THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has initiated steps to enter the National Men’s Under-17 Team into the TT Pro League’s Under-18 Division.
The intention, recommended by coach, Russell Latapy, and supported by the TTFA’s technical director, Anton Corneal, is to afford the current squad of players the opportunity to be actively involved in competition as it continues its preparations for forthcoming CONCACAF qualification tournaments.
The TTFA wishes to state that it had initiated dialogue with the management of the TT Pro League. TTFA general secretary, Justin Latapy-George, gave the assurance on Friday that the National Under-17 team, once permitted by the Pro League, will appear in the competition as a National Team and not compete under the title of any other team. Additionally, the general secretary noted there had been some disquiet among our stakeholders based on this matter so he needed to clearly state the position of the TTFA.
“What we have done is to further actions related to our discourse by writing to the league requesting its consideration to allow the association’s national Under-17 team to compete in the Under-18 Division of the Pro League. We believe that we have submitted a request that will receive favourable consideration. However, irrespective of the final decision of the league it is important that I extend thanks for their consideration. It is pivotal that I again note that if our application is accepted that the team will compete as the national Under-17 team ,” Latapy-George stated.
Both Latapy-George and Corneal stated that it was evident that this type of approach proved to be successful in the past, making reference to the Under- 20 team of 2008, participating in and winning the National Super League that year before going on to qualify for the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Corneal reiterated the importance of having the Under-17 and Under-20 men’s team in active competition prior to their respective qualifying tournaments later this year.
“We feel this is the best way to go in terms of trying to ensure that the teams are in active competition over a specific period which falls in line with their preparations prior to the Concacaf qualifying matches,” Corneal said. “We have seen what doing this in the past has done, case in point the 2009 team that went on to qualify for the U-20 World Cup and coupled with the international matches that the FA may be able to organise along the way, this could only positively assist us in preparing the teams going into the qualifiers,” Corneal added.