No work permits for two T&T pros
By SHAUN FUENTES
LOCAL footballers, Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards,
will be saying their prayers
over the weekend as they await word on whether they have been granted work permits
by the Department of Employment in England before they can sign three-year contracts
with Second Division side Wrexham.
The club had a second appeal turned down by
the Department of Employment
yesterday. The case was lost on a split decision.
However, the players' local representative
Richard Fakoory explained yesterday that a
third appeal will be made and the English Association have allowed Wrexham until
Monday to sign the contracts following the transfer deadline yesterday.
"They (DoE) have requested additional evidence
which we will be supplying as it is felt
that we have a strong case," said Fakoory.
Wrexham Evening Leader sports editor Allyson Syme said yesterday the club, who
were once interested in local goalkeeper Clayton Ince, were very keen on having the
duo in their line-up.
"They are being refused by the Department of
Employment. Wrexham appealed against
that decision and red tape is still strangling the deals going through," said Syme.
Wrexham manager Bryan Flynn was furious over the refusal for the permits and, "he is
considering seeking a judicial review of the Department's decision, although the costs
involved could prove to be prohibitive," according to the Daily Post.
"Normally the decision is made as soon as the
hearing is over and, as soon as there
was a delay I knew something was up," Flynn said yesterday after expecting a decision
Referring to a similar situation when he previously attempted to sign Ince, Flynn added,
"There appears to be a hidden agenda and I'm trying to find out what it is.
These two lads (Edwards and Sam) are established
internationals, but the appeals
panel apparently believe they are not of sufficiently high calibre to play in this country.
My opinion is that they are players of the highest calibre, so effectively the appeals
panel is questioning my ability to spot a good player when I see one.
"We spent almost a year trying to get permission
for Clayton Ince to join us only to be
turned down and then, within three weeks of that decision, there was a change in the
qualification criteria and he was allowed to join Crewe Alexandra."
Former club managers Alan Mullery, Mike Walker
and Frank Clark sat in on
Wrexham's appeal, which was held in London Monday. Representatives of the
Professional Footballers' Association and the Welsh FA were also in attendance.
Flynn has also written a stern letter to the minister involved.
"I've coached football at international level,
I've taken a club into European competition
on two occasions and I've played all over the world yet this decision casts doubts on
my professional ability as a manager of 10 years standing," he said.
Wrexham were also keen on national goalkeeper Ross Russell, who has also attracted
interest from Bristol Rovers.
Report by MARK CURRIE.
WREXHAM boss Brian Flynn plans to leave no
stone unturned in a bid to discover
why the Department of Employment has again refused the club work permits for two
West Indian footballers.
The Racecourse club, who had already agreed
three-year contracts with Trinidad and
Tobago internationals Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam, were hoping to complete the
deal before today's transfer deadline but the Robins' manager was informed last night
that red tape has thwarted his plans.
"Normally the decision is made as soon as the
hearing is over and, as soon as there
was a delay, I knew something was up," he said yesterday.
Fuming after a second snub the Robins failed
to win approval for goalkeeper Clayton
Ince to join them last season Flynn added: "There appears to be a hidden agenda and
I'm trying to find out what it is.
"These two lads are established internationals
but the appeals panel apparently believes
they are not of sufficiently high calibre to play in this country.
"My opinion is that they are players of the
highest calibre, so effectively the appeals
panel is questioning my ability to spot a good player when I see one.
"We spent almost a year trying to get permission
for Clayton Ince to join us only to be
turned down and then, within three weeks of that decision, there was a change in the
qualification criteria and he was allowed to join Crewe Alexandra."
Former club managers Alan Mullery, Mike Walker
and Frank Clark sat in on
Wrexham's appeal, which was held in London on Monday, to advise the Department
Representatives of the Professional Footballers'
Association and the Welsh FA were
also in attendance.
But the Robins' boss believes the process is
flawed and has written a stiff letter to the
"I've coached football at international level,
I've taken a club into European competition
on two occasions and I've played all over the world yet this decision casts doubts on
my professional ability as a manager of 10 years standing," added Flynn.
So annoyed is the Robins' boss that he is considering
seeking a judicial review of the
Department's decision, although the costs involved could proove to be prohibitive.
But there was some better news for Flynn yesterday
when midfielder Darren Ferguson
finally put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year contract to end speculation about his
"I'm delighted we have actually managed to
agree a deal because Darren is a quality
player who is central to our plans," he said.
"Last season, with David Brammer moving on
and with Peter Ward coming to the end
of his contract, we needed someone to replace them but when we starting looking
round at about Christmas there were very, very few players who fitted the bill.
"Darren was one but we felt we could not get
him at that stage, even though I tried to
bring him in on loan before he joined Sparta Rotterdam."
The Robins' boss has not ruled out the possibility
of strengthening his squad before
today's deadline, with a striker the top priority.
One target, who is with a Premiership club,
was injured at the weekend but Flynn has
one or two other players in mind if their clubs can be persuaded to deal.
Midfielder Gareth Owen, who limped off towards
the end of Tuesday's 1-1 draw with
Millwall clutching his hamstring, is not as seriously injured as was first feared.
The 28-year-old could be available for the
daunting weekend trip to second division
leaders, Preston North End.
"It looks as though it was a combination of
cramp and a strain rather than a pulled
hamstring," said Flynn.
TRINIDAD and Tobago under 23 footballers will
be aiming to seal a spot in the final
phase of the Sydney Olympics qualifying tournament with a victory over Guatemala at
the CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya from 8 pm tonight.
Visiting teams Canada and the Netherlands Antilles
clash in the earlier match of the
double header stage from 6 pm.
The T&T camp at the Centre of Excellence
was high in spirits following their
comfortable 6-0 victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday.
The only bad news at the moment is Nigel Pierre's
unavailability for the remainder of
the tournament after bruising an instep in Tuesday's affair.
The Bristol Rover forward was replaced by Jason
Scotland in the first half and after
scoring a double, the Defence Force man is likely to start tonight.
Errol McFarlane Jr, back from Lebanon after
helping Al Nejmeh to the First Division
title there, has been drafted into the team for tonight.
Coach Anton Corneal was happy about the 6-0 result, but said that the performance
was not a true indication of the team's capability.
"It was a good start but certainly not a true
indication of where we are. We should have
at least three more goals but the good thing is that we were able to create chances and
convert six at the same time. It was a good opportunity for us to play a tight game and
it keeps us in a good frame of mind for the next match.
But we still can't say how sound we are defensively.
The real test comes against
Guatemala and Canada on Saturday," said Corneal.
The former national footballer also looked
at Guatemala in their 0-0 draw with Canada
on Tuesday and added his side would be cautious against their short passing game.
Corneal is not worried about having to make any changes to his starting 11 saying "It is
easy to make the changes where necessary as we are strong on the bench."
Corneal will be hoping that Brent Sancho, Brent
Rahim, Hector Sam, Scotland and the
hardworking Carlos Edwards can produce another positive display tonight.
Canada will hope that the four players from
their Gold Cup winning squad including
Dwayne De Rosario, Robbie Aristodemo, Richard Hastings and Paul Stalteri can pace
them to an impressive win over the Antilleans.
Edwards and Sam may soon to be signed by Wrexham
WREXHAM are awaiting the verdict today which
would allow them to sign Trinidad
duo Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam before the transfer deadline in 48 hours' time.
Manager Brian Flynn attended an appeal in London
yesterday against the Department
of Employment's refusal to grant work permits to the West Indian pair, who impressed
during an extended trial at the Racecourse earlier this year.
The DoE turned down the original application
on the grounds neither player had made
the requisite number of international appearances for Trinidad and Tobago, but
Wrexham believe the pair's involvement in the islands' Olympic under-23 team could
provide the key to a move to English football.
Last night Flynn said: "The appeal went very
well and I'm reasonably confident we
made a very good case for consideration by the Minister for Sport.
"We are expecting a decision very quickly and,
if the work permits are forthcoming,
would hope to bring the two lads over as soon as possible. They have already agreed
to sign three-year contracts so that side of things is virtually done and dusted.
"All the paperwork involved, such as international
clearances, can be done by fax and
we would be looking to have them registered with the Football League by the time the
transfer deadline expires.
"Both of them are good enough to go straight into the first team."
Trinidad and Tobago defeats Netherland Antilles
THE PRO LOOK With SHAUN FUENTES
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke feels
that his teammate Andy Cole
should play for England team in the 2000 European Championships later this year.
Yorke was speaking on the weekend when he said that Cole should also be crowned
English "Footballer of the Year."
Yorke expressed these views even though he
fans would accuse him of being biased towards his United striking partner.
"I appreciate outsiders will say I'm plugging for Andy because he's my pal but this is
strictly a football judgment. And I'm in a pretty good position to judge.
"I play alongside him on a regular basis at
United and so I know exactly how good he
is. And I can tell you he's a fabulous footballer, an all-round performer with so many
His quality is good enough for any side. He
should be in the England team right now.
I've always believed that and I feel it even more this season. Andy's ability is top-class,
tested against the best defenders in Europe, and he doesn't get the credit he truly
The 12.6 million pounds Yorke and Cole cost United some 21 million pounds together
and combined for 53 goals in United's treble success last season.
Currently, Yorke has 17 goals with 15 in the
Cole has netted 17 League goals so far.
Yorke's latest goal came in a 2-0 victory over Leicester City which pushed United to
64 points, four more than second place Leeds United.
Yorke has indicated that his availability for
T&T's next World Cup assignment against
the Dominican Republic here on April 2.
Teammate warns Latapy
STUART LOVELL, teammate of local midfielder
Russell Latapy at Hibernian has
warned the "Little Magician" about trying too much tricks on the field.
Lovell was speaking after Hibs' 3-1 victory
in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals two
Saturdays' when Latapy scored a double.
"That game wasn't much fun for Russell but
he gave us a bit of magic and a result in a
cup is far more important than the display.
"We all want to be flamboyant and flashy but
sometimes you've got to battle and that
part doesn't suit Franck (Sauzee) or Russell. But we showed we've got a great spirit
here although sometimes it can be frustrating."
"Latas" has been under some pressure from Hibernian
manager Alex McLeish recently
after he returned to Scotland late after playing for T&T in a World Cup qualifier three
But he responded by netting three goals in
two matches. He currently has 10 goals. He
has also indicated an interest in representing T&T against Dominican Republic in their
next World Cup leg on April 2 here.
Eve for Wrexham
MIDFIELDER Angus Eve is being lined up for
a move to
English Second Division side Wrexham.
According to a report in the Chester Chronicle
last week, Eve could be part of an
exchanged deal with Wrexham who will send their striker Ian Stevens to City to help
them out of the relegation zone.
The move was supposed to have come off two
weeks ago but was delayed.
Eve, who netted a double in this country's 5-0 win over the Netherlands Antilles three
weekends ago, is recovering from an ankle injury and sat out Chester's 3-2 loss to
Southend United on Saturday.
He was placed on the club's transfer list recently
after officials felt he had been away
from the team too often for national duty. It is understood that Joe Public will welcome
Eve back if a worthwhile deal doesn't come through for him abroad.
Problems for Marcelle
MIDFIELDER Clint Marcelle had another work
permit appeal turned down last week.
English First Division side West Bromwich Albion was attempting to secure the work
permit for him after sorting out a free transfer from Barnsley.
But the Department of Employment in England
rejected the appeal as Marcelle had less
than 75 per cent playing time with the "Tykes" last season.
Since being let go by Barnsley, Marcelle has had unsuccessful attempts at
Bournemouth and Scunthorpe United.
Albion secretary John Evans was disappointed.
"Although we are not surprised by the decision, we are
disappointed. The Home Office have told us that Clint was not of sufficient status as an
international to add to the British game," he said.
Less fans watch Rougier
ANTHONY Rougier's Port Vale have been forced
to reduce the cost of tickets for
their home matches next season because of a decline in attendance.
The First Division club currently fighting relegation have reduced prices by some 60 per
cent for next season.
Vale's average attendance this season has dropped
6,030, the lowest in the Division.
Rougier, the team's leading scorer with 11
goals playing as a striker is hoping to return
home for T&T's next World Cup qualifier against the Dominican Republic on April 2
and Vale management barred from playing in Saturday's 1-1 draw with the
The national captain was on the club's transfer
list earlier last season before they
decided to keep him. But with the current state of the club, a move to another team
might not be out of the picture as he aims to improve his profile with a higher rated
Tiger's ready to claw
FORMER St Mary's College striker Leslie "Tiger"
Fitzpatrick has returned to Trinidad
and Tobago to be part of the local Olympic team for the semi-final stage of the
qualifying competition for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games which got going at the
Concacaf Centre of Excellence, Macoya last night.
The 21-year-old Fitzpatrick is on a break from
his studies at Colombia University in
the United States and will miss the opening week of the new semester in order to play
the full tournament here.
He is all excited about playing. "This is like
the most prestigious national side and
tournament to be involved with other than the senior team and it has always been a
dream to play. When I got the news of my selection I took it with open arms"
Fitzpatrick said on Sunday before going into a camp with the Olympic side coached by
Now in his third year at Colombia, Fitzpatrick
is expected to play in the T&T midfield
after switching to that position in 1998 in the US.
"Tiger" netted five goals last season to help
Colombia to 25th spot in the US League
but they narrowly missed on reaching the NCAA Finals after needing just a victory in
their final regular season encounter.
He was selected on the Regional All American
team and also earned his third
consecutive All Conference team pick.
Local fans will remember "Tiger" lining up alongside the likes of Hisham Gomes and
Brendon Moze while at St Mary's.
He last represented T&T at the CAC Games in Venezuela in 1998.
Thomas, Mulraine miss MLS openers
UNDER 23 defender Keyeno Thomas missed making
his debut for the Colorado
Rapids on the opening day of the 2000 American Major League Soccer (MLS) season
because he had to return home for duty.
Thomas, who was a draft pick earlier this year,
is back home to line up with the
national side for the Olympic qualifiers which kicked off last night.
Already coach Glenn Myernick is preparing himself
to play matches without Thomas
and others because of their country's schedule.
"One of the things you're going hear about
this year is the absence of players due to
international call ups" he said.
Thomas will also miss Colorado's next game
on Saturday against the Dallas Burns.
National midfielder Travis Mulraine will also miss the San Jose Earthquakes season
opener against Columbus Crew, team of local defender Ansil Elcock.
Another local player, Adrian Narine may line
up with Joe Public this season after being
waived by the Earthquakes last week.
Stirring appeals for 2001 youths
By VALENTINO SINGH
FIFTEEN-year old Delano Davis from Spring Village,
Tobago was among several
youngsters present at a breakfast meeting the Holiday Inn yesterday to hear FIFA
Vice-President Austin Jack Warner and several other leading football officials, make
stirring appeals to corporate Trinidad and Tobago for support for Team 2001 as it
prepares for the Junior World Cup here next year.
Davis is among ten Tobago players in a squad
of some 50 youngsters who are
currently in training with a view of making the final 18 for the tournament which kicks
off on April 4.
Provisions have been made for him and his colleagues from the sister isle to live in
Trinidad so that they may enjoy full-time training with the squad, emphasising the fact
that the Football Federation is sparing no effort to ensure that the team is fully prepared
for the tournament.
Warner stated that some $8.9 million was needed
to prepare and train the team.
He said he was heartened by the support from some sponsors including Clico,
American Airlines, Caroni and Neal and Massy but there was still a long way to go.
He reminded the cross section of business people present that it was similar
tournaments which produced several of today's big names, including Dwight Yorke,
Russell Latapy and Stern John.
"I know that there is a tendency to want to
support the senior team but if we do not
start with the youngsters, nothing will be achieved at the senior level," said Warner.
In asking for support, he said, "Whatever you offer can make the difference in a young
Warner also announced that American Airlines
was the official airline for the
tournament while White Magic was the official drink for supporters of football.
Also lending support to the initiative was Sports Minister Manohar Ramsaran who
reminded the group present that there were no limits to what can be achieved when
people work together to assist the youth.
The team officials and several members of the
team preparing for 2001 were also
introduced during the function yesterday.
TRINIDAD and Tobago striker Stern John made
a return to action for Nottingham
Forest in the English First Division yesterday.
The 23-year-old striker who had been out for
the past three months with a posterior
ligament injury, came on in the 66th minute in Forest's 1-2 loss to Huddlesfield Town at
the McApline Stadium.
Doctors ruled John out for five months back
in January, but the talented striker was
determined to make an earlier return.
John had been originally expected to play in
a reserve game today but Forest boss
David Platt was so impressed with his progress that he included him in the side
It is hoped that John could return to the T&T
team for their next 2002 World Cup
qualifying match against the Dominican Republic at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on
He scored a double in his last match for T&T in a 3-2 loss to Honduras in November.
No international money launderer, club owner,
so called football administrator, pseudo
coach, "diplomat", no special anything … and definitely no political opportunist! In the
same breath, the national team does not belong to anybody, and especially the team’s
technical director; in this case, Bertille St. Clair.
Nobody is irreplaceable; life simply does not
permit that. Whatever we deem important
is little more than a distraction. The Lord Kitchener died, but the world kept on
rotating, and the Y2K Carnival goes on as scheduled tomorrow.
Indeed, at this point of our football future,
we cannot afford to get emotional. If St.
Clair has to go, he has to go! But if we are cleaning house, if we are looking for people
who can take this country forward, then we also have to get rid of that insufferable
pipsqueak, Austin Warner.
If St. Clair didn’t have what it took to get
us further, what are we to assume about
Warner, an administrator who has failed TnT miserably, over the years, while
advancing himself … millions et al?
Since Jack has been serving as an administrator
for TnT’s football, has the country’s
football achievement been in step with his own remarkable financial advancement?
I have listened to this Jack for too long,
talking about "my money". My money, my
This is a quote from the Express quoting the
Trinidad and Tobago Football
Federation’s Special Adviser after the loss to Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup,
and St. Clair’s dismissal recently: "This team has got all the resources possible. Just for
the matches they have played so far, I have paid them US $175,000 from my own
pocket. Not one single player has not been paid, and I just felt that it was time that the
players give back something."
What a hypocritical, uncouth (SOB). First,
let me deal with Warner’s pronouncement
that he paid the players from his "own pocket". And let me remind the public that
Warner holds title to the TTFF’s TV rights, our TV rights. Nowhere else in the world
that such a thing happen. But in our weird, distorted republic, the people remain
comfortably numb … especially around Carnival time. All we are good at is organizing
lime, printing jerseys and waving flags; all without any true sense of patriotism. The true
patriot is the man who refuses to put his hard-earned money in football because, by our
silence and lack of will to do something about it, we are condoning the rape of our
Unfortunately, with the "respectable" media
and John Public remaining silent on the
issue, nobody in the TTFF has the testicular fortitude to call a spade a spade, or as it is
in this case, a jack a jackass. These morons who control our football have allowed this
insufferable pipsqueak to totally control our football. And the man is behaving as if he
has completely lost his mind. Who, for God’s sake is he trying to impress? Oh, he
spent US $175,000 of his money to pay the players. Yeah right! Believe me, when you
hear people bragging about money they have spent, they are looking for attention.
