T&T drops game to Honduras
Trinidad and Tobago finish with a impressive record this year with eight wins, one tie and one lost. Wins over World Cup qualifiers, Jamaica, Colombia and South Africa were the main highlights of T&T's run this year.
Next year is going to be a very busy season for T&T. They will open up versus Canada (see below) and tours to the Middle East and South America. Throw in the Gold Cup and T&T has a full plate of games before the first half of the year. At the Under 23 level, T&T will host Group C action in the second round of Olympic qualifying in March. They will be joined by the United States. T&T clubs are not standing still either. In December English clubs including Newcastle United, Watford, Tottenham Hotspur, Peterborough and Rotterham United. The visitors will play matches against top Trinidad and Tobago clubs and the national side.
T&T start new year against Canada
By Shaun Fuentes (Courtesy: Trinidad Guardian)
TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers will begin their 2000 campaign
with a friendly international against Canada at the Hasely Crawford Stadium,
Mucurapo on January 8.
Ten days later, T&T are scheduled to depart for Morocco where they will face that country's senior team as they step up preparations for the 2000 Football Confederation Gold Cup in February and 2002 World Cup preliminaries in March.
The match against Canada was in the making over the last two weeks when officials of that country indicated that they were interested in playing T&T, especially with their recent rise in the FIFA World rankings, now lying in 40th spot.
Coach Bertille St Clair's team didn't get the result they would have hoped for in last Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Honduras, but the Tobagonian will have the perfect opportunity to look at some other players in international action. He left yesterday for a training camp in North Carolina, United States, comprising of around 30 US based players.
With breaks in the European and North American Leagues during the time of the match, officials of both teams are hopeful of fielding potent units.
Canada, who will also play in the Gold Cup, will come up against Venezuela two days after facing T&T and their coach Holger Osiec is looking forward to both games.
"I am delighted with these two preparation games as it gives me a chance to work with the players one more time before we head to California for the Gold Cup for our first round matches against Costa Rica and Korea on February 13 and 15," Osiec said on the weekend.
T&T also have matches against Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Bolivia and Paraguay scheduled for the early part of next year.
Manager Richard Braithwaite is happy about the invitations being sent out to T&T from countries around the world, which he says has come about because of the teams impressive record over the last year, the start of the Professional Football League and the exploits of players such as Manchester United's Dwight Yorke, Hibernian's Russell Latapy and Nottingham Forest's Stern John among others.
The "Soca Warriors" enjoyed a nine-match unbeaten run before the 3-2 loss to Honduras. Currently T&T are in the running with Slovenia and Copa Caribe finalists Cuba for FIFA's "Best Mover" award for 1999.
Stern scores in debut
Coming right at you... Stern John
Shhh!!!! That is what Stern John must have said to his critics. Stern John made a strong debut and good first impression when he scored for Nottngham Forrest in his first game for his new club. Just like last year when Dwight Yorke moved to Manchester United, John was on the receiving end of Newspaper critics who said that John was unproven in Europe to justify such a high transfer price.
You can read more about his debut by clicking here.
Nottingham Forest boss David Platt today won the race to sign highty rated striker Stern John. The 22 year-old Trinidad and Tobago international has agreed to join Forest and will be heading for the City Ground within the next few days after being granted a work permit.
John has chosen to join Forest even though he has attracted a considerable amount of interest from several clubs in the Premiership and other parts of Europe over the last three months. Dwight Yorke's international strike partner bowed out after another record-breaking season when Columbus Crew failed in their bid to reach the final of the Major League Soccer Cup.
Platt, who has been on John's trail since the beginning of the season and has flown to the United States to watch him in action on a couple of occasions, said: "It's no secret we've been chasing Stern for some time and we're delighted all the hard work has paid off. "A number of clubs showed an interest in him, but I know he's excited about the prospect of joining us." Platt added: "I've been very impressed by what I've seen of Major League Soccer.
The game in the United States is clearly growing in stature - both at a domestic level and on the international stage." Forest applied for a work permit when John indicated that he would be moving to the City Ground and have already received clearance from the Department of Education and Employment.
The striker met the criteria of the regulations which are that a player must have appeared for his country in 75% of their A team matches in the two years preceding the date of the application and that the country concerned must be ranked at or above 70th place in the FIFA rankings during that same period. John has played in all of Trinidad and Tobago's A team matches over the last two years and indeed 75% of all their internationals, while the island itself is currently ranked at 49th in the FIFA rankings. (Taken from the Nottingham Forrest Website)
Stern debut Wednesday
ENGLISH club Nottingham Forest are not sure to have local
striker Stern John in their line-up for Saturday's First Division match
against Tranmere Rovers. Instead, the 23-year-old striker who signed for
£1.5 million (TT$15m) on Monday, could make his English First Division
debut against Portsmouth next Wednesday.
According to reports out of England yesterday, Forest manager David Platt is still awaiting word from John as to when he will be available.
The club have expressed a willingness to give him time to adjust to
the English conditions if he needs to after a tough MLS season.
