Former Trinidad and Tobago coach Rene Simoes has told ESPN Brasil that he excluded Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy from his squad in 2001 because the pair drank heavily the evening before a training session.
Simoes caused a shock when he announced that Yorke, then at Manchester United, and Latapy, at Scottish club Hibernian, had been axed from his squad in June that year.
Ahead of a key World Cup qualifier against Jamaica, Simoes told reporters the duo had failed to attend a training session -- and 16 years later he revealed the details behind his decision and said he felt failure to reach the 2002 tournament had been down to Yorke.
He recalled: "I coached Dwight Yorke in only one game, a friendly, and he played really well that day.
"However, he failed to show up for the training session after that, and unfortunately we had to kick him out of the squad.
"That was a real shame, because he was playing good football for Trinidad's national team and the country was counting on him to take them to their first World Cup.
"Someone came to me and said that they [Yorke and Latapy] had had a lot to drink and that's why they didn't show up for training.
"That left me without a choice -- I had to kick them out."
Simoes said Yorke was "a fantastic player" but had "made a huge mistake."
And he added: "For me, that was the main reason for Trinidad not making it to the 2002 World Cup. After that, I left the national team and they started the project that led them to the 2006 World Cup."
Yorke and Latapy returned to the Trinidad and Tobago squad after Simoes left, having apologised.
Yorke captained his country at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but they went out in the group stage after defeats to England and Paraguay.
Originally published on ESPN.com