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Former national coaches Alvin Corneal and Everald “Gally” Cummings have rubbished the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) latest head coach selection, calling it “disrespectful” to the entire country and saying the decision just didn’t make sense.

Yesterday, TTFA president David John-Williams announced the hiring of Belgium-born Tom Saintfiet, a coach with a plethora of short-term employment stints with low-level football-playing countries.

His last job was with the 187th-ranked Bangladesh team.

“I am not in agreement with having a foreign coach at this time simply because it is an exercise in futility. Foreign coaches can’t walk in here and pick up national players and get them to gel as a team, especially when you don’t have a lot of time,” Corneal said, adding that a coach whose previous assignment was with Bangladesh, makes the selection even more questionable.

“Why are you burdening us with him and you don’t even know him. know anything about (him),” Corneal said. “It is unfair and a disrespect to our local coaches. That is my biggest problem because I feel it for the young coaches who are aspiring to the national level, you not even recognising them but bringing somebody who has no track record of note.”

Corneal, who said he is still smarting from the disrespect shown to dismissed coach Stephen Hart, said the TTFA is “throwing good money at a bad deal” with this latest appointment.
“If we are realistic we would get one or two good local coaches and get the training going. If it (the World Cup campaign) doesn’t succeed, at least we know we will have players mostly between the ages 23-27 trained properly. They would have trained a few months together, played two CFU matches and eight international matches which could form the foundation of the 2022 campaign.”

He added: “This right now is a no-win situation. I am disappointed because the people who are making these decisions, I am not sure they are qualified to make them. I mean no disrespect to any of them but if you take the responsibility of finding a national coach for our country, my God, you got to know something about it,” Corneal said.

“It is even disrespect to the man that is coming. We must not let the TTFA get away with that or else they will take our football down the drain, it doesn’t make good sense.”

Coach of the famed “Strike Squad,” Everald “Gally” Cummings said: “I don’t know the coach. I never heard about him, I don’t like to bad-talk other coaches because as coaches, we are supposed to respect each other but his track record seems thin.”

Cummings instead questioned the TTFA decision-makers’ judgement. 

“My opinion is they don’t know what they doing. I don’t think the TTFA presently have the technical ability or expertise to understand what they are looking for when they are looking for a coach,” Cummings said.

He said T&T needed an experienced coach to hit the ground running, who understands the culture and who can execute a quick turnaround.

“I don’t think this was the right decision and I think if we have to make a decision like that, it is better you spend more money on our young players and develop the young players and coaches. You can’t stop the team from trying to get into the World Cup, because that is everybody’s dream....but a local coach would have been a better choice. I don’t see the track record of this man, I don’t understand it ....I find it to be very disrespectful to T&T coaches, the players and the country because of the fact this is taxpayers’ (sic) money and you can’t be giving it away to every Tom, Dick and Harry. The TTFA technical committee have made their decision and they will have to live with it but if things don’t go right, they should all resign!”