Former national midfielder Dexter Skeene says the T&T Pro League is determined to make a positive difference in football throughout T&T, and the youth and young people of the nation.

Skeene, the Pro League’s Chief Executive Officer, made this statement while delivering his address at the opening of the 2015/2016 season of the Pro League at the VIP, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, yesterday.

Speaking to the crowd on hand which included former national standouts in Sedley Joseph and Everald “Gally” Cummings,  Skeene said, “I welcome you here this morning (yesterday) with a tremendous feeling of pride.”

He added: “Why? Because as the league stands proudly with its partner Digicel, a  partner who has stood by the league’s vision, players,coaches, board, management, fans and other corporate partners in fighting a noble cause, purpose and mission.

With regards to the Pro League Skeene said there remained those in key decision making positions who continue to misunderstand what the T&T Pro League is about in a place such as T&T.

“But the Pro League can stand proud confident that notwithstanding, at times hostile environment our owners clubs and players and coaches continue to improve on the quality of football that is on display at Digicel TT Pro League Games and Tournaments.

He boasted, “No matter what,  we are determined to make a positive difference in football and through the youth and young people of the nation..

“The Pro League is about building an industry, it’s about developing football as a profession, creating a pathway for youngsters to aspire to earn a living from playing football.

“It is about supplying the national senior team with players like Attaula Guerra, Willis Plaza, Jan-Michael Williams, Joevin Jones, Keron Cummings, who can effectively and efficiently compete at international level.

Reflecting on the start of the league, Skeene noted it all started in 2002 with some innovators, pioneers who had a vision to create an industry with professional football, to take T&T football to the next level.

He said the list included Jerry Hospedales, Jamaal Shabazz, David John-Williams, Darryl Mahabir, Richard Fakoory who had invested over $325 million, in bringing professional football to where it was today.

Comparing both  league, Skeene said when you place everything into context you understand what is required and the life cycle necessary for a successful professional football league.

Skeene said that despite many broken promises, the league would continue to soldier on and make representation for community grounds.

“It was always part of the business model submitted to the Ministry of Sport to the understanding that if this is provided after a few years clubs would have no excuse not to be self-sustaining and viable. Community fields is a critical success factor and I remain convinced when put in place it will be the catalyst to take professional football to the next level.”

“It is about giving our coaches like Ross Russell, Angus Eve, Stewart Charles, Earl Jean, Jamaal Shabaazz, Marvin Gordon, Richard Hood, Leroy De Leon, Anthony Streete, and Keith Jeffrey the opportunity to work full time as coaches just like the Jose Mourinhos and Arsene Wengers of the world.

“We must not limit ourselves; we are just as talented, ambitious and intelligent as anyone anywhere in the world. The TT Pro League is the platform, the stage, the place, the forum where we can achieve greatness, utilising and exposing our indigenous talent.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has vowed to "work even harder to put sport at the centre of society" after the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted sport in its post-2015 Development Agenda in New York.

In what has been hailed as "a historic moment for sport and the Olympic Movement", sport is included in the UN's "final outcome document" as an “important enabler” of sustainable development for the goals, adopted by UN Member States with a commitment to implement them by 2030.

“Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development," reads Paragraph 37 of the document entitled, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

It adds: "We recognise the growing contribution of sport to the realisation of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”

In a letter sent to stakeholders throughout the Olympic Movement, IOC President Thomas Bach claimed how this shows “that with [the] Olympic Agenda 2020 [reform process] we are aligned with the United Nations post-2015 Development Agenda.

"This new UN Agenda specifically acknowledges the important role that sport plays promoting healthy lifestyles, education and social inclusion.”

Inclusion of sport within the UN Agenda has been repeatedly trumpeted as a core aim for the organisation in recent months, with developing closer relations with the UN a key priority for Bach since he assumed the Presidency in 2013.

Bach has insisted that sport should not be separate from political affairs and how - while remaining politically neutral - it should play an active role on the world stage.

But this comes in the same week as the IOC was criticised for its "astonishing omission" of a specific human rights clause in its Host City Contract for the 2024 Olympics, and human rights groups are likely to be sceptical about the extent of the body's true commitment to realising themes such as social inclusion.

