinbagonian, putting on Red,White and Black to represent Trinidad and Tobago must be restored.

TTFA Technical Director La Foucade spoke of his support for the approach thus far.

“With the meeting we had today I was very encouraged to see all the coaches coming together, guys who would not necessarily work with each other, coming together now and saying you know what, this is for the betterment of the game. Let’s put things behind us. We have a long way to go still but the signs were definitely good,” La Foucade said.

“It is important to get people to trust, to get coaches to trust and to get coaches to realise when Trinidad and Tobago qualifies for a World Cup at any level we all feel happy. But in order to build that trust you must first have communication and coaches must have meaningful communication. What we like about each other and what we think our game should be. It is very important that we have a common goal. The philosophy must first come and then the methodology on how we are going to teach that philosophy,” La Foucade stated.

Men’s U-17 head coach Eve said he was satisfied seeing the manner in which business has been conducted in the start up phase.

“The initiatives of the new President and the technical committee, a new technical director and hiring of a new set of people will bring a different blood into the FA and hopefully it turns into performances. What I can say is that they have started on the right foot. They have to give us the tools to work with. They have started in the right way, the composition of the staffs, the way they went about in selecting the staffs was a more transparent process and going forward I hope they continue to build on what they have started,” Eve said.

Photo at top shows Men’s team head coach Terry Fenwick making a point during the meeting on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.