Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2013 Contents A76
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, December 7, 2013
Former national defender Brent Sancho
says the time has come for this country
to properly harness the rough athletic tal-
ents it possesses.
And, he is recommending that priority
consideration be given to the establishment
of a well constituted and funded Sports
Academy to achieve this goal.
Sancho, however, is not making the case
insolation, citing that football is his first
love and despite the fact that he helped the
national football team in its historic World
Cup Germany 2006 qualification.
In a T&T Guardian interview, the ex-
footballer said, on returning home following
retirement from international football, he
was surprised by the innate talent that per-
vades on the fields and courts of play.
Forty-eight months on, Sancho continues
to be wowed by those yet-to-be developed
athletes with whom he comes into contact
on local shores.
Convinced that T&T s sporting capital
was still untapped, he is advocating for a
public-private sector partnership which he
described as crucial, towards cultivating this
country s true sporting excellence.
"An academy for sport in T&T is needed.
From all that I have seen in T&T, football
is not the only sport that suffers that fate.
I think every other sport seems to have a
problem when it comes to developing raw
talent. When you see individual brilliance,
is because of one individual being able to
sustain a certain programme over the course
of the years and a lot was done from their
financial commitment, preferably from their
parents. What you are seeing in T&T is, the
ones that have gone through the cracks are
the ones that (are) not able to sustain...and
I think we can do better, especially for a
country so rich, financially," he said.
Sancho said, "I don t point the finger so
much at the Government. I point more at
the private sector. I think they need to do
a lot more to invest in our kids and invest
in the development of our community,
because what you are seeing is young kids
that have the ability, that have the talent,
that have the drive...have the commitment.
We have to remember that we live in a day
and age where they are easily swayed
whether it s the computer, etcetera and you
can lose a kid in a split second and that is
where we are falling short."
He used this country s approach to World
Cup qualification to make his case and said
for the Soca Warriors World Cup Russia
2018 campaign: "The national team needs
to focus on consistency and we need to take
a serious approach financially and even
mentally. A lot of the things we do, we do
for short term gains. We haven t done any-
thing with a lot of sustainability in it. I think
we need a national programme. Stephen
Hart is doing a tremendous job now, but
it will be travesty if that support that he s
getting now wanes after a year or two, if
he gets poor results. I think we need to be
consistent in building our programme."
He added, "We ve got to start building
from the ground up in T&T. We need to
start unearthing more talent, giving more
grass-root programmes so we could unearth
these talents and develop the talents that
we have. And also, go overseas looking for
footballers who have T&T percentage that
we could incorporate in the national team.
I don t think it s a case of going with a
bunch of young players. I think it s a sys-
tematic way of slowly waning out some of
the older players, keeping them around so
they can give the ones that are coming in
While the ex-footballer might be a parent
of recent vintage, he is fully aware of the
dividends to be earned when parents and
guardians invest in children--not just drop-
ping them off to training sessions, but stay-
ing on to support them.
In countries where athletes showed star
quality from early, he said, it was a direct
link to the involvement of both parents,
when possible, even if they are separated.
"What you see in T&T is not that. You
see kids showing up by themselves or with
friends. You are not seeing that support.
That same parental support that American
kids get, they also get it financially from
their parents. They invest in their kids. They
invest in their kids future. Clearly in this
country we don t see it, we see that lack
of investment in that child s future. You see
it as a result of the social ills now in T&T,"
"Even though we have lapsed in terms
of the parental support in T&T, we can
compensate by giving the correct financial
support. I think an academy is a must in
T&T, where we can bring kids in, house
them...the ones that don t have the parental
support where they can be nurtured."
Sancho calls for
Sport Academy in T&T
Anthony Bailey will attempt to maintain
his place as the top shooter in T&T, when
the T&T Defence Force and the International
Defensive Pistol Association host the Top
Gun competition at the Jethro John Practical
Shooting Range Facilties, Gran Couva from
This tournament, the final shooting event
of the year, will feature the top 25 practical
shooters in T&T. Competitors will represent
the T&T Defence Force, T&T Police Service,
Customs, International Defensive Pistol Asso-
ciation, South Trinidad Rifle Association and
the Tobago Rifle Club.
Bailey currently sits on top of the standings
with 144 points after the previous five events
this year. Trailing Bailey is Mohammed Ali on
127 points and Kelvin Sebastien on 118.
The shooters will be guided by match director
Ricardo Stephenson. Special prizes will be up
for grabs such as the high military, high law
enforcement and the most accurate award.
The semifinal stage for the TTFA FA Trophy
competition will see last year s runners up
Central FC up against Super League cam-
paigners Malabar FC and W Connection
against North East Stars on Wednesday at
the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
This was determined at the draw for the
semi-finals at the TTFA head office, Hasely
Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo yesterday
Central, which lost 2-0 to Caledonia AIA
in last year s final, will face Malabar from 5pm
in the opening game of a double-header at
the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday, Con-
nection and North East will clash from 7.30
The final will take place on December 18
from 7.30pm, following a third place playoff
at 5 pm at the same venue.
The TTFA also wishes to officially announce
that the winners of the 2013 FA Trophy will
receive $50,000 along with the prestigious
Trophy, with $30,000 going to the runners
up and $20,000 for the third place finishers.
Norris Ferguson, who was present at yes-
terday s draw, said Central FC will be keen on
advancing to the final and taking the title this
"We are very excited about this competition
and the fact that we are one match away from
making it to our second consecutive FA Final,"
"And we are proud to be able to vie for the
$50,000 first prize and would like to thank
the organisers, the TTFA, for their efforts in
bringing this incentive forward."
Connection s manager Raymond McLean
added that the Toyota Cup champions would
be looking to capture yet another Cup title.
"We are definitely looking to take the FA as
well. No match is expected to be an easy one
but we take each game on its merit. At the
same time we will not be overawed by any
team," McLean said. "We have a pretty decent
record in the FA Trophy and this is also a pres-
tigious title to play for."
Bailey aims for
Top Gun title
Stephanie Barosso, left, Adidas representative from Panama, Regina Bittencourt, minister counsellor, Brazilian Embassy and former
national footballer Brent Sancho. Occasion was the unveiling of the giant-sized Adidas football christened the Brazuca. The event took
place at Chaud Cafe, One Woodbrook Place on Wednesday. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
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