William Wallace, the T&T Football Association (T&TFA) national team Operations Manager says if the local federation is to satisfy all its national teams on a yearly basis, then a budget of $75 million will be needed.
Wallace made this disclosure while speaking at a T&TFA media conference called to relaunch the Soca Warriors brand and give updates on a number of activities planned, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, VIP Lounge, yesterday.
Commenting on what has taken place on the field so far this year, Wallace noted the T&T national teams have been kept very busy, but is finding it very tough due to a lack of financial support, not withstanding the ongoing feud between its president Raymond Tim Kee and Minister of Sports, former World Cup defender, Brent Sancho.
A cricket administrator as well, Wallace said so far this year seven national teams have participated in international tournaments, and if the senior team has to be going through what it has been in terms of funding, then people can well imagine what is happening at the lower levels for the other teams.
Reflecting on a recent situation he said, “Our Under-17 women team recently had a tournament and they almost did not make it to the qualifiers, not because they were not prepared but because of a lack of finances.
He added: “Let me just say T&T we have to get serious.
“All over the world football is impacting lives and right here at home as well we can all reflect on 1989 and 2006.
“To me these were defining moments in T&T’s history where it brought people together and it must not go unnoticed, and if we are to satisfy all our teams we are definitely talking about $75 million a year.
“We are talking about having full-time staff, because as a matter fact, right now we don’t even have a full quota of full-time staff on our senior national team.
“The coach is the only full-time person on the senior team, the same team that performed so well at the Gold Cup, that was able to fight hard against Mexico.”
He added: “This is our flagship team, so you can imagine what happens at the lower levels. So, in this regard, I have to compliment all coaches and members of staff, technical and administrative for keeping this thing afloat, without proper remuneration.
“Because if it was not for them, this dream would have die, and thats the dream of many citizens of T&T.
Tim Kee added: “USA’s budget for football a year is over US$100 million while Mexico’s is more than US$150, but here in T&T we struggle to raise US$5 million, and one of the reasons is that we don’t have the population to push the turnstiles to come in the stadiums, to generate funds that will even offset the cost of hosting an international match.”
In explaining why T&T has not hosted many matches in recent times, Tim Kee said: “Generally 95 per cent of the matches we host here in T&T, we end up in deficit because we just don’t have the numbers. The players and the teams we have been looking at are top quality teams because if we want to go and be with the top teams we need to be playing top quality teams.
“That why we have been performing in recent times as we have been because we have been liming the eagles, the top teams as Tim Kee described it.
“Our performances are beginning to match our expectations and through those kind of displays as well it is then we will attract patronage and support, but to get there is a real uphill task, so all we can do is plead to the citizens of this country, corporate and private to come forward and support our team.
“We have a new constitution, and we have re-adjusted our organisation but have not filled all the positions because that calls for money again, but we are looking forward and focus on the field to be a real challenge to any team in Concacaf and we will demonstrate that again.
“We did it recently at the Gold Cup against Mexico, and to the USA I say here we come when Concacaf World Cup qualifiers begin on November 17.”