MEMBERS of the national football team and the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith were all satisfied with the decision to appoint Dennis Lawrence as the new head coach of the national men’s football team.
Lawrence replaces Belgian Tom Saintfiet who resigned on January 11 after only one month on the job. National goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was happy with the decision to appoint Lawrence. Williams said, “I think I could speak for a lot of the guys who are involved in the set up right now in saying that they are excited about the prospect of working with somebody like Dennis.
A high level coach, he has more than what it takes to take us to the next level and to take us to where we trying to go, so we excited and happy about it.” Williams said they are satisfied about the decision, despite Lawrence not being on the players list of a suitable replacement for Saintfiet.
“More than satisfied, we not disappointed at all. As the letter stated we would have been going based upon the little knowledge that we pooled together.”
After Saintfiet resigned, 23 current national players wrote a letter to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association giving their opinion on who the next national coach should be. The players felt Stephen Hart, Stuart Charles-Fevrier, Terry Fenwick and Angus Eve (assistant coach) should have been also considered for the head coaching vacancy.
Carlos Edwards, who was recently recalled to the national team, said Lawrence will be an asset to the team. Edwards said, “Dennis is a very smart guy when it comes to the game, and it’s different to just playing the game, but also knowing the game and studying it. He has the sixth sense about the game and his leadership will be valuable.
Obviously he will have his own methods of coaching and dealing with the players.
Smith, who has been asking for a local coach to be hired said, “The experience that he (Lawrence) has gained in Europe under some of the best coaches in the world I think will do us well. I am happy it is a local, I am happy it is finally over. He does not have much time, but I think at this point in time (it is important) to have somebody who the players are relatively familiar with.”
Former manager of the national team Bruce Aanensen said, “I think Dennis is a very serious fella. He has done a lot of coaching in the short time with (Roberto) Martinez and he has the highest qualifications of coaching. He may not have all the experience but I think he will get the respect of the players.” Aanensen added that it is crucial that Lawrence has support around him.
“The important thing is that he gets the support of the administration (TTFA) and the players, because he will certainly need that if he is going to be effective. Let us hope this is the beginning of a turnaround on our fortunes, and we could see some positive things coming out of the football before March when we have those two important games.
“He needs some strong people around him to help him out, because notwithstanding the qualifications he has in coaching he does not have the experience, he is relatively new to it.
But you only get experience by coaching, so it is a good opportunity for him and let’s hope he can make the best of it and that everybody provides the level of support that he certainly is going to need.”