She: But he’s a nice guy.
Me: So what? Lots of those around. He could be an axe murderer with bodies buried in the back yard for all you know.
She: Stop being so cynical.
The past 12 months have given president of the T&T Football Association, Raymond Tim Kee, a reason to be optimistic for the year which lies ahead. Tim Kee, who was elected to head the local governing body for football some 14 months ago, has issued a statement reflecting on both the developments and struggles faced by the TTFA in the past year, much of which he anticipated.
“As an organisation, we were up against it in 2013, something which I had foreseen but by which I had not been intimidated. The financial woes faced by the TTFA, stemming from seasons gone by, remained a major issue and at one point, we were not even sure to enter any of the several international tournaments in which our national teams eventually did partake and in most cases, did so creditably.” “The year that has just ended leaves me as president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) with a great deal of optimism as we begin 2014, a World Cup year and in many regards, one that promises to be full of activities and continuing development for football in our beloved country,” said Tim Kee in a release issued by the TTFA, yesterday.
Tim Kee, an insurance executive and recently elected mayor of Port-of-Spain, said it was a holistic effort from a combination of persons employed by the TTFA, national team players, match officials and referees, who have aided in a successful 2013. Among TTFA’s staff, he acknowledged the efforts of general secretary Sheldon Phillips, director of communications, Shaun Fuentes and technical director Anton Corneal. “The dedication of our staff members paved the way for our women’s Under-17 and Under-20 teams to dominate the Caribbean, winning and finishing runners-up in their respective competitions.” Tim Kee added that the introduction of Stephen Hart as head coach of T&T’s senior men’s team midway through the year, was “a breath of fresh air.”
“He steered our team to impressive performances at the Concacaf Gold Cup and the OSN Cup in Saudi Arabia, giving us much-needed hope and well-informed expectations. “He was given the job with the responsibility of application and performance of knowledge and to date he has done exactly that. Our senior team put us back on the international map with a series of spirited performances which saw us end 2013 as the number one ranked team in the Caribbean. We ended 2013 ranked sixth in Concacaf, as compared to being placed at number 10 in the Confederation, when I assumed the presidency in November 2012.”
He added, “Our coaches continue to expand their knowledge of the game through our coaching education programme, and I say, continue aiming for greater things and serving the development of the game locally. It is not going unnoticed. “More of these efforts will follow as the organisation steps up its grassroots and shoreline football distribution campaigns in various communities.”
Tim Kee lauded the assistance granted by the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT). Both, he said, were pivotal in seeing varous T&T teams fly their flags in over a dozen nations during the past year. He, however, lamented the lack of support given by corporate T&T, saying, “Unfortunately, we have not had the benefit of corporate T&T sharing the view of world icon, president Nelson Mandela who saw sport as one of the world’s greatest vehicles to foster peace and harmony among various peoples.”
“Sadly, we have not had one cent in sponsorship, partnership or support from corporate T&T. As we pursue our 2018 World Cup qualification programme, among Pan American, Olympic and other Concacaf and Fifa tournaments, we request support from all. “We are always working on forging similar relationships with other organisations as we seek to lift the standard of our football through various development programmes and training regimes, both at home and abroad. Our merchandise campaign also got off the ground with the sales of our Joma national team shirts. The response has been quite encouraging so far. “In closing, I wish to state that in the ensuing year, we at the TTFA don’t intend to lower expectations to meet our performance. Instead, we will aim to raise our level of performance to meet the expectations of our fans and supporters who have been there with us along the journey. “We expect to be the best we are capable of and do what is necessary to make it a reality.”