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T&T must support our Soca Warriors
I have created a Facebook page to gather tangible support for the Trinidad and Tobago national football team, in light of recent announcement that it would not be able to participate in the upcoming Caribbean Cup because the Ministry of Sports (thanks Anil) has refused to give them the needed funds, $423,218 (I, too, could not believe my ears). However, worse in my opinion was the reason behind the refusal.
What was the infraction that caused this sanction to be handed down? The team failed to qualify for the next rounds of world cup qualifiers. (Are you serious?) This is what it has come down to. “For not doing well you will get good licks. Take that and that.” Or in this case you not getting that.
Now as disappointed as I was and I am assured many, if not all Soca Warriors fan as well as Trinidadians the world over are disappointed by the their performance, I do not think that preventing the team from having the opportunity to perform is the solution for non-performance.
Deduct players stipend, don’t pay coaching staff salaries for a month, anything other than take away the opportunity for the lads to go out and try to do us and themselves proud. To show what they are truly capable of.
I am sure their exit from the world cup qualifiers is not sitting well with that group of players as well. This is totally irresponsible of the government. It’s like a parent saying to their child that because you didn’t do well as expected I’m taking you out of school for a while to teach you a lesson.
How is that going to benefit the child? For the team to get better they need to have actual competitive match time. Preventing them from playing does no one any good and is certainly not to the benefit of the development of football in T&T.
Now mind you, I also lay part of the responsibility for this predicament at the feet of corporate Trinidad and Tobago. Like the government, (and it does not matter which party is in power) the private sector record of funding athletes in their developmental stage in this country is poor, to say the least.
However, after they have achieved anything noteworthy they are quick to jump on the bandwagon to be seen associated with them as if they had always supported the athlete. (Take your pick of athletes, Keshorn, Thompson, Gordon, Soca Warriors circa 2005-2006).
No one stepped up when the struggle was hard and sacrifices were being made to lend a hand, to say they supporting this athlete or this team in their effort to represent us on the world stage. Where was all businesses that make thousands if not tens of thousands daily in this country when Keshorn needed help with transport to Port-of-Spain from Toco to train, far less getting javelins to throw? Now everybody who believes they are anybody wants to be seen taking a picture with him.
You didn’t work for that privilege, why you trying to claim it now. If you not there in my times of struggle don’t expect to be there in my time of success. It is actually quite obscene. This applies to both politicians and businessmen.
Business owners (and I’m talking to all business owners throughout the length and breadth of T&T, big or small) think about this for a second. If you look around your community and there is a sports team or individual that could benefit from your contribution to their efforts, where you think the parents of those athletes are going to shop when they need that particular goods or service that you offer? Not in the hardware or grocery or clothing store that supports their child?
Furthermore for those businesses that have been targets of those “disillusioned”, “wayward”, “at risk” youth in the way of crime, don’t you think that if you have made a contribution, buying the team jerseys, spikes for the track club, balls for the club to train, cricket bats, balls and pads, small thing that will make a huge difference to them but is only a drop in your pocket, the things that would keep that club going and the youths busy 3-4 days a week.
Don’t you think that if they busy training that they would be too busy to rob you? Wouldn’t they be far less likely to steal from you if they know that you are one of the sponsors of the team that they are part of? That they would be the first to offer you protection from their associates that is still involved in those kinds of activities? You will gain far more than the $10,000-a-year you spend in support of a very worthy cause.
And please don’t look for anything more than your business name printed on the team jersey which you would pay for anyway. No need for the self-glorifying photo ops or press release. The team would show their gratitude in their own way. No need for you to exploit them because you fix them up this season. Show the your local community your sense of community and contribution. If you don’t know the term it’s called being a good corporate citizen. Look it up.
I would like to throw out a challenge to all who are reading this and agree with me. I for one am willing to step up and support my local athletes.
1. Go to the Facebook page for “The 12th Warrior”. Click like for this page. Not just the post. My hope is that we can send a message to the Ministry of Sports, the TTFF and anyone in sports administration that we the people are fed up of indifference and lack of dedication to truly developing the youths of our nation to their fullest potential. If we get 5,000 ‘likes’ on that page and everyone that clicks ‘like’ was able to contribute $100 then we as the people would be able to get the Soca Warriors to the Caribbean Cup. (Amazing huh! Could you imagine If everyone walks into TTFF headquarters and make their contributions?)
2. Business owners Step up! This is your chance to earn your right to be seen on the stage with the heroes of our country.
3. Tell all of your friends who want to see local sports truly develop to do the same.
This issue is bigger than football and sports in general. It has to do with youth development both athletic and academic. The support outside the home for our athlete and academics is just not there. Just imagine the talent pool that could be had if more kids had the opportunity to see how far development in their passion could take them.
At the very least we will have a far greater number of the self-confident, motivated and contributing members of society and a greater number of the talented athletes and academics succeed.
You may say that I am crazy for even attempting to do something like this. However, I believe for evil to prosper all that is required is for good men and women to do nothing. I have to try something. Join me in trying something that would send a message to the powers that be that we believe in those that represent our great nation. These athletes in all sports represent us, not the politicians.
Let us show them that we have their backs and we truly wish them well. After all they are doing what some of us only dream that we can. They have demonstrated that they not only have the talent but also the discipline and the drive to excel. To get to this point in any discipline doesn’t happen “just so”.
They are our children, friends, neighbours, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives. Let’s take them back from the fake politicians and the jump-on-board businesses that were not there from the beginning, and show them the love, respect and support that they need to truly excel and perform the way we know they can. The diamond has always been there they just need a hand to take them out of the ground and polish them so they can shine.
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