John took time out to greet Columbus fans and teammates on Monday and
said that he hopes to help Forest (17th spot) to promotion or probably
impress Premiership team. "It's been pretty emotional for me. Columbus
has been my home for two years. Everyone's wishing me luck. There's too
many byes. I'll start there and maybe we'll move up or I'll have a chance
to move up if I do well,"
A report in the Columbus Dispatch stated yesterday that the Crew signed John who was under contract until 2000 as a free agent in 1998 and the MLS scoring champion made less than $50,000 (US) a year. His new contract will be worth at least 10 times that amount and will be laden with incentive bonuses. (Courtesy: Trinidad Guardian)
Secondly, I would like to announce the return of Russell Latapy
to our site as a guest columnist. The format is somewhat different. Instead
of just my questions you will have a chance to e-mail Russell himself.
Every month Russell will choose the top 5 - 10 questions he gets
in his mailbox and answering it right here on the site. You can start e-mailing
him right now. His column is scheduled to appear next month.
Warner certain of Gold Cup success
JACK WARNER is confident that Trinidad and Tobago's senior football team is capable of advancing beyond the preliminary stage of next year's Football Confederation Gold Cup. However the FIFA vice-president warns the Soca Warriors that they must make full use of a hectic schedule of training and warm up matches to ensure success at that level.
Warner was speaking last Thursday when he revealed that along with matches against Honduras (on November 17, which will be televised live locally) and Morocco on January 18, T&T will also play Tunisia on January 19 An outing against Paraguay is in the process of being finalised he also said.
Warner said he was pleased to reveal that coach Bertille St Clair's trip to England has been finalised for later this month where he will work with coaches of Premiership clubs Watford, Arsenal and Leeds United. "We have a very very hectic programme early next year. They (T&T) are in a very fortunate group. I particularly like the fact that two teams from each group will be going forward. "I think of course that with Mexico in our group, Trinidad will be the other team going forward to the second round," said Warner.
The Concacaf and Caribbean Football Union president is aware that there still some uncertainty as to the availability of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and Hibernian midfielder Russell Latapy for the Gold Cup and 2002 World Cup qualifiers. He said that he does not know when next they will appear in local colours and will stay out of the matter for the time being. "I will not know about that at this point in time. Mr (Oliver) Camps is handling that singlehandedly. I will leave all of that to him. I would not become involved in this one," Warner said.
T&T open the Gold Cup campaign against Mexico on February 13 in San Diego and then play Guatemala in their final Group C match two days later.
Jack happy for trio
By Shaun Fuentes
JOE Public chairman Jack Warner was a happy man on Thursday about three
of his team's players earning contracts to play with Yugoslavian team Red
Star Belgrade at the end of the local season.
The FIFA Vice president was hoping that because of this, the players,
national under 23 captain Travis Muraine, midfielder Kerwyn Jemmot and
striker Nigel Pierre would be unstoppable as they aimed to lead Public
to victory in last night's FA Trophy final against Vibe CT 105 W Connection
at Concacaf Centre of Excellence.
Warner said on Thursday that the three players will leave to begin three
year contracts where they will earn around US$5,000 per month.
"They will be earning US$5,000 per month and will have cars and accommodation and will be available to play for this country whenever needed," Warner said.
He also noted that a decision on the PFL's programme next year was expected
to be discussed at a board meeting schedule for yesterday.
There is the possibility that up to three new teams could join the PFL
following the expulsion of Point Fortin Civic Centre.
About Craven A's involvement with the league next year after their pull out from the local market, he said "They will not be the sponsors. What they have done is guaranteed payment of fees for next year. The league will not have a titled sponsor " said Warner, who added that whether the winner's prize of $500,000 remains will be confirmed today.
Irasto misses big Italian trial
By Shaun Fuentes
LOCAL striker Irasto Knights lost a chance of going on trial with Italian
Serie A club Lecce because he missed his flight to Italy last Thursday.
The former Joe Public forward eventually left for Europe from New York,
USA, yesterday morning but word is that Lecce have now shown a liking for
another player and have cancelled Knights' trial.
This was revealed by England-based agent Graham Smith, who arranged
the trial and appeared upset with the loss of the opportunity.
Knights, an ex-Malick Senior Comprehensive player, left here for the
USA last Thursday after problems in obtaining an Italian visa forced him
to delay his trip.
On arrival in New York, he was told that the ticket to Italy was only
valid for Thursday.
However, all is not lost as Smith has arranged for Knights to go on
trial at a Third Division team on the outskirts of Milan. And if things
don't go his way therehe may travel to Belgium where trials at two clubs
have also been lined up.
Smith, who is also representative for national and Finland-based T&T defender Brent Sancho, is currently in negotiations with Mykolesken PAll 47, who have offered Sancho an extended two-year contract. But the 22-year-old defender has the option of playing on loan with Dutch side Willem II Tilburg from January and has also attracted interest from English First Division side Manchester City.