Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 6th 2015 Contents A41
December 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
The practice of elitist-styled leader-
ship in sports at the level of the state
and its associated agencies are over,
says Sports Minister Darryl Smith.
He made the statement to the media
yesterday following the presentation of
the new board of the Sport Company
of T&T (SporTT), chaired by former
national cyclist and businessman Michael
Phillip, which was held at the state enter-
prise s Henry Street office.
Responding to questions from the
media on the status of the ministry s
planned review and possible overhaul of
the Elite Athlete Assistance Programme,
the minister said the troubling culture
of having a SporTT chairman or gov-
ernment minister staying from some
remote location and making decisions,
in most cases without the relevant data,
were at an end.
Smith said: "One of the things that
you are going to be seeing that is unique
and different is the non-existence of the
ivory tower syndrome, where you are
going to have a minister or chairman up
in a tower dictating, telling everybody
what to do. I ve embarked on a mission
that has never been done in the ministry
of sports before.
"There are 53 (national) governing
bodies and in less than three months, I
have met with 40. It s as much as three
or four a day I ve been meeting with.
The governing bodies have been extreme-
ly pleased and appreciative.
"In fact, there are a couple of them
which said they have never met with a
minister before. I plan to complete the
53 (NGB) before the year ends. Again,
consultation is big part of us moving
forward," he said.
The minister continued: "Each sport-
ing body is unique and different and
they all have similar requests with regards
to funding. Some don t get! Some get!
I was very adamant that we get the board
in place, because again, it is a major part
with regards to the funding and the deci-
sion making. Meeting with different
presidents, chairman, CEOs of the dif-
ferent governing bodies have assisted.
"When we have ventilated and gone
through that process, we plan to have
an entire symposium with all the gov-
erning bodies and that would be one of
the top priorities, so that we could get
it right for the athletes. Things are going
to be done a little different. We are going
to be driven by data and analysing of
the data to make decisions not based on
Smith called on the SporTT board to
restore integrity and stability to the
organisation, not only in the athletes
interest, but the national community.
He said the instability of previous
boards was no secret, which was his rea-
son for pushing for the selection and
eventual announcement of this team of
directors, in an effort boost stakeholder
Smith expressed delight in the fact
that the board had already begun work-
ing, which he was convinced would move
and propel sport and the youth in T&T,
Michael Phillip said while he always
had varying conversations with regards
to sports, sporting organisations and the
business of sports, he never saw himself
in such a high-profile position.
Asked about his approach to the new
assignment, Phillip said: "I think it s a
matter of just keeping it simple, keeping
it practical, listening and seeing what
needs to be done and making the right
"In a final only the winners really
get rewarded. No one remembers
the runners-up." This is the view
of Stuart Charles-Fevrier, coach of
three-time Toyota Classic cham-
pions W Connection.
W Connection are just one win
away from claiming the title for a
fourth time. They face seasoned
campaigners Defence Force today
from 6.30 pm at the Hasely Craw-
ford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Connection, which is known pop-
ularly as the Savonetta Boys, can
boast of being one of the most suc-
cessful clubs locally, having won the
Toyota Classic, starting with the
inaugural edition in 2005, as well as
the 2011 and 2013 versions.
Yesterday, Charles-Fevrier said:
"Every player, no matter which club,
will want to win a final and it s no
different on this occasion."
He said: "Defence Force is a team
with a lot of history. We never take
them for granted. The soldiers have
a good mental attitude. It s always
difficult against them but we are
confident in our ability and team."
The champions of this season s
Toyota Classic will receive a whop-
ping $70,000---an increase from last
year which was $50,000---while the
runners-up will collect $20,000.
"We have been preparing from
the beginning of the week for this
final. We want to be as professional
as possible in our preparations. We
want to win and are making sure do
everything in our preparation,"
Connection, who were crowned
champions of this season s First Cit-
izens Cup earlier in October, earned
a final berth after beating rivals Cen-
tral FC in the semifinal 6--5 on
penalties following a 2--2 tie.
And on the road to that semifinal
clash the southerners defeated Club
Sando 5--3, also in a penalty shoot-
out, and thrashed North East Stars
The Connection coach said:
"North East Stars are a good young
team and it was tight against them,
but against Central FC it s never easy
for us. They are games that can go
either way, but I think our players
have grown mentally. We have a
young team and the self-belief in
our players is growing. I always try
to encourage our players that we
need to be able to match the entire
world in our play."
He added: "While it s good to win
in local football, we have to look at
the next level which is the rest of
the world and we are not at that
level yet although I have to credit
my players in the CONCACAF
Champions League (2015-16 group
stage). We had a bad start at the
Champions League (due to the off-
season) but improved by the second
leg where we should have defeated
Mexico s top club (Santos Laguna)
when the visited us, because of the
amount of scoring opportunities we
Meanwhile, Defence Force coach
Marvin Gordon wants an improve-
ment in attack from his side. He is
calling on striker Devorn Jorsling
and Richard Roy to step up.
"Jorsling will have to be at his best
as well as be a motivator to his team-
mates if we are to get past a con-
fident-looking W Connection. I am
also looking for the right attitude
from Jorsling and Roy. As coach I
am always looking for the players
who are willing to give it their all.
Jorsling is a seasoned campaigner
who would try to lift the team. Roy
is a good forward but a lot of times
the attitude is off. We need him to
have the right attitude up front and
show what he is really capable of,"
the coach noted.
The Army/Coast Guard combi-
nation edged defending champions
San Juan Jabloteh 1--0 on Sunday
last in the semifinal to book a spot
in their first final of the season but
Gordon was anything but satisfied
with the performance of the team.
"It s always a good feeling when
you reach a final and I have to given
credit to my players, but the journey
doesn t stop here. We didn t play a
good semifinal but we got the goal
that took us through. Sometimes
that s what champions are made up
of---getting the winner even when
things aren t going your way," Gor-
A win for the Defence Force will
hand Gordon his first title as coach
since taking over from his colleague
Ross Russell in December last year.
If Gordon is to get that title how-
ever, his team will need to improve
in attack, which he pointed out has
been his team s major downfall.
Gordon, whose side defeated St
Ann s Rangers 3--1 and FC Santa
Rosa 2--1 in the round-of-16 and
quarterfinals respectively, will wel-
come back Kerry Joseph after the
veteran attacking midfielder missed
the semifinals due to suspension.
Defence Force are undefeated in
their last six games and have tasted
defeated just once this season, which
was a 1--2 loss in the quarterfinal of
the First Citizens Cup against Mor-
vant Caledonia United.
Gordon is hoping to cap off his
team s string of good form with the
Toyota Classic crown.
"They (W Connection) play one
way. We are going to counter-attack
the way they play. I love to play good
football and get a winning result,"
TOYOTA CLASSIC TOURNAMENT
Army, W Connection face off in final
Smith: End to elitist governance in sports
Sports Minister Darryl Smith, left, congratulates former
national cyclist Michael Phillip, the new chairman of the board
of the Sport Company of T&T, at the state agency's Henry Street
office, yesterday. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
Sean Shaffie, left, marketing manager of Toyota T&T Ltd, presents the Toyota Cup to Dexter Skeene, CEO of the
T&T Pro League, on November 2, 2015. Representatives from participating teams look on. PHOTO: ANTHONY HARRIS
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