Sadly, however, that kind of uncivilized behaviour will only grab the attention of whores
and brass polishers.
Secondly, let’s deal with his assertion that
the players owed him something … "I just
felt it was time that the players give something back". Whoa! Hold on a minute. Jack
… wants … the players … to give something back? This Jack could be the star billing
for the Caribbean Comedy Festival. I really wish I could laugh at this, but it just isn’t
funny. This Jack has to be the most insensitive and impertinent human being on the face
of this earth. "… give something back!" Why don’t you give us back our TV rights?
Eh, Jack? When will enough be enough?
Sports fans, the writing is on the wall. There
must be a revolution in this country for
Trinis to stop being just a lot of hot air and spineless wimps, afraid to take a stand.
People, we have to take back our football and chase the crazy baldheads out of the
town. There are some things we must be prepared to fight for.
If St. Clair can’t further our cause, he simply
has to go. There is nothing personal in
that. However, I am not sure he can’t contribute. I certainly would not be against an
accomplished coach taking over as technical director, while St. Clair remains as coach.
It could be a marriage which would bring numerous benefits to our senior national
team. That is, if we could find the right man to tighten up our technical deficiencies.
But how can we justifiably diss St. Clair when
he has done so much to build "the team"
that is so essential to our dreams of a World Cup place in 2002? The real problem is
the manner in which St. Clair, Richard Braithwaite, David Nakhid and Jerren Nixon
have been treated. It’s all wrong and we are again going to pay dearly for the sort of
For example, I think Nakhid is past his prime,
and I personally would have used the
Gold Cup to blood Brent Rahim for the World Cup campaign. But I would want
Nakhid to continue training with the squad, because there is no substitute for
experience, and you never know when you are going to find yourself in a deep hole,
and you would need a veteran player to save the day. It isn’t like TnT has this
enormous pool of experienced players to choose from. The vicarious manner in which
the coach, manager and players have been treated, isn’t the way to go about doing
things. My heart goes out to them and the others can pinch themselves.
So Jack decides this is the way we have to
go, and that’s the end of it. This is not
proper planning, but as long as the insufferable pipsqueak is calling the shots with our
football, we have nowhere to go. And I will stake my life on that. Meanwhile, I am
waiting for the battle cry. But this battle must have no blood. It must be an intellectual
We must give our moral support to the players,
but they must also be made to
understand that there are some issues that are bigger than the game. To that end, they
must walk the World Cup road alone, while we organize to free ourselves of this Jack.
The burning question is: Who will be our "Toussaint L’Ouverture"?
FA FACE WORK PERMITS ROW
Jack Warner of Trinidad is a member of the
executive committee of FIFA which, come
July, will decide whether England hosts the 2006 World Cup. Warner has been seen as
a supporter of South Africa, England's main rivals. The FA have been keen to try to
turn him, and I believe that Warner had been given to understand that steps will be
taken to ensure that Trinidad players seeking to play for English clubs will not face too
The three Trinidadian internationals in question
are Hector Sam,a forward, Carlos
Edwards, a midfielder who Wrexham want to sign, and Nigel Pierre a forward who has
already been signed by Bristol Rovers.
Being non-European Union players they need
to be playing for a country that ranks in
the top 70 in FIFA's rankings, and the players themselves must have played in 75% of
their countries matches in the last year.
While Trinidad, ranked 49th, satisfy the first
condition, the players do not satisfy the
second and the Department of Employment rejected their work permit applications.
Wrexham and Bristol Rovers appealed to the
Overseas Education and Employment
Committee where representatives of the Football League, the PFA, the League
Managers Association and ex-footballers sit to consider such cases.
The committee met last Thursday and rejected
Wrexham's and Rovers' pleas. I
understand the committee were particularly unimpressed by the presentations made by
the clubs to convince them of the players eligibility.
So keen are the FA to gain the favour of Trinidad
that for the last couple of weeks the
chief executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association has been over here.
Trinidad is planning to start a new league and the red carpet has been rolled out for
PFL action on Sky Sports this season
Prevatt said meetings were held with Vic Wakeling,
managing director of Sky Sports,
during his recent trip to England.
"Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports, expressed his interest in presenting
PFL football over the Sky Sports network which has over 4.6 million subscribers.
A sample tape is currently being prepared for
them. This is a tremendous opportunity
to showcase the talents of Trinidad & Tobago not only in terms of our football but from
a tourism and economic standpoint as well," said Prevatt.
It is understood that efforts are being made
to have a highlights programme on local
television produced on a weekly basis, featuring the Friday Night game of the week as
the centrepiece of this programme.
About the Friday game, Prevatt said: "This
is the feature match in the week in which
there will be no other PFL football on that day.
"These games will focus on the top teams from
last season, however, each PFL Club
will be featured in at least one game of the week fixture during the season. Fans will get
the opportunity to be involved in these matches through competitions and various
He also mentioned that the eight competing
teams will be interacting with respective
communities through a project by First Citizens Bank.
"Clubs will be interacting with their communities
a lot more in 2000. Each club will be
working with First Citizens Bank on its Operation Restoration project in communities
throughout T&T. Also there will be a series of Schools Clinics in which the children in
the community can meet their favourite PFL players, learn some new skills, and find out
what it means to be a professional footballer," added Prevatt.
T&T ties Dutchmen in World Cup qualifier
T&T on bumpy ground
TRINIDAD and Tobago's World Cup squad had a
unique experience here on
The team arrived at the Elgilio Nato Stadium
for their first training session in
preparation for tomorrow's return leg match against the Netherland Antilles.
But while the facility looked ideal from outside,
the squad arrived inside to find they
would have to baptise an artificial surface. And this was not just a training surface
Trinidad and Tobago will have to play on it
come tomorrow. There are no grass
pitches here on the island. Games are played on barren dirt pitches, with the only
opportunity for change coming when there are "big games" at the EAS, the equivalent
of their National Stadium.
Ironically, all the other facilities at the
venue, including swimming pool and athletic track
are first class.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation
had been told of this in advance and had
sent assisting coach Clayton Morris ahead of the team to survey the situation.
Morris himself played on a dirt pitch here
when he and goalkeeping coach Michael
Maurice were members of the "Strike Squad".
T&T coach Ian Porterfield tried to prepare
his squad, many of whom have never
played on any kind of artificial surface before by taking them through their paces at the
national hockey centre in Tacarigua the day before they left T&T.
However, they were still not prepared for what they eventually encountered here.
What they walked on to was effectively a stretch
of green outdoor carpeting, laid over
the bare ground. The turf itself is also riddled with fine stones, part of the composition
of the soil here, making it extremely dangerous if players fall.
While it is an artificial surface, it is a
far cry from the Astroturf the players were hoping
Many of them wondered aloud why there was no
protest over the field. But to tell the
truth, Fifa laws only debar World Cup games from being played on Astroturf. Since the
pitch here is quite clearly not that, the "Dutchmen" have been able to get off on a
The pitch itself has more "give" then expected.
But it is still hard on the ankles and
knees. That indeed was the major complaint after the first session. Additionally, there is
a constant strong breeze blowing through the ground. As a result, the ground staff have
devised a hydraulic system to keep the corner flag from blowing over, since there is no
dirt in which to anchor them.
These conditions also make spot kicks a difficult
task because they the ball moves
away as soon as it is spotted.
Realising difficulty of the conditions, Porterfield
made his team focus on keeping there
passes on the ground. High and long balls will be less effective here than under normal
But the team baptised the surface and by the
time they take the field tomorrow they
would have had three sessions-including one under lights last night-to make their
Latapy for World Cup second round
T&T COACH Ian Porterfield believes he will
have the services of Scotland's-based
midfielder Russell Latapy for the opening game of the next round of the World Cup
Latapy will be absent from tomorrow's return
leg game against Netherland Antilles. But
news out of Scotland this week, suggested that the "Little Magician": could also miss
the next game where T&T seem set to meet the Dominican Republic because of a clash
with his club schedule.
Latapy himself echoed sentiments expressed
by coach Alex McLeish to the effect that
he would not come back home if the game coincided with Hibernian Scottish Cup
semifinal against Aberdeen on April 8. However, pointing out that he had worked this
out, Porterfield expressed quiet confidence about having Latapy for the game.
"It does not clash," he said. "Hibs play on
April 8 and we play on either April 1 or 2, so
there is no clash at all. Hopefully, Russell will be available for what is expected to be a
Dominican Republic game in Trinidad.
The 54-year-old coach is a personal friend
of McLeish and explained that the Hibs
boss had called him on the phone just prior to his leaving for Curacao.
Not at home to take the call and not getting
McLeish back when he returned it, he
contacted a friend in Scotland.
According to Porterfield, "that friend explained
the situation to Mc Leish and a
gentleman's agreement was reached on the issue.
Porterfield said it was very important for
the 31-year-old Latapy to be part of the first
leg so that they could build a strong foundation. And he felt he will get the support of
just not Latapy, but all the players as well.
"I believe all the players want to see T&T
do well in the World Cup. But I am realistic
enough and professional enough to know that there is a lot of hard work to do. I
believe if we all work for the same thing and prepare well, there is no reason why we
shouldn't have a really good chance."
Porterfield's squad was finally up to full-strength
yesterday evening with the arrival of
Scotland-based defender Marvin Andrews, midfielder Joseph Peters and goalkeeper
Ryan Edward, pair drafted in to replace Angus Eve and Clayton Ince.
However, the coach is yet to name a standing skipper for the absent Anthony Rougier.
Yesterday, Ross Russell seemed the likely choice
over Ancil Elcock, the two most
senior players on the squad. But Porterfield apparently will not make that call until just
before the start of the match.
TRINIDAD and Tobago's footballers arrived in
Curacao bouyed by the news that they
have jumped nine places to 40 in the latest FIFA world rankings.
After reaching the Gold Cup semi-finals, T&T regained their position as the highest
placed Caribbean side as previous leaders Jamaica slipped three spots to 48th.
CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker Hector
Sam will get his chance to line up for
T&T against the Netherlands Antilles in a World Cup return leg on Saturday.
He is a late addition the T&T side which arrived in Curacao yesterday.
Sam's Jabloteh teammate Joseph Peters will
leave for Curacao today along with Raith
Rovers defender Marvin Andrews, Ryan Edwards and Coulson Dick.
He will now hope to utilise his experience with the senior team when they line up for the
Olympic side in a qualifying series here later this month against Canada, Netherlands
Antilles and Guatemala.
Speaking from Curacao yesterday before coach
Ian Porterfield was expected to
conduct a training session, defender Brent Sancho said the T&T side was optimistic.
This despite the fact that they are without midfielder Russell Latapy, captain Anthony
Rougier and possibly goalkeeper Clayton Ince, who has been replaced by Edwards.
But Defence Force's Ross Russell is expected to stand between the uprights.
Sancho is on the verge of finalising a contract
with the New York/New Jersey
In related news, a release from the T&T Football Federation yesterday stated that local
team sponsors, Inter/Forever Sports (IFS) of Miami, will receive 50 percent of gate
receipts from World Cup qualifying matches played here which will go towards
assisting in team preparations at home and overseas.
Television and radio rights sold to Interforever
are not part of their agreement to assist
the TTFF with US $2,000,000.
The T&T government (US $1,000,000) and local corporate organisations (US
$1,000,000) are the other contributors towards the World Cup campaign.
Rougier ruled out
ENGLAND-based midfielder Angus Eve is in line
to take over the Trinidad and
Tobago captaincy this weekend in the return leg of their first round 2002 World Cup
qualifying match against the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao.
Eve, who has had several stints in the position
before in the absence of other senior
players, is expected to take over for Anthony Rougier who will not be making the trip
on the request of his team Port Vale.
Rougier is one of several foreign-based professionals
whom T&T coach Ian Porterfield
agreed to do without for the game.
The others include Scotland-based Russell Latapy,
Marvin Andrews and Stokely
trial in Korea-who all requested that they not be called up at this time owing to club
However, Porterfield admitted yesterday that
it was also to relieve some tension which
had developed in the wake of the first leg game, which ended 5-0 in T&T's favour, that
he decided to give the affected players some slack.
Several of the pros arrived back at their clubs
later than scheduled and drew the wrath
of their managers as a result.
Latapy and Rougier were hardest hit. The "Little
Magician" repaid Hibs boss Alex
McLeish by scoring two goals and setting up another in a 3-1 Scottish Cup win over
Rougier, who was not called on to start by
Vale boss Brian Horton for his indiscretion,
still managed to score in a 3-2 loss to Sheffield United. But with Vale struggling for its
First Division life and Horton is reluctant to be without his most consistent scorer this
T&T are likely to come up against a tougher
Haiti side in the next round, so Porterfield
had little choice but to concede this time around.
"We've had to make one or two changes due to
the circumstances really," Porterfield
told the Express on the eve of the team's departure for Curaçao yesterday.
"The players really should have gone back the
following day. Because of this, we've
had to be fair to one or two clubs and not request some of the players for this game."
Joe Public defender Coulson Dick and CL Financial
San Juan Jabloteh's Joseph Peters
and Hector Sam were drafted into the squad as replacements.
Eve is now one of just five foreign-based players
in the squad. The other are United
States-based Ansil Elcock, already here and leaving with the team this morning,
Germany-based Evans Wise and England-based Clayton Ince, Nigel Pierre, who will
join the team in the Dutch islands.
While conceding that his team had a big advantage,
Porterfield said it was important
not to go into the game overconfident.
"The game is not won until the 90 minutes are
over. I'm not being negative but the fact
is we've got to go there and we've got to be professional. We've got to be thorough
and we've got to play in a proper manner. We believe that we're going to go through to
the next phase and we've also got to build for that next game."
T&T Squad: Clayton Ince, Ross Russell,
Shurland David, Derek King, Sherwyn Julien,
Brent Sancho, Coulson Dick, Ansilo Elcock, Dennis Lawrence, Carlos Edwards,
Angus Eve, Evans Wise, Kerwyn Jemmott, Joseph Peters, Hector Sam, Nigel Pierre,
Arnold Dwarika, Mickey Trotman
Let's not be left saying: Oh, 2006 World Cup for sure
By SHAUN FUENTES
THE recent appointment of Scotland-born Ian
Porterfield as national football coach is
a step in the right direction whether the fans and those concerned with the team
continue to dwell on the sacking of Bertille St Clair.
Why does the removal of the Tobagonian continue
to be a topic of debate among
followers of the game?
Many say because he didn't deserve to go that way. Not after helping T&T to their
best ever finish at the Gold Cup. The manner and time in which he was dismissed were
not appropriate. A new coach less than two days before the opening match of the
2002 World Cup qualifying campaign!
"Jack Warner and the Trinidad and Tobago Football
Federation must be mad," was
the feeling of many who claimed they had seen enough of St Clair's work to be
guaranteed he was the man to take us to Japan/Korea.
How much did they see?
Consecutive victories over Jamaica, T&T defeat Colombia 4-3, a victory over South
Africa, capturing the 1999 Copa Caribe.
Then they saw T&T go past the first round of the Gold Cup for the first time in three
But this year saw the progress of two teams
from each group for the first time.
As it turned out T&T squeezed through to the quarterfinals by virtue of Mexico holding
on for a 1-1 draw with Guatemala. Those who saw that match would agree that
Guatemala had the better of the exchanges. A victory by any margin would have sent
them through with Mexico and T&T would have been on their way back home.
All three teams would have ended on three points
with the Guatemalans going through
on a better goal difference. Competition rules stated that head-to-head results implied
only if the second and third team were on same points. In this case it would have been
all three teams with three points.
T&T then faced Costa Rica without the services
of Dwight Yorke. Sure, it was a
spirited victory and while the defenders fought as though their lives depended on it, a
Costa Rica victory looked almost sure until Mickey Trotman's shot deflected off a
defender for the "golden goal" winner.
New hero Trotman started on the bench against
the Canadians, even as striker Jerron
Nixon went off early with an ankle injury. St Clair introduced midfielder Brent Rahim
alongside David Nakhid and pushed chief playmaker Russell Latapy up front. St Clair
may have known what he was doing. But that wasn't working. Canada scored. T&T
continued to miss several chances. Latapy missed a sitter from the six-yard box. St
Clair sits on the bench waiting for Arnold Dwarika or some other to get it right. Two
minutes to go and the coach puts on "golden goal" boy Trotman and Evans Wise
hoping for a miracle.
The introduction of either one even 15 minutes
earlier and the taking off of Nakhid with
Latapy controlling the midfield would have been a better option. The result is now
True we were without prolific goalscorer Stern John and goalkeeper Shaka Hislop.
Ronnie Mauge made an early exit with a broken leg, Yorke missed the Canada affair.
It would be pitiful to use that as an excuse. Leave such things for the Secondary
It is understood that for some time now the
TTFF were not satisfied with St Clair's
technical capabilities and were considering replacing him.
But the results went in his favour and so the move was delayed. The TTFF stated in a
press release that St Clair was told that nothing but the Gold Cup title would be
But the TTFF probably should have replaced him as coach weeks before the Gold
Cup and offered him the position as assistant coach. Then if he refused, tell him
This would have avoided the reactions of shock
and Porterfield would be better
acquainted with the players than he is today.
One would have to agree that St Clair was able to instil unity in the team which Yorke
later admitted was the best he had experienced in a long time in a national team.
He is liked by many and some senior players
expressed their dissatisfaction with his
removal. But would they give up the chance to play in a World Cup because of one
man? Yorke surely holds a strong yearning to step onto the biggest stage and realised
after the Gold Cup that the chance was no longer a dream far off but one which could
become a reality in about two years.
Should St Clair been removed totally off the
technical team? But would he work under
Porterfield? Edgar Vidale, technical director during the Gold Cup, admitted that he
sometimes had difficulty in working with the ex-coach. It is understood that new
technical director Chief Adegboye Onigbinde also had difficulty in working with St
Clair before resigning as technical director of the TTFF last year.
The TTFF have offered to have St Clair continue
working with the Federation, not
necessarily with the senior team. Time will tell what he decides.
One felt that Richard Braithwaite probably should have been left attached to the senior
team after being able to build a healthy relationship with the players, also helping in
getting the team united.
Since the Copa Caribe victory, the introduction
of foreign expertise on the technical
staff was seen needed with the assistance of the local coach. Now we have the
foreigner and his portfolio at least gives much hope.
One concern is that by qualifying for 2002 under a foreign coach, T&T does not end
up like Jamaica who have gone downhill after reaching France 1998, followed by the
resignation of Brazilian coach Rene Simoes after an early exit from the Gold Cup.
Porterfield will undoubtedly have the resources
at hand. Let's hope he gets the sufficient
support because only the small minds will want to look back later down the road and
say it's because of that shake up after the Gold Cup that left T&T saying 2006 for sure
TAKING up any national team on the verge of
a World Cup qualifying tournament is a
big challenge, admits new Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield, who was born in
Scotland before getting into management in England in 1973.
Is he the man to take T&T to the World
Cup? Many have asked and are still asking.
While he may not have carried another team on to the big stage there is little to suggest
that he's incapable of getting T&T to Japan/Korea.
