The Trinidad and Tobago Pro League has been rated as the tenth best in the CONCACAF region, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). The publication revealed on the weekend that the Costa Rican League is now the second strongest in the CONCACAF behind Mexico and ahead of third placed United States (MLS). It was also revealed that the Jamaican League is now ranked higher than T&T, in ninth spot. The T&T Pro League is ahead of Haiti, Suriname and Cuba in that order. Behind the top three leagues are those of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Jamaica and T&T in that order. According to the IFFHS, each year the strongest League in the World is determined from the top five clubs of each country which scored the highest in the Club World Ranking during that calendar year.
Since 1991 this ranking has been determined from the results of matches played at the national championships and FA cups as well as at international club competitions of the six continental Confederations and FIFA. The Spanish League is currently ranked number one followed by the English Premiership. The Pro League, first launched in 1999 when defending champions Defence Force took the League title, continues to be an avenue for some of the best local players to earn an honest living through the sport and has produced players that have not just played for the T&T national team but several other national teams including Guyana, Antigua/Barbuda, Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia and others. It also created opportunities for players from T&T, Antigua and Brazil to secure contracts to play in foreign Leagues.
Spann gets MLS trial
Former W Connection midfielder Silvio Spann is making an attempt at a comeback on the professional circuit. Having been missing from international and domestic action for over a year, Spann was on trial with American Major League Soccer club Columbus Crew earlier this month. Unfortunately he did not do enough to impress head coach Robert Warzycha and his trial was ended after a few days. Spann played 55 minutes in a trial game with Swedish club Malmo FF during their Florida preseason camp. Olman Vargas of Costa Rica was another trialist alongside Spann. They were joined by supplemental draft picks Darren Amoo and Andrew Bulls and other trialists, Lance Laing and Nermin Crnkic. The 30-year-old Spann has 41 appearances for T&T and last played for Wrexham and W Connection in 2010.
Global coverage for TTFF/players
The continuing saga involving the Soca Warriors and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation grabbed headlines the world over as far as Singapore, Sudan, India, Australia, Sweden and South Africa. When the players levied against the TTFF last week, the news hit several of the top international networks including the BBC, CNN, ESPN, Al Jazeera, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and Sports Illustrated. Several kept contacting the TTFF media department and local media for updates on the matter. Zeenews.com stated: “A high court judge said Jack Warner denies any knowledge about the whereabouts of the T&T accounts from the 2006 World Cup amid a dispute over bonuses owed to players from that national team,” using a photo of Warner in Indian wear to accompany its report. Moneycontrol.com, India’s number one financial portal also reported the latest fiasco. Soccer America Daily painted a humiliating picture, not just of the TTFF, but Trinidad and Tobago as a football nation, and ended by adding: “At least it made a nice photo op” in reference to player Anthony Wolfe standing in the street, directing a truck which was carrying away computers and desks.
TTFF marketing chief Anthony Harford is all too aware of the effects of the past few days. “The effect of what has taken place is tremendous and is not something from which we can recover overnight. Regardless of whether the players were acting in their legal rights or not, the world over has viewed T&T in an embarrassing state. We have to dig deep and long to repair and rebuild our position” stated Harford. “There are those of us who will be up to the challenge and committed to it and there will be others who will laugh at us and hope that this damage and humiliation continues just for the sake of it. They are simply unaware that it is more than just a football matter but more so one of a national significance in terms of how the world is seeing us. This is something we need to repair with the collective efforts of all those concerned.
James undergoing rehab in Ohio
United Stated-based defender Julius James is not undergoing preseason training with Columbus Crew in Florida but instead is undergoing rehab at a specialised clinic in Ohio following shoulder surgery during the offseason. James was named the club’s top defender last year and is vowing to be equally effect for the former club of Stern John and Ancil Elcock. “I’m not with the club right now because I’m still doing rehab but preseason has still been going well for me,” said James. “I’m certainly looking forward to the new season. God has blessed me to allowed me to play at a high level and while I’ve been resting and doing rehab for the last few weeks, like any other player I'm definitely pumped up and anxious to start playing again.” James is hoping the current wrangling would come to an end in order for local football to make progress on the international stage.
“I hope the players can get what they deserve and that the Federation can come away better from this. All of this I hope can help our football get back on track,” James added.
Robert impresses for Houston
National team forward Darryl Roberts has been impressive during a preseason trial with American MLS club Houston Dynamo. The former Dutch-based player saw 61 minutes of action in Houston’s 2-0 win over Montreal Impact in Los Angeles last Wednesday. “I think all along we wanted to see him play against MLS teams,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “That’s what you’re going to face weekly. Now you get to see how well they do when the defenders are better and possession is tougher to maintain. For someone like (Daryl), this week is very important.” And Roberts is hopefully up to the challenge, adding: “There’s some pressure when you’re on trial to perform quickly, but you try and keep your nerves and show them as much as you can when you get the opportunity. “It’s an important week for me to show, not only the coach but my teammates as well, that I can match against these guys,” he told MLSsoccer.com.
• Shaun Fuentes is the
media officer for the