The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association launched its Nationwide Primary Schools Project with a youth clinic at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Wednesday morning.
Heading the exercise was TTFA Technical Director Anton Corneal and he was joined by National Team coaches Dennis Lawrence, Stuart Charles Fevrier, Russell Latapy, Ross Russell and Director of Football Muhammad Isa along with several TTFA licensed zonal coaches and coordinators as they conducted drills with just about fifty Primary School students from the different districts.
The Project is being hosted by the TTFA in conjunction with titled sponsor Nu-Iron and the Ministry of Education and is titled “Investing in our Youth. Kickstarting their Development.”
According to Corneal, the campaign will target 2,000 kids learning and playing the game at various locations throughout the twin-island. Every kid will be outfitted with uniforms provided by the TTFA as part of Nu-Iron’s sponsorship arrangement.
“It’s an initiative where we are trying to introduce the game to players just a little bit younger that Primary Schools age meaning not their first team but kids that are nine and ten years old for boys and girls. It’s one where we hope to grow the player pool especially on the side of girls where we just don’t have enough girls playing. So we are hoping that we can introduce the game to them, get them interested, get them to love the game and then we can get them to buy into joining clubs, academies and of course get them to play for their schools,” Corneal said.
“This programme is directed to 2,000 kids every Wednesday where we have 1000 boys and a 1000 girls participating in drills and games. This is really the only way. If we would like to compete then this is the way. It needs to start here. There needs to be good coaching, well organised sessions, it needs to be a disciplined setting and the kids need to have fun and if we can do this then we will be on the right path,” Corneal told TTFA Media.
“We have all the coordinators coming together in order to have a dry run of what the programme will look like from next Wednesday,” Corneal added.
“This is going to introduce just the basics of the game with simple technique and probably very little tactical. This is just to get them enjoying being out here and playing, something that is really missing in our sport. Years ago it was done informally which was not a bad way where kids played. But today our kids don’t play. They are on cellphones and other games. So a lot of time is taken doing something else.
“We need to get them out there playing and football needs to do its part in which we are doing. This initiative here is going to kickstart what is going to happen in five to ten years. This is the bottom of our development plan where we need a mass of players being involved in the game,” Corneal stated.