The T&T Pro League appears well on course to achieving the objectives set out in government's plan for sports over the next five years.
At least so says Dexter Skeene, Chief Executive Officer of the T&T Pro League, in his feature address to players at the first ever Player Development Seminar at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, yesterday.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert in his budget presentation on Monday stated that Government will develop plans and programmes to encourage many citizens to become involved in sport and recreational activities. He also revealed that T&T will be aiming to be a world class sporting nation by establishing an all encompassing policy to increase the pool of talent from where more world champions will emerge and gain international recognition.
In a ten-page address, Skeene said that his pro league was on course to achieving these goals and it intended to improve its image, brand and work hard to ensure that there was sustainability in the future.
He said: "In terms of becoming a world class sporting nation, it is imperative that players are placed in a professional environment. To become world class, you must be playing professionally and I mean performing in a professional environment for a protracted period of time. The T&T Pro League fits these criteria."
The pro league boss boasts that his league is the only professional league which runs throughout the year and employs hundreds of youths, coaches and technical staff in the process.
"It is an industry which is critical if we are to be world class in football, the number one sport in the world, if T&T is to qualify for a world cup on a regular basis. With reference to encouraging many citizens to become involved in sport, through its youth development system and competition, the T&T Pro League encourages thousands to play the game of football and hone their skills from an early age to give them the opportunity to play at the highest level, receive the best coaching in the country and learn the art of professional football," Skeene said.
In a seminar called to provide assistance to players in their personal development Skeene also said the league attracts all of the nation's top youth footballers and inspires many to strive to be a part of it.
"It creates a pathway for the young individuals to progress from a tender age with the aim and opportunity to become a professional footballer."
However, he called on government to follow up on its drive to upgrade facilities at the various communities. Some $350 million has been spent on the league and Skeene called on the players to help improve the brand by educating themselves and putting into practice the lessons taught at the seminars. The lessons are also aimed at enhancing players' analytical skills.