“I can’t see why Tom [Saintfiet] is saying I am not interested and I don’t want to play for my country. I don’t know why he is trying to turn things on me.”
The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 by Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team midfielder Joevin Jones regarding his coach Tom Saintfiet’s claim that the Seattle Sounders player was not interested in representing the Soca Warriors in this week’s Gold Cup playoffs:
I just want to clear my name. I just want to say I always want to play for my country. It’s an honour to play for this country.
First to begin, me and Tom [Saintfiet] talked face to face weeks ago agreeing on me coming to the camp on the 1st [of January]. Yes, I did agree to [that]. But the problem was getting clearance from my team [Seattle Sounders].
After the Trinidad and Tobago team got back from the two friendlies [in Nicaragua] on the 31st [of December], I got a message from my lil brother [and national team player] Alvin that I have to come in camp on the 1st [of January] at 12pm, which was the next day.
I had no info as yet from my club stating if I can go [to camp] or not… [And] why do I have to get a message from my lil brother to come in camp? What about the manager [Azaad Khan]?
My club gave me late clearance on Sunday morning to go. My lil brother was in camp already, so I sent a message with my lil brother stating that I got the clearance and I would be in camp or training the following evening, which he did deliver.
The only reason why I delivered the message back through my lil brother was because they sent one with him. I think they were unprofessional [in doing] that.
The only reason why I played with W Connection [in a friendly against Haiti last week] was because they asked me to train and stay shape for the upcoming game on the 4th against Suriname. So I decided to play the game with W Connection because I can’t watch football because I love the game.
The person who called me to train with Connection called Tom and asked if I could play in the game. The answer I get was: ‘Yes and be careful’.
I risked my contract with Seattle by playing—just to maintain some fitness to feature in the upcoming games. I can’t see why Tom is saying I am not interested and I don’t want to play for my country. I don’t know why he is trying to turn things on me.
I can’t just come in camp just like that. I am under contract with Seattle. They have to give me clearance.
As I said, I got late clearance on Sunday morning. I was on my way to camp on Sunday evening when my lil brother Alvin said to me they don’t want me again. I said no problem.
I think the communication was wrong by sending messages through my lil brother. I don’t see why Tom is trying to dirty my name by saying [if] I could play for Connection [then] why I can’t play with the national team, when the TTFA told me to go and stay in shape and keep fitness. That I didn’t like, [especially] when I risked my contract with Seattle by playing to say fit and in-shape to play for my country.
I just want to tell the people of Trinidad and Tobago, this has nothing to do with me not wanting to play for my loving country. I always love playing.
I just want to clear my name. If I wasn’t interested, why did I talk to Tom and agree face to face to play and to come in camp on the 1st?
If I wasn’t interested, I would have told Tom I had a long season and I needed rest. Simple as that. It hurt me to read stuff that isn’t true.
Editor’s Note: Trinidad and Tobago coach Tom Saintfiet also claimed that Kevin Molino and Cordell Cato declined invitations to represent their country at this week’s Gold Cup playoffs. He later amended this to say that Molino offered to play but he refused to accept him since the midfielder initially said no.
Defender Daneil Cyrus denied suggestions that he turned up to the team camp smelling of alcohol although Saintfiet insisted that he never accused the player of this.