Sun, Aug


1. How was the experience at the 2006 World Cup. Was it anything you imagine it to be.

SF: A truly amazing and unforgettable experience. I felt it would have been something exciting but what happened there with T&T and the reception we received throughout our stay there was beyond my wildest imagination and I stand by that especially after the likes of Dwight and other senior members felt similarly.
There will never one like this for Trinidad and Tobago again, even if we qualify and go further at another one, moreso because of the fact that 2006 was our first appearance and we did it so as the smallest nation ever and we did it with a performance that left a lasting impression. I got to experience it from a different perspective, being there in capacity of the team's media officer and that was second to none but I surely would love to experience it as a fan one day as well. But who could ask for more than being part of the Soca Warriors, eating, sleeping and riding bikes with the boys, qualifying and getting to a World Cup was fantastic. The standards set by this team cannot go unnoticed and the manner in which everyone carried themselves and performed their roles is something that will forever remain with me. Hopefully I can use this to further my skill and support to other causes.

2. You have been around many T&T coaches in the past and also worked around Win Rijsbergen during the Leo Beenhakker era. Do you feel confident with Win as head coach.
SF: I am definitely confident even as they say I’m always the optimist. I have seen Wim worked and witnessed it with Leo Beenhakker. They are two totally different characters with different personalities but Wim has the assets to guide T&T, particularly as he has the prior experience with us.

3. Seeing that you are the only official press officer for the senior, women, youth teams and other miscellaneous press releases that you do. How do you cope with such a busy task.
SF: It's difficult! A such I'm never satisfied with the outcome of the work. And the laid back approach of our local media (Sorry for saying it because I was once part of the local media) doesn't make it any easier. The desire and the crave for reporting our football is not as it is in other countries. My task as media officer for a Federation is not quite the same as it would be for one from another country such as USA, Holland or even South Africa or Japan. I say this because I have to have a more hands on role in that sometimes even around big internationals, if I don't do player interviews, or even a match preview, we run the risk of one of the daily or more not carrying an adequate report. And that alone is the Senior team, inclusive of our overseas-based pros I'm talking about. We haven't touched the youth or women teams or even local league action.

4. Shaun, the members on the Soca Warriors Online would like to say thank you for all the reports, videos and photos we have been getting from you for quite some time now. And don't feel for a minute we don't appreciate it. However, any chance we will continue to get such- especially for other teams and not just the senior team.
SF: Always once I am affiliated in this position. But the task is getting harder because our generated interest has grown tremendously since we qualified and moreso since our remarkable performance in Germany. I am making attempts to increase the media services of the TTFF because I remain the only man performing such tasks. I went to the World Cup and learnt that the other teams in our Group and maybe even all other competing teams all had a main media officer as well as a back up press team comprising of four and five persons to perform roles of photographer, interviewer, match report writer, website manager and a person to issue releases as well as assist in coordinating media conferences. All that was combined with a main media officer whose role was to oversee all those tasks and perform where necessary. Except for T&T having a team videographer present, I performed all the other roles with at media conferences and open training sessions from FIFA media officer Rob de Leede. And for those who felt the Government reward was unfitting, I simply looked at it as one for the services extended since I joined the Federation in 2000 and that reward was for the services extended during and up until the 2006 campaign. That is now the past. But in saying that, I enjoyed it all and what an experience it was. But we have to move with the times and as such there are attempts now to get added assistance. The problem is it's difficult to get persons who are willing to go the distance or give the effort without seeking too much of their own personal interest. And part time volunteers at this level are a no no. The vision and efforts of Jack Warner must be commended in ensuring a media officer was part of the Federation's staff.

5. Can you give us a small in-depth report on how the new look team performed against Japan. Like the bright and dull spots in the game, in other words, what stood out.
SF: The fact that we had a team that was able to carry the T&T colours before 50,000 odd fans under difficult circumstances ie the first appearance of T&T since the World Cup and with four or more players making their senior international debut. It showed that our locally-based players have the potential but they are still some way off. But practice makes permanent and hopefully we can build from this, using a mixture of our current experienced players with our upcoming talent.

6. You saw many of the new players called in training and during the Japan game. Which one do you have a "gut" feeling will go the furthest.
SF: Stephen David and Clyde Leon. Andre Pacheco, Kerry Baptiste, and Kendall Jagdeosingh are also promising.

7. Are you responsible for keeping tabs on our foreign players. Like the ones who wasn't considered for Germany or wasn't called-up in a while. Do you call them from time to time to get updates and so on. Let them know that they are appreciated and not forgotten about especially the future guys like Boucaud, Shakes, Norville, Sam- etc.
SF: I continue to do that and a database is maintained just in order to keep tabs and keep the current national coaches updated on progress from a week to week basis. The difference now is that we are widely covered and that augers brilliantly for our players and how they are marketed. I for one cannot follow everyone and their every move. Fans also need to understand that as a media officer, it's different to being the average reporter and I can differentiate because I was once a regular journalist being in my position, there are more sensitive issues to deal with. Sometimes stories have to be held back until a certain time or not released entirely because of the fact that it's the wish of the person or persons involved. Sometimes I also get first hand reports from foreign media on our overseas players for input or for the sake of record before it goes out but I have to hold back until the original source gets it out. And then of course there are always the leaked stories.

8. What is your main aim as far as your career goes.
SF: Hard one to answer. At 25, being the youngest media officer to work with the first ever T&T team and the smallest ever nation at a World Cup I guess could be the ultimate aim of an individual with similar aspirations. Sometimes I wonder if I should have achieved this at a later age in order to have that ultimate dream to achieve. When I started at media officer for the team back in 2000, it was always in the back of my mind and now it's history. Time will tell what the world has to offer.

9. Can we expect any in-depth reports, photos and videos for the CFU U-16 cup that is about to begin.
SF: I am the one main media officer for the event and also media officer for the T&T Team. My role will be to coordinate general reports and running of media related events.

10. Shaun, who is responsible for carrying out reports and photos on the SSFL. Can we expect anything from the federation's press officer this season.
SF: I started covering SSFL in my early days at the Trinidad Guardian. But I took a different stance over the years because I felt too much emphasis was being placed on this level football and the players at that age. The majority of our players lack the discipline to properly handle the exposure given to them at that level via the local media and many are affected by it. With the exception of Kenwyne Jones and Silvio Spann, we cannot name two or more players who have come out of the SSFL as promising talent since the mid 90s or so and gone on to make it at the international or overseas level. The SSFL, even though it falls under the TTFF has a separate organization to handle the League but I will however be affiliated with a local website to assist in reporting of the action.

Thank You...
Shaun Fuentes.

On behalf of the Soca Warriors Online I just what to say Thank You to Mr. Shaun Fuentes for taking the time to do this interview for us. Please keep up the great work you are doing and we all wish you all the best in the future..