IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS Infantino was quick to underscore the importance of the FA forming partnerships in order to develop the sport. “Obviously, a collective effort is needed,” he stressed. “One person or organisation alone cannot do anything, but I am sure that with the help of the Government, who is very committed, and also a little bit of FIFA and CONCACAF, I am sure the results will be there.” Infantino, a former general secretary of UEFA, also praised the work of John Williams, whose administration has come in for criticism in recent times, especially for its bungling of the appointment of a national men’s coach to replace the long-serving Stephen Hart. “I have been able to witness really a new Trinidad and Tobago Football Association with a new spirit, with my friend, David, who with his passion, brings everyone with him,” Infantino said. “I have witnessed the government, who is fully behind the football association. I have been witnessing the population in Trinidad and Tobago, who is absolutely passionate for football.” He added: “[John Williams] is one of these persons who can really make things happen with his energy, his passion, and his way of working. This is certainly inspiring, and this is why I am really happy to be one of his friends.” PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): FIFA President Gianni Infantino believes the establishment of the Ato Boldon Stadium as the country’s new national development centre could have a profound impact on Trinidad and Tobago football. The Italian, who took over the helm of football’s controversial world governing body last February, announced during his visit there earlier this week that the Couva venue would now become the Football Association’s home. Construction is expected to begin shortly on the building that will house the FA’s new offices. Located in central Trinidad – about 45 minutes outside of the capital of Port-of-Spain – and named after one of the country’s most heralded Olympic sprinters, the stadium was opened in 2001 and hosted games in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that year. The facility will now also serve as the main venue for national team training and international games, though the Hasely Crawford Stadium will remain an active venue. “This will change Trinidad and Tobago football but also Trinidad and Tobago society,” Infantino said. “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. “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.” Infantino’s visit to the island was his first since assuming office, replacing the long-serving Sepp Blatter who was forced to step down amid corruption allegations. He was welcomed on arrival by TTFA president David John Williams and Sports Minister Darryl Smith, and later met with Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Currently in last place in Group C, the Azkals face Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday night at Rashid Stadium with both teams needing victories to stand a chance of progressing to the round of 16.Making it to the next round as one of the top two teams in the group is already out of the equation for the Azkals, but qualifying as one of the four best third-placed squads is a scenario that is still alive.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissThe Azkals narrowly lost to South Korea, 0-1, in their opening match on Jan. 7, before falling to China, 0-3, at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match against China drew 16,000 fans, so far the most attended game in the tournament that did not involve host United Arab Emirates.“The Kyrgyzstan match will be like a final for us,” said captain Stephan Schrock. “We have to finish with a really good performance, taking three points—and really hope for the best.” View comments Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ DUBAI—There is no guarantee that a victory in its last group match will be enough for the Philippines to reach the next round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.But a strong finish can cap what has been a memorable debut so far for the Azkals here.ADVERTISEMENT The Philippines is one of eight winless countries in the tournament after all 24 teams have played their two matches. A draw will not be enough for both Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines to reach the next round.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history MOST READ LATEST STORIES PacMay II: Russia or London Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil
GuySuCo’s divestmentOver 71 Expressions of Interest (EoIs) have been received by the State for assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) as the Government forges ahead with plans to divest and minimise the sugar industry.Minister of State, Joseph HarmonSpeaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Friday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, explained that Government would move forward with these EoIs only after completion of the valuation of GuySuCo’s assets, which is currently being carried out by the United Kingdom-based firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).“That valuation will actually give us a good sense of what prices you’re actually looking at for the equipment, for the land, and all of these assets that belong to GuySuCo. So it’s an important step in the process to have these valuations done. So while some companies have actually made applications [and] expressed interest, what we are saying is: ‘Let us get the proper valuation and know exactly what it is that we’re doing’, so it is not done in a (piecemeal) manner,” he stated.According to Harmon, Government wants to ensure that this divestment process is done is an orderly and transparent way, especially since this is going to be one of the largest local transfers of State lands to private ownership.“So you don’t want allegations of favouritism, price-gouging and all of these things. We want to ensure a very smooth process, which will ensure that everyone gets a clear understanding and equal opportunity to purchase,” the State Minister posited.Sugar workers in line to collect severance payGovernment last year announced plans to minimise the local sugar industry and divest the corporation’s assets. To this end, a Special Purposes Unit (SPU) — which falls under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) — was set up to oversee the divestment plans by way of either selling off or restarting factories with minimal staff to attract investors, both domestic and foreign.Room for improvementNICIL’s Special Purposes Unit (SPU) Head, Colvin Heath-London, has recently confirmed that, over the next few months, special emphasis would be placed on transforming GuySuCo’s economic misfortune into a situation wherein a fully self-sufficient, viable and competitive enterprise operates.However, asked about the performance of the three remaining estates – Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion — Minister Harmon has said they continue to function, but he believes there is room for improvement with the performance of these estates.“There is, of course, the need for some of these estates to really push themselves a little bit more; and I think that is something which we should look at. You’re also aware that DDL (Demerara Distillers Limited) had to actually import molasses because of a shortfall in their production, and these are things that we need to get right… These are what you call ‘low hanging fruits’ that are there that we should take advantage of,” he opined.Guyana Times reported earlier this week that the Albion Estate on the Corentyne Coast in East Berbice has vacancies for some 600 workers of various categories, and as such, may not be able to meet its target for the second crop, which is expected to commence within a few weeks, if most of those vacancies are not filled by then.SeveranceGovernment’s plan to minimise the sugar industry has seen the closure of the Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall Estates, making more than 5,700 workers redundant and putting them on the breadline. Before this, the Wales Estate was also shut down in 2016, leaving in excess of 1000 workers jobless.While the Wales workers are yet to be paid their severance, some of the more than 5000 dismissed workers who were entitled to $500,000 or less were paid in full. Those who had accumulated more than that amount received only half of their severance, and were promised by Government to be paid the remaining 50 per cent in the second half of the year.The Minister of State has assured on Thursday that Government is still committed to fulfilling this promise.“The Government had committed to paying the sugar workers the [remaining] severance, and I had said the time which was stipulated by the Government – in the second half of the year. Somehow, persons took that to mean immediately or shortly… but I wanted to clarify that I said ‘in the second half of the year’, and we are going to do that,” Harmon posited.As part of efforts to sustain the minimised GuySuCo and bring it into a state of profitability and financial stability, the SPU has secured $30 billion in the form of a syndicated bond to support the industry.Since this announcement, concerns have been raised about Government’s vision for the industry and the genuineness of its actions thus far, since that very $30 billion could have gone into restructuring the industry while keeping all of the estates open and GuySuCo’s workforce employed and engaged.Meanwhile, the Private Placement Memorandum for GuySuCo’s $30 billion bond has received much criticism from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. He recently said he was shocked by the contents of the agreement, which now leaves more questions than answers.