TD Corneal meets with Zonal Reps on Youth Football


Trinidad and Tobago Football Association Technical Director Anton Corneal met with the heads of the various local regional associations on Monday to discuss the way forward for local youth football.

According to Corneal, the items discussed included Youth Football restarting in each Zone and the
Screening and Identification of players for the Boys and Girls U-13 and U-15 High Performance program.

“This is a 4-yr program designed to assist 40 plus players both boys and girls in preparation for our U-17 National Youth teams. The format is designed to continuously work with players at an Advance level allowing a pathway for late developers,” Corneal told TTFA Media.

“The zones are important Stakeholders to bring this to fruition hence the reason for the meeting,” he added.

“Additionally, it is important to understand that these young players develop as young people regardless of our involvement, certainly physiologically, but that by offering appropriate care, support, proper systems and also challenges we can help guide their development.”

We got feedback from some of the representatives who were present in the meeting.

Everton Alfred, President, Tobago Football Association

“The meeting was welcomed and the thoughts shared by the Technical Director were enlightening. From a Tobago perspective, it is a move in the right direction. We welcome the idea of focusing on the youths as a point of restart as well as the regional approach. For years the focus was on the top end of the spectrum vis a vis Pro League, not that I am against Pro League, but by placing some more emphasis at the regional level, where one philosophy can be employed. This speaks volume for all National teams going forward. We are looking forward to further discussions on this and other projects that will create opportunities for Tobago footballers, coaches and other individuals in the sport.”

Ian Pritchard, President, Eastern Counties Football Union

“The meeting with the Technical Director was very welcoming and refreshing as it presented all zonal representatives with plans for the way forward for the continued development of Football in Trinidad and Tobago.

Over the years Trinidad and Tobago has been behind a bit in the approach to identifying talent from a very early age. Do we have the talent? Undoubtedly yes we do. However we must identify it from as early an age as possible and harness that talent in the right environment.

“This the recommendation of the TD to have the creation of an Elite Programme which involves footballers from as young as the U-13 level is very encouraging and definitely a step in the right direction. because talent identification from as early an age as possible will provide the TTFA with an increased pool of young talented players that can be coached and prepared towards higher age group elite teams and even up to Senior team selection.

“It was also pleasing to hear that the implementation of this Elite Programme will involve the participation of all zones and regions. It therefore gives zones like ours, the ECFU, increased hope for our young U-13, U-15 and U-17 footballers to have an opportunity for greater inclusion in such a programme.

For some time now early Talent Identification has been the direction in which most countries have been heading with their various sport programmes. It is nice to hear that the TTFA and more specifically the TD is thinking along those lines once again. And Finally, Coaching Education is an important area that needs to be addressed we look forward to seeing continued work in that area of development.”

Richard Quan Chan, President, Southern Football Association

“I think the ideas put forward by the Technical Director is where we should be heading. We are in a position now where even our present Under 20 Women’s team looks extremely like they cannot focus for long. They are not a team at this point. We have lost a generation of footballers over the last two years. But the idea at this point, similar to that of Angus Eve is not a brand new idea but it is reinforcing the position where we are putting something in place that will give us a wider area to do scouting. I am in full support of the idea.

“What is important though is that the Normalisation committee gets fully on board because as it stands today football management is no longer a voluntary thing. People who get involved in coaching, management and organisation of football see it as a means of employment. If we are to get the best out of people, we must get people committed, who are willing to work hard and work long hours. When we talk about U-13, U-15 and U-17 it is dedication and commitment. It is father figures and being a mentor so that we can get the best out of these young people.

It is also important that this approach, while it is a brilliant idea we need the financial support and we need to be able to provide the necessary equipment and facilities. We need all the stakeholders to get involved so that the facilities and more will be made available to all the zones. Like Tobago and the Eastern counties, the Southern FA covers a wide area.

The meeting was great, the information was good and the ideas going forward were very good. But now we need the support necessary for each zone in order for this to go forward.”