Most football fans would be aware of Colombia’s Porto midfielder, Juan Fernando Quintero, but Central F.C. Technical Director, Terry Fenwick feels that his latest signing, Dwight Quintero, will become better known across the Caribbean.
The 19 year old striker from Blanchisseuse has already represented Trinidad & Tobago at both Under 17 and Under 20 levels and has set his sights firmly on the senior national team.
“Although I’m delighted that T&T have performed well at the Gold Cup, it is clear to me that there will be changes in the squad in preparation for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers” said Quintero, who states his favourite club as Real Madrid.
“Stephen Hart has a reputation for selecting young players and building a squad who will stay together for several years. I will be 24 when the 2018 World Cup is played so I feel this is the perfect season for me to break through to the senior national team”
That view is clearly shared by Central F.C.’s Managing Director, Brent Sancho. “Dwight is on the cusp of the senior national team and I would expect Stephen Hart to take a close look at him this season.” Sancho said that Quintero is “strong, fast and has a great first touch. We’re very excited to have him at the club”
However, Quintero will have his work cut out just to make The Sharks stating line up. Fenwick has the luxury of four young exciting strikers now that Quintero joins Darryl Trim, Nicholas Dillon and Rundell Winchester at the California based club. All three strikers benefitted from spending a week in camp with English League One club, Walsall during their recent tour of T&T.
“The Walsall staff were very impressed by all three boys” said Sancho “It was a great experience for the lads and there was a definite improvement in confidence and performance when they returned to Central F.C. training.” 20 year old Trim paid back Walsall’s hospitality by beating three of their defenders to provide the cross for Jason Marcano to put Central F.C. into the lead when the teams met at Hasley Crawford Stadium.
Centre back Dwight Pope also benefitted from the Walsall experience. Playing for Walsall against a Pro League XI , Pope gave a solid accomplished performance for the West Midlands club who only lost two league matches in 2013.
Quintero, meanwhile, is looking forward to training with Terry Fenwick. “The best coach I’ve worked with so far is Michael McComie, and I’m looking to improve my game still further under Coach Fenwick.”
Quintero paid tribute to his Aunt Tamara who, he says, was the biggest influence on his career as a youngster. “My Aunt always encouraged me and gave me the confidence to aim higher” he said.
Quintero said that his best game so far was for the T&T Under 17’s in Jamaica, while he states Colombia as the best country he has visited so far.
After the success of the Walsall trip, Sancho said that Central F.C. are already in discussions with another European club to visit next Summer.
“We’ve proved that Trinidad & Tobago is an excellent venue for a European club to visit during pre season. We’ve also proved that as a club, we can organise an enjoyable trip. Walsall interacted with over 300 young people in 4 coaching schools across both islands, and their game against Central F.C. was streamed live to the U.K.
“There was plenty of UK press coverage and it was funny to see Walsall supporters on facebook and the clubs website getting excited about players such as Darryl Trim, Dwight Pope and Gem Gordon.
Of course we couldn’t have done this without the support of the THA and sponsors such as Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd and NGC. We hope that the Ministries of Sport and Tourism will offer some support for next year’s visit, now that the benefits can be measured.”
Sancho said that the main barrier to overcome now is the eligibility of T&T players to obtain work permits in the UK. “We are dependent upon the national team rising in the FIFA rankings, and staying in the top 70. As a club, we have to support Stephen Hart and the TTFA wherever possible as it will benefit Central F.C. in the long run.”
Sancho said that he was delighted to give players like Gem Gordon a chance to be noticed. “Tobago is a gold mine of talent” said Sancho. “Although we didn’t spot anyone who we are immediately interested in this time, we are keeping tabs on several young players.”