Warner to return as adviser to T&T football federation

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP):

FIFA VICE President and CONCACAF President Jack Warner announced his decision to return to the local soccer scene as a special adviser to Trinidad and Tobago's soccer federation.

Warner will also serve as chairman of the federation's appeals committee, federation officials said yesterday. He will continue his duties at FIFA and CONCACAF.

"For the record, Jack is back, in local (soccer)," Warner told a news conference.

He previously served as the federation's special adviser until July, when Warner severed ties with the sport in Trinidad after a dispute over government funding for the federation with Sports Minister Roger Boynes.

Warner is among the main financial supporters of the opposition United National Congress party, which was defeated on October 7 in general elections, and Boynes is a member of the governing People's National Movement party.

He visited the sports minister on Wednesday to iron out their differences. "I assured him of my fullest support for the betterment of sports in Trinidad and Tobago in general and (soccer) in particular."

Warner was the major supporter of soccer in the Caribbean twin-island country until October 2001 when he pulled funding, saying he wanted to consolidate his finances. He said he spent about Trinidadian $20 million (US$3.3 million) on the sport annually.

Warner didn't say on Wednesday whether he would resume funding the sport from his personal finances.

The soccer federation on Wednesday also named a new technical director and national team coach, Hannibal Najjar. He helped lead Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi to an NAIA title in the 1990s.

Najjar replaces interim coach Jamaal Shabaaz, one of 114 members of the Muslim group Jamaat al-Muslimeen who staged a failed coup attempt in 1990. Shabaaz, appointed in September and currently the women's national team coach, never coached a game for the men's team.

The announcements came the same day Trinidad's FIFA ranking dropped from 47th to 52nd.