This follows much criticism of human rights policies of several nations bidding for or hosting major Olympic Movement events in recent years, including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and Baku 2015 European Games, as well as in China ahead of the awarding of the 2022 Winter Games to Beijing in July.

Despite their pledge to remain politically neutral, the IOC have offered some concessions, however, including the introduction of a clause specifically prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation as well as requirements to allow the media to report freely on the Games and for the building of infrastructure for the event to comply with international labour standards.

But they have not gone far enough, groups claim, particularly given the context of their specific aim to play a wider political role.

Bach is due to address the UN Assembly during the meeting in New York, as well as hold bilateral meetings with many of the heads of State and Government present.


Spaniard Pako Ayestaran, the Spanish-born head coach of Mexican champion club Santos Laguna, believes the recent performances of the national team and the local clubs in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is proving that the gap is narrowing within the confederation.

Ayestaran, speaking after his team’s 1-0 win over DirecTV W Connection in Tuesday’s Champions League fixture in Port of Spain, applauded Connection for their brave display. “I think you can see it out there today. The game was not easy for us and this is a sign that in Concacaf there is no real difference anymore. The gap is narrowing. A lot of the teams in the region now are showing up well,” Ayesteran said.

 Commenting on the Soca Warriors, Ayesteran said he was very much aware of the recent 4-4 and 3-3 draws between T&T and Mexico.  “I think this is credit to countries like Trinidad (and Tobago). They have been getting better. I think the results in the two matches shows you this,” he said.  Ayestaran recently took over the top job at Laguna and is hoping to lead them to a win over Costa Rica can club Deportivo Saprissa as they try to progress in the Champions League.  Ayestaran was assistant to Rafa Benitez in his successful stints in winning La Liga with Valencia and the Champions League at Liverpool.

Glenn: Warriors prepared for tough World Cup quest

Just like Stern John did on his starting debut for T&T, newly installed “Soca Warriors” striker Jonathan Glenn netted in his first appearance in T&T’s recent 3-3 draw with Mexico in Salt Lake City.  Glenn, who plies his trade in the Iceland premier division, waited patiently on the opportunity from Stephen Hart to take the pitch after looking on from the sidelines during all of T&T’s matches at the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup. He also saw just a few minutes on the field in the 2014 Caribbean Cup Finals in Jamaica.

But his patience and persistence paid off as his opening goal and his determination in the box which led to T&T’s second goal by Keron Cummings, has certainly brought him around as valuable addition to Hart’s attacking options.  “He’s done well. Actually he was very good for us in the Mexico game. His work rate was ideal and he came in to the team and showed us that he really wants to be part of the effort going forward which is a plus for the team,” Hart said.

T&T faces Panama on October 8 in Panama City in a training match ahead of the November 13 opening World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. Glenn was thrilled to play his part against “El Tri” earlier this month but he knows that the battle will only intensify from here on.  “It was great to start and help the team do well against Mexico. We knew we had to keep playing because they are a team that would come right back at you. And this is something that I think is good for us in terms of developing that habit of playing because we will have more games like these in the qualifiers,” Glenn said.

“It’s a long campaign ahead and we’ll be needing to get results on the road as well if we are to stand a chance of qualifying.  The upcoming games are crucial but I think each player is understanding his role more and the chemistry in the squad is developing more every time we come together.  “I think once we can take care of things off the field and get the right kind of preparation, then we as players in the team will have all the reasons to know our efforts will need to be big on the pitch. I have no fears or doubts that we will prove to be strong in the qualifiers and push on for the duration of the campaign.”

Panama calls up two MLS players for T&T friendly

Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has called up two MLS-based players for next month's international friendly with T&T’s senior men’s team in Panama City.  San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Anibal Godoy and Colorado Rapids forward Gabriel Torres have been listed by Gomez for the upcoming friendly on October 8 which both countries are using as preparation for 2018 World Cup qualification. Panama will also face Mexico on October 13.

T&T head coach Stephen Hart is expected to name his squad later this month as he prepares the “Soca Warriors” for its opening 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Guatemala.

“We’ll go into the game knowing fully well that it’s another important game in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers. Playing Guatemala in Guatemala is always a very tough assignment and we need to be at our best. It will be an important period for us in October as we prepare for the start of the campaign,” Hart said.

• Shaun Fuentes is the director of communications of the TTFA.