Mon, Oct


ENGLISHMAN Terry Fenwick has made a commitment to add young players to the national men’s football team, even if it means that some older locally-based players might have to be left out.

A month after commencing national team training, Fenwick held his first media conference yesterday at the Police Barracks in St James. The former England defender, 60, worked with a bunch of 35 kids under the watchful eyes of Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

Assisting Fenwick were a combination of former national players and coaches such as Clayton Ince and Ross Russell, along with San Juan Jabloteh’s Keith Jeffrey and Keon Trim. Fenwick explained that his assistants, Derek King and Angus Eve, were unavailable for yesterday’s session.

Despite uncertainty as to whether the FIFA installed Normalisation Committee or the elected officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association are running the sport locally, Fenwick felt it important to get his programme going.

“We have just come through Covid virus into the Sahara dust and in between all of that, we don’t know who our leadership is at this time,” he said, vowing to steer clear of local football politics.

“Politics around the world is not easy. It gets bitter and twisted at times,” he declared, “That is where we are. I am leaving that alone.”

Fenwick said his early ambition has been limited by finances.

“I wanted to take a team from Trinidad to Tobago to play against the best players that they got available in Tobago,” he said. “So we can see what we got and select the best that they got over there.”

Fenwick’s focus is on young, locally-based players, although a few experienced 31-year-olds such as Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, La Horquetta Rangers’ Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings and Defence Force defender Curtis “Boyo” Gonzales were among those training. The squad also included talented 19-year-old Central FC midfielder Che Benny, striker Justin Araujo-Wilson (17), W Connection talent Molik Khan (16), St Anthony’s College forward Kai Phillip (19), Club Sando striker and Pro League top scorer Shaqkeem Joseph (19), John-Paul Rochford (20) and Justin Sadoo, the 22-year-old Point Fortin Civic defensive midfielder.

“I’m working with a very, very young squad of players,” Fenwick said.

“Some of my players will be in their late teens coming through to my national side. They have done a great job so far. The intensity has been remarkable. Sometimes it does look a little frenetic because they have put a lot of time and effort into their physical side of the game,” he added.

“My intention, as national team coach, is to develop the best kids that we have available,” he said, explaining that the face of the squad would change over time, with others also getting an opportunity to stake their claims.

“We are working hard at it. I’ve got my detractors in the background, which is okay, I understand. I am giving my everything to the young players that we got.”

The Englishman said his ambition was to get into the mind of his young charges, getting them to do the simple things right. While talented, some have not previously benefitted from structured coaching and so, many things are brand new to them. Some will rise to the occasion while others will not be good enough and will be replaced by other talent.

“There are lots of players out there in the mid-20’s who haven’t been selected and are not involved in this squad, and they are asking why,” Fenwick revealed.

“I said to them, ‘Fellas, if you are 27 and older and you are still playing here in the league in Trinidad and Tobago, I know I have better players at the highest standard of football somewhere else in the world’.”

“You wouldn’t believe the response I have had locally and internationally from players around the world that want to play for Trinidad and Tobago,” he continued.

Fenwick said his intention was to get results.

“I want us to get away from being 105th ranking in the world (and) one of the teams in the Caribbean region. I want to be the top team in the region. I want to be top-50 ranked in the world. I want to move us in the right direction and that will not happen unless we have a good development process from 15, 17, 20, into the (senior) national team.”  



Fenwick: We have something to offer.
By Walter Alibey (Guardian).

National coach Terry Fenwick is manoeuvring the challenges of a less-than-ideal leadership, the selection of inexperienced players, to people who are not in favour of him being national coach, as well as little to no finances, to turn around the fortunes of T&T football.

Addressing the media soon after a training session at the Police training ground at the St James Barracks on Friday, the English-born coach said he wants not to be one of the top teams in the Caribbean but the best in the region, as well as one of the top 50 teams in the world.

To date, he has been mentoring the young players, some of whom have never played under a top-class coach, he told the audience and has been guiding them on the areas they need work.

"Some of the sessions that they've done are brand new, they don't know. I am engaging them on and off the field as to how they adapt mentally. Everything I tell them, I only tell them once to see who takes it on board because that's how the world is moving right now. I want us to get away from this 105th ranking in the world, or one of the teams from the Caribbean region. I want to be the top team in the region. I want to be down on the 50 ranked in the world which will move us in the right direction, and that will not happen until we have a development process from 15, 17, 20 and the senior national team."

He added: "We have done a good job so far. The intensity has been remarkable."

Courtesy the assistance of Robert Hadad, the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee who has helped the team with his finances to get food and refreshment, and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, the team has been in training for just under a month now (the first session was on June 8.) and has made tremendous strides despite the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, situation. The infiltration of the Saharan dust, and the uncertainty of who will lead local football after the pending July 29 court matter between the world governing body for football - FIFA, and the William Wallace-led United T&T Football Association.

He told the media he has been encouraged when he sees the work of coaches such as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, he knows we are in a good place. "When we have got the best coaches in the world such as Pep Guardiola, coaching teams with teenagers to win Championships, whether it be the Premier League or the Champions League, and that's with at whatever clubs he has been, that tells me that these youngsters have got something to offer."

Fenwick, 60, is hoping to follow up his team with a match between a Trinidad representative team versus a Tobago team in the sister-isle soon, as well as an international encounter with either Guyana or Barbados before the year ends.

He hopes to work on the many interested players internationally with T&T's parentage with the hope of selecting the best team.

At the last FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the T&T team was recorded as the oldest squad in world football, but the Englishman who took over from Dennis Lawrence on December 19, 2019, said he wants to change that. Fenwick's training squads yesterday comprised some 40 players such as Adrian Foncette, Jabari Mitchell (Police FC); Andre Marchan, Aaron Enil, Curtis Gonzales, Justin Garcia, Adrian Welch, Hashim Arcia, Reon Moore, Brent Sam, Dwight Quintero (Defence Force); Christopher Biggette, Brandon Semper, Kadeem Hutchinson, Justin Araujo-Wilson, Tyrese Bailey (San Juan Jabloteh); Kadeem Riley (Unattached); Isaiah Garcia, Molik Khan (W Connection); Jelani Peters (Toronto FC); Jesse Williams, Jameel Neptune, Kevon Goddard, Che Benny, Sean Bonval (Central FC); Xavier Rajpaul (Cunupia FC); Justin Sadoo (Point Fortin); Rivaldo Coryat, Matthew Wooling, John Paul Rochford (AC Port of Spain); Keron Cornwall, Shaqkeem Joseph (Club Sando FC); Keron Cummings (La Horquetta Rangers); Judah Garcia (Point Fortin FC); Nicholas Dillon (Patro Eisden Maas); Kai Phillip (St Anthony’s College); Tyrese Spicer (St Augustine Secondary); Michael Poon-Angeron, Akeem Roach, Jaheim McFee.

Among those who assisted Fenwick during yesterday's session were Clayton Ince, Keith Jeffreys and Ross Russell.