Sat, Apr

Lawrence: FIFA window issue forced match change.

T&T’s se­nior foot­ball coach Den­nis Lawrence and his men will be hop­ing to end their 13-match win­less streak when they come up against min­nows Anguil­la to­day at the Ato Boldon Sta­di­um in Cou­va from 6 pm.

The last en­counter be­tween the teams was six years ago in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, a 10-0 win in which Ja­mal Gay net­ted a beaver-trick and Keon Daniel hat-trick at Warn­er Park Sta­di­um, Bas­seterre, St Kitts/Nevis.

Fol­low­ing to­day’s match, T&T will trav­el to face Ecuador for an­oth­er friend­ly on No­vem­ber 14 be­fore fac­ing Hon­duras in their clos­ing CON­CA­CAF Na­tions League qual­i­fi­er in San Pe­dro Su­la on No­vem­ber 17.

T&T will en­ter on the heels of three straight 2-0 loss­es against Hon­duras, Mex­i­co and Venezuela re­spec­tive­ly.

Speak­ing be­fore his team’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion at the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Mu­cu­rapo, yes­ter­day, Lawrence said the prepa­ra­tion for the match had been good.

“The boys have come in and they have shown good en­thu­si­asm and good spir­it and I think it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand the rea­son why we have the An­guil­la friend­ly.

And im­me­di­ate­ly when we looked at the sit­u­a­tion, we know the play­ers that were in­volved in the USL in the USA, those in Cana­da and In­dia, we knew their sea­son go­ing to fin­ish prob­a­bly two and a half weeks to three weeks be­fore the Hon­duras match,” he said.

“So it was im­por­tant that we got them home as quick­ly as pos­si­ble to keep them ac­tive and train­ing gives you one as­pect, but we al­so know the im­por­tance of get­ting that match fit­ness, so we ap­proach An­guil­la, who we need to say thank you to for tak­ing the fix­ture.”

Many fans had ques­tioned why T&T de­cid­ed to play against such a low­ly-ranked side at this stage, es­pe­cial­ly since they need a stiffer chal­lenge head­ing in­to their Na­tions League match.

Yes­ter­day, Lawrence of­fered, “Why An­guil­la, be­cause they play on­ly one game in the next Na­tions League win­dow, which is on No­vem­ber 19. Ma­jor­i­ty of the oth­er teams play two games, so it al­lowed us to play An­guil­la in this friend­ly so we can keep the boys up to some sort of match rhythm in prepa­ra­tion for the Hon­duras game.

“We have the ma­jor­i­ty of the boys here, one or two are miss­ing who are go­ing to meet us in Ecuador.

“An­dre For­tune at the end of his sea­son, he then went on to a tri­al at an­oth­er MLS club which we al­lowed him to do be­cause I think it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand that it is his fu­ture and he needs to look af­ter it. But for the rest, Ataulla Guer­ra, Le­ston Paul, Mekeil Williams, Alvin Jones, Du­ane Muck­ette, they are all here. Then we man­aged to get some of the boys from In­dia ear­ly, Daneil Cyrus, Mar­cus Joseph, Aubrey David, so we have a lot of the boys here, that al­lows us to play this game against An­guil­la and that’s the think­ing be­hind the whole process go­ing in­to the Hon­duras game.”

Lawrence said they de­cid­ed against play­ing a Pro League team be­cause he be­lieves in “play­ing an un­known team that will come here and make it dif­fi­cult for us.”


Lawrence: FIFA window issue forced match change.
By Nigel Simon (Guardian).

T&T se­nior men’s foot­ball team coach Den­nis Lawrence says bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and T&T Pro League could have avoid­ed the clash­es with the First Cit­i­zens Cup fix­tures and T&T ver­sus An­guil­la match on to­day. How­ev­er, he made it clear that the in­for­ma­tion about the T&T friend­ly was passed on to T&T Pro League of­fi­cials.

On Fri­day, Cen­tral FC man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and T&T Pro League chair­man Brent San­cho, a for­mer na­tion­al de­fend­er, la­belled the move by the T&TFA to bring for­ward the T&T/An­guil­la friend­ly, orig­i­nal­ly card­ed for Mon­day, by 24 hours as dis­re­spect­ful to the Pro League.

