Thu, May

Former teammates salute skipper ‘Dada’

Two of Kenwyne Jones’ 2006 World Cup team-mates have paid glowing tribute to the former National Team captain following the announcement of his retirement from playing on Thursday.

Stern John, T&T’s most prolific striker to date, and a former national team captain Densill Theobald both spent a significant part of their international careers alongside Jones. John started alongside Jones in several matches but among those which stood out would be T&T’s 1-0 win over Bahrain to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and the 2-0 loss to England in Germany. And history would show that Jones went on to become this country’s top man up front after John, an former Birmingham City standout, left the international stage in 2011.

As for Theobald, Jones would go on to take over as team captain from him during the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup and wore the armband well into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I think Kenwyne’s had an amazing career,” John said. “He played in one of the biggest Leagues in the world with top clubs and also played in a World Cup. It’s not easy playing at a top level for so many years and not a lot of players can say that they’ve done that consistently,” John explained.

He added, “Not much players can say they had John Terry in their pocket for 90 minutes and that’s how good Kenwyne was on his day. He was big, powerful and unplayable. It was a pleasure playing with him and also working with him as a coach this year. We always had that respect for each other even when he was one of the younger players in the side”

John did say though that he felt Jones still had something to offer as a player. “I know he’s had a problem with his knee but I just think he’s leaving the game too early. He has a lot to offer the game still,” John pointed out.

Meanwhile, Theobald recalled how Jones was fondly known as “Dada” in the national team circles because of his leadership ability and the fact that he was able to have a close knit relationship with so many of his teammates.

“I’m really sad about Kenwyne quitting the game. In my last conversation with him a few weeks ago he said to me ‘Bleeder, I’m thinking about parking up because I think that’s it for me.”

Theobald, a former Caledonia AIA and current North East Stars player explained, “Of course I was trying to sway him away from that decision because I think he still has a lot to offer this younger generation.

He said to me that he just didn’t have it anymore and that he may have to do surgery at the end of this season and that contributed to his decision. It was sad for me to lose a brother in football.

We started at the national team at a young age and we cared for each other and always wanted the best for each other and for the country. We shared great moments and sad moments in the national team.

It was always important for him that his fellow soldiers. The players and the national team came out on top or with something to show for all their efforts.”