The 54-year-old coach has worked with English
clubs Chelsea (1991-'93, 1988-'89
as assistant manager); Sheffield United (1981-'86), Sheffield Wednesday (1977-'79,
player-coach); Rotterham United (1979-'81); Reading FC (1989-'91) and Scottish
club Aberdeen from 1986 to '88 and was assistant coach of Bolton Wanderers from
Among the national teams he has coached include Zimbabwe (1996-'97), Zambia
(1993-'94) and Oman.
His achievements with clubs, include leading
Sheffield United to promotion into the
Second Division, Sheffield United to the Fourth Division title in 1982 and Rotterham to
the Division Three crown in 1981. He also led Aberdeen to the semifinals of the
Scottish Cup and a quarterfinal spot in the UEFA Cup.
He also coached Ittihad FC of Saudi Arabia.
Porterfield admitted that the going will be tough, especially during the early months, but
he's ready to get going.
"It's not easy. I don't really know much about the players and hopefully we can get
good results because it's important that the country makes progress," he said the day
before T&T's opening match against the Netherland Antilles.
"Coaching is the same all over the world. The
principles and the basics are the same.
Off course you'll find some difficulty in countries where there isn't much good
equipment and facilities. I have been fortunate that I've played for and managed big
teams so it's quite easy now. Even though some people do see certain things differently,
football everywhere is quite the same. Whether it's a little black boy or a white boy
kicking a ball, it's the same difference," he added.
He's impressed with what's he has seen so far
of the local players.
"This is a very talented nation. The players here are very skilful but obviously there are
certain areas of the sport which need to be worked on. There are things which may not
be going well on and off the pitch probably because of a lack of education, but basic
skills and natural talent is certainly there."
Porterfield is also impressed with the facilities
at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo,
and the Concacaf Centre of Excellence, Macoya, which he credits to FIFA
vice-president Jack Warner.
"Look at these excellent facilities. It's fantastic
and I think that Jack Warner deserves
credit for this. If you come here on a Saturday morning you see about a hundred kids
training and several teenagers during the week.
"It's a great opportunity for the youngsters.
It's a great career ... that of football. I've
been lucky that I was born in Scotland where I was able to progress in football," said
Porterfield, who was coach of Joe Public and in charge of their football academy prior
to his latest appointment.
Porterfield said he will like to have a full
compliment of players, including Manchester
United striker Dwight Yorke and Hibernian midfielder Russell Latapy, playing and
training as much as possible.
"I don't know what the circumstances are regarding
Yorke and Russell at the moment.
I think there was an agreement made with Dwight that he would be allowed to miss the
early stages of the qualifiers. I can only really work with these players who are here and
willing. What happens in the future with Yorke and Latapy will be taken to hand in the
future I'm sure."
"Maybe there are steps which can be taken so
we can possibly play two games a week
or so to keep the team working together. The problems with the release of players
from clubs is not an easy one and we've got to respect the clubs because they pay the
players their salaries. But if we can get matches regularly that will be a step in the right
direction," he added.
Porterfield was pleased with the response of
the local supporters for the game against
the Netherland Antilles (T&T won that game two Saturdays ago 5-0).
"But at the end of the day I'm a professional. To be honest with you, if the people didn't
want me here I could well be on the first 'plane out of here tomorrow. But I have come
here to get a job done. It's sad that the last coach got the axe but these things happen in
football. It has happened to me in the past and maybe it could again. I've just got to
keep my mind on the job," said Porterfield.
He mentioned that the players must be able
to put the disappointment of the knockout
by Canada in the Gold Cup "semis" in Los Angles, USA, behind them.
"They must learn from these things. If mistakes have been made we've got to correct
them. They now have to take themselves forward to qualifying for the World Cup
which would be absolutely marvellous. But it's no easy feat qualifying for the World
Cup which many, many countries are trying to get into that 32. I hope we can give it
our best shot.
We'll take time obviously to put things together
but there is hardly anytime left."
Porterfield recalled the experience with the Zambian national team in 1993 after the
tragic 'plane crash.
"It was amazing how that entire country rallied
round the team after the crash. Every
man, woman and child, whether football fan or not, pulled together and I took them to
the finals of the African Nations Cup where we lost to Nigeria 2-1. That was because
everybody was collective and working for the same thing. And that is what we have to
get here in Trinidad. If we don't work for the same thing we won't be successful," he
"There is still a lot of work to be done but
generally I am pleased with the boys after
the victory. I am happy with their attitude. I think that at this time if Trinidad and
Tobago can put together their best players, playing in their right positions, and perform
the way we can then that would be great. The players have to believe they can achieve
this," he said.
United know well how to win - Yorke
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke was
relieved to regain his scoring touch
after Saturday's hattrick in a 3-1 victory over Derby County.
But he admitted that his individual showing is not the major concern at the moment and
is willing to serve the team in whatever way to help them get the desired results.
With 14 Premiership goals to his name, he is
confident that the English giants will
continue to get the results required for defending the Premiership title.
"Last year was just unbelievable, but coming back after the Treble was always going to
be difficult. Becoming champions of Europe meant it was never going to be easy for us.
"But one thing this team is good at is knowing
how to win, even if the football we have
been playing may not quite have been the standard of last season.
"We know how to get results. We are at least
doing that at the moment. It is a crucial
time for us now. We are leading the Premiership and in a good position in Europe.
Although we are not playing the fantastic flamboyant football everyone likes to see, we
are seven games away from another Champions League final and another 11 away
from winning the league. As a team our top performances are still in the tank. Right
now it is about getting results, and we are doing that" Yorke said in England.
United are currently four points ahead of second
place Leeds United with 61 points
and will hope to continue their winning ways in today's European Champions' League
clash with Italian club Fiorentina.
Porterfield chats with 'Latas'
MIDFEILD magician Russell Latapy had a lengthy
chat with new national coach Ian
Porterfield last Friday before this country's 5-0 victory over the Netherlands Antilles.
Porterfield said earlier that if "Latas" had not turned up for a training session the evening
before the game that he would not be considered for selection.
Latapy did appear after missing two earlier
Currently the "Little Magician" is in the middle of a club versus country row after Hibs
manager Alex McLeish was reportedly angry with his late return to Scotland.
Latapy since went on to net a double in a 3-1
win over Falkirk to put Hibs into the
semi-finals of the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen on April 8.
Porterfield simply wanted to build a good relationship with Latapy from early on.
"I always deal with matters sensibly. Russell's
a good player. He had an injury and we
had a chat privately. When I chat with my players it's not for the newspapers to get
involved. But we had a nice chat and hopefully he'll play an important part for us in the
future" said Porterfield.
Andrews on the look out
NATIONAL defender Marvin "Dog" Andrews will
soon decide whether he takes up a
new two year deal from Scottish club Raith Rovers or consider interest being shown by
Hibernian and English First Division side Barnsley.
Andrews said last week that he will wait until
the end of the season to make his next
step and will likely remain at Rovers if they gain promotion into the Premier League.
But he won't mind moving on.
"Yeah my main goal is to move on and play at
the higher level . I have a big part to play
in the team and it's a big sacrifice to leave them to come and play for my country But
being able to play in the Gold Cup was a really great experience for me coming up
against big teams like Mexico. I just want to do my part on the field Whoever comes
up with the right contract I have no problems going anywhere" said Andrews.
Rovers are currently fifth on the 11 team First
Sir Alex to help Pierre
LOCAL striker Nigel Pierre is expected to benefit
from the assistance of Manchester
United in his fight to secure a work permit in England.
According to a recent report in the Bristol Evening Post, United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson, who has strong ties with Rovers, is willing to send Pierre abroad in the hope
he becomes a first team regular for T&T.
United could post him to Belgian side Royal
Antwerp, who have three Old Trafford
players with them.
Rovers manager Ian Holloway said "He (Ferguson) said he'll phone them (Antwerp)
and get Nigel a trial set up there."
The unusual approach to getting Pierre on Rovers'
books could take months or even
years to succeed but Holloway, who signed the player for £50,000 for three years
from Joe Public, is prepared to wait.
"I'm not giving up. We loaned Nigel out for
two years and when he breaks into the
national team, he'll still only be 22 when he comes back."
Pierre was disappointed with his performance against the Netherlands Antilles last
week, squandering four good scoring chances.
"I felt a little down but I have to pick up
and go again. It meant a lot being able to play
because I need some more caps to get my work permit which is the only thing holding
NATIONAL defender Brent Sancho is expected
to line up with the local Olympic
tournament here later this month after returning from training with the New York/New
Sancho who claimed he was left out of the national
team for the Gold Cup by former
coach Bertille St Clair because of his dreadlocks hairstyle, got the chance to play
against the Netherlands Antilles last Saturday.
Coach Ian Porterfield said he was impressed
with the player after seeing him in action
in a two match series against Denmark earlier this year.
Sancho was probably the most thrilled T&T player after the 5-0 win which was his
second appearance for the senior team following his debut against Panama last year.
"It was everything that I thought it would
be. My first priority is representing my country
On any given day anything can happen on a football field but playing in this match was
a good opportunity for me to settle in because I haven't really played with these guys.
It became more of a joy as the game went along.
It was a big , big day for me and it's
something to build on personally The hard work is paying off
and I will continue to work hard because it's hard work that brought me here" said
Sancho, who is scheduled to leave with the national team today for the return leg
against the Dutchmen and is also being stalked by the Columbus Crew.
ENGLISH-BORN midfielder Ronnie Mauge said the
support shown by his national
teammates after he broke his leg against Mexico in the Gold Cup last month is playing a
significant part in him regaining mental toughness as he prepares for a comeback within
two and a half months.
Mauge said in England last week that was hopeful
of rejoining the Bristol Rovers
"I wanted to come back to Bristol as soon as they let me out of hospital, but the lads
wouldn't let me. Our team spirit was great and everyone mucked in with pushing me
around in the wheelchair, even Dwight Yorke" said Mauge who also expressed some
disappointment with the sacking of Bertille St Clair.
I think the manager was a great man and a great
influence on me. He taught me a lot,
not just about football, but also about life. I'm distraught about it" said Mauge.
T&T off to Curacao
TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers leave
for Curacao this morning uncertain
whether they will have the services of captain Anthony Rougier for Saturday's return leg
2002 World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands Antilles.
Up to yesterday, the T&T Football Federation
said Rougier's presence was doubtful
and officials of his Port Vale club were awaiting a response from here as to whether he
would be excused from the match.
Vale manager Brian Horton was upset with Rougier's
late return to England last
Thursday and said he will like to keep the player for Saturday's English First Division
clash with Crystal Palace.
Vale are facing relegation.
Unless other last minute requests come from
other foreign clubs, the rest of the T&T
side selected are expected to be in Curacao for the match.
They include Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Nigel Pierre, Evans Wise, Brent Sancho,
Ross Russell, Angus Eve, Mickey Trotman, Derek King, Kerwyn Jemmot, Sherwin
Julien, Carlos Edwards, Dennis Lawrence and Shurland David.
Both Edwards and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh
striker Hector Sam were late
additions to the team last week but the latter has been excluded for the weekend. Sam
is likely to get a recall later in the campaign as he awaits word on his work permit
appeal after receiving an offer from English Second Division side Wrexham.
Next up T&T will face the winners of the
Dominican Republic versus Montserrat tie on
April 2 and 16.
T&T coach Scotland-born Ian Porterfield who is obviously hopeful of a victory on
Saturday, told the English press earlier this week that he would try to be understanding
regarding the call up of overseas players for the early qualifiers.
Aware that clubs would like to end the season
with their best line-ups, he came out in
support of Russell Latapy following his clash with Hibs after a late return to Scotland
"I know that I need to be as flexible as I
can about calling up the players and I won't be
asking Latapy or Dwight Yorke to play in the second leg of the Dutch Antilles match.
But at the same time, when they are here on international duty you have to realise that
they have travelled thousands of miles and they don't want to be locked up in football
They need to be able to see their friends and
family while they are here," said
While T&T were getting ready for Saturday's action, former international Lyndon
"Chubby" Andrews was on the receiving end of high remarks from Hibs boss Alex
McLeish while on trial at Latapy's club.
He's a good technical player with good feet.
He's a decent passer and user of the ball
and we are trying to improve our squad," said McLeish who is considering offering
Andrews a deal.
Mexico, England and USA coming: Test for T&T under-17s
TRINIDAD and Tobago's under-17 footballers
will get the chance to test their skills
with the likes of England. Mexico and the United States when a quadrangular
tournament takes place here later this month.
The local side will take on USA's under-17
squad in the second match of a double
header March 26 at Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya. Mexico and
England clash in the earlier affair at Macoya, where all games will be played.
Two days later "Team 2001" will face England
followed by an encounter between the
Mexicans and the USA.
T&T will then close the tournament against the Central Americans preceded by USA
The local squad are currently in training under
Nigerian chief Adegboye Onigbinde for
the 2001 FIFA World Under-17 Championships schedule to kick off here April,
Team administrator Russell Tesheira said all was well in the camp at the moment and
the youngsters, including Tobagonian Travis Yorke, nephew of Manchester United star
Dwight Yorke, were looking forward to the upcoming tournament.
"Currently we have a squad of 50 players in
training and the squad will be cut to 20 at
the end of this week for the tournament. Those players dropped will rejoin the camp
after the competition to continue working before we pick a final team of 20 in January
for the 2001 World Tournament. This series at the end of the month is really a test to
see where we are at the moment compared to the bigger teams and will determine
where we go from here.
We are just hoping that the fans come and give
the boys some support now," said
T&T are coming off a 3-1 victory over W Connection's under-20 team last Saturday at
Industry Park, Palo Seco.
More trouble for TTFF
THE Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation
is facing yet another fight for
foreign-based players over the next couple weeks.
Having already faced the problem in the past,
TTFF president Oliver Camps and his
organisation will have to deal with it again as several top British clubs seem bent on
keeping their T&T talent away from the second round of World Cup qualifiers.
The latest episode involves both T&T skipper
Anthony Rougier (Port Vale) and
midfielder Russell Latapy (Hibernian), who are under pressure from their respective
clubs to stay away from the next couple games.
Latapy had long pulled out of this weekend's
return match against the Dutchmen. But
he is now also said to be considering his participation in the second round, where T&T
meet the winner of the Haiti/Dominican Republic tie, as well.
Rougier could also follow suit as his club,
Port Vale, are now struggling for their First
The former Petrotrin player arrived back at
Vale to hear there had been a rumour
during his absence that he was heading to another club. He quickly corrected that
erroneous impression, declaring: "I want to stay here and carry on scoring goals and
help Port Vale stay in the First Division."
Rougier backed up this declaration by scoring
against Sheffield United on Saturday but
he could not stop his team from going down 3-2. Vale fans were calling for Vale boss
Brian Horton's head afterwards and there was speculation the T&T player would be
forced to stay on to help his club for the next couple games.
Latapy's situation is somewhat different. Hibs
boss Alex McLeish has made it clear he
would not release him if the club's Scottish Cup semifinal game clashed with T&T's
next World Cup opponent.
Should this be the case, though, Latapy seems unwilling to put country before club.
"I haven't told Ian Porterfield that I don't
want to go but I have told some of the people
at the FA back home what the situation is. I hope it won't end in confrontation and they
will be flexible," Latapy told reporters in Scotland.
"These World Cup games are over two legs and
I hope to go for one of the games and
not the other, but I would retire from international football if there were problems."
McLeish, still fuming over Latapy's late arrival
back from Trinidad following the game
against the Netherlands, was hoping to defuse the situation with a call to Porterfield.
"The semifinal is a huge game and I'm sure
the wee fella will want to be involved," he
said. "It's up to Russell to sort this out, although I will be speaking to Ian Porterfield.
I'm sure he'll realise how important our game is."
Fine mess for poor Latapy
The Hibs midfielder was due to have his late
arrival from international duty last week
discussed in detail with Alex McLeish although, whatever the reason for his dallying,
Latapy's case for the defence was surely strengthened by intervening events.
Two goals and a sparkling first half in particular
against Falkirk propelled the Easter
Road club into a Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final with Aberdeen, but may not have
been enough for the player to escape a fine.
As always in such matters, McLeish observed
confidentiality although, having been
brought up in the strict disciplinarian regime that was Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen,
Latapy will have been a lucky man not to have received at least a censure.
Having your cake and eating it is something
which footballers are renowned for trying
to achieve, but when Latapy looks back on the past few days, he might feel that the
gluttony was worth a week's wages.
A 5-0 thrashing of the Dutch Antilles was followed
by an invite to the launch party of
his great friend Lara's new business venture.
Milling around the VIP area with the cricketing
legend a week past Sunday, Latapy
must have felt the full force of the thousands of miles which separate Port of Spain from
the port of Leith.
But, given that the gruelling journey which
returned him to Edinburgh on Thursday
morning didn't appear to affect his performance, is there really a case to answer?
Exactly what Latapy was doing between Sunday
and Thursday is anyone's guess
although the fact that the island's annual carnival coincided with three of those days
might be no coincidence.
McLeish questioned not just the responsibility
of the Trindad and Tobago Football
Federation but also his own player for failing to meet FIFA's directive that international
players should return from inter-continental duty within 48 hours.
Latapy's international manager, Ian Porterfield,
has pledged his intention to be as
understanding as possible regarding the calling up of far-flung players. But he was
straightforward in his assertion that he will not enforce the same restrictions that the
players may experience with their clubs.
'I know that I need to be as flexible as I
can about calling up the players and I won't be
asking Latapy or Dwight Yorke to play in the second leg of the Dutch Antilles match,'
'But at the same time, when they are here on
international duty you have to realise that
they have travelled thousands of miles and they don't want to be locked up in football
prison camps. They need to be able to see their friends and family while they are here.'
Hibs now face losing their playmaker for two
SPL matches, as Porterfield's side are
due to meet the Dominican Republic over two legs either side of the Cup semi-final.
No doubt that will leave McLeish sweating over arrival times again.
Latapy in club over country row
TRINIDAD and Tobago midfielder Russell Latapy
has made it clear he only intends to
play for this country in one of two matches against the weaker teams in the 2002
World Cup preliminary qualifying tournament.
The "Little Magician" was speaking on Saturday
night after scoring a double to lead
Hibernian to a 3-1 victory over Falkirk and a semifinal spot in the Scottish Cup. This
Hibs had not done since 1995.
Reports out of Scotland yesterday said that
T&T were scheduled to play the winner of
the Dominican Republic versus Monsterrat tie on April 8 - same day as the Scottish
Hibernian are expected to hold talks with Latapy today regarding his late return from
Trinidad following his appearance for this country two Saturdays ago in their 5-0 win
over Netherland Antilles.
Hibs manager Alex McLeish says he's leaving
the final decision up to the "Little
Magician" on the club over country issue.
But "Latas" sounded stern in his comments:
"I will play for Hibs in the semi. I have not told this to our new international boss Ian
Porterfield, but I have notified some of our officials. These World Cup games are over
two legs and I hope to go for one of the games and not the other.
"If necessary, I would even consider retiring
from international football. But I'm sure
there will be some flexibility about the situation," he told reporter Jim McLean.
Latapy is already out of the return leg against the Netherlands Antilles later this month
and the 31-year-old player is under pressure from Hibs' management after missing
more than half of last month while representing T&T at the Gold Cup in Los Angeles,
He hoped that Saturday's double would have
brought back the smiles on McLeish.
