Something resembling a National League

Ruthven Baptiste
Date Published: 

GALLOPING equipment prices, calls for a national league and professionalism, a government appointed commission into all sports except cricket and horse-racing, the founding of a football players' association; never before in the history of Trinidad football has the TTFA been so beseiged from every sector of the country.

And, in the face of this tremendous pressure all the policymakers of our football can come up with is something resembling a national league — a rebirth of the Champion of Champions tournament organised for one year during Dom Basil Matthews' tenure as President of the then TFA (now TTFA).

That is not to say a national soccer league is not possible, organised on an inter-club basis as the present national league has been, involving the leading clubs of each TTFA affiliated league.

Because, with time these clubs can evolve into something of a County Club, something which an affiliate league team is unlikely to become due to the absence of vibrant local government.

However, the present National Soccer League is not structured for its constituent clubs to develop into any such thing. That's true at least, for the last three clubs in the league's standing at the conclusion of the national tournament.

This system of relegation will most certainly make a mockery of the National Soccer League. The three weakest affiliate leagues with naturally the three weakest clubs in the national league will never be able to settle down so as to develop into at least worthy competitors for the bigger name clubs of the bigger name leagues.

Such a fate may well await TESCA (Tunapuna ex-pupils Association of the Central St. George Football League (CSGFL) whose lack of practice against the more sophisticated defences of Defence Force, Police and Caroni for example, is their only fault. If they are relegated next season, it would be impossible for them to iron out their technical problems and to build the self confidence necessary for successful participation in a national league.

On Sunday July 28, TESCA met the Defence Force at Lever Bros. ground. TESCA lost one-nil to Defence Force. While the Defence Force can congratulate themselves on their victory it was not a convincing one. They never established the command or authority over the game as would have been expected.

In fact TESCA were much faster to the ball throughout the match, but, their lack of experience at that level of competition denied them the victory that was within their grasp.