FIFA president Gianni Infantino was the feature guest at a Dinner and Appreciation Awards Ceremony hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and its president David John-Williams at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair on Monday night.
To mark the historic occasion of the FIFA boss’ first official visit to this country since being appointed, the TT FA honoured persons for their long-standing contribution to local football. Among them were Randolph Price, a former player with Colts and a local women’s football coach; former national coaches and players – Sedley Joseph, Alvin Corneal, Edgar Vidale and Everald “Gally” Cummings; former match commissioners Boris Punch and Lennox Pilgrim; TT FA administrator and Women’s Football League president Sharon O’Brien; Merle Bagoo, the first local woman to officiate an international game, and former FIFA referee Noel Bynoe.
Infantino spoke of the importance of the TT FA having its National Technical Development Centre – the home of football, which was announced at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Monday.
“This will change Trinidad and Tobago football but also Trinidad and Tobago society. Football is a great game in which players, both boys and girls are taught not only how to play football and how to be sports persons but how to be human beings with values and respect. And this project will of course boost the whole football movement in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
“If you work around this talent you will have great results and it will send a strong message in the country and also in the whole CONCACAF, Caribbean and Americas on what can be achieved if you work seriously,” he added.
Infantino also spoke of his hectic one-day visit and his observations.
“The day has been fantastic...I have been witnessing the population in Trinidad and Tobago who is absolutely passionate for football, you have here incredible, natural talent and if you manage really to structure it a little bit to foster the professional game then the results for the future will be bright,” Infantino told TT FA Media.
FIFA’s chief also touched on his relationship with John-Williams.
“David is completely crazy. He starts one thing and the same time he has a thousand new ideas and an energy which is absolutely incredible.
I like him because he is a doer.
Maybe he starts a thousand things and at the end he finishes only one of them but if you don’t do, if you don’t believe, dream, if you don’t believe in what you do then you will never get anywhere.”