FORMER national footballer Densill Theobald, 36, has decided to bring an end to his 20-year professional career, but he is only saying goodbye to his on field career as the former midfielder has goals of becoming president of the TT Football Association (TTFA).
Theobald, a member of the 2006 World Cup team that brought joy to TT, informed Newsday of his decision yesterday. Theobald, who last represented TT in 2014, will now hang up his boots in club football which saw him play for a number of clubs locally and internationally.
Theobald made 99 appearances for TT after making his debut in 2002 at age 20. Theobald, who last played for Central FC in the Pro League, also had stints with Joe Public and Caledonia AIA locally, at Falkirk in Scotland with fellow TT player Russell Latapy, while also playing professionally in Canada, Hungary, Austria and India.
“I have made the decision to retire, not from football, but from playing football,” Theobald said.
The former midfielder said he wants to stay involved in the sport. “It’s been a long time I have been involved in football and I know that this is a moment where I think it is the right time to say bye bye to the sport that I love, but I have a strong desire and passion to continue in a next form of football.”
Theobald, who grew up in East Port of Spain, has goals of leading the local football body.
“I want to declare my interest in becoming the TT Football Association president,” he said.
The former Malick Senior Comprehensive student wants to see growth in local football.
“I have always been one that wanted to see improvement in the local game. That is where I believe my passion, my desire, my love is headed now and I believe it can be fulfilled through the relationships with the stakeholders which are the players, the media, the corporate sector and the members of the general meeting of the football association as well. It can be improved through communication, building relationships and growing relationships like I said with the necessary stakeholders.”
Theobald wants to revamp the women’s programme, men’s programme and the youth development programme.
Theobald was adamant that he is ready for such a top position in local football. “I believe I am ready right away (to lead the TTFA). For me, doubt or worry does not exist in my vocabulary.” Theobald said because of his integrity, work ethic, desire and passion for the game he is capable for the job.
Theobald, who appreciates the skills of former national footballers Kerwin “Hardest” Jemmott, Arnold Dwarika and Latapy, along with current players Andre Toussaint, Duane Muckette, Ataullah Guerra and Kevin Molino, thanked all his supporters.
“I just want to thank the people who have been there for me – Jean Lillywhite from a young age, my brothers, my fans, even my critics, who I think have been harsh at times, but they must be thanked in every way possible for making my dream become a reality of playing football. Now, I move on to be involved in football in another capacity.”
Internationally, Theobald marvelled at the skills of Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Theobald, who joined Jean Lillywhite Soccer Coaching School when he was nine years old, said the coaching school was a major part of his development.
“Jean was the coach that invoked the basic fundamentals of playing the game, the basic skills needed and required for you to be a top level footballer, so I owe him a lot in terms of my development.”
After getting a professional contract with Toronto Olympians in Canada at age 17 in 2000, he had to return to TT after a few years following the death of his mother.
Theobald said his mother’s death affected his football career saying, “That sent my whole love for the football down a spiral, before it was reinvigorated through Caledonia AIA and by extension Jamal Shabazz.”
His mother died at age 42 because of a brain aneurysm when Theobald was 20 years old. “That was a downward spiral in my life because I was young and I did not know how to deal with situations like that, but thanks to God I recovered well and the rest is history.”