COMMISSIONER of Police Gary Griffith is optimistic the 2021 Commissioner’s Cup will kick off in March or April.
The winner of next year’s tournament or an all star team will get the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their talent on international soil.
This year’s edition of the Under-17 football tournament did not take place because of the covid19 pandemic.
On Thursday, the 2021 tournament was launched at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain.
National senior men’s football coach Terry Fenwick supports the Commissioner’s Cup. Fenwick, who runs the Football Factory programme, said the winning team may leave these shores.
“We at Football Factory will provide all the technical help and support. We are already networking with people overseas to make this work as far as scholarships are concerned…we are looking to do an overseas tour as a prize for the winning team. We are working hard in the background to try and make things work for not just the kids on the ground but TT.”
Griffith knows the value of TT footballers plying their trade overseas, saying the majority of the players on the TT 2006 World Cup team were playing outside TT.
“The more players here that can go abroad (the more beneficial it will be). That international exposure is going to play a very big part towards the development of football in TT,” Griffith said.
Griffith does not understand why people would be against the tournament.
“It is unfortunate where people could try to question this and not see the value of it and question why would the police service be involved in something like this…but this police service, whilst I am Commissioner of Police, will do all that is possible to try to help young men and women in different places and try to give them that opportunity just to dream.”
The National Lotteries Control Board and Digicel are among the sponsors of the upcoming tournament. The tag line of the tournament is to "shoot goals, not guns."
Griffith said there are not many opportunities for footballers to showcase their talent in TT, and the Secondary Schools Football League and the Pro League are the only avenues to see the talent this country has to offer.
This tournament is not only about making football a career for youngsters, but developing human beings, he said.
“It makes you not just a better footballer, but a better man or woman in your society. Sport brings character traits such as leadership, tactics, teamwork, uniformity, punctuality, not giving up – and these are the character traits we want of our young people in our society.”
Liam Donnelly, general manager of Digicel Business, said, “From a Digicel perspective, I think we are very excited and very proud to get involved in such a great initiative for TT. As a global company we always try to work within the countries we operate…and work with associations such as the TTPS.”