Wed, Aug


T&T's na­tion­al foot­ball coach Den­nis Lawrence has lashed back at Kei­th Look Loy, a mem­ber of the board of the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion who has said pub­licly that he (Lawrence) should step down fol­low­ing the coun­try's hor­ren­dous CON­CA­CAF Gold Cup per­for­mance.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the Na­tion­al Cy­cling Cen­tre (NCC) in Bal­main, Cou­va, on Wednes­day, Lawrence, who ad­mit­ted that cer­tain things could have been done dif­fer­ent­ly to pro­duce bet­ter re­sults, said gen­er­al­ly, he stood by the de­ci­sions he made dur­ing the tour­na­ment with re­gards to team se­lec­tion, among oth­er de­ci­sions he made. He said, how­ev­er, that he feels like he has lost a bat­tle and not the war.

The T&T team fin­ished the tour­na­ment with just one point from three match­es, hav­ing been hu­mil­i­at­ed 6-0 to the USA, los­ing 2-0 to Pana­ma and draw­ing with Guyana 1-1.

How­ev­er, Lawrence took of­fence to calls head­ed by Look Loy, a for­mer na­tion­al play­er and coach, for him to step down, say­ing, "Had I tak­en his ad­vice then, I wouldn't be where I am to­day. When I was 15-years-old, that was the same guy who said to me, you would not make it in foot­ball. I didn't take his ad­vice then.

"In 1998, while serv­ing as Joe Pub­lic's Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor, that team was beat­en 8-0 by DC Unit­ed in the CON­CA­CAF Cham­pi­ons Cup, but he (Look Loy) did not re­sign then, in­stead, he got an­oth­er pro­mo­tion."

Ac­cord­ing to Lawrence, Look Loy, the for­mer FC San­ta Rosa coach, was al­so ap­point­ed man­ag­er of the coun­try's youth teams in 1999, where, in three con­sec­u­tive games the side was beat­en by six goals, but still he was pro­mot­ed a sec­ond time to the coun­try's se­nior team as an as­sis­tant, where there were al­so un­favourable re­sults.

Dis­ap­point­ed by Look Loy's in­sis­tence that he is not the man for the T&T coach­ing job, Lawrence said Look Loy was then el­e­vat­ed to the po­si­tion of tech­ni­cal ad­vis­er and ap­point­ed a Ger­man coach who failed to get T&T to the Hex stage of the World Cup Qual­i­fiers.

"To­day he is still in­volved in our foot­ball, mak­ing de­ci­sions," Lawrence said.

Lawrence be­lieves a num­ber of fac­tors con­tributed to his team's poor Gold Cup cam­paign and a vis­it to the Kansas City train­ing cen­tre was con­fir­ma­tion for him that they were punch­ing well above their weight, due to the va­ri­ety of high-tech equip­ment that his play­ers did not have ac­cess to in their dai­ly prepa­ra­tions.

Be­cause of this, Lawrence said he awaits the com­ing on stream of the Home of Foot­ball, from strict­ly a foot­balling stand­point, as it will help with the prepa­ra­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the play­ers. Lawrence said his team was af­fect­ed by a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing play­ers' per­son­al prob­lems, play­er un­avail­abil­i­ty, in­juries, fit­ness and play­ers' men­tal­i­ty, among oth­ers.

Still, he told the me­dia to be beat­en by six goals, four of which came in 12 min­utes, was not nor­mal.

"Our prob­lem has been us in pos­ses­sion of the ball and then just giv­ing it away. For us to com­pete in foot­ball, we must man­age the game bet­ter."

Lawrence said he is hope­ful he will be pre­sent­ed with a wider pool of play­ers to pick from in the fu­ture, as well as a core group of lo­cal play­ers from the Pro League. He said he will keep a close eye on the com­ing pre-sea­son Pro­fes­sion­al Tour­na­ment lat­er this month, from which he in­tends to choose play­ers for the Na­tions League in Sep­tem­ber.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian