As several of Trinidad and Tobago’s football stalwarts and legends gathered on Saturday for the 50th Anniversary Awards ceremony of the Secondary Schools Football League at the Naparima College auditorium, several of them expressed a positive outlook on the new leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
David John-Williams was elected as the new President of the TTFA on November 29th and has been leading a new executive which includes Vice Presidents Ewing Davis, Joanne Salazar and Alan Warner as well as a new TTFA Board of Directors. A new technical committee was also announced last week chaired by Former National player and TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene.
Former T&T standout Leroy De Leon, after being named as the Secondary Schools Football League best player in its 50 years, took the opportunity on Saturday to shares his views on the way forward under John-Williams.
“I think he’s on the right track. We’ve already had a few talks. We sat and had a nice conversation and from what he’s saying, his head is in the right direction. Again funding is going the make his thoughts and ideas be realized. I will help him as much as I can as I have more time for football. I don’t want to coach. I want to sit down and watch a good football game and wear my national colours proudly ,” De Leon told TTFA Media.
Former Trinidad and Tobago Under 20 midfield standout Anthony Sherwood, who was honoured as one of the legends of the 1990s, added: “I pay very close attention to the development that is happening in the game. I wish the new administration the very best. The task is an enormous one. Hopefully the new administration can be the catalyst for the change that everybody wants to see. Football is very important to all of us and I’d love to see a time where we can experience the joy of the years gone by.”
Another former St Benedict’s College standout and ex-national player, Wildred Cave, said he hoped to see more emphasis on youth development.
“Point Fortin is a sporting community and he’s from there, my hometown and I know that John has sport in his heart. I have had a few conversations with him and I know he’s going to do well. He has Trinidad and Tobago on high priority and I know our football is going to grow from here,” said Cave.
“I personally feel we have the knowledge here with our coaches. But we need to be more consistent with our programs and have more continuity especially with the youth development programs.”
Nigel Grosvenor, the head coach of St Anthony’s College who has led the team to several national titles, said John Williams’ strong passion for the game would be essential for the governance and development of local football.
“It’s always good to accept change. David is a businessman and I always felt that we needed a businessman to run the TTFA and I’m looking forward to it. Some people say he’s hard but sometimes it takes that to go forward. Football is his life and that’s what we need now,” Grosvenor said.
Former Strike Squad member Leonson Lewis recalled his days as a player with Naparima College in early 80s when “Naps’ lost to St Augustine in the Intercol Final at the National Stadium. John-Williams was the manager of the Naparima team then.
“He always gives a lot to football and for football. I thought it was important for us to have someone who is really involved in football,”Lewis said.
“He may not have a lot to do with the senior team because that team seems to be doing well and is in good hands under Stephen Hart. But as far as youth development goes, I know he will place a lot of focus on that and he will strengthen the youth system in local football,” Lewis continued
“It’s funny that David John-Williams is the President of the TTFA now because when I first went to Naparima College he was the man that bought me my first pair of football boots. He was the manager/sponsor of the team and whatever the boys needed, David would get it whether it be the cooler of drinks or anything else. When I left school and went to Portugal and then came back, he was the man who called me to W Connection to start playing again and then I went straight into coaching under Stuart Charles Fevrier. I am very glad to see that we have somebody like him in charge of football now,” Lewis said.
Photo above shows Leroy De Leon (left) and Wilfred Cave with Dr. Alvin Henderson, deputy chairman of the TTFA Technical Committee at the SSFL Awards Ceremony after receiving their awards on Saturday.