“One People, One Passion, One Game!”
That’s the theme for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s Year of Centennial Celebrations which was unveiled at the official launch at a reception hosted by the Honourable President George Maxwell Richards at his official residence on Saturday morning.
The occasion marked the launched the start of a series of events to take place in 2008 to celebrate the centennial.
Present were President Richards and Mrs Richards, Chief Justice Ivor Archie along with other prominent members from the football fraternity – Senior Team head coach Francisco Maturana, technical director Lincoln Phillips, director of youth development and assistant coach Anton Corneal, TTFF General Secretary Richard Groden, past football greats Everald Cummings, Sedley Joseph and Bobby Sookram. There was no representative of the Ministry of Sport.
Click for TTFF Centennial events calendar
The members of the Centennial Committee were also introduced on Saturday morning .
This committee is chaired by Kenny De Silva and includes several independent members of the TTFF - Deputy Chairman Ainsley Mark, Patt Christopher, Roslyn Dasent, Dr. Rohit Doon, David Hackett, Felix Hernandez, Sigler Jack, Eudine Job Davis, Louis Lee Singh, Gillian Lucky, Narrisa Mandol, Peter O'Connor and Carol Wolfe.
“Giving James and Jack his jacket…Say “a century” and no sports fan thinks football. But in July coming, one century is precisely what football in Trinidad, well, institutional football in Trinidad will be celebrating. That means of course that the first body to administer the sport in the country was set up almost exactly a hundred years ago in 1908. And the list of its administrators is very long. But say “football in Trinidad” to the man in the stadium and ask for a name and it is a safe bet that, you will get one of two answers, Jack Warner or Eric James. Say “football in Trinidad” and ask for a date and it is a safe bet that, you will get one of two answers. There are those who – the pessimists, who see only the empty half of the glass – Point instinctively to November 1989. But these are counterbalanced by the optimists – half-full, they insist, half full! - For whom the significant date is November 2005.,” a statement from the TTFF read from a press presented to the media.
The statement went on to give valuable historical details of local football and closed with the following: “And so after one hundred years in football, the TTFF is justifiably in celebratory mood, confident that whatever the obstacles that may be raised in our path, we shall overcome.”
Among the list of activities revealed at the launch included a Centennial Dinner on September 5 at which FIFA President Sepp Blatter will be the feature guest.
An essay competition for Schools, the hosting of the CONCACAF Under 17 Women’s Finals in July, an Administration Workshop and Women’s Development course to be hosted by the English FA are also among the list of events.
On the playing field, two friendly internationals involving the T&T Senior Team against Puerto Rico on April 27 and against Panama on July 27 and other related international games and South Africa 2010 World Cup qualifiers are also on the cards.
FIFA Vice President Jack Warner hinted of a friendly international against England of which further will be revealed at a Press Conference on Tuesday. TTFF President Oliver Camps also addressed the gathering.
Warner revealed he will be commissioning the launch of two books. The first one to be in the bookstores on September 5 - One hundred years of Association Football on September 5 and the second - “From Eric to Eric”
“Those were only two persons in some ways who gave some tangible evidence of the kind of positive changes they wish to make in the lives of our people and this country. I am talking about Eric James and Eric Williams, One man took education, the other took football both of them with the same objective, for the same people and the same nation and that was to achieve positive e change in the lives of our people and in many ways they have done so,” Warner stated.
“Trinidad and Tobago has found itself in an elite group and this has not been easy,” Warner said, adding that less than ten other countries had an association in existence of 100 years and more.
For a population of 1.5 million, Warner said” We have done well. We have been able to host the best ever held FIFA Under 17 World Championship. We have participated in every FIFA event, we came close in 1974 and then 1990 and we achieved in 2006 then who would argue that we will perform well in Germany 2006 and even against England, the oldest country in England which we should have won and which we shall win later this year,” Warner said.
He spoke of the several top figures who have made a significant contribution to the development of the game here from including “From Lincoln Phillips and Gally Cummings, Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke, Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards”
“You can however predict what the critics would say but keep the vision and stay focused,” Warner added as he pointed his words in the direction of TTFF President Oliver Camps.
“I have learnt that in this country - either to do and be criticize or to do nothing and I die. I choose the former and I will die like many of you but I will die full with the belief that we gave it our best shot,” Warner added, also complimenting the list of match officials who have passed through local football.
“We have a lot to be proud of. From Eric to Eric!”
A performance by the Lydians Boys.
He mentioned that the script for 2010 is being written as he addressed the audience – “The lack of assistance, lack of funding, criticism, no help. But qualify and then all the money flows. But that will not deter us and the most fitting way to crown these celebrations will be by qualifying for South African 2010 and we shall do that.” (Top photo shows President Richards, Warner and Camps unveiling the Centennial logo. March 22, 2008)