Many times we tend to forget the tremendous sacrifices of our forefathers in creating the present landscape.
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Lewis: Intercol shaped my career
Former national team winger Leonson Lewis has given credit to the Secondary Schools Football League for helping shape his career from his early teenage days as a player.
Lewis was a standout with Naparima College and San Fernando Technical Institute but recalls how he first entered St Benedict’s College before transferring to “Naps”. At that time in the early 80s he played for the “Naps team that was managed by David John-Williams, the current President of the TTFA. Lewis was among players honoured by the League last Saturday as one of the top players of the 1990s alongside the likes of Russell Latapy, Shaka Hislop, Dwight Yorke, Marvin Faustin, Hutson Charles, Anthony Sherwood, Shawn Boney, Marvin Oliver, Wesley Webb, Angus Eve, David Nakhid, Garth Pollonais, Timothy Haynes, Clint Marcelle and Neil Williams
“It means a lot for me to be recognised because I came from an era where there a lot of great players. Not everyone could be chosen but it had players like Todd Willis, Andrew Ali as a goalkeeper, Russell Sutton and so many others. There were so many good players, so that to recognized as one of the best players is a huge honour.
“I think it would be with San Fernando Tech where I had my best memories because we won everything that year. We only draw one game with Shaka Hislop and the St Mary’s College and they got on like they had won the World Cup,” Lewis laughed.
“For Naparima College, it was the time that really built me as a player. I remember one game when we had beaten ‘Tech’ with all their stars as one of the top moments. This period in Secondary Schools really shaped my career. This was where it all started. I had a lot of friends in St Benedict’s before I transferred but then I had a lot of fans when I went to Naps. At Naps is when I made up my mind that I wanted to be a professional footballer,” Lewis added.
“David John Williams was my manager when I was at Naparima College. He did whatever we needed in the team and it’s funny that now he is the President of the TTFA. I know he will focus a lot on youth development and he means well for the development of the game locally.”
Hislop expects John Williams led TTFA to deliver
Former National Team goalkeeper and current ESPN pundit Shaka Hislop is placing faith in President David John-Williams and his executive at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association to build on a framework to take the local game forward.
Hislop spoke on the weekend about his hopes for the new administration, expressing confidence in its ability to govern the game as it should be.
“I’ve known President John-Williams for some time and have had the opportunity to work with him on a number of football related activities in the past, so maybe I’m biased,” Hislop said.
“I have a lot of respect for the President and his administration, as I did with Mr (Raymond) Tim Kee. I feel that with the right people in place, and the right support our football will continue to move forward.
“A lot of the heavy digging that was needed to get us out of the hole that our football had found itself in was done by the last administration under Mr Tim Kee, the challenge now build a framework that will continue to take our game forward,” Hislop stated.
Hislop was honoured as one of the best goalkeepers of the Secondary Schools Football League over its 50 years of existence.
“I maintain, I have never enjoyed my football as much as playing for St Mary’s College in the SSFL. I look back on those days with fondness, as the time where I truly fell in love with all the game has to offer. To this day I remain as huge fan of CIC and an advocate of the SSFL. As a result, being honored as one of the all time great goalkeepers means more than the most can imagine. Being recognized for doing something that means as much to me as SSFL does is humbling,” said the former Newcastle and West Ham United custodian.
Hector playing again
National team midfielder Hughtun Hector is back on the playing field. The former DirecTV W Connection player has resumed full training and has taken part in preseason matches with Vietnam top tier team Hanoi T&T
Hector ruptured an Achilles tendon in 2015 which required surgery and sidelined him for the rest of the year. It also ruled him out of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“I’ve resumed full training and I’ve already played in a few training matches. The season starts in a week,” Hector said.
“The most important thing for me is to regain full fitness and to be at my bet again. It has been a frustrating period but I’ve come back stronger mentally and now I’m looking to resume playing again.
“I’m really anxious to be back. My aim is to get back on the national team and be part of the effort to qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” Hector added.
Hector will no doubt be keeping a close eye on T&T’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against St Vincent/Grenadines on March 25th and 29th. Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino is also back in training and is currently with the club for its preseason campaign.
De Leon ready to play for T&T
American-born DC United midfielder Nick DeLeon is ready to play for Trinidad and Tobago if the call comes, according to his father Leroy De Leon. Currently efforts are being made to obtain his Trinidad and Tobago passport.
“Definitely he’s ready to play. He really wants to come here. He feels slighted because his younger sister has played for the Women’s youth team. He’s a hard working guy and I think he will be a good addition to the team. I don’t know what Mr Hart is looking for but I think he will be a good help in a lot of ways. Right now we are trying to secure his passport,” De Leon, the former T&T great said.
The 25-year-old De Leon is also eligible to play for the United States. During the MLS media day this week, the player said he would make a decision soon.
n EDITOR’S NOTE: Shaun Fuentes is the Director of Communications of the TTFA. [email protected]