“As a Pro League club own­er, and now as act­ing chair­man of the TT Pro League, I have al­ways tried to sup­port our na­tion­al teams. Even when we have had im­por­tant games, we have still tried to ac­com­mo­date TTFA’s wish­es,” San­cho said in a re­lease.

“But this de­ci­sion by David John-Williams – be­cause I know for a fact that this hasn’t come from the TTFA board – is to­tal­ly dis­re­spect­ing clubs, play­ers, sup­port­ers, and spon­sors. We have First Cit­i­zens Cup match­es be­ing played on Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day and you want to play a se­nior men’s in­ter­na­tion­al on the same week­end?”

San­cho point­ed out that the An­guil­la game was orig­i­nal­ly card­ed for to­mor­row and that clubs had made plans to al­low play­ers to at­tend na­tion­al team train­ing. How­ev­er, most clubs had planned to play those play­ers in this week­end’s First Cit­i­zens Cup match­es.

All eleven Pro League clubs are in ac­tion this week­end.

San­cho added that the FCB fix­tures had been arranged weeks ago and it was the poor plan­ning of TTFA that forced them to bring the game for­ward, adding the Pro league had al­so re­ceived no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion of the friend­ly in­ter­na­tion­al.

“This is dis­cour­te­ous and to­tal­ly dis­re­spect­ful. Be­cause of the tim­ing, I have not had a chance to dis­cuss this with the clubs, but Den­nis Lawrence should be con­cerned about who will show up for the game on Sun­day and what kind of con­di­tion the play­ers will be in,” he said.

San­cho said a for­mal let­ter of com­plaint will be sent to TTFA pres­i­dent David John-Williams in an at­tempt to avoid such thought­less de­ci­sion mak­ing in the fu­ture.

Speak­ing at a na­tion­al team brief­ing ahead of to­day’s match yes­ter­day, Lawrence ad­mit­ted the clash with match­es was un­for­tu­nate.

“I think some­times com­mu­ni­ca­tion can be a se­ri­ous prob­lem be­cause all the way through the en­tire thing there was com­mu­ni­ca­tion in re­gards to the game be­ing played. The on­ly thing which I would say, which was a bit un­for­tu­nate, was that we would have liked to play the match on Mon­day, No­vem­ber 11, but then look­ing at the FI­FA Rules and Reg­u­la­tions, you are not al­lowed to play more than two friend­lies in an in­ter­na­tion­al win­dow,” Lawrence said.

“So im­me­di­ate­ly when that hap­pened, we had to make an ad­just­ment, which was ei­ther to play the match on No­vem­ber 10 or af­ter. Every­thing was al­ready arranged for An­guil­la to be here so we had to bring the game for­ward to one day, which ide­al­ly we didn’t want to do be­cause we un­der­stand the First Cit­i­zens Cup is go­ing on, but at the end of the day, we have to do our job and we have to do our work.”

How­ev­er, Lawrence said the in­for­ma­tion had been passed on to the T&T Pro League.

“So the com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been there all the way through and what I would say, the sto­ry when I saw it this morn­ing it left a bad taste in my mouth be­cause come on, David John-Williams ain’t ar­rang­ing when we play the friend­ly or not. It was all some­thing that had to be done for the ben­e­fit of the play­ers, that’s the most im­por­tant thing, and as I said be­fore, once we found out we could not play more than two friend­lies in­side a win­dow, we had to make an ad­just­ment and un­for­tu­nate­ly it clashed with the First Cit­i­zens Cup game.”

He added, “We have al­ways worked to­geth­er with the Pro League be­cause they have al­ways been good to us and we are al­ways go­ing to be good to them. So I think com­mu­ni­ca­tion some­times can be mis­lead­ing, so the Pro League games will go ahead and we want them to go-ahead.

“The tour­na­ment (First Cit­i­zens Cup) is al­so ben­e­fi­cial to the boys as well, as they are now start­ing to build up some sort of rhythm be­cause they have been in­ac­tive for so long. So it’s good to see the boys back on the pitch play­ing com­pet­i­tive foot­ball and hope­ful­ly at the end of the First Cit­i­zens Cup it will lead straight in­to the start of the Pro League start­ing so you can keep the boys and them ac­tive, be­cause they have been dor­mant for too long and you can­not play pro­fes­sion­al foot­ball and be dor­mant for that length of pe­ri­od.”