ASSISTANT coach of the TT men’s Under-15 football team Wayne Sheppard wants a greater say from coaches and players with regards to the administration of the sport locally.
Sheppard is part of the Coaches Steering Committee along with Clayton Morris, Angus Eve, Richard Hood and Jefferson George. They are seeking payments of their unpaid salaries from the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee, headed by businessman Robert Hadad.
During an interview, on Monday, Sheppard, who was appointed to the technical staff of the men’s Under-15 squad in February, described his stint as “an enlightening experience for me.”
He said, “There are a lot of people who are not really doing a service for the country or for the game. I am one of the luckier ones where I’m not the only breadwinner in my family, but there are a lot of technical staff members who are really uncertain right now because of this thing.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Concacaf has cancelled all of their youth World Cup qualifiers for this year.
“This is my first time being selected as a national coach,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the fact that we didn’t get to go to our (qualifiers) but I’m seeing the bigger picture where some good has to end up coming out of this. I hope that all stakeholders could see that the game is not bigger than the individual, and that we move forward in a positive direction. “At the same time, I’m seeing some of the people positioning themselves for power and I’m not really that hopeful. A new generation, a new breed, a new blood have to come into this game, at the administrative level, for this thing to get better.”
Sheppard, who is also the coach of Arima North Secondary School, has called for the local coaches, as well as players, to have their own respective voices, regarding the state of local football.
“What I’ve learnt is we have a number of technical staff members here who have (TT) at their heart,” said Sheppard. “Coming out of this, a Coaches Association, we see, is one key thing to help move the thing forward. Beyond that, the players need to get themselves organised as well. For too long, we’ve had two of the key stakeholders being marginalised.”
He added, “Decisions are being made by administrators to have their input, for the main part.”
Sheppard commended the former TTFA executive, led by William Wallace, for the plans they had in store, from a technical standpoint. “But there is a lot of work that has to be done,” he pointed out.
“I see the coaches and the players having an important part to play if (TT football) have to rise from where it is right now,” Sheppard said.
“We want to get investors back into the game. Two of the fastest ways to get investors back into the game are proper accounting and a proper product on the field.”