FORMER Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris is supportive of the decision to start a petition to remove president of the TT Football Association (TTFA) David John-Williams. Morris said people have become fed up with the state of TT football and want to see the sport progress.
The embattled TTFA has come under scrutiny for years due to a lack of transparency and accountability. Most recently, board members have continuously asked for the accounts concerning the Home of Football project, in Couva, to be made available. The petition, which is being circulated via social media has already gathered more than 1,100 signatures following the national team’s 6-0 defeat to USA in the Concacaf Gold Cup, on Saturday night.
Morris, who is not happy with the administration within the TTFA, said, “People whose heart is into football and want to see Trinidad and Tobago football do well (will complain), I am not surprised with that action or position that they are taking now. I support it because again there are people out there who really love football...but the people who are in the position to vote (at the TTFA elections in November), these are the people that have to come out and sign that petition also.”
Morris, a former TT futsal coach, along with other staff members and 22 players, won a matter in the High Court against the TTFA last December.
The futsal team made claims for non-payment of salaries, match fees and per diems for the Concacaf Futsal Championships, which took place in Costa Rica in May, 2016. The TTFA was ordered to pay $475,743 plus interest at three per cent per annum and also to cover their legal fees.
Former national footballer Angus Eve said the petition is a legal way of addressing issues.
“It is a legal form of doing it, I don’t believe in doing things in the wrong way. People sign petitions for different things. It is a democratic process,” Eve said.
Following the heavy loss to USA, Eve said it is hard to point fingers at head coach Dennis Lawrence, who has led the team for two years, but rather he said the TTFA has to take blame.
“Since David John-Williams has come in we have not qualified or passed a first round in any tournament. There is no (local) league football playing in the country and hence the reason I am sympathetic to Dennis because he does not have the option of picking different players. He only has the option of picking the players who are actually playing football at this point in time.”
Eve said it is hard to point fingers at the coach.
“I am a coach. The coach knows whether he could take the team further forward or not. There are times when a coach believes that he can turn it around and there are times when a coach feels he can’t turn it around.”
Eve said the TTFA gave Lawrence a contract and it is up to the national coach if he wants to step down. “It is not for me to say whether he should step down or not because I am a coach. I support Dennis 100 per cent, he knows that and anybody else because we are all coaches together – it is a difficult job. The TTFA is not helping any of the coaches do their jobs.”
Morris, who was supportive of Lawrence when he was named the coach, believes there is not enough emphasis on development within the national senior team as more young players should be in the team.
The former Strike Squad captain said if Lawrence attempts to bring youngsters into the team now to learn from senior players it will be a bit late and he should think of stepping down. “Is he going to bring younger players now to start to work with them? If that is the case he should step down. If he had young players within the team you could say there is a future for the present crop, but given the situation there is not at least four or five young players that could continue (to progress).”
Morris, who thinks the TTFA has to take some blame for the performances, said Lawrence has a lot to offer TT football and if he does not last long with the senior team he should be allowed to coach a national youth team.