Black Immigrant Daily News
Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s football team head coach Angus Eve (L) speaks with Newsday reporter Jelani Beckles, on Monday, at the launch of the TT Premier League, at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. – Photo by Roger Jacob
TRINIDAD and Tobago men’s senior football coach Angus Eve is anticipating the start of the TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) calling it a “good day” for football as it will allow the local-based players to play regularly in an effort to earn selection on the national team.
“Most of all (this is) an opportunity for the players to play,” Eve said during the launch of the league at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Monday.
“Derek (King) and I are here today because we are happy that there is a league. We have been advocating for the local players to be part of the (national) team, but they need to be playing and they need to be match fit, so today is a good day.” King is one of Eve’s assistant coaches on the national senior team.
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and the TTPFL COO Colin Wharfe were among those who attended the launch.
“(This is) good. It is really good to hear the minister vow the support of the Government,” Eve said. “The dignitaries were here. You heard Robert Hadad speak, the new COO Mr (Colin) Wharfe. I think he is an excellent guy, a really good guy, a guy of integrity. That is the kind of people we need in sport.”
Coaches and representatives of local club teams attended the league’s launch.
Eve knows the national team will not benefit from the league overnight as players must play regularly for a year or two to improve their standard of play.
“It would not be overnight, but we have been doing our part. The normalisation committee has been supporting us. We just played St Martin in a game and that was an effort to keep the locally-based players engaged and we see how that went. We have a couple more matches for them. We want to go to Jamaica with them and we also want to play Guatemala in the (United) States with the locally-based players.”
Eve said his staff on the national team will be attending the TTPFL matches to scout players for the TT men’s senior team.
“We will get to see every team play obviously…we have a staff (and) we will send people to different places. We have the opportunity once the fixtures are stable that we can go different venues and watch the different teams.”
The league has been 18 months in the making and the league for 12 tier-one teams will begin on March 10 and end in May. The teams are La Horquetta Rangers, Club Sando, Police, W Connection Couva, Pt Fortin Civic FC, AC Port of Spain, Central FC, San Juan Jabloteh, Caledonia AIA, Prisons FC, Cunupia FC and Defence Force.
The league for tier-two teams will start at the end of April, but it is uncertain how many teams will compete.
There will be no promotion and relegation in the first season as it will only be played over two months. In June, a knock-out competition will be held featuring teams in both tier one and tier two. The second season of the league will run from September/October 2023 to May 2024.
At the launch on Monday, Cudjoe said the Government will commit $3 million per year for the first three years. The league is also getting support from FIFA and corporate TT.