Sat, Sep

Former Trinidad and Tobago national football captain David Nakhid has never been one to shy away from a confrontation.

And yesterday, in a press conference at the Trinidad Hilton's Savannah Lounge, Nakhid kicked out at suggestions from Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) special advisor and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner that he betrayed his country by trying to sabotage their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The press conference was designed to "clear up the issues that have been raging over the past few weeks".

Nakhid stands accused of spying on his homeland for Bahrain.

Warner insisted unnamed sources confirmed that Nakhid offered to help Bahrain defeat Trinidad and Tobago in their two-legged World Cup Play-Off on November 12 and 16.

Total Football executive producer Sunity Maharaj, Channel Four presenter Ruskin Mark and T&TFF press officer Shaun Fuentes revealed that Nakhid, through a "close female friend", attempted to acquire footage of the national squad after he was relieved of his duties with the team.

A recent report in the Bahrain Tribute also suggested that Nakhid met with Bahrain senior team coach Luka Peruzovic who, after a half hour discussion, declared "he did not trust Nakhid and does not need his help".

Nakhid remained defiant. He believes the Belgium-born Bahraini coach was misquoted.

"I cannot imagine him having ever said that since I never met him," said Nakhid.

Likewise, Nakhid denied trying to attain video footage after he was fired by the T&TFF.

He offered a dozen e-mails in his defence. In chronological order, the correspondence began with his letter of termination from Warner, to the BFA's approach (through technical director Mahmood Fakhra) on its official letterhead promising to confirm his appointment as national under-20 team coach on November 16-one day after Bahrain's second and final play-off fixture against T&T.

"This basically refutes all the claims of the T&TFF," said Nakhid, "that I had planned to go to Bahrain before and I planned to take up a job with the national team."

He also produced an e-mail from Fakhra, addressed to national team manager Bruce Aansenen, which requested a video tape of T&T's 2-1 win over Mexico and reminded the T&TFF that they were provided with a tape of Bahrain's last qualifying fixture against Uzbekistan.

Another e-mail showed that Fakhra requested ten Trinidad and Tobago qualifying matches from a German media company.

Nakhid explained that this e-mail proved that the BFA did not need his help to get footage of the national team and assured the public that it was normal for competing technical staffs to exchange such intelligence.

"Why they would ask me or any female acquaintance of mine to procure tapes," said Nakhid, "after they already received ten tapes from a German media company, I would like the media houses to explain."

The e-mails could not capture the entire negotiation process, though. By Nakhid's own admission, much of their discussion was done by telephone while he did travel to Bahrain although, he explained, this was only to better appreciate his duties as a future national youth coach.

It is as difficult to prove Nakhid's innocence as it is his guilt in the first place.

However, no sooner had Nakhid poked at the largely circumstantial evidence which tried him, he launched into a flurry of theories aimed at Warner.

He accused his former boss of waging a campaign against him to avoid his row with national assistant coach Wim Rijsbergen in Panama on October 7-which, he claimed, had racial undertones-from becoming public knowledge.

Nakhid insisted that Warner preferred to focus negatively on his comments on CCN TV6's Morning Edition programme about "some members of the Syrian community, who are allegedly involved in the drug trade" to "curry favour" with the affluent in society and, in particular, the owners of certain media houses for his own political ends.

"I have noticed that since (Warner) came out in defence, as most house Negroes do in defending their master, of the Syrian community," said Nakhid, "he is in every front page of the Guardian and in every newscast of CNC3 and that is not coincidence."

Nakhid promised to take legal action against the 2006 Local Organising Committee (LOC), the T&TFF and Newsday for slander.

He plans to file suit on November 16-the same day the BFA will confirm whether they still want his services and when either Trinidad and Tobago or Bahrain will be engulfed in celebrating their qualification to the Germany World Cup.

November 16 may decide whether Nakhid's involvement with the BFA becomes local folklore (like November 19, 1989) or is soon forgotten (like the resignations of Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy in 2001).