Howdy folks, This is an aricle that appeared in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper. No financial gain is atained from republishing this article. It is only for those who missed it earlier.
|Andrews duo waiting in wings
With just one point to show from their last three World Cup qualifying
matches, Trinidad and Tobago's chances of playing in France in 1998 seem
very slim. But undaunted by this, 20-year old former Olympic team players
Lyndon and Marvin Andrews (no relation) both plan on continuing their efforts
towards earning starting positions in the senior squad. Fame and financial
gain have very little to do with this goal. The Andrews duo, like most
other 'home-based' players on the TT squad, play with the sole purpose
of transforming the dreams of our football-crazed nation into reality.
"We still have a chance of lining up in France but it is a touch
and go situation," said Marvin. "As always, the team's spirit
is quite high among the local players. There is no way that we (the locals)
will go down without a hell of a fight!"
A solid and uncompromising defender known for his aerial prowess, Marvin
won his first national cap two years ago as a member of the Trinidad and
Tobago Under-18 squad. From here, he moved up the national youth ranks
until earning his first senior team cap against Brazilian club Portuguesa,
under then coach yugoslav Zoran Vranes. Introduced as a substitute in this
game, Marvin stamped his appearance on the international scene by scoring
TT's fourth and final goal in their 4-0 victory, just a few minutes after
entering the field. This is just one fine example of Marvin's style of
play, which emphasises more on consistency and dogged determination than
flair... he delivers!
"I am no Russell Latapy," Marvin admits, "but I work
very hard on playing my game which is based more on aggression and focus
than on skillful play. I may not provide much magical moments, but if you
want a player that is always ready to go down to the wire for his team...
I'm your man!"
Time and again Marvin has proven just that. Although unable to lead
the U-23 team to the Atlanta Olympics, his efforts were no less than outstanding,
as he continually shadowed key opposing strikers. He fondly remembers his
best game of that tournament in Canada, when he received orders to man-mark
Canadian striker Garrett Kusch. So admirably did Marvin do this job, that
Kusch was not allowed a single shot at goal... the end result, TT 0, Canada
0, and the 'calypso boys' earned their first point of the competition.
Even this experience for the youngster pales in comparison to his task
against South American powerhouse Colombia, when he was told to shadow
US '94 World Cup star and Spanish-based professional striker Adolfo 'the
"That was a very tough game," said Marvin, "I was only
19 years old and a lot less experienced than him. He is very quick and
strong and would constantly burst into diagonal runs receiving a pass from
his teammate everytime.
"I stuck with him for most of the game but couldn't stop him from
getting one goal. He got his head on to a crossball from a cornerkick and,
although I partially blocked his header, he beat me to the loose ball."
Does any of TT's group opponents have a striker of the calibre of Valencia?
That seems highly unlikely. So why then has Marvin been unable to gain
the approval of his technical staff? And even so, why have Trinidad and
Tobago's talented players found themselves in this bleak spot? Marvin has
his own ideas about this dilemna.
"I find the basis of national team selection to be quite unfair,"
stated Marvin, "Pros and locals have not been combining. They (pros)
come and are simply forced into the team, whether in their normal positions
or not, receiving more than thirty times the wages of the local players!
On top of this, their efforts often do not compare to those of their local
"I know that a lot of local players at 25 years and older are discouraged
about their lack of playing time. They know that they are now in their
prime and soon won't have any playing years left. As for myself, I am a
young player and I try not to let these things worry me but instead to
be ready for when my chance comes."
His namesake, Lyndon, also believes that he is ready and plans to wait
patiently for his efforts to pay off... for his country's benefit as much
as his own. Unlike Marvin, Lyndon's rise to the national senior squad was
no meteoric one. Born into a football family, where elder brothers Carlton
(28) and Ernest (22) both represented their country's football teams at
youth levels, Lyndon was earmarked as a national prospect from the day
he took to the football fields.
Starting his TT career on the national U-15 squad under the wings of
former-QRC coach Jean Lillywhite, he quickly became known as a promising
attacking midfielder. Few who have seen him play for club Superstar Rangers
or alma mater St Mary's College would be surprised at his inclusion in
the local training squad. And when Lyndon does step on the football field
in colours red, white and black to contribute in TT's World Cup drive,
there will be no expressions of surprise among his hometown friends of
Red Hill, D'Abadie... only relief.
"Everytime a game passes, I train harder to be on the first time,"
said Lyndon. "I know that I am capable of playing at this level, I
believe it is just a matter of time before my break comes."
If it comes in time for TT's second leg game against the US, Lyndon
has promised to have an unpleasant surprise waiting for John Harkes and
his boys. Lyndon would not be totally out of depth at this level, as his
senior team debut at tournament level was also a 'baptism of fire' against
El Salvador in the '96 US Gold Cup.
"I only found out just before kick-off that I would be starting,"
Lyndon said. "It was our opening game and I was a bit nervous but
I gained more confidence as the game progressed. I was pleased with my
performance, although I knew I could have done better."
Like Marvin, Lyndon is a well-travelled player and has shown his talent
in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, the US, Korea
Republic and Germany, as well as most of the Caribbean islands. This has
all helped him to gain experience in himself and in footballing countries.
Among the most memorable of these would be his trip to Frankfurt, Germany
on a 12-day trial with first division Bundesliga club St Pauli.
"I went on that trials during September '95," Lyndon recalls,
"It was really good for my confidence to be around a professional
team and I learnt a lot of new things. The football over there is a much
faster and more aggressive."
Lyndon attributes his confidence and humility to his belief in the Almighty,
which has seen him through many tough situations. Although admitting that
TT's qualifying chances seemed bleak, he believes that this too could be
overcome by faith in themselves and some good old fashion hard work.
"It is very unfortunate that we are in this position," said
Lyndon, "because we are more talented than our opponents and have
the right guys for the job. What we must work on is a more cohesive unit,
a team that plays together and stays together."
Both Andrews readily agree on this point as well as their future ambitions
to become professional footballers. Marvin would love to line up with a
Brazilian club like Flamengo, where a zonal game is employed and the style
of play is simple with plenty ball passing and off-the-ball running. Lyndon,
on the other hand, would love the chance to earn a contract in England.
At present, it is not a Brazilian or English club that holds the services
of both these players but our own Trinidad and Tobago national team. And
it will be only to our benefits when these youngsters take the field and
work 'heart and soul' to make our football dreams come true. Until then
they remain the stars of the future, tucked neatly away in the wings of