Thu, Jun

Players question Fenwick's ability.

T&T's CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying campaign faces a snag due to major differences between the players and coach Terry Fenwick, which threatens the actual on-the-field play, starting with the Guyana game on March 25 in the Dominican Republic.

More than four players confided with Guardian Media Sports over the past week about their dissatisfaction with the preparation of the team by the former San Juan Jabloteh coach, while a circulating recording of other disgruntled players about the same situation confirmed the worry in the T&T camp.

The players who all spoke under condition of anonymity, said the public can prepare for a revolt in the T&T camp if the coach does not deal with the issues affecting the team, ahead of a difficult qualifying campaign. Some of the issues affecting the players include; routine training sessions; no clear laid-out structure of play for the team; the selection of players and the types of local practice matches being taken; the total disrespect of the local players; and the sidelining of assistant coach Derek King, among many other concerns, the players said.

According to the players: "We have seen that manager Adrian Romain seem to have more say than King. The assistant coach appears to be totally ignored by the senior coach. In addition, we can actually say what the next session would be like. We will go through some stretching drills, have a warm-up session and then play a game session. To date, we do not even know what system of play we will be playing," the players explained yesterday.

The players are also disturbed by the warm-up matches being taken by coach Fenwick, against under-21 age-old players, when more competitive games can be sought after, by using teams in the T&T Pro League.

King when contacted, said he was unaware that that was going on in the camp.

The former Arima North Secondary School defender who also played the role of assistant coach to former national coach Stephen Hart during the early part of the last World Cup qualifying campaign is expected to be replaced by Keon Trim, another player said.

Guardian Media Sports received a copy of a circulating voice recording on Tuesday in which some players were heard pleading with an official to reach out to coach Fenwick and talk to him about the situation. The players are expected to raise their concerns via a petition bearing the names and signatures of most or all the players, both junior and senior.

Calls and WhatsApp messages to coach Fenwick's phone went unanswered yesterday.

In Fenwick's only game to date, a friendly international against the USA men's national team on January 31, T&T was beaten 7-0 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, USA.

The T&T team is stacked in Group F of the qualifiers, alongside Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Guyana and St Kitts/Nevis. A shake-up in the camp is the last thing needed presently as the team has already had to give up home advantage due to the worsening coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the new variant of the virus.

The Ministry of Health refused to accept a proposed football bubble to play the opening qualifier against Guyana at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on March 25, a decision that resulted in the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee negotiating to have the game played in the Dominican Republic.

After the Guyana affair, the T&T team will next be away to Puerto Rico (28 March), away to the Bahamas (5 June), and home to St Kitts and Nevis (8 June). The Warriors need to win the group to advance to play the winner of Group A, which features the likes of El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, and the US Virgin Islands in the second round of the qualifiers.