"The boss was not pleased and is still not happy. Hopefully, my performance against
Falkirk will put the smile back on his face."
Like several times before McLeish admitted
that "Latas" was an integral part of his
line-up, but wanted to see evidence of the player's commitment to the club.
"Trinidad were not entirely blameless because, under FIFA guidelines, they should have
booked the player on an earlier flight.
"The semifinal is a huge game and I'm sure
the wee fella will want to be involved. It's up
to Russell to sort this out, although I will be speaking to Ian Porterfield. I'm sure he'll
realise how important our game is."
"I spoke to him (Latapy) before the game (on
Saturday) and asked him if he was going
to be sharp enough. He said he was, so I had no qualms about playing him as long as
he gave me that reassurance. He's a big player for us and he makes things happen,"
Latapy's local teammate, Anthony Rougier, captain
of T&T, also ran into problems on
his return to Port Vale on Thursday. He was reportedly fined by the club for not
returning on Sunday and word is that he could end up not joining the T&T side for the
return leg against Netherland Antilles.
Yorke, Latapy respond in style
TWO of this country's highly celebrated footballers,
Manchester United striker Dwight
Yorke and Hibernian's Russell Latapy, responded to pressure from their clubs in fine
fashion by scoring a hattrick and a pair of goals respectively to lead their teams to 3-1
victories over Derby County and Falkirk yesterday.
Local captain Anthony Rougier also netted a
90th minute goal after coming on in the
52nd minute, but his effort was not enough to prevent Port Vale from falling 3-2 to
Yorke who had been experiencing a scoring drought
in recent months followed by
criticism from the English press and problem in maintaining a starting position, eased
some of that pressure with the treble which pushed his season tally to 14. He's currently
fourth on the list headed by Sunderland's Kevin Phillips (24).
Yorke's last goal for United came against Necaxa
in the World Club championships on
January 6 while his latest Premiership strike was on Boxing Day in their 4-0 romp over
Bradford City. It took him only 12 minutes to put his club ahead yesterday when he
charged down on goalkeeper Martin Poom's poor clearance and guided the ball into an
He then headed home a Quinton Fortune 70th
minute cross and converted his third
after skipper Roy Keane sent him through a couple minutes later.
United played without the resting Denis Irwin, Andy Cole, Jaap Stam, Ryan Giggs,
Nicky Butt and Raimond Van der Gou. The win kept United at the top of the
Premiership standings with 61 points, seven more than second place Leeds United who
have a game in hand.
Latapy returned to a furious Hibs management
that even made it clear that he wasn't
sure of playing yesterday after returning to Scotland on Thursday after representing this
country in their 5-0 win over the Netherland Antilles in a World Cup qualifier last
Manager Alex McLeish said he would talk to
Latapy tomorrow about his late return
and his decision to play him proved an inspired one as "Latas" produced a stunning
strike and a penalty to put Hibs ahead twice with Pat McGinlay sealing the victory in
the last minute. The win put them into the Scottish Cup semifinals for the first time since
After seeing a curling effort fly past the
post in the 17th minute, Latapy opened the
scoring in the 25th when he took a pass from Frenchman Franck Sauzee before firing
home from 20 yards out.
After Falkirk equalised, Latapy restored Hibs'
lead from the penalty spot in the 43rd
minute and had the Falkirk goalkeeper producing a fine save to his long range effort
just before halftime.
Local striker Nigel Pierre also saw action
until the 64th minute for Bristol Rovers in a
0-0 stalemate with Bury in English Second Division action. The T&T bunch will surely
be hoping to take their current form into the crucial stages of their 2002 World Cup
McLEISH DELIGHT WITH LATAPY
Alec McLeish was delighted that Russell Latapy
repaid his faith, grabbing two gaols
and setting up the third in the 3-1 victory over Falkirk.
The Hibs boss said: "I spoke to him before
the game today and asked him if he was
going to be sharp enough. He said he was so I had no qualms about playing him as long
as he gave me that reassurance. He's a big player for us and he makes things happen.
"He went a bit quiet in the second half but
he's still liable to do something. It was a
good contribution from him with two goals and a set up for Pat McGinlay."
Meanwhile Falkirk manager Alex Totten felt
the result was not a true reflection of the
balance of play.
He said: "I don't think 3-1 was a true reflection
of the game. Losing a goal just before
half-time was a big blow. It was particularly disappointing because we'd just got back
into the game and we just failed to get a break in front of goal but you wouldn't know
which one of the sides was a Premier League side."
A treble tonic is perfect for Yorke
But on Saturday, predictably, the man from
the Caribbean provided his own emphatic
answer much in the way he did through the glorious personal campaigning of last
The £12.7million forward delivered Premiership
victory for Manchester United,
increasing to seven points their lead over Leeds United, with a cavalier's hat-trick that
should at least convince Sir Alex Ferguson of his first-team worth for a week or two.
Jim Smith's Derby County, saddled by their
own collective inadequacies all season in
the desperation zone just above the relegation places, were smashed into oblivion as
Yorke's calypso instincts emerged yet again in the 12th, 70th and 72nd minutes.
So, at the end of a week in which a near-desolate
Yorke confessed innermost fears
about holding down a job in Ferguson's front line, the most famous smile in football was
Well, in truth, it was once he had begged for
the souvenir ball to be returned to him
from the crowd as close friend and team-mate Mark Bosnich joined in the light-hearted
pleading at the climax of the game United should have won at a stroll, but could easily
Once again Yorke's dramatic intervention underlined
the growing and graphic evidence
that Ferguson's United are not quite the same animal this season.
Cast your mind back and remember how they dominated
the 1990s, eyes blazing with
ambition and pulses racing with furious attacking intent. Not any more.
The champions, it seems, have changed character.
They might still be the best equipped
team in England but they now play a very different ball game. And no longer is it to the
sound of the bugles.
This, no question at all, is a team who do
just enough to secure victory, maybe at the
long-term risk to their boss's good health.
As Derby will argue all weekend, they had the
chances to win and it needed Bosnich's
remarkable reflexes to underpin United's success. There is now another imperative
spurring the men in front of him - and that is an economy of effort in both skill and
It would be unfair to accuse them of applying
the law of least effort, but these days
United operate well within their plentiful capacity. They play within their own limits - yet
the rewards are still there for them.
There has been a niggle recently that they
were guilty of too much long ball. Derby
were exposed, time and again, by a different method. This time there was more fluency
of passing, more invention, and certainly more cohesive movement from Ferguson's
The extra dimension, as the manager will argue,
is provided by the range of skills that
Paul Scholes injects into the side. On Saturday we had the proof. But it didn't come
before Derby had panicked United to the very point of surrender within 18 seconds.
If it hadn't been for Bosnich's alertness,
Malcolm Christie, a lifelong United supporter
and a self-confessed disciple of Mark Hughes, might have been celebrating a goal in
what has always been his stadium of dreams.
The Australia goalkeeper, restored after a
brief time in Ferguson's wilderness, broke
Christie's heart a little later with another sensational block.
Bosnich's heroics did not end there, either,
as substitute Branko Strupar - who scored
in the 66th minute - was denied what looked another certain goal.
But United's retaliation was never less than
swift, or deadly. And it is that icy
detachment which makes them so different from the rest of the title contenders.
The gifted Scholes missed a penalty and Ferguson
was naturally enraged when Ole
Solskjaer was ambushed by Mart Poom in the early conflict. The Derby keeper also
showed his nerve and resilience in diverting powerful efforts from Scholes and
Solskjaer that would have carried too much venom for most.
But the compensation came as Yorke revelled
in the freedom and claimed his first
domestic goals since scoring against Bradford City on Boxing Day.
His first, in the 12th minute, had a freakish
element about it. He rapidly closed down
the uncertain Poom and the keeper's attempted clearance cannoned off Yorke's body
and rolled over the line.
But the next two were full of verve and adventure
as Yorke, climbing the far post,
scored with a powerful header then had the final say with a breakaway goal that
underlined his composure when the action is fiercest.
McLeish wants Tobago no-go
The player is due back in the Caribbean to
play in a World Cup qualifier against Haiti
on the same day as Hibs bid for a place at Hampden.
Easter Road manager Alex McLeish has told the
player he wants the midfielder to put
club before country this time after Latapy's late return to Scotland from international
McLeish will get in contact with Trinidad's
new manager, Ian Porterfield - his old boss
at Aberdeen - but has put the onus on Latapy.
Latapy said: 'I haven't told Ian Porterfield
that I don't want to go but I have told some
of the people at the FA back home what the situation is. I hope it won't end in
confrontation and they will be flexible.
'These World Cup games are over two legs and
I hope to go for one of the games and
not the other, but would retire from international football if there were problems.'
McLeish was delighted at Latapy's match-winning
display against Falkirk but made it
clear he needs to see evidence of the player's commitment to the cause. McLeish said:
'Trinidad were not entirely blameless because, under FIFA guidelines, they should have
booked the player on an earlier flight.
'The semi-final is a huge game and I'm sure
the wee fella will want to be involved. It's
up to Russell to sort this out, although I will be speaking to Ian Porterfield. I'm sure he'll
realise how important our game is.'
Latapy in trouble?
MIDFIELD wizard Russell Latapy faces the prospect
of being benched for Hibernian's
Scottish FA Cup match against Falkirk.
Word out of Scotland yesterday indicated that Hibs boss Alex McLeish is furious over
Latapy's late arrival from Trinidad on Thursday and may be considering fining the
31-year- old "Little Magician."
T&T skipper Anthony Rougier is currently
involved in a similar situation.
McLeish said he had been trying to contact new T&T coach Ian Porterfield without
success after last Saturday's 5-0 win over the Netherland Antilles to inquire about
Edinburgh Evening News reporter David Hardie
said yesterday, "Latapy's extended
stay in Trinidad has left McLeish furious, particularly with such an important match
It has been suggested that Latapy had problems with flights, but that is unlikely to cut
much ice with McLeish who revealed that while the midfield star had been in touch with
Easter Road he hadn't yet spoken to him.
McLeish has 'phoned new "Soca Warriors" boss
Porterfield without success to try to
discover the reason for Latapy's non-appearance and has even spoken to FIFA
vice-president Jack Warner," but soon he'll want to hear the reasons from Latapy
himself," the reporter said.
McLeish told the Edinburgh newspaper yesterday
that he prefers to deal with the
situation after the Cup tie and will speak to Latapy Monday.
"I'm not going to conduct our chat through the newspapers. I'll speak to Russell in
private and the outcome will remain an internal club affair.
"It is going to be very hard to assess him
in the space of a day. He'll probably tell me he
is all right but there will be big pressure on him if he plays tomorrow. If he does not
play it will be because he is not fit, not recovered from his journey and his place in the
team tomorrow has to be in jeopardy," McLeish explained.
Latapy, who is being excused from T&T's
World Cup return leg on March 18 because
of commitments with Hibs, was expected to train with the club for the first time in 10
days yesterday. Whether "Latas" is benched or fined, he obviously deserves credit for
returning home for last Saturday's game after the recent turmoil in the national team and
local fans and officials will be hoping Hibs relieve him off any added pressure.
Joseph set to take over at Joe Public
Abraham said there were only final agreements
to be made with Joseph who had
already expressed interest in taking the job left vacant by national coach Scotland-born
Porterfield had been in charge of Public since
January before he was named as T&T's
head coach in place of Bertille St Clair.
Joseph, who has been coaching in Virginia, USA, led T&T to Shell Caribbean Cup
titles in 1994, '95 and '96.
Also leaving the Public staff for national
duty were assistant coaches Jimmy Blanc and
Clayton Morris. Equipment manager Ikin Williams has been with T&T for some time
Abraham said his team had not held a training session since Porterfield was named
FIFA vice president and Public chairman Jack
Warner is not worried over the break in
Public's preparations and made it clear that this country's senior team was first priority.
"Mr Warner told me and the technical staff that in the interest of national football he has
weakened Joe Public," Abraham said.
Joe Public trio of Travis Mulraine, Keyeno
Thomas and Adrian Narine are currently
attached to American Major League clubs.
National player Stokely Mason left here Sunday for trials at English First Division club
Walsall, but Arnold Dwarika turned down to offer to accompany him as he prefers to
await better options.
Both players were expected to try out with
South Korean club J Cheetars earlier this
month, but Abraham said he asked Warner to put that on hold.
Midfielder Angus Eve, who scored a double while playing up front in T&T's 5-0 win
over the Netherland Antilles last Saturday, is back at Chester City, but is on the
Abraham explained: "Angus is on the transfer
list because he has been in and out of the
team because of national duty. This strengthens my point that the overseas players like
him should not be called for friendly matches against the smaller teams. But Angus is
currently on loan from us and we have agreed that if another worthwhile deal does not
come through for him, he will return to Joe Public."
TRINIDAD and Tobago will be without the services
of key midfielder Russell Latapy
for the March 18 return leg of their World Cup qualifying game against the Netherlands
The "Little Magician" played a major role in
T&T's 5-0 home leg victory against the
Dutchmen last Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. But, as a result of an
agreement reached between the TTFF and his Scottish club, Hibernian, the local
association will not be making any request for his release for the return game.
TTFF president Oliver Camps confirmed yesterday
that the 31-year-old midfielder will
not play any part in the second game, set for Curaçao.
"We complied with a request from Hibs that
he not be called up for the second leg,"
He noted that they the decision to accede to the request was easy because, with a
comfortable five-goal cushion, it was tactically wise to leave the ace midfielder out of
"In other words, for us to be able to get him
for more crucial games in the World Cup
campaign, he will sit out this one."
Latapy is a key member of the Hibs squad and
manager Alex McLeish has been
reluctant to send his star player away, especially when the club has key games.
Coach Ian Porterfield named an 18-man squad
for the second leg yesterday with two
newcomers-Defence Force duo Carlos Edwards, a likely midfield replacement for
Latapy, and Dennis Lawrence-and one notable omission-Dwight Yorke.
Asked about the availability of Yorke, Camps
responded that no decision has yet been
taken regarding the Manchester United striker, who was one of the players who
threatened to quit after Bertille St Clair's was sacked in the wake of the Gold Cup
semifinal loss to Canada.
Camps however ventured the opinion that the
same policy applied for Latapy "would
also be implemented for Yorke".
Despite expressing public disappointment over
the sacking of St Clair, Latapy had
returned for the World Cup opener in Port of Spain and had a direct hand in at least
two of the goals. He, however, also indicated that he would initiate talks with the TTFF
to ensure that the issues which emerged during the Gold Cup were resolved so that the
team could get on with the business of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.
But yesterday, as Latapy and several of his
foreign-based teammates, returned to their
respective clubs, those talks had not yet been held.
For some of the foreign-based players, there
could be other types of problems as many
of them were returning to their clubs somewhat later than originally agreed.
A source close to the team said that many of
the players were originally hoping to leave
here on Monday. But flight arrangements-which had them departing on
Wednesday-could not be altered because the travel agency handling the arrangements
had closed its doors for the Carnival festivities.
Two players so affected are skipper Anthony
Rougier, who missed Port Vale's
important game against Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday night, and Latapy.
A report out of England said Vale manager Brian
Horton had been "fuming" over
Rougier's late arrival, especially with the club struggling at the bottom of the First
Things were reportedly no different in the Hibs camp.
Commenting on the late return of the 31-year-old
midfielder to the club on Tuesday,
Hibs boss Alex McLeish said: "Russell is still not back with us, and it's getting late in the
week. It's something I will have to discuss with the player and his Federation when he
He added: "The reason we want him back is to
make sure he has time to recover from
his travelling. Although he is a big player for us, and his presence gave us a boost
against Clydebank in the Cup last week, I still felt he didn't look as sharp as he did in
the previous match. It's something that concerns me for Saturday."
T&T squad: Clayton Ince, Ross Russell,
Dennis Lawrence, Ansil Elcock, Marvin
Andrews, Brent Sancho, Sherwyn Julien, Anthony Rougier, Shurland David, Derek
King, Angus Eve, Carlos Edwards, Evans Wise, Stokely Mason, Kerwyn Jemmot,
Mickey Trotman, Arnold Dwarika, Nigel Pierre.
W Connection, Jabloteh get set
VIBE CT 105 W Connection will come up against
St Lucia's national team later this
month as they continue preparations for the upcoming Professional Football League
Connection's pre-season campaign is currently
in full swing with coach Stuart Charles
Fevrier getting his players geared towards their opening match against defending PFL
champions Defence Force on April 5.
Last season's PFL Cup champions, CL Financial
San Juan Jabloteh, are also finalising
their squad as they attempt to get the right squad to challenge for the PFL crown.
Nigerian defender Ola Agunsola arrives on the weekend for a trial. Agunsola was a
member of the Nigerian Olympic side in the 1996 Seoul Olympic Games.
American defender Jeffrey Thomas, a past captain
of the University of Detroit in the
American National Colleges Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as Trinidad-born
brothers Lumumba and Shaka Shabazz will also arrive here on the weekend for trials.
Midfielder Shabazz (S) played professionally for German Third Division side TVA
1860 ASchaffenbuurg from 1989-91.
His brother was a member of T&T's under
16 team in 1986 and Miami Tango in the
US Professional Development League.
Jabloteh have already signed four Colombians for this season.
Connection have contracted 12 Brazilians, while
two of their regular players are now in
Scotland with Premier League side Hibernian, club of local midfield star Russell
Jean has been signed on a three-month loan while midfielder Lyndon "Chubby"
Andrews is on trial. Both players played in a reserve match against Dundee United
yesterday. Jean scored in a 2-0 win over Celtic reserves last week and also came on in
the closing ten minutes of Hibs' 2-1 win over Celtic in Premier League action.
There is also some doubt over the availability
of captain Reynold Carrington who
recently announced his retirement from the game. If he decides against a comeback,
club president David John Williams said there are already a few players in line to wear
St Lucia will be here from March 14 -18 and
is expected to face Connection a day
before leaving either at Guaracara Park or Industry Park, Palo Seco, two venues the
1999 FA Trophy winners will use in 2000.
Stern does a good turn
The Trinidad and Tobago international striker
broke off from his rehabilitation
programme to offer the pupils encouragement as they embark upon a 'Supporting
Improvement' pilot scheme, Stern John is coming along very good so far, the Doctor
say's he should be back by June, Stern has a good effect on the team, and he is also
hoping to get back on the score sheet for both his club and his country.
Youngsters at the Bramcote Park School will
get free tickets for the First Division
match against Blackburn Rovers if they turn up for classes and behave themselves over
the next two weeks
Wizards Sign Gary Glasgow
The Wizards signed Richmond Kickers goalscorer
Gary Glasgow on Friday. He
follows former Richmond GM Curt Johnson to Kansas City. Though he is only 23, he
will not count as a Junior or Transitional International because the league's limit has
been met for this season.
Glasgow's signing brings the roster to 24,
with 4 spots protected. That leaves the
Wizards one player over the roster limit. The likely candidate for the waiver wire is
AWOL winger Jeff Baicher, though the team may be trying to arrange compensation
for their troubles.
