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Tobago stadium woes worry Yorke

Published: 
Friday, December 1, 2017
Former T&T and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke share a photo with FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, for the opening of the FA Thailand High Performance Training Centre.

Former T&T Soca Warriors World Cup captain Dwight Yorke has expressed shock over the response from Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Sports Secretary Jomo Pitt following his response to a question last Thursday about the short term plans to repair infrastructural problems at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet.

According to a news release yesterday, Yorke, currently in Thailand as a Fifa Legend accompanying FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the opening of the FA Thailand High Performance Training Centre, said he received a copy of the video being circulated on Monday which showed Pitt stating “My response to the question posed: None”, as he offered no explanation as to why he could not provide an answers about any plans to address the current deplorable state of the stadium.

“To be quite honest I was shocked at the response and I am disappointed that it’s been allowed to get to this point where access to lights, and proper gym and track facilities are not readily available”, Yorke stated.

Yorke said, “The stadium as we all know is the premier facility for sport on the island and it is the only real facility for young athletes and footballers to train. This has been going on for some time, in terms of the conditions being unsuitable for these athletes and footballers to use, and it’s disappointing that we are still at that point; so much so that athletes are now refusing to even go to the venue and are now forced to train in foreign countries.”.

The Dubai-based former Manchester United striker said he expected Pitt to offer a far better response.

The release added, “What to me was also very disappointing is that the individual who was put there in a position to represent in the best interest of the people of Tobago responded in a manner that was totally surprising. I think we all expected something better and the least Jomo could have done was speak out a bit and explain exactly what the situation is at the moment. Tell us where we are at in terms of the current scenario and where we can expect to go from here with regards to the stadium. But instead of doing that, he took the easy way out,”Yorke added.

“I’ve had people speaking to me about it and it’s disheartening to hear the complaints because for a lot of the people on the island it is their only hope of trying to prepare themselves to achieve their fullest potential. And if you look at the records, the island continues to produce successful people. We’ve had track athletes from Tobago going on to represent the country and do well on the international stage at major events like the Olympics and World Championships.

“Look at young Akeem Stewart for instance, a gold medallist who we should be ensuring receives everything he needs and instead he’s left having to go elsewhere to train. And the country, a twin-island, is Trinidad and Tobago. It’s not just about Tobago or Trinidad”, Yorke explained.

The former Sunderland man, who is currently an international sports ambassador for this country, said he was hopeful that the problem will be alleviated during the upcoming year.

“What I sincerely hope is that the relevant authorities take a serious look into the matter at present and find a way to solve the issues at hand. I think it’s unfair that we have to put our young people and especially our international athletes through something like this and I am looking forward to see that the proper steps are taken by the people in charge to get the facility up to an acceptable state as it relates to usage for competitions, events and the various types of training”, Yorke added.

The former Aston Villa marksman is also a Manchester United ambassador and was invited by Infantino to visit Thailand as a FIFA Legend. He and former Manchester United player Park Ji-sung led a football training session on Monday with this year’s AFC Player of the Year and Women’s Player of the Year nominees as well as Thailand national team head coach Milovan Rajevac, his coaching staff and former and current national senior and youth team players, the release ended.

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