Veterans to stage own Centennial celebration

Walter Alibey
Date Published: 
Trinidad Newsday

THIS YEAR’S celebration of 100 years of football in Trinidad and Tobago has initiated the formation of a Veteran Football Foundation (VFF) which has sought to distance itself from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

The TTFF headed by president Oliver Camps with FIFA vice president Jack Warner as their Special Advisor recently culminated the milestone with a Centennial Banquet when more than 200 persons were recognised for their contribution to the local game.

Special guests at the function at the Centre of Excellence at Macoya were president of FIFA Sepp Blatter; Michael Platini, head of UEFA; Lord Triesman, chairman of the English FA and Dr Joao Havelange, former FIFA chief.

Leading the organisation of the VFF is Tansley Thompson who was cut from the 1973 national team which hammered five goals past Haiti in a World Cup qualifier but lost 2-1 in Port-au-Prince.

Thompson who claims to have been the most active footballer in the local game has received the support of a number of ex-national footballers to form the Veteran Football Foundation.

Among them are former national captain in the 1960-70s Ulric “Buggy” Haynes, Leroy Deleon, Sammy Llewellyn, Leon Carpet, Lawrence Rondon, Selris Figaro, Son Baptiste and Carlton Franco.

Thompson said he is very displeased that a number of footballers who have played important roles in TT football over the years were not recognised by the TTFF.

The VFF’s primary concern he said will be the welfare of the past players and will work closely with the newly formed Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) which has been looking after the benefit of all footballers.

According to Thompson, the VFF’s first assignment will be the introduction of a Football Academy System that will assist and work with established youth programmes across the country.

Thompson and his committee are also planning a brunch at the Queen’s Park Oval at a date and time to be announced.

He insists the event will be more of a re-union for the players, a revival of friendships and a re-uniting of teammates and colleagues, such as Will Payne, Joffre Chambers, Kelvin Berassa and Andy Ganteaume.

This event will be followed by commemorative Centennial Souvenir Brochure that will feature information of 100 years of football in Trinidad and Tobago.

It will also honour 100 footballers whose names will be inducted in a Calypso Soccer Hall of Fame and showcased at a proposed museum in Port-of-Spain.

The committee will also recognise the players who are no longer alive but have made valuable contributions. Among those to be honoured are players, administrators, referees, supporters, minor leagues organisers, community and fete matches officials and all others who have played a part in the development of the game.