Richmond's leading scorer last season, Glasgow
has impressed in his two years in the
American soccer leagues. Squaring off against Bob Gansler's Milwaukee Rampage
while with New Orleans and then with Johnson's Richmond Kickers, the skillful
forward's talent is no mystery to Wizards management.
The Wizards now have the deepest strike force
in the league with the starting pair of
Alex Bunbury and Mikos Molnar, and reserves Chris Brown, Peter Byaruhanga, and
now Glasgow. The competition for minutes should keep a quality pair up top.
T&T facing more walkouts
TRINIDAD and Tobago striker Dwight Yorke's
recent boycott of the team's opening
World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands Antilles could spark a mini revolution in
new coach Ian Porterfield's camp.
This was the view of the English press earlier
this week after keying into Yorke's
decision to sit out the game.
Yorke had told the Express he would sit out
the game in protest of the sacking of
coach Bertille St Clair in the wake of the just concluded Gold Cup.
However, both the TTFF and Yorke's local agent
Tim Nafziger denied that his failure
to turn up was related in anyway. In fact, a release from Nafziger last week said Yorke
was still committed to the cause.
But, according to reports out of England, Yorke's
decision could be supported by a
similar walk out from other members of the team based in Britain.
Quoting a source from the team, the report
said skipper Anthony Rougier (Port Vale),
midfielder Russell Latapy (Hibernian) and defender Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers)
were also seriously contemplating their future.
"If the people in control take decisions that
are deemed not in the best interest of
Trinidad and Tobago's football, then we will not play," the article quoted the player as
"We are the ones who put our club careers on
the line to represent our country, so we
are entitled to look after our own interests."
According to the report, the root of the problem
is the players' belief that Porterfield
was lined up as a replacement before St Clair was told he was to be removed.
It added that both Rougier and Latapy refused
to stay at the team hotel at the João
Havelange Centre of Excellence prior to 5-0 thrashing of the Netherlands Antilles in the
World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Will St Clair still work with T&T soccer?
THE Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation
will be submitting a letter to recently
axed national coach Bertille St Clair today, asking if he will continue to work with their
This was revealed by TTFF president Oliver
Camps last night who added that their
was no official notification from St Clair that he will not work with the Federation.
According to Camps, "Bertille was relieved as coach of the national team but he has a
contract with the TTFF which runs until the end of June."
Camps saaid that a meeting will be held today
with new coach Scotland-born Ian
Porterfield and technical director Chief Adegboye Onigbinde and other officials. It is
expected that after this meeting,St Clair's new role will be determined. It is unlikely
however, that he will be back on the technical staff of the senior side.
Meanwhile, former captain David Nakhid who
was also axed from the T&T side after
the Gold Cup in Los Angles, USA, last night denied leading a call by a group of senior
players for a meeting with FIFA vice president Jack Warner to discuss distribution of
prizemoney prior to the 1-0 loss to Canada in the semifinals at the Gold Cup. Warner,
it was said, decided against having that meeting.
"There was a general meeting about the game
and the topic of money came up which is
totally within the right of the players," said Nakhid who added that there was no special
relationship between himself and St Clair despite such claims after it was revealed that
the decision to include him after coming out of retirement was St Clair's.
Nakhid mentioned that he was still available
for national duty.
Yorke: Best is yet to come
MANCHESTER United Striker Dwight Yorke admitted
in England Sunday that it is
now harder for him to get into the team's starting line-up.
But being aware that his goalscoring form has been off lately for the European
champions, Yorke intends to regain his touch and is confident of bypassing the 20-goal
mark this season. He currently has 11 goals in 29 matches.
"It is a case of hoping that you are going
to play. The manager uses a rotation system,
but I think I speak for everyone when I say I would like to play every match.
"It is becoming harder to get into the side. If you don't perform, you will be out of the
team. You never know who is going to be next. But it certainly keeps you on your toes
all the time," Yorke told the Daily Mirror.
"It would just be nice for me if I could start
hitting the back of the net on a regular basis
again. As you all know, strikers are judged on the goals that they score, although I have
always said my game is not entirely about that. But it is a significant part of my game,
just the same, " he added.
The former Aston Villa man, who netted 29 goal
last season, warned that the best is
yet to come from him.
"I think opponents in Europe have become more aware of me as a player. This year
was always going to be difficult, for me in particular.
"Last year everything went so well, and this
year everyone expects me to be top scorer
again, banging in the goals, but it doesn't always happen that way.
"I still think I can score more than 20 this season, but I have had to adapt, and change
my game, and be a bit more cute," he explained.
Yorke was hoping to be in the United starting
line-up for their European Champions'
League match against Bordeaux yesterday after recovering from a thigh strain.
After rumours that he was not interested in
representing T&T after the sacking of
Bertille St Clair as coach, Yorke maintained that he remains committed to the local
team and will rejoin the squad for later World Cup qualifying matches.
T&T's Yorke clears availability issue
Port of Spain, Trinidad, CANA - Manchester
United striker Dwight Yorke will be
joining his national teammates for action in the latter part of the 2002 World Cup
qualifying campaign, the Trinidad Guardian newspaper reported yesterday. Yorke's
local representative Tim Nafziger -- in a statement to the media on Sunday -- dismissed
reports that Yorke was not interested in playing for Trinidad and Tobago following the
controversial sacking of coach Bertille St Clair.
Yorke's reaction of disappointment to the axing
of St Clair last month, left many fans
fearing that he may not be part of the T&T side for the qualifiers. "Dwight wants to
make it clear to the public that in spite of his personal feelings on the matter, his release
and non attendance for the game (Saturday) against the Netherlands Antilles is as a
result of arrangements made with the team manager before the Gold Cup," the
Guardian quoted Nafziger as saying.
Yorke place under fire from Gunnar
The Norwegian's treble-winning boss concedes
that Solskjaer (pictured training on
Monday) has been the main casualty in the keen competition for places among his four
He has been a spectator for most of this season,
looking on from the bench, and his
appearance against Liverpool on Saturday was only his 14th start of the whole
But Ferguson said: "My only selection problem
is the strikers I play up front and which
two players from the four of Sheringham, Cole, Yorke and Solskjaer. It could swing
any way. I think Ole Gunnar did well on Saturday though. Then again, it doesn't bother
me a bit and it's just the preference on the day maybe.
"It's difficult because of the quality we have
there. In the context of a season, I'm
hoping they all understand that I have to do these things. At the moment it's not really
worked out well for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for instance.
"He's not had the same amount of football he
had last year and I want to try and
correct that over the next few weeks and make sure he gets plenty of football because
he's important to us. He scored on Saturday and he could have scored a hat-trick on
Saturday and that's what the boy is made of - goals.
"These things weigh on you and hopefully I
can make the right decision in that respect. I
think they all like to play and that's the problem so therefore you hope that they really
feel they are important players. I think strikers are that type of beast who want to be
considered the important player in the team," he added.
Typically, Ferguson would not be drawn on who
his final two would be, instead
preferring to compliment his other strikers.
He said: "I thought Yorke did well on Saturday
and I was pleased with him. The
evidence is always on the football pitch and Sheringham has earned his right to play and
sometimes you can't dispute these things as much as you like to change things for the
sake of changing them."
T&T off to Mexico
NEW coach Anton Corneal will have his first
outing at the helm of Trinidad and
Tobago's Olympic footballers, who will have everything but Carnival on their minds
when they play Mexico's Under-23s side in Colima, Mexico, tomorrow evening.
After taking up the post last month, Corneal,
son of former national coach Alvin
Corneal, left with T&T yesterday for the outing which serves as preparation for the
"semi" stage of the Olympic qualifiers.
This runs here from March 22-26 against Canada,
Guatemala and the Netherlands
Antilles. T&T will be vying for a spot in the final round to be held in the United States in
T&T are missing a few players who were
on the side when Bertille St Clair was in
charge before he was relieved leading up to the Gold Cup last month. St Clair has since
been axed as national senior coach.
Bristol Rovers striker Nigel Pierre, captain
Travis Mulraine, Keyeno Thomas, Adrian
Narine and Brent Rahim are all out.
Pierre left for England Sunday night after coming on as a substitute in T&T's 5-0
victory over the Netherlands Antilles Saturday.
Mulraine and Narine are currently in pre-season
training with American Major League
club San Jose Earthquakes, while Thomas is now attached to the Colorado Rapids.
Rahim is continuing his studies at the University of Connecticut, USA. Midfielder
Kerwyn Jemmot was left out for not turning up for training.
Those players are however, expected to be part
of the team for the Olympic qualifiers.
Notable new additions to the squad are Doc's Khelwalaas striker Colin Samuels, Vibe
CT 105 W Connection defender Addae Rique and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh
midfielder Stephan David.
Striker Hector Sam, defenders Brent Sancho
and Derek King of Joe Public, and
midfielder Carlos Edwards will be hoping to utilise their skills and experience to good
T&T are coming off a 1-0 victory over Denmark in a friendly played here in January
under coach Jamaal Shabaaz, who is currently one of Corneal's assistants but did not
make the trip to Mexico. Corneal was accompanied by another one of his assistants
Marlon Charles and manager Peter Rampersad.
T&T is expected back home Thursday.
A game against Venezuela may also come off later this month.
T&T squad: Ryan Seales, Anthony Marshall
(goalkeepers), Derek King, Marlon
Rojas, Brent Sancho, Anton Pierre, David Atiba Charles, Addae Rique, Justin Latapy
(defenders), Carlos Edwards, Stephan David, Andre Cooper, Joseph Peters
(midfielders), Hector Sam, Colin Samuels, Jason Scotland, Ayodele Greene
Rougier: At end of day we are pros
The Port Vale player, who also gave credit
to recently-sacked coach Bertille
St Clair "for his work," was happy with the overall performance, "considering the team
were working with new coach Ian Porterfield for just under three days."
Referring to the recent technical shake-up,
"There was a problem in the Gold Cup. It caused a hiccup and was stressful to the
players. It's not a situation we would have liked going into the World Cup qualifiers.
But the public has seen that the boys have handled it very well. At the end of the day
we are professionals and just want to play for T&T."
Rougier said the victory obviously helped in
rebuilding the team's confidence, but it will
take a while to get over the 1-0 loss to Canada in the Gold Cup semifinals in Los
"It's been a very stressful week. We were expected
to come back home within a week
(from the Gold Cup) ... but we've broken all odds and feel pretty proud of ourselves.
But that's not letting go of our goal which is to qualify for the World Cup, " he said.
Rougier was particularly pleased with the performances
of defenders Brent Sancho and
Sherwyn Julien, who were late additions to the squad. as well as goalscorers Angus
Eve, Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve and defender Marvin Andrews, who is currently
being eyed by Barnsley and Hibernian as his two-year contract with Raith Rovers ends
in June. The Scottish club has already offered to renew his contract.
Some of the players, including Rougier and
Russell Latapy, will be taking in some of the
Carnival action before returning to the United Kingdom Wednesday.
Monday March 6th, 2000
By IRVING WARD
WHEN defender Brent Sancho took the field at
the Hasely Crawford Stadium on
Saturday as a member of the national senior team, he was fulfilling a long-time dream.
And it could not have come at a better time.
Like many young men his age, Sancho has long
has his eye on a national senior team
place. But, as Express readers will recall, prior to the recent Gold Cup in California, the
22-year-old dreadlocked defender had accused newly sacked coach Bertille St Clair of
discriminating against him because of the way he wore his hair.
St Clair denied the accusation but there was
no reprieve for Sancho as he continued to be
omitted from the squad.
But on Saturday, with a new coach at the helm,
Sancho, who turns 23 on Monday, finally
got his wish, running out in the very first game of T&T's 2002 World Cup qualifying
He was, naturally, a happy man at the end of
the game and not simply because of the 5-0
"It's always an honour to represent your country
and I think today (Saturday) was a big
day for me because playing for my country was always my first priority," Sancho told the
"I had to wait a while," he said, "but I was
patient and when the chance came, I grabbed
it with both hands."
The former Finland-based professional is now
looking forward to changing leagues. He
currently has an offer on the table from Major League Soccer side New York/New
Jersey MetroStars but has not finalised a contract just yet.
However, for now, he is just relishing the
taste of the "big times" and playing with his new
"As a kid growing up, you always look forward
to playing with the senior guys," he said.
"When the chance finally came, it was like a dream come true for me."
"I just had to hold my own and do my stuff
and also try to complement these guys. It was
a pleasure playing with them. It was everything that I thought it would be."
Commenting on his debut, he had this to say:
"I was a little bit jittery at first but I soon
settled in as those guys made me feel at home.
"I was very comfortable and, as it went along,
it became more and more of a joy playing
with those guys. It wasn't easy but it was definitely a pleasure.
"It's a big, big day for me and it'll be marked in red on my calendar."
This first taste of senior football, he admitted, has only made his hunger even greater.
"I know that it's hard work paying off for
me. And I'll continue to work hard because
that's what got me here in the first place.
"And I'm looking forward," he ended, "to building on what I've done today."
ONE down, one to go!
Having taken care of the Netherlands Antilles
5-0 in their opening World Cup qualifying
game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Trinidad and Tobago
skipper Anthony Rougier and his teammates are gearing up for another major battle.
Some time in the near future, most likely before
the second leg of the home-and-away tie
on March 18, they will head to the negotiating table with the local football federation for
discussions about the just concluded Gold Cup.
This was the word coming from Rougier on Saturday
afternoon, moments after the team
had disposed of the unthreatening Netherlands in their first round encounter.
"At the end of the day we are professional
players and all we want to do is play for
Trinidad and Tobago," Rougier told the Express.
"But there are some things that need to be
taken care of and we pray in time that
everything can be resolved and the whole focus of the TTFF and ourselves can be on the
game at hand."
Noting out that the players' main aim was to
"play football", Rougier said they were
hoping to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
"We wouldn't like this situation to arise again.
The association has to organise themselves
quickly and get things sorted out. But the main thing is for the players not to get too much
When it's time for us to talk," the skipper
added, "we will talk. But it is a situation where
the media can take the pressure off as well because we are not here to pick managers or
to even pick ourselves; we are here to play football."
Going into the game, Rougier had told the Express
that the team had decided to put the
recent sacking of coach Bertille St Clair and teammates David Nakhid, Jerren Nixon and
Ian Cox behind them until after the game.
Initially, all four men had been sacked by
the TTFF. But a later release confirmed that
while St Clair and Nakhid were no longer part of the mix, Nixon and Cox were simply not
being considered for selection at this juncture for varying reasons.
Commenting on how the whole issue was handled,
Rougier said: "There were some
problems in the Gold Cup and it has caused a hiccup for us. It was stressful for the
players and it's not a situation we would like to go into the (World Cup) preliminary round
with. But the boys have handled it very, very well."
Rougier said it was a tribute to the team that
they had managed to put the turmoil of the
previous week behind and keep the focus on the game.
"The thing is we would have settled for a 1-0
win today. But this shows the quality of
footballers that we're now producing in this country."
Stressing that the important thing was "simply
getting a good result that would be a
carryover from the Gold Cup", he added that "we did really well and we deserved to
The Port Vale player pointed out too that the team would still need time to develop.
"In time, everything will come together. We
just have to be very patient. The public as
well have to be patient and give us the support we need."
"I think that more than ever," he ended, "the
players need to be praised today. They've
really done extremely well given the circumstances they have found themselves in."
Dwight Yorke's international boycott has sparked
a mini revolution which could spell
huge problems for his new Trinidad and Tobago coach - former Chelsea manager Ian
Following Yorke's decision to walk away from
the national team, sources in the camp
have revealed that the nation's other British-based players could do the same in protest
over the dismissal of technical director and coach Bertille St Clair.
Captain Tony Rougier is considering his future,
as are Hibs star Russell Latapy and Raith
Rovers defender Marvin Andrews.
A player revealed: 'If the people in control
take decisions that are deemed not in the best
interest of Trinidad and Tobago's football, then we will not play.
'We are the ones who put our club careers on
the line to represent our country, so we are
entitled to look after our own interests.'
Rougier stayed at his Trinidad home rather
than in the team hotel prior to the weekend's
5-0 thrashing of the Netherlands Antilles in a World Cup qualifier - a game Latapy played
- while Marvins underlined his importance with the first goal.
At the root of the problem is the players'
belief that Porterfield was lined up as a
replacement before St Clair was told he was to be removed.
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke will be joining
his national teammates for
action in the latter part of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.
This was made clear by his local representative
Tim Nafziger in a statement to the media
This came after Yorke, in his reaction to the
axing of Bertille St Clair last week, left
many fans fearing that he may not be part of the T&T side for the qualifiers.
However, his presence was never in doubt.
"Dwight wants to make it clear to the public
that in spite of his personal feelings on the
matter, his release and non attendance for the game against the Netherlands Antilles
(today) is as a result of arrangements made with the team manager before the Gold Cup.
Dwight had asked to be excused as a result
of the Manchester schedule with games
against Bordeaux on March 4 and the return leg on March 7, all of which he would have
to miss to play against Netherlands Antilles. When I informed the TTFF of this
arrangement, they immediately agreed to release Dwight from the game" stated
"Consistent with the position he has taken
all along, Dwight remains available to the
national senior team in its World Cup 2002 campaign and looks forward to that day when
Trinidad and Tobago qualifies.
Dwight indicated that the Gold Cup team was
the best Trinidad and Tobago team he has
ever played on. He wishes the team success in this first outing of the campaign and gives
his full support to his teammates in that effort" added Nafziger.
Spotlight on Porterfield
SCOTLAND-born Ian Porterfield, the new man at the
helm of Trinidad and Tobago's
senior footballers, walked out onto the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday knowing that
fans, officials and players, among others were looking at his every move.
T&T defeated the Netherlands Antilles 5-0
in the opening match of their 2002
Japan/Korea World Cup qualifying tournament at the Stadium.
The 54-year-old former resident of Surrey,
England, has been in charge for just over 48
hours and admitted Friday that controlling a team for a World Cup match at such short
notice was one of the biggest tasks of his 23-year coaching career.
But he's highly optimistic that T&T can
emulate their Caribbean neighbours Jamaica who
qualified for the 1998 World Cup.
T&T can go all the way to Japan/Korea catching
the eyes of the world at the same time,
When asked whether he believed T&T were
capable of another "Cinderella" story similar
to the Boyz, Porterfield replied:
"Well that will be marvellous. The Reggae Boyz
have had some great players. It will be
marvellous if we can go all the way and there is no reason not to believe so.
"The players have to believe that they can
achieve this. Hard work, dedication,
application and collectiveness with every player working together you never know what
About his new post, he added: "It's not easy.
I don't really know much about the players.
Hopefully we are good enough to get the good result (yesterday) because it's important
the country makes progress."
He said it was "sad" that Bertille St Clair
got the axe. "These things happen in football.
It's happened to me in the past and maybe it could again. I've just got to keep my mind on
He's aware that the Carnival season is in full
swing at the moment and was hopeful that
it wouldn't affect the performance of the team.
"It doesn't enter my mind but after the game's
finished, the guys possibly could enjoy the
evening," Porterfield said Friday.
He said he did not expect to continue as coach,
but is yet to speak with club chairman
Jack Warner on the matter.
