Corneal: Tough to find opponents for Soca Warriors

 Anton Corneal

FORMER technical director of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Anton Corneal expressed his disappointment with the failure of the Normalisation Committee (NC) to settle up its debt to him, following his successful judgment won in the local High Court since November 2019.

Amid reports that some of their creditors have been paid — including a recent £15,000 settlement to extract the TTFA from a controversial agreement with British clothing supplier, Avec Sports — Corneal was concerned with how the Robert Hadad-led NC was prioritising their debt repayment schedule.

“I can say that was disturbing to me because knowing the history, and I don’t know if how that (debt payment) is going to go, but I have left it up to God and my attorney,” Corneal,a FIFA/CONCACAF instructor, said in an interview on Isports 95.5FM. “Money is going to be paid when they (NC) can work out how to pay the back debts.

“It is something that I have questioned because FIFA funds were always there to pay technical directors (TD), so whatever FIFA funds come again (it) should pay TDs, so it is not really a back debt. It is just pay that people should have been paid with the FIFA funds. That is it in a nutshell.”

Corneal said although he has had discussions with Hadad on the issue, they weren’t very specific and he is about to leave the matter of his $3.4 million judgment in the hands of his attorney.

“My lawyer, I have full respect for what he is doing, he is going to decide what are the next moves. I am not going to decide,” informed Corneal, who worked as coach with three T&T World Cup teams.

“It hurts a lot, I can’t hide it. This is every single day I think about this. I have to think about my kids, my family, my daughter who is in school in the US. What do I do? Do I continue what I was doing in the past, swipe a credit card and pay it off? What is the next move. It is something that, every single day I think about this and then I find out that other people were paid. It is tough, I am not going to fool anyone.”

Corneal said he just wanted the process of the TTFA’s debt settlement to be fair and he wanted no special treatment over the organisations’ other creditors which include Stephen Hart, Dennis Lawrence, Russell Latapy among others.

Asked if he thought his debt would have been settled more quickly if a foreigner, Corneal said: “I don’t know. I hope not because I gave up a lot of my time, personal family time for many years. To think that they would treat a local differently. I hope that we would be beyond that now but you can never tell.”

The former TD has not been inactive since his departure from the TTFA. Last year, Corneal conducted a 3 1/2-month CONCACAF programme in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, and Guyana, assisting those countries in restructuring their association, youth programmes, youth education, standardising of their coach education across the board, and assisting their TDs with long-term development programmes.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the pursuit of his earnings from the TTFA, he is still open to working with the TTFA under a proper structure.

“Of course through discussions, once we could discuss and see there is a place where I can assist and use my experience to guide, I will be happy to assist,” Corneal said. “I am where I am because of T&T football and I must never forget that.”

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