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 train' Valencia.

"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 counterparts.

"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 local football.

Marvin Andrews

Lyndon Andrews