Public manager Richard Abraham said his team
were anxiously awaiting announcement
on Porterfield, Clayton Morris and Jimmy Blanc, who were all drafted into the national
They had previously been working with Professional
unit, Joe Public.
Porterfield follows some former foreign-based
coaches in charge of a national team
including England's Michael Laing, Yugoslavian Zoran Vranes, Jochen Figge, Brazilian
Clovis de Olieveira and Kevin Verity, the most successful taking T&T to within a victory
of reaching the 1974 World Cup Finals.
Trinidad kick off World Cup qualifiers with 5-0 win
PORT OF SPAIN, March 4 (Reuters) - Trinidad
kicked off the qualifying competition for the 2002 World Cup on Saturday
by mercilessly hammering Netherlands
Angus Eve and Arnold Dwarika scored two apiece
Andrews had earned the distinction of scoring the first goal of
the competition in the the ninth minute.
The match, a first-round, first-leg tie in
the Caribbean zone
of the CONCACAF region, was the first of 809 games of a
qualifying competition that will take nearly two years to
complete and features 196 teams.
Trinidad, who decided not to call on the services
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and were also without
injured striker Stern John, had an easy ride against amateur
opponents who are unused to playing on grass pitches.
Netherlands Antilles officials said that most
of the pitches
in their country are either gravel or astroturf.
The 30,000 capacity stadium was only around
organisers blaming the absence of Yorke and the fact that the
match took place at the start of the nation's famous carnival for
the poor turnout.
"We started a bit shakily," said Trinidad's
Ian Porterfield, who was appointed only two days before the
"We were a bit nervous but we improved as the
game went on
and we scored some good goals."
Porterfield replaced Bertille St. Clair, who
despite leading the Caribbean nation to the last four of the
CONCACAF Gold Cup one month ago.
Andrews, who plays for English lower division
City, settled Trinidad nerves when he headed home. After that,
the home team were able to exploit their opponent's sloppy
Eve increased their lead shortly before halftime,
into an empty net after goalkeeper Marcello Pisos came too far
out of his goal, and headed the third 12 minutes after halftime.
Then Dwarika took centre stage to add two more
goals for the home
Captain Anthony Rougier said he believed that
emulate Jamaica's Reggae Boyz, who became the first
English-speaking West Indian nation to qualify for the World Cup
two years ago.
"This has been a very stressful week. We feel
very proud of
ourselves and are not letting go of our goal, which is qualifying
for the World Cup," he said.
By IRVING WARD
TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier
and his teammates have adopted a
sensible stance towards the possible turmoil resulting from the sacking of coach Bertille
St Clair: Work today, talk tomorrow.
The team goes into today's crucial opening
World Cup qualifying game against the
Netherlands Antilles today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 4 p.m. under new
management. But according to Rougier, although dealing with the issue may have worn
them out a little, they have cleared their minds for today's important opening match-up.
"Starting with a win is the most important
thing right now," Rougier told the Express
"I know there are situations that need to be
resolved and we're not shying away from
that. But it's a tricky situation and, with the game being this close, that's not the way we
want to go into a World Cup qualifier."
"After the game," he added, "there are a lot
of things we've got to look at and get sorted
out. But the fact is that we do have one of the most important games in our lives
tomorrow, a step into the World Cup qualifying finals."
Newly appointed coach Ian Porterfield may be
contemplating some three changes to the
side that last represented T&T. With David Nakhid and Jerren Nixon out of this squad,
Sherwyn Julien, who has made a return to the team, and Mickey Trotman, could find
their way into the starting line-up.
Rastafarian defender Brent Sancho, the man
at the heart of a hair controversy during St
Clair's tenure, looks likely to get the nod to fill the breach at the back.
There are also question marks about the fitness
of Russell Latapy who is still apparently
troubled by a groin strain he suffered during the Gold Cup. The 31-year-old midfielder did
not train at all yesterday evening and only turned up some ten minutes before the final of
two sessions was completed.
That apart, Porterfield has the core of the Gold Cup squad.
Rougier explained that the players were doing
their best to keep their focus on today's
"Funny enough, instead of coming home roaring
lions, we came home and it was more
stress than anything else. For a team that had done well and should be shown some sort
of respect, things ended up turning into turmoil because of the problems with the coach,
manager and the TTFF.
Lamenting that the momentum gained for the
last two years is "almost gone", he noted
that the team was "starting all over again and just hoping for the best and putting our best
It was, he said, "a very good thing" that they
are not starting the campaign against a
Netherlands coach Henry Caldera's squad, ranked
167th in the world, is made up entirely
of locally-based players. But Rougier and his men are not underestimating them.
"We are not taking them lightly at all because
that way we might see ourselves out of the
World Cup qualifiers and we don't want that."
"At the end of the day, I think a good result
will help take away some of the stress and
the situation will be calming down a bit," the skipper ended. "But I pray to God we do get
a good result because, if we don't, it's gonna mess up a lot of things."
Likely starting XI: Clayton Ince, Shurland
David, Marvin Andrews, Brent Sancho,
Sherwyn Julien, Angus Eve, Russell Latapy, Anthony Rougier, Ansil Elcock, Arnold
Dwarika, Mickey Trotman.
SACKED national midfielder David Nakhid received
US $14,000 for his Gold Cup
campaign last month. But the figures given for payments to the El Ansar midfielder in
Thursday's media release from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation are not the
same as those given in an earlier release from the same source.
On February 23, the Express reported that players
received a US $750 bonus for their
quarterfinal victory versus Costa Rica. In that game, Mickey Trotman scored the winning
goal for T&T to get a historic 2-1 in sudden-death extra-time win and progress for the
first time to the semifinals of the Football Federation Gold Cup competition.
The earlier release showed senior professionals Russell Latapy and Nakhid receiving US
$3,750 while a group of ten including Arnold Dwarika, skipper Anthony Rougier,
goalkeeper Clayton Ince, his understudy Ross Russell, Angus Eve, Stokely Mason,
Shurland David, Jerren Nixon, Ansil Elcock, and Marvin Andrews each earned US
However, the latest figures show that Latapy
and Nakhid were given US $ 4,000 while
the other ten were awarded $3,000.
And the greatest discrepancy is the amount
that was stated as being disbursed to
University of Connecticut's Brent Rahim. The TTFF earlier indicated that they had paid
US $500 to the National Under-23 player for his services against Costa Rica whose
contract conditions do not allow him to receive any money for playing. In Thursday's
release, however, Rahim was shown as having received no payment for any of the four
matches that the country played in that tournament.
Ronnie Maugé, ruled out of the rest
of the tournament after suffering a broken leg in
T&T's first game 4-0 loss to Mexico, was reported to have become US $ 1,200 richer as
a result of the T&T win over Costa Rica.
Following the disclosure of the monies paid
to the T&T members, Nakhid vented his
disapproval about the TTFF's failure to consult with the players before revealing their
salaries. The former national captain, whose retirement from international football was
"reconfirmed'' by the TTFF panel that sacked former national coach Bertille St Clair,
termed that TTFF action as "a breach of trust''.
Thursday's release gave no information about
monies earned by the TTFF in the Gold
Cup, one of the principal criticisms raised by Nakhid after the release of the first set of
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago England-born defender Ronnie
Mauge is looking forward to
returning from his broken leg injury in about three months' time.
The 28-year-old Bristol Rovers midfielder was
speaking in England on Wednesday when
he said he was hoping to return in time to help the club gain promotion into the English
Mauge's Gold Cup campaign ended prematurely
when he went off with a broken left leg
during the second half of T&T's opening 4-0 loss to Mexico at Qualcomm Stadium in San
Currently, Trinidadian goalkeeper Shaka Hislop
and striker Stern John are also recovering
from leg injuries.
"My leg is still sore but I saw the doctor
today and he said it was a clean break. I'm a
quick healer and I'm sure It'll only take three months to get over," said Mauge.
"I'm a positive kind of person, and I'll come
back stronger. I reckon I'm looking at the last
two games of the season, so when we win promotion I'll be there."
Mauge added that he was worried that the injury
may have been career threatening, but
after receiving "first class" treatment and support from his T&T teammates he was sure
of making a return.
"I wanted to come back to Bristol as soon as
they let me out of hospital, but the lads
wouldn't let me. Our team spirit was great and everyone mucked in with pushing me
around in the wheelchair, even Dwight Yorke.
"They (medical personnel) had to give me morphine
while I was on the pitch because the
pain was so bad, but once I was off the pitch I was taken to hospital in San Diego and
kept overnight. I had the operation on the Monday and the medical care there was of a
different class. It really couldn't have happened in a better place," said Mauge.
A new dawn for T&T ...start World Cup journey today vs Netherlands Antilles
By SHAUN FUENTES
MIDFIELD star Russell Latapy and captain Anthony
Rougier head the Trinidad and
Tobago players in the opening match of the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup qualifying
campaign against lowly Netherlands Antilles at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 4 pm
The match is the first of the worldwide qualifying
drive and is attracting the interest of
several media companies around the world including London based FIFA TV, who will
carry reports and highlights to some 50 countries over the next two weeks.
Many officials, players and fans see this game
as the dawn of a new beginning as
Scotland born coach Ian Porterfield steps in the hot seat following the sacking of Bertille
St Clair last week, mere hours after T&T were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Gold
The present T&T team is made up of the
most talented players ever assembled for a
World Cup qualifying quest.
Following the recent technical shake-up, there
are fears that the going would now be
tougher than expected as T&T would struggle to focus on their mission under a new
T&T however should get past the Netherlands
Antilles with some ease, attaining a goal
advantage that will make the Caribbean Dutchmen turn up for their home tie just to avoid
a knock-out by default.
Rougier agrees that today's performance will
exhibit how much T&T wants to qualify for
the World Cup.
"It is a situation at the moment where there
is turmoil in the association. I think tomorrow
(today) is going to show how things are. Not really the performance but the result which
is going to take away all heartache and distress.
"It's going to pass away in time with victories.
It is important though that we just let this
situation go away because it has caused a problem. But I know that the players are very
focussed on the task at hand and the most important thing is to qualify for the World Cup
in 2002," the captain said.
Rougier and his teammates had a session yesterday
followed by one in the afternoon
period which included Latapy who is certain to play a great part in the final result.
Latapy is recovering from a severe bout of
jet lag but is set to do his bit today.
Those in line for selection include Germany
based Evans Wise, Ansil Elcock (Columbus
Crew), Angus Eve (Chester City), Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra), Avery John
(Bohemians FC), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Nigel Pierre, Arnold Dwarika (Joe
Public), Kerwyn Jemmot, Sherwyn Julien, Ross Russell and Stokely Mason.
Striker Hector Sam and midfielder Carlos Edwards,
currently attached to CL Financial
San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force respectively, have been drafted into the squad for
the World Cup journey but are not expected to feature today.
There was also good news for the T&T camp
yesterday as midfielder Ronnie Mauge
could possibly make a comeback from his leg injury within the next three months.
Porterfield admitted yesterday that he knows
little about the opposition but he has fair
knowledge about his players. After today's match he will "surely get to know the guys
better as time goes by."
Netherlands Antilles' coach Henry Caldera was
optimistic yesterday about his team's
chances of salvaging a draw at least following training sessions at the stadium yesterday.
The Soca Warriors will be out to show why they
are currently second best team in
Concacaf based on the recent Gold Cup results as well as their status as Caribbean
Victory in this tie will put T&T against
the winners of Montserrat and Dominican
Republic match-up later this year.
New coach unveiled: Latapy a no-show
By IRVING WARD
TRINIDAD and Tobago's Scotland-based professional
Russell Latapy was a notable
absentee yesterday evening as Ian Porterfield was introduced as the new coach of the
The 31-year-old Hibernian midfielder, one of
the players who expressed his disgust at the
sacking of former coach Bertille St Clair, arrived here on Wednesday night.
And his absence yesterday certainly now casts
a shroud of doubt over whether he will in
fact play in tomorrow's opening World Cup qualifier.
Porterfield was not oblivious to the turmoil still overshadowing the T&T team yesterday.
After he was named as St Clair's successor,
the 54-year-old Scotsman immediately
attempted to start the healing process.
Porterfield went to great lengths to meet and
chat with the new members of his team on
This came as the team was checking into their
temporary base at the Sportel at the João
Havelange Centre of Excellence yesterday evening after a meeting at which Porterfield
and his new technical staff was introduced to the players.
"The guys seem to be a very nice bunch of guys
with good attitude and good enthusiasm.
But at the end of the day, we as a group have got to work together," he said.
"I want to be their coach. I want to be their
friend. I want to help them, I want to work
together to try and get a team on the pitch that can do well in the preparation to qualify
for the World Cup 2002 in Korea."
Porterfield was also looking forward to the job ahead.
"It's a fantastic challenge (coaching job)
and I'm really looking forward to it. We don't
have a lot of time to prepare for the first game but I've briefly met some of the players
and hopefully we'll have two training sessions tomorrow in preparation for the game."
There was also no doubt about his aspirations for the team.
"Obviously I would like to do well with Trinidad
and Tobago. We most certainly have the
potential and its up to myself and the coaching staff, to work together with the players
and to try to group together in a good working unit."
However, Porterfield acknowledged that he would
have to lean heavily on the knowledge
of his assistant coaches, Jimmy Blanc, Clayton Morris and Michael Maurice.
He admitted too that he also knew very little
of the opposition, the Netherlands Antilles.
But he was hoping the team would be able to overcome this hurdle as well.
"We as a group have to be channelled and get
our mind really on the job because the
priority really is to try and get the right result. In football you only get what you deserve
and if we put the effort in there's no reason why we shouldn't get the right result," he
By SHAUN FUENTES
IT'S OFFICIAL . Englishman Ian Porterfield
has been named as coach of Trinidad
Tobago's senior football team, replacing Bertille St Clair who was sacked last week.
Porterfield was originally brought here by T&T's FIFA vice-president Jack Warner last
December to take charge of Joe Public.
He currently resides at the Kantac Villas in
Tunapuna and will have his first assignment
tomorrow against the Netherlands Antilles.
The match kicks off T&T's 2002 World Cup
campaign at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
"It's a big challenge and obviously I'm looking forward to it and the most important thing
is to get to know all the players. The main aim is to try and prepare the guys as best as
possible in the next 24 hours for the game on Saturday," said Porterfield last night.
He added that he didn't have an idea that the
current job was on the way.
St Clair will be redeployed in the technical
department of the TTFF pending the expiration
of his contract on June 30.
This formal disclosure was made following a
meeting among of T&T's Football
Federation officials including Warner on Wednesday night and yesterday at the Football
Confederation office in Port-of-Spain.
A new structure for the senior team was also
Neville Chance, Director of Sport at the Ministry
of Sport and Youth Affairs, part of the
technical team of the "Strike Squad" in 1989, will now serve as team administrator.
He takes over from Richard Braithwaite who
is now general manager of all T&T football
Neil Mollineau will be Chance's assistant.
Nigerian Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, originally
brought here to work with the national
Under-17 team, has been assigned as technical director of the senior team.
The chief had resigned as technical director
of the TTFF last year.
Other new posts announced include former captain
Clayton Morris and former Joe Public
official Jimmy Blanc as assistant coaches of the senior team.
Keston Nancoo of Angostura Limited will serve
as secretary of the technical committee.
Ikin Williams, a member of the technical team
since the "Strike Squad" days will continue
as equipment manager.
Those mentioned have been hired to work with
the national team on a fulltime basis as
T&T begin their quest to qualify for the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup finals.
Former national Michael Maurice has been appointed
goalkeeper coach while Wayne
Lawson, who has worked with the team previously will remain as trainer/physiotherapist
on a part time basis.
Porterfield brings a wealth of experience which
TTFF officials feel is a major ingredient
needed by a coach to take T&T to the World Cup finals.
"MR ST CLAIR made certain demands, all of which
were met by the Football
Federation in an effort to ensure that he was as comfortable as possible and that nothing
affected his ability to perform."
The preceding statement was made by TTFF president
Oliver Camps in a press release
yesterday following the announcement that Ian Porterfield had replaced Tobagonian
Bertille St Clair as coach of Trinidad and Tobago's senior team.
According to the release, St Clair, who was
axed as coach last week following a 1-0 loss
to Canada in a Gold Cup semi-final, was given every possible resource for him to
After being hired almost two years ago, he
led T&T to winners' row in the 1997 Shell
Caribbean Cup and second spot the following year and then to the Copa Caribe title last
His biggest accomplishment was a semi-final
qualification in the just concluded Gold Cup.
But the TTFF are not convinced that he has
what it takes to carry T&T to the World
Cup finals despite all the resources that were at his disposal.
Realising that he lacked serious technical
competence and experience, the TTFF sent St
Clair on two training courses in England with some of the best coaches including
Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson. The TTFF said a report of his stint there is still
outstanding. Several meetings were then held with him about his technical decisions after
some victories, the TTFF felt came because of good luck rather than good coaching.
He was relieved as coach of the Under-23 team
last month by the TTFF in an attempt to
lighten his workload, something St Clair was not entirely pleased about.
Camps added in the statement that in spite
of his benefits, the TTFF continued to be
disappointed with St Clair's technical competence.
A meeting was held and St Clair was told that
he had until the Gold Cup competition to
visibly improve his technical competence by winning the tournament.
He accepted this and requested his contract
"be renewed now or else after the Gold Cup,
the Football Federation will have to pay real money when he succeeded."
The TTFF opted to pay "real money."
During the Gold Cup period, several players,
officials and fans were calling for St Clair's
contract to be renewed.
"To say that Mr St Clair is the most successful
coach in T&T to date begs the question
since at the same time, equally, he has received more resources to succeed to date than
any other coach in this country's history," stated Camps.
"To him whom much has been given therefore,
much is expected," he quoted.
St Clair was reported recently in the Guardian
as saying: "I was paid more money in the
Cayman Islands to do the job I feel that I have done enough and if you want to put me
away before time then pay me off my contract and let me go."
I’ll be back to help Rovers says Mauge
Ronnie Mauge has told Bristol Rovers to expect him back before the end of the season.
The tough tackling midfielder broke his leg
two weeks ago while playing in the Gold Cup
for Trinidad and Tobago, but he’s determined to return in time to help Rovers clinch
promotion in May.
“My leg is still sore but I saw the doctor
today and he said it was a clean break. I’m a
quick healer and I’m sure It’ll only take three months to get over,” said Mauge.
“I’m a positive kind of person, and I’ll come
back stronger. I reckon I’m looking at the
last two games of the season, so when we win promotion I’ll be there.”
Mauge explained that although the break at
first sounded possibly career threatening – it
took the medics 20 minutes to take him off the pitch – the care he received in California
was first rate.
“They had to give me morphine while I was on
the pitch because the pain was so bad,
but once I was off the pitch I was taken to hospital in San Diego and kept in
overnight,” he added.
“I had the operation on the Monday and the
medical care there was different class. It
really couldn’t have happened in a better place.”
Mauge said that he was also touched by the
help and support he received from his
Trinidad team mates after the injury.
Not only did the squad pay a daily visit to
him while he was in hospital, but the team wore
“this is for Ronnie” t-shirts under their kit which they showed off whenever they scored.
