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Sat, Sep

TTFA boss: I'm pleased with coach Lawrence.
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"That's foot­ball."

This was the first of­fi­cial re­sponse from T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent David John-Williams to the So­ca War­riors' de­mor­al­is­ing 6-0 de­feat by the Unit­ed States at the CON­CA­CAF Gold Cup last Sat­ur­day in the USA.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia Sports dur­ing a vis­it by US Em­bassy of­fi­cials yes­ter­day, John-Williams made it clear that he was pleased that the foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion gave the team max­i­mum prepa­ra­tion ahead of the Gold Cup.

"When we knocked the US out of the World Cup it was the same thing that hap­pened, a pub­lic out­cry. In all the Gold Cups we would have par­tic­i­pat­ed in, we have reached the semi­fi­nal once and the quar­ter­fi­nal once, so we have nev­er re­al­ly had a good his­to­ry in the Gold Cup."

John-Williams added, "Un­der this ad­min­is­tra­tion, we have de­lib­er­ate­ly said that we are go­ing to build from the ground up. I have said it, from the first day of my tenure, but I will close by say­ing watch our un­der-15s play Mex­i­co, Venezuela and Pana­ma come Ju­ly. I think it will be some­thing in­ter­est­ing for the pub­lic to see where we have been chan­nelling our en­er­gies."

Mean­while, coach Den­nis Lawrence is set to stay on at the helm of the na­tion­al foot­ball team de­spite calls for his head fol­low­ing Sat­ur­day's em­bar­rass­ing de­feat.

On a CNC3 sports pro­gramme on Tues­day night, Ter­ry Fen­wick, a for­mer San Juan Jabloteh and Cen­tral FC coach, lashed out at John-Williams and called for both Lawrence and John-Williams to re­sign.

Fen­wick, who was the front-run­ner for the top coach­ing job but missed out to Lawrence more than two years ago, said the lo­cal foot­ball boss should be blamed for the dis­ap­point­ing re­sults to the US and Pana­ma, as well as the poor state of lo­cal foot­ball.

But John-Williams yes­ter­day said he has a lot of faith in Lawrence.

"At the end of the day, he does not have to put the ball be­hind the net and nei­ther do I. I think we played rel­a­tive­ly well against the US for 65 min­utes and it went all down­hill af­ter we con­ced­ed the sec­ond goal."

He added, "Foot­ball is about mo­ments and that mo­ment when Levi Gar­cia missed that op­por­tu­ni­ty, we're not cru­ci­fy­ing him for it, but it would have been a dif­fer­ent ball game. So in T&T, there will be that out­cry for that de­feat but we can­not hang our heads and say die, but we have got to move on."

He, in fact, praised Lawrence as a good coach.

"He is a pro­fes­sion­al and well-trained coach, who is al­so one of a few UE­FA coach­es in T&T. Den­nis has coached at the high­est lev­el and I have a lot of faith in Den­nis," John-Williams con­clud­ed.