Technical director of the T&T Football Federation (TTFF) Anton Corneal intends to certify coaches from 250 primary schools across the country over the next two years as he sets off on a campaign to develop coaches at the youth level.


While there are players attached to some local coaching schools and clubs, it is evident that not enough is being done to lift the level of players under age 12 who are still at school.


Atlantic teamed up with the TTFF recently to launch a nationwide Primary Schools Coaching License Programme that will also prepare individuals for the TTFF “C” license course that is offered for coaches who are attached to clubs. The first three-day course took place at the St Mary’s Government Primary School in Moruga last week.


“We are targeting the physical education teachers and the general teachers that interact with our kids on a daily basis in the primary schools. That’s where it starts for every child who wants to play the sport of football and who may have the skill and talent to go on to greater things in the game,” said Corneal.


“This is a direct effort to help the coaches at those levels who can then help the young players to learn the game and develop better habits at an early stage. It’s a brilliant initiative by Atlantic LNG which we at the TTFF strongly believe in and we will pursue this actively over the next two years and beyond,” Corneal stated.


“We’ve noticed there is a huge appetite at that level for the coaches to gain knowledge and we are more than happy to pass it on. We’ve had a lot of several players who’ve gone on to play for the country and done well in the sport who have all attended primary school at some point but we feel this is an opportunity to unearth even more talent than we’ve done in the past,” Corneal concluded.



Leonson thinks U-17s have good qualifying chance


Former T&T winger Leonson Lewis is expecting the national Under-17 men’s team to perform creditably at the upcoming Concacaf final round of U-17 World Cup qualifiers in Panama City and is optimistic of T&T sneaking into the semifinal round.


If T&T can progress beyond the opening three-team group phase and then win its quarterfinal clash, it will be among the four countries from Concacaf appearing at the 2013 Fifa U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. T&T faces Canada on April 6 and Costa Rica two days later. The top two teams advance to the quarterfinals.


Lewis is one of the assistant coaches on the U-17 team alongside fellow assistant Terrance Marcelle. Shawn Cooper is the head coach. Lewis has been working with the team for several months and is one of the local coaches who have been part of the TTFF Coach Education Programmes overseen by technical director Anton Corneal and his group of local coach instructors.


Lewis says on a daily basis he tries to pass on his knowledge and experience as a player for the national team to upcoming ones.


“They will be a nervous bunch at this time because they are young and it’s the first time they will be going into a qualifying tournament like this one. I was there at one stage and I know how it feels,” Lewis said.


“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for them you are only going to be under 17 once. I try to get into their minds how they should think, and we, to prepare them as best we can for the tournament coming up in Panama.”


Commenting on his tenure as a coach, having completed a professional career that saw him campaign for several years at the highest level in Portugal, Lewis said he’s enjoying the experience thus far even though it may have some challenging moments.


“It’s been a learning experience. I’m now getting introduced to a lot of different training methods and the way that we prepare youngsters for a tournament like this. It’s been a really good learning process for me and I’m really impressed by Anton (Corneal) and his coaching tactics as well. We just want to see how good the work we are doing holds out with these boys because we are a really at a disadvantage when it comes to the preparations of the other teams. We are really a third world country when it comes to preparations as compared to a lot of the other countries. But we’re doing our best with the resources and opportunities that are there and keenly awaiting the chance to see where we’ve gotten to,” Lewis ended.



Yorke: United must win it in style


Dwight York insists that Manchester United must brush off the disappointment of the Champions League exit by winning the Premiership title by a record margin.


Yorke was part of the United side that won the title 18 points ahead of its closest rivals back in 1999/2000.


“The manager knows his position because the players will be deflated and aware that they got knocked out of the European Cup, but that has gone now,” Yorke said.


“He will have given the players reassurances and told them to ‘focus on the job at hand,’ which is retaining the Premier League title. But the key is the manner in which we reclaim it. We don’t want to bring it back to Old Trafford by just two or three points. Let’s try and break the all-time record. In 2000, we won it by 18 points in April and those are the kind of benchmarks that you want to reach. Sir Alex has been through it all and this is nothing for him. It is his duty as a manager to reinforce that belief.”


By Shaun Fuentes