“I wanted to come back to Bristol as soon as
they let me out of hospital, but the lads
wouldn’t let me. Our team spirit was great and everyone mucked in with pushing me
around in the wheelchair, even Dwight Yorke.”
Trinidad lost in the semi final of the Gold
Cup to Canada, the eventual winners. But
despite their best ever performance in an international competition, their manager Bertille
St Clair was sacked last week.
Former Chelsea and Sheffield United manager
Ian Porterfield has been appointed as the
new manager, but the decision to sack St Clair is one that shocked the entire team. “I
think the manager was a great man and a great influence on me. He taught me a lot, not
just about football, but also about life. I’m distraught about it.
“It has hurt everyone who has ever known Bertille.
It’s hurt Dwight Yorke so much that
I hear he’s contemplating retiring from international football.”
n Rovers had two players sent off in their
Football League Youth Alliance Cup quarter
finals 3-1 defeat by Portsmouth at The Beeches.
Rovers took a first half lead through Dave
Gilroy, but were reduced to ten men in the
59th minute when John Cordy was sent off for his second bookable offence.
Portsmouth hit back with two goals from Phil
Barnett and Joe McNab before goalkeeper
Ryan Clark was also sent off for a professional foul.
They think it's all starting: It is now
'Yeah, we have had a bit of a problem in the
past,' conceded Etienne Siliee, part-time
manager to the bunch of construction workers and labourers who make up the bulk of
this little West Indian nation's footballing elite.
He admitted: 'You see, we've only got a few
Astroturf pitches here on the islands and the
rest are gravel - so, sometimes, when our guys play internationally, they've never even
seen a grass pitch before.'
The last time he took a team on the 90-minute
flight to Trinidad, he remembered, it had
been a pretty inauspicious affair. 'It poured down with rain and we just didn't come
prepared with the right footwear.'
They slid around and fell over a lot, apparently - and got hammered.
Ah, but this time, it was going to be different,
he reckoned. This time it was the World
Cup. So let the romance and adventure begin on the longest, most winding and
extraordinary road that any event in the annals of sport has ever taken.
Yes, folks, it'll be just 848 days to the final
in Yokohama, Japan, 2002, but the dreams
begin on Saturday evening when 30,000 fans are expected to drag themselves away from
the Port of Spain carnival to attend the Hasely Crawford stadium for the first qualifying
In the Trinidadian FA offices, administrator
Sharon O'Brien has been fielding calls all
week about the big match. Cricket is suffering.
Brian Lara, the island's god, has been sacked
as Windies captain, but his old mate Dwight
Yorke and the lads were the new heroes for reaching the semi-finals of the Gold Cup -
North and Central America's championship.
O'Brien said: 'We're getting up there to be
alongside cricket. People stayed up watching
the Gold Cup games into the early hours. Dwight Yorke is regarded in the highest esteem
here now - he's up there with the top footballers.
'They had hoped he would put thousands on the
gate this Saturday, but the threat posed
by the Netherlands Antilles had not overly impressed his Manchester United manager
Alex Ferguson, apparently.'
Just as well, admits the Antilles' boss Siliee.
Everybody else in the Caribbean, said Siliee,
was jumping on the football bandwagon, securing the services of European pros.
Bermuda had old West Ham hero Clyde Best in
charge while, in the Caymans, some of
the old guard were moaning about a new policy of attracting any Brit with tenuous
connections to the islands for this weekend's qualifier against Cuba.
All the Netherlands Antilles could boast, though,
was the mum of Dutch star Patrick
Kluivert. Siliee sighed: 'We've four or five pro players in Holland with connections here,
but we've not really made much effort to secure them. In future, we will have to if we
want to compete.'
Trinidad - 49th in the world (according to
FIFA rankings, it makes them twice as good as
Wales but, then, isn't everyone?) - look like Brazil to them, and that's the fun.
'Let's put it this way,' said Trinidad's O'Brien.
'We're hoping World Cup fever will get
mixed in with our carnival fever this weekend.'
Yeah, said Siliee, but it was the Antilles'
carnival procession too on Saturday. Listening to
their huge enthusiasm, it seemed hard to imagine that somewhere out there, sport's
biggest carnival was passing by a few unhappy nations.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago are set to have the services
of several star players who
participated in the recent Gold Cup for their opening match of the 2002 World Cup
qualifying campaign against the Netherlands Antilles on Saturday.
Heading the list is Hibernian midfielder Russell
Latapy who was expected in T&T last
night along with team captain Anthony Rougier.
Raith Rovers defender Marvin Andrews, Bristol Rovers striker Nigel Pierre and
Bohemians defender Avery John were also scheduled to arrive later.
Germany-based Evans Wise is expected in today. The rest of the squad with the
exception of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, who club manager Alex Ferguson
said will not be available for Saturday's match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, are
Angus Eve, striker Mickey Trotman, goalkeeper Clayton Ince, Shurland David, Derek
King and Columbus Crew defender Ansil Elcock are among the players here who are
awaiting the announcement of their new coach.
A training session is scheduled for the Hasely Crawford Stadium today, venue for
TTFF officials were awaiting the arrival of FIFA vice-president and special advisor Jack
Warner last night before holding a meeting to finalise their decisions.
Hibernian manager Alex McLeish confirmed in
Scotland yesterday that the club has
released Latapy to play for the Soca Warriors on Saturday.
Latapy who assisted in one of Hibernian's goals in a 3-0 victory over Clydebank on
Tuesday indicated to the TTFF that he is committed to playing for T&T.
This is despite the recent turmoil caused by the shake-up of the technical staff of the
"Latas" will therefore miss Hibs' key assignment with Celtic on Sunday which is
scheduled to be televised live on Sky Sports cable channel.
McLeish, who spoke of his intention of maintaining a good relationship with the TTFF on
a recent visit here, said that T&T were in desperate need of Latapy's services at this
time and he was therefore willing to let him go.
"We know Russell won't be involved in the Celtic match, but we have asked for
confirmation that he won't be needed for the second leg.
"I always wanted to play for my country and I won't criticise Russell. Trinidad are in a
state of turmoil and I think they need Russell more than they need Dwight Yorke,"
T&T fans will also be hoping that the Little
Magician and other players including Yorke
are available for T&T's friendly encounter against newly crowned Gold Cup champions
Canada at the Varsity Stadium in Toronto on May 27.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced the match recently and tickets have
already gone on sale.
Also a match against Mexico is also being arranged for the T&T team.
Ferguson told reporters on Tuesday that the
shake-up on the T&T team suits his side
well as he understands Yorke is now not interested in playing for his country in the early
World Cup qualifiers.
United were threatened with the prospect of having Yorke banned from Saturday's clash
with Liverpool if they refused to release him for the World Cup qualifier.
Meanwhile the local public and supporters in other parts of the world, particularly the
United States and Canada continue to express their dissatisfaction with the recent moves
by the TTFF.
On an online chat column on the T&T football
online website run by Canadian resident
Marc Purcell, a poll of the fans suggested that 89 percent of them were against the
decision to sack Bertille St Clair.
Sir Alex Ferguson won his latest club versus
country row over Dwight Yorke because
the Trinidad and Tobago striker was so angry at the sacking of his national coach.
United were threatened with the prospect of
having Yorke banned from Saturday's
crucial Premiership clash with Liverpool if they refused to release him for the World Cup
qualifier against the Dutch Antilles.
But, while the Trinidad and Tobago FA was annoyed
by United's failure to respond to
their faxes demanding Yorke's services, it emerged last night that the striker had already
refused to play for his country in protest at this week's dismissal of coach Bertil St Clair.
With Yorke preparing to take on Bordeaux at
Old Trafford tonight after recovering from
a thigh injury, a Trinidadian source told Soccernet: 'When talk of firing St Clair first
started, Yorke said they might as well sack him as well.
'The whole team is upset about the sacking
and Dwight has made it clear he will not play
in the World Cup qualifier.'
Yorke's stance has helped United out of a possible
dispute with FIFA over their refusal
to release him.
Now Ferguson is ready to play the striker tonight
after admitting surprise at the speed of
his recovery from the injury sustained against Leeds. 'Dwight is fit, amazingly,' he said. 'I
hope there's no danger the thigh will go again.'
IW: I know that you are very upset by the decision
to sack Bertille. But what are your
DY: To me, it's the worst decision I've ever
seen because they certainly can't sack a
manager by telling him through the general manager. If you're going to sack a manager,
for starters, you have to bring him in front of the panel and say we have made a decision
that you should take no further part as manager of the national team. He should not find
out through someone else. To me that is very unprofessional.
Now when you look at the results that coach
Bertille has been through, you certainly
can't sack him from a footballing perspective. You can only sack him, as far as I'm
aware, for a personal reason. That to me is ludicrous.
And the timing of the sacking, where we've
got World Cup qualifying within less than a
week's time. You're going to bring in a new person and expect the players to play the
way they've been playing for the past three years? They must be crazy. As far as I'm
concerned they certainly haven't taken this seriously. And they want us to get to the
What of your future with the team and the pending World Cup campaign?
I wish the guys do get to the World Cup but,
unfortunately, I don't think I will be part of
that because if that's the way they want to go about it, I'm professional enough and I
know what is right and what is wrong.
I'm not really one for talking to the media
but I've sat back too long and seen things
happen and seen things develop and, as far as I'm concerned, this is crap. When you look
at it from the footballing perspective, he doesn't deserve what has been given to him. I
don't personally think I want to be part of that.
They cited technical reasons for the decision to sack Bertille. Can you accept that ?
I could if he had been a failure and the football
wasn't good and the team wasn't
progressing. I could accept it then. We are all human beings and I'm sure Bertille St Clair
and the technical staff and players would have accepted it.
But when you've been successful and the manager
is sacked for no apparent reason you
feel certainly they haven't got the football at heart. They are concerned about their own
I've always had a problem with the TTFA. I
don't think they're professional enough and
they can't go on treating people like that.
Jack Warner knows, at the end of the day, that
I can say what I want because he does.
So I'm talking bluntly here which I've never done, I'm bitterly hurt by the decision.
And if they're going to get rid of Bertille they might as well get rid of me too.
Might your close relationship with the coach be clouding your judgment?
No, I'm not saying this because of Bertille.
The truth is that if you sack the manager
because a team is not doing well, the coach is not getting the best out of the team, that's
But when you know you're doing well and you
get sacked, it's crap.
Latas: We're men not meat
WHEN TTFF adviser Austin Jack Warner announced
the sacking of coach Bertille St
Clair at the end of last week's Gold Cup semifinal, it came as a shock to the whole team.
But team leaders Dwight Yorke (DY ) and Russell Latapy (RL) seemed especially cut
up about the decision and sat down with reporter Irving Ward to outline the reasons why.
IRW: How did the team react when they got the news of the sacking of Bertille?
RL: We are most definitely in shock because
I think if you're going to sack a coach it
would depend on results. As far as results go, this is the most successful trip to the Gold
Cup that we ever had, so I think if they're sacking Bertille, it had nothing to do with the
team's performance. It must be something personal, which is very disturbing to the team
and to me as an individual, because I think we are here to play football and it has nothing
to do with personalities.
The talk of there being a plot to sack Bertille
has come up before. Some people think it
was a personality clash he had with certain members of the TTFF. What do you think?
Sacking Bertille because of whatever is definitely
a sign of something underneath
happening. As an individual, if that is the way that the Association is running football in
Trinidad and Tobago, then I'd prefer not to be a part of it.
They've also sacked players-David Nakhid, Jerren
Nixon and Michael McComie, who
was not even part of the Gold Cup squad...
I've never heard that happening in football
in any part of the world-maybe it happened
before and I'm unaware of it. I think that's a coach's job. It just goes to show that
whoever is making the decisions, they want to run the administrative side as well as the
footballing side and if that is the way they are doing it, then what's the reason for having
How do the rest of the team, the younger player
who have been given a break by Bertille
in particular, feel about this?
There are a lot of young players in the team
and, from what we are seeing, there's a lot
of bias and a lot of underhand things happening. I think, therefore, that it would be best in
the young players' interest if they be careful of what they are saying and what they are
In all the turmoil that has been going on within
the last 12 hours, have you assessed your
future as a player?
I think there's a lot of things wrong and a
lot of things I don't want to be part of. So I
have to re-evaluate my situation and my contribution here in the team. I have to think
about it and make a decision about if I want to be part of what is happening here or if I
should just call it a day.
What would you like to see changed?
They must stop influencing the nation in the
wrong way and doing things and making
people believe that they are in the right when they are in the wrong. They have to be
responsible for their actions and that's all I'm asking."
I don't want to give anybody any ultimatums
because we cannot tell them what to do and
how to do it or what not to do. I'm just saying that if I'm part of this football, I want it to
be run properly and I want things to be done in the right way.
I think if a lot of people who are not going
to give back to football are going to benefit
from my sacrifices or my contributions then I would prefer not to play.
But why have you all waited this long to speak out?
I think for too long players have been the
scapegoat. They've been doing whatever for
too long and, as far as I'm concerned, there's a time to keep your mouth shut and there's
a time to speak up and say what you believe in. That time is now.
I want to quote here what Bertille says all
the time because it's something I believe in:
'You can be a hero for a day but you will be a man for the rest of your life.' I think they
need to treat players like men and not just a piece of meat on the market. If that's the
way they want to treat players then I'd prefer not to be part of this.
The PRO LOOK with SHAUN FUENTES
CANADIAN hero Craig Forrest said he was disappointed
that his West Ham teammate
Shaka Hislop was not at the opposite end when Canada played T&T in the Gold Cup last
Forrest, who almost single-handedly took his
team to the title with some superb saves in
both the semifinal and final said he was looking forward to filling Hislop's position in goal
for West Ham as the Trinidadian recovers from his broken leg.
"Hopefully Shaka will be back soon but I'm
happy to fill his position in the meantime."
Forrest said it has been disappointing for both himself and Shaka that they have been
unable to face each other on the field.
"We had the chance to play in Trinidad last
month and he could not come. And now we
are here and again Shaka cannot play is terribly disappointing. I talked to him on the
phone and I'm just hoping he comes back as soon as possible" said Forrest.
The Gold Cup all-star 'keeper also praised
T&T for a valuable performance.
"I don't think I've ever played in a match for Canada where I had to make so many close
saves. They were very tough and have no reason to hang their heads. We were fortunate
and rode our luck a long way" he added.
Yorke deserved the credit
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke deserves
all the credit possible for playing for
his country in the Gold Cup. He has shown that he is fully committed to playing for T&T.
This is the feeling for technical director
Edgar Vidale and other local officials.
Yorke played for T&T in the 4-0 loss to
and 4-2 win over Guatemala, but after
returning to Manchester United, he picked up a thigh strain and was ruled out of the 1-0
loss to Canada, despite making the trip back and being keen to play.
Yorke was present at the Los Angeles Coliseum
last Thursday when T&T fell 1-0 to
When asked what he thought about the team's
performance in the quarter finals against
Costa Rica last Tuesday, he added "Well I was in England so I didn't see the match but it
was a good win for us."
Dwarika reaching for stars
Striker Arnold Dwarika is coming off one of
the highlights of his career so far at the Gold
Cup and is now counting on the experience to lead him to similar performance in the
The Joe Public man was speaking last Friday
after being selected on the Gold Cup
Dwarika was scheduled to depart for South Korea
to begin a four-month contract on
He scored goals in T&T's victories over Guatemala and Costa Rica.
" I can't say what caused such a performance.
But as we say big times are big times and
I think I'll just be aiming to step up in the big times. This has just raised my confidence
and I'll continue reaching for the stars" he said
Dwarika was also pleased with the teams' performance
and spoke of his support for
former coach Bertille St Clair, a day before a decision was made not to renew his
"I think this is something that we have to
write in the books and I'm just happy to be part
of it. We did what we were supposed to but there was just no getting past the Canadian
"Right now I don't know what the mood is like
back home but I think everyone is still 100
per cent behind the team," said Dwarika.
Mason looks up to brother
National player Stokely Mason said that his
brother, T&T batsman Keno, is his role
model and he is now hoping to use his inspiration to fulfil a career abroad.
"Keno has been my role model. He has played
in England before and now I am hoping to
get the chance to play abroad" said Mason
Mason was scheduled to leave for a four-month
contract on loan with South Korea J
Cheetars with the chance of signing a three-year deal later on.
Mason also attracted interest from a few Colombian
teams during the Gold Cup and may
find himself having discussions and trials arranged.
The former Malick Senior Comprehensive and
Joe Public player was grateful for the
Gold Cup experience.
"It was a great step in my career. I wasn't
expecting to be here with so many overseas
professionals. God works in mysterious ways and allowed me to play. I also want to
thank coach St Clair for giving me the opportunity. This has boosted my confidence."
Ince looking for time
National goalkeeper Clayton Ince will be hoping
to force his way into the Crewe
Alexandra starting team on his return to England from the Gold Cup.
Ince, who began the tournament with uninspiring
displays in a 4-0 loss to Mexico and 4-2
victory over Guatemala, blamed this for his lack of confidence having been unable to hold
a regular spot on the First Division club.
"I think this just had to do with me not playing
on a regular basis for my club. But one has
to take a closer look at things in these times and get it sorted out" said Ince, who bounced
back with a fine performance in a 2-1 win over Costa Rica but couldn't prevent T&T
from going down 1-0 to Canada.
Captain Anthony Rougier is pleading for followers
of the team to continue their support
and he has urged the fans to play safe for Carnival.
According to Rougier, the fans should stay
away from alcohol abuse and violence, so that
they can be in good physical strength to follow the "Soca Warriors" quest for World Cup
success after their Gold Cup semi-final knock out.
"As I have said before, the country needs to
be patient. Personally I think God has big
plans for the country's football.
"I want to give thanks and praise and to tell
the country to be safe during the Carnival
season. Don't go overboard.
"The boys are persevering. The finesse and
the flair in this match (against Costa Rica)
may not have been what people wanted but we got the results.
"We have a good calibre of players. The problem
with our football is really outside of the
actual action on the field. I can't say what they are but there are a lot of things which
need to be underlined and highlighted. The respected people know who they are and
know what they are supposed to do. If they can do what they are supposed to do then
we can definitely go to the next level" said the Port Vale man.
Nakhid : You don't score, you lose
Midfielder David Nakhid blamed a lack of proper
finishing for this country's exit from the
He agreed that T&T had a fine tournament.
"Yes, but we didn't score and that's the game
sometimes. We dominated the game
clearly, we missed chances, I missed a penalty. But we missed chances that were clearly
100 per cent opportunities. That's football, you don't score, you lose."
About his penalty miss, Nakhid said
"There were three players who could take it
and Russell told me I could take it. I felt I
could take it but that's football.
"The next step is to continue from here and
not let the players get disillusioned and
"We have to move on from here and we will see
how many people were on the
bandwagon and how many people will jump off the band wagon."
Nakhid who is expected to rejoin Al Emirates
in the UAE has since been relieved of his
services from the national team.
Warner goes to France
THE MAN to take over at the helm of Trinidad
and Tobago's senior football team will be
agreed upon today when the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation stage an
A key individual missing from the event will
be FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who is
currently in France attending a world football expo at the invitation of the organisers.
Warner is not expected back here until tomorrow
but in light of the current situation, an
earlier return is not being counted out.
Those expected to sit around the table include
TTFF president Oliver Camps, general
secretary Richard Groden, vice-president Raymond Tim Kee and senior team technical
director Edgar Vidale.
Vidale will present his final report on T&T's
recent participation at the Gold Cup which
ended on Sunday.
The main decision is expected to be the naming
of a coach, which fans believe has
already been decided on and a replacement for Richard Braithwaite as manager of the
Englishman Ian Porterfield, originally here to coach Joe Public, seems a likely
replacement to get T&T ready for their opening World Cup qualifier against the
Netherland Antilles here on Saturday.
Braithwaite will continue working with national
teams as general manager and said
yesterday that he was anticipating giving his services despite the technical shake-up.
One of the first names mentioned as an introduction
to the technical team either as coach
or technical director was Alvin Corneal.
The former national coach was not contacted
by the TTFF up to yesterday and said that
he was hoping for a easier solution to the disturbing situation.
"I am not anticipating anything with regards
to my involvement at this time. I prefer that
there is a pleasant solution and probably Bertille should be asked to continue working with
the team at least until the end of the early qualifying rounds until further notice," said
"It's a kind of a confusing scenario right
now that has come at a critical time regardless
of who is right or wrong. It's unfortunate because the enthusiasm among the players and
the fans were so high," Corneal said.
"Why are we choosing a time like this to deal
such heavy blows to our super athletes and
coaches?" he asked.
ZURICH, Switzerland - A clash between Trinidad
and Tobago and the Netherlands
Antilles on Saturday will kick off the first of up to 800 qualifying matches to fill the 29
remaining slots for the 2002 World Cup finals.
On the same day, 90 minutes later at 19:30
local (01:30 GMT) Honduras will take on
Nicaragua in another CONCACAF qualifier.
The two matches mark the beginning of a long
road, which will see 195 national
associations trying to join co-hosts Japan and South Korea and defending champions
France in the finals in over two years time.
The 10 CONMEBOL associations in South America
will be the next to launch
themselves into action with the first of 90 preliminary round matches set to begin on
African nations in CAF will start their qualifying
phase in April with a series of 25 home
and away cup ties that will reduce the 50 participating associations to 25.
Europe will join the fray in late summer with nine groups from UEFA opening their
accounts. No fixtures have been announced yet for Asia or Oceania.
The 700-800 qualifying matches are expected
to far surpass the 643 games that attracted
15 million spectators to watch the preliminary rounds ahead of the 1998 finals in France.
Copyright © 2000 Nando Media
Copyright © 2000 Reuters News Service
AMERICAN striker Cobi Jones realises that Trinidad
and Tobago will make his
country's quest for a spot in the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup a bit more difficult than
In an interview at the weekend at the Intercontinental
Hotel, Los Angeles, following the
Gold Cup awards ceremony when he was named on the All Star team, Jones said the
US, who crashed T&T's hopes of qualifying for the 1990 Finals with a 1-0 shut out, were
now made to look closer at T&T after they reached the semifinals (of the Gold Cup).
Jones recalled that the US had a tough encounter
against T&T in the 1998 World Cup
qualifiers when they came away 1-0 winners at Hasely Crawford Stadium and coach
Bruce Arena was gearing for an even tougher time this time around.
"Even since then (1996) we were a bit on guard
against Trinidad even though we beat
them easily by a 2-0 margin in the first match and then went on to win 1-0 in Trinidad.
"They were a very tough team to beat down in Trinidad and there football is definitely on
the rise. There are no longer any big gaps in what they call the top teams and the smaller
"Trinidad are now a very strong team and that
showed in their performance at the Gold
Cup and off course we cannot take them lightly."
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago football federation officials
were maintaining cool heads up to
last night after receiving reports on their return home yesterday from their Gold Cup
campaign in Los Angeles, USA, that key players on the national were contemplating
stepping down following the sacking of coach Bertille St Clair and manager Richard
TTFF president Oliver Camps said such reaction
was expected, but his federation were
prepared to ensure the, "start of a new journey gets going without major problems."
"I don't know of any threat by the players.
I will have to deal with this accordingly when I
do get word from them. We did expect that the players would get upset but we have
plans to deal with this sort of thing.
"We will be fielding a team whichever way come
Saturday. This is certainly the start of a
new journey and it comes at the right time. This was what was discussed at the meeting
and there is no point putting it off," Camps said yesterday while FIFA vice president Jack
Warner was on a 'plane to France.
Word is that several of this country's top
players, including Manchester United striker
Dwight Yorke and Hibernian midfielder Russell Latapy, were looking forward to playing
in the opening World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands Antilles Saturday, but after St
Clair's sacking, both players had spoken about a possible drop out from the team, while
others could well take the field with a totally different attitude.
A close source to the national team, who preferred
to remain anonymous, described the
current mood among the squad as one similar to when, "there is a death in a family."
"Has the TTFF really realised what they have
done?" he asked.
Following last Thursday's disappointing 1-0
loss to Canada in their Gold Cup semifinal, St
Clair met with the entire team Friday night.
Everyone, including Latapy and Yorke, had shrugged
of the disappointment of the defeat
and were focussing entirely on the start of the World Cup drive this weekend.
But a few hours after that meeting, there was
a major crash of events when a message
was sent to St Clair via acting technical director Edgar Vidale that the Tobagonian coach
was being relieved as coach.
This followed a meeting by the TTFF in Los
Angeles early Friday evening.
"The scene at the hotel was one of total chaos
and disgust and what had been done and
the manner it which it had been done," said the source.
On Saturday morning St Clair held another meeting
with the players at the Radisson
Wilshire Plaza, Los Angeles, where he asked the players to not add fuel to the fire by
making any sort of rowdy statements or adverse action about the situation.
Midfielder David Nakhid was getting over the
disappointment of missing a penalty and
was anticipating playing Saturday at Hasely Crawford Stadium. Mucurapo, versus the
Netherland Antilles. To his dismay and that of many of the other players a message was
sent that he not bother to go to Trinidad because he had been dropped from the national
Striker Jerron Nixon got a similar message.
Yorke spoke on national television in England
Sunday night about his dissatisfaction with
the axing of his long time "mentor" St Clair.
Yorke said words to the effect that he was
quite impressed with the way things had been
going and that the coach had everything running smoothly and he saw no reason for
getting rid of him.
Injured West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop called
local officials here yesterday to
express his disagreement with the decisions taken.
England-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge, who also
suffered a broken leg in Los Angeles,
was in a rage there Saturday.
The TTFF are likely to face an uphill task
to get things flowing smoothly within the team
as the qualifiers get going, which they believe they are confident of doing.
But word is that the players could end up demanding
a lot more in terms of finance for
their services. "The guys are really mad up to this minute. It's case where you touch one,
you touch all. I can tell you that the players are ready to put pen to paper, even
considering bringing lawyers into matters. It is now a situation where the players are
thinking that today they are on the team and tomorrow they are thrown out similar to
what has happened over the last few days.
"This whole thing could have been done in much
different manner. They didn't have to
mash it up like that," said the source.
A new coach, rumoured to be Englishman Ian
Porterfield, and a manager will be
announced Thursday following a meeting tomorrow by the TTFF.
Both St Clair and Braithwaite will also be formally informed of their situations.
Some History : Ian Porterfield
St Clair, expected to take charge for the Caribbean
islands ' opening World Cup
qualifying tie against the Dutch Antilles on Saturday, was sacked in the wake of the
Three players, including former Dundee United
winger Jerren Nixon, also have been
'relieved from future duty' with their national team by the Trinidad and Tobago Football
'We have to sit down and analyse the effort
and find where we went wrong and see
what kind of remedial measures we will have to take quickly, ' said spokesman Jack
'We can't seek to solve the problem next month
or next year, it has to be solved now. I
have consistently said that, in spite of our successes, the team is technically deficient in
several areas, particularly defence and midfield.'
Former Aberdeen manager Ian Porterfield, in
charge at Pittodrie from 1986 to 1988, has
emerged as front-runner to succeed St Clair.
Porterfield, who also had a spell as Chelsea
manager, has taken several jobs overseas
since leaving the Dons, including national coach of both Zambia and Oman.
St. Clair sacked by Trinidad and Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - Trinidad and Tobago
has fired national soccer coach
Bertille St. Clair and dropped three players after failing to reach the final of Gold Cup
tournament, the Caribbean news agency CANA reported.
CANA said former captain David Nakhid, Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon and reserve
goalkeeper Michael McComie had been "relieved from future duty" in the team.
The shake-up followed Thursday's 1-0 semifinal
defeat in the Gold Cup in Los Angeles
by Canada, which went on to beat Colombia 2-0 in Sunday's final.
One coach being considered as a replacement is Englishman Ian Porterfield, CANA said.
The changes clouded the team's preparations
for Saturday's opening World Cup qualifier
at home to the Netherland Antilles.
St Clair was one of Trinidad and Tobago's most successful coaches with a string of
successes in a two-year stint.
They won two Caribbean championships and scored historic wins against South Africa
and Colombia under his guidance. Despite failure to reach Sunday's final, St Clair had
also led them to their best performance in the Gold Cup.
The decision was made by a committee led by
Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation
special adviser Jack Warner and federation president Oliver Camps.
The committee also decided to restructure the
position of general manager, held by
Richard Braithwaite, so that a separate manager could be named for the team.
"We have to sit down and analyse the effort and find where we went wrong and see
what kind of remedial measures we will have to take quickly. We can't seek to solve the
problem next month or next year, it has to be solved now," Warner said in Los Angeles.
He said St Clair's contract expired at the
end of this month and one of its conditions was
that if the coach won the Gold Cup, renewal would be looked at in a positive light.
The loss to Canada appears to have been the final straw. "Canada was by far one of the weakest teams in the tournament," Warner said.
"I have consistently said that in spite of
our success and victories I still find the team to
be technically deficient in several areas, particularly with regard to our defence and to a
lesser extent, our midfield."
Mutiny in the ranks
By IRVING WARD
in Los Angeles
SACKED Trinidad and Tobago coach Bertille St
Clair had very little to say to his
Football Confederation Gold Cup squad
before they departed from Los Angeles, here, on Saturday night, for a long and likely
very uncomfortable trip home.
But he did have one request. He asked that
they not fight the decision made by the local
football federation (TTFF) to terminate his services.
However, perhaps one of the first instances
in which they openly disregarded the coach's
advice, both Russel Latapy and Dwight Yorke seem ready to fight against what they
perceive to be an unjustifiable move by the TTFF.
In fact, coming to the defence of St Clair
and teammates David Nakhid and Jerren
Nixon-also discarded in the wake of the high-powered TTFF meeting on Friday
night-they are both ready to hang up their boots if the Federation is not ready to rescind
And with the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign
scheduled to kick off on Saturday, and
the team fully behind them as well, the TTFF may well face a full-scale mutiny if they do
"At this present time, in my heart, I can actually quit," Latapy told the Express.
"But sometimes you have to put your personal
feelings aside and look at the bigger issue.
And the bigger issue here right now is football and Trinidad and Tobago.
"As far as the World Cup campaign is concerned,
I just have to do some thinking and see
exactly what the TTFF stand is, or whoever is in charge and what their stand is and how
they want to deal with football and then I would make up my mind if I want to be part of
Yorke almost mirrored Latapy's sentiments.
But as far as he was concerned, the way
forward is with St Clair.
"Jack Warner knows, at the end of the day,
that I can say what I want to say because he
does. So to be fair, and I'm talking bluntly here, which I've never done, I'm bitterly hurt by
the decision. And if they're going to get rid of Bertille, they might as well get rid of me
too," the Manchester United star said.
"I wish the guys do get to the World Cup but
unfortunately I don't think I will be part of
that if that's the way they (TTFF) want to go about it. I am professional enough and I
know what is right and what is wrong but I've sat back too long and seen things happen
and seen things develop, and as far as I'm concerned this is crap."
St Clair was discarded despite having the most
successful run by any T&T coach in this
tournament. The team was knocked out in the semi-final round by Canada 1-0. The
Canadians eventually went on to win the title yesterday, after beating Colombia 2-0 here
at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
But both men felt there was some underlying
reason other than success or results behind
"We (the team) are most definitely in shock.
I think if you're going to sack a coach it
would depend on results. As far as results go, this is the most successful trip to the Gold
Cup that we ever had," Latapy explained.
"So I think if they're sacking Bertille it
had nothing to do with the team performance. It
must be something personal which is very disturbing to the team and to me as an
individual because I think we are here to play football and it has nothing to do with
Yorke, whose talent was developed by St Clair as a youth, was a little harder though.
"It's not fair. The whole decision is not fair.
To me, when things are like that, I'd rather
take a stand back.
"I've always had a problem with the Trinidad
and Tobago FA. I don't think they are
professional enough. I don't think they do things right enough-because I've played at the
professional level and I know what it's like-and they can't go on treating people like that."
He added: "And the timing of the sacking, where
we've got World Cup qualifying in less
than a week's time. You're going to bring in a person and feel you're going to get players
to play the way they've been playing for the last three years. They must be crazy."
However, Latapy still seemed ready to reach
a compromise if he and the team could be
assured that the TTFF would also
clean up its act.
"A lot of things they do and have done in the
past hurt a lot and we just want them to
create a decent working environment so we can work and give our best and keep
Trinidad and Tobago proud.
"They must stop influencing the nation in the
wrong way and doing things and making
people believe they're in the right when they are actually in the wrong. They have to be
responsible for their actions, and that's all I'm asking."
He further offered: "I'm not here to play for
Tom, Dick and Harry, I'm here to play for
Trinidad and Tobago and the youth of the nation. I think I have something to contribute,
and that's what I want to do.
"But on the other hand, I think that if a lot
of people who are not going to give back to
football are going to benefit from my sacrifices or my contributions then I would prefer
not to play."
Coach St Clair, meanwhile, refused to comment
on the issue, pointing out only that "God
never sleeps". So now, the ball is in the TTFF's court.
Full interviews with both players in tomorrow's
Football D-day Wednesday
By SHAUN FUENTES in Los Angeles
AN Emergency meeting of Trinidad and Tobago
Football Federation officials will be held
on Wednesday evening to chart a new course for the national team.
The session in Port-of-Spain comes in the wake
of the sacking of Bertille St Clair whose
contract will not be renewed following the Gold Cup tournament.
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, special advisor
to the TTFF said that a decision about
the new coach among other things will be reached and an announcement made on
Selection of a technical director will also
be made to replace Chief Oligbinde of Nigeria
who resigned last year with Edgar Vidale the official currently acting in that capacity as
well as being chairman of the Technical Committee.
The meeting is also expected to name a specific
manager of the T&T senior team with
Richard Braithwaite likely to be general manager in charge of all national football teams.
TTFF president Oliver Camps said yesterday
in Los Angeles that the decision not to
renew St Clair's contract was "unfortunate but was one which the federation had to take
to ensure that the team had the best resources going into the World Cup qualifying
He added that while this decision was not made
on the spur of T&T's 1-0 loss to Canada
in the semi-finals, it was not one which could have been carried out prior to the Gold Cup
since the results of pre-tournament matches were good.
He said that the decision was not intended
to be released until later this week after the
team returned home.
The sudden news may have come as a shock to
the players and many fans but Camps is
not worried that it will have a major effect on T&T who begin the 2002 World Cup
qualifiers against the Netherlands Antilles on Saturday.
Many players also expressed anger with the
release of details of their Gold Cup match
fees to the media. Warner reportedly has to assist in its payment.
However, such things will now be handled by
Miami-based sponsors Inter/Forever
Sports, who agreed to be involved during the World Cup campaign.
Warner explained the reason for dropping English
born defender Ian Cox saying he
requested six months away from international football after recently signing with Burnley.
Goalkeeper Michael McComie was dropped because
there were already two
goalkeepers including Clayton Ince and Ross Russell in the fray with the injured Shaka
Hislop also in line for a return.
David Nakhid and Jerron Nixon's exit appeared to be based on performance.
Warner, Camps, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter
were among the dignitaries present at
yesterday's final which Canada won 2-0 over Colombia.
St Clair: T&T loss came at a good time
By Shaun Fuentes in Los Angeles
BERTILLE ST CLAIR believes Trinidad and Tobago's
failure to reach the final of the
Football Confederation Gold Cup and perhaps capture the title, occurred for the good of
the team in future competition. T&T were beaten 1-0 by Canada in their semifinal.
The Tobagonian, who was informed Saturday that
he was being relieved as coach of the
T&T senior team, said this during an interview in Los Angeles, USA, the day before.
After mentioning that if his services were
to be terminated then he was
prepared to face that, St Clair went on to predict that T&T will be "a great team" and
hence the reason why their 1-0 loss to Canada was good as it strengthened the morale of
"This football isn't easy and Trinidadians
are so that if were to win the competition they
would be jumping and saying hey we reach. Then wewould go to lose the big picture," he
said referring to the World Cup qualifying tournament.
"All the guys were dejected on the bus going
back to the hotel. Not a man spoke. That's
good because it showed that they were hurt and when it hurts you don't want to feel it
again. So God know's best. He brings you there and then holds on to you. I think we are
definitely on the way." St Clair said.
He also spoke on the fact that four foreign
coaches had worked with theT&T side prior
to his start as coach, and all failed miserably in theWorld Cup qualifiers.
"What we have been doing is recycling coaches
yearly. Then they brought in up to four
foreign coaches and out of 18 points we got one," St Clair stated.
"All that I'm doing and I have not been given
the recognition, but God is good. I am happy
for the guys and they are going to be one great team," he added.
Unfortunately for him, he will not be at the
helm as a new coach is expected to take over
his post in a few days.
Trinis ready for world stage Says Sir Bobby Charlton
FORMER England captain Sir Bobby Charlton believes
that based on Trinidad and
Tobago's performance at the Gold Cup (which ended yesterday) this country definitely
has what it takes to make a big impact on the world stage.
Charlton said in an interview in Los Angeles
Friday that being able to reach the
semifinals of the Football Confederation competition showed that T&T were on the right
track to qualifying for the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup and perform similarly in future
Gold Cup tournaments.
Interestingly, Charlton head of the England
2006 World Cup bidding committee, also
expressed satisfaction with former coach Bertille St Clair's handling of the national team.
All of this was said just prior to the slight
turmoil in the national team after it was
announced by FIFA vice president and TTFF adviser Jack Warner that a decision not to
renew St Clair's contract was taken in the best interest of the team, despite there being
obvious reactions of shock by some of the players.
While Richard Braithwaite will revert to his
role as general manager of all national teams,
a new manager and coach for the senior team will be announced Thursday.
About T&T, Charlton stated: "They did extremely
well to get to the semifinals and with a
bit of luck they could have beaten Canada. They had every chance to actually win the
competition. But it shows that if you can do it now, you can do it again."
Commenting on St Clair's work, Charlton said:
"I think he's first class. You've got to
agree because in Trinidad there are no unlimited resources. It's not the most populated
country and to go further than Mexico and the United States, just shows that he's help
them done very well. Bertille is a nice guy and a great coach."