Thu, Jun

T&T footballers deny reports of disunity in camp

T&T footballers Duane Muckette and Alvin Jones have denied claims that there is turmoil within the camp, saying that under head coach Terry Fenwick the team is trying to build chemistry and keep focused leading into the opening 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone qualifying match against Guyana in Dominican Republic on March 25.

On Friday, a story in another daily newspaper, said, "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 (Fenwick), while a circulating recording of other disgruntled players about the same situation confirmed the worry in the T&T camp." The players chose to remain anonymous.

The story added that the public can prepare for a revolt in the T&T camp if the matters are not sorted out.

Some of the issues raised according to the story are that there is "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."

Muckette and Jones spoke to the media following a training session at the St James Police Barracks.

"For me I think that we've been working stride in stride in trying to prepare as best as possible for the game," Muckette said. "We know things around the team are not perfect, but within the team we are coming every day and we are working and trying to get as prepared as possible for the game coming up."

The T&T-Guyana match was originally scheduled to be played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, but due to this country's covid19 protocols the venue for the match was changed. National footballers playing for clubs overseas must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in this country making it difficult to play the match in T&T. FIFA has a rule where clubs are not required to let their players leave for national duty if a quarantine period is needed for five days or more.

Muckette, who admitted that he would have liked the team to play international practice matches before the qualifiers, believes T&T can deliver a strong performance. "We are confident, confident in the work that we have been putting in...with that preparation confidence is going to come and it is going to build and we continue to work as hard as possible, so that we feel like we have prepared as best as possible for the game."

Over the last few months T&T were targeting friendly matches against the likes of Dominica and St Vincent/Grenadines, but they have not materialised.

Asked if the local players have a voice, Muckette said, "Yeah. Like I said all of us are inspired and motivated because this opportunity is something that we wanted for a long time."

The local-based players have been training off and on since the middle of last year and Muckette said the team is building cohesion. "The longer we are together as a team the better it will be for us...the different spells we had that was good in the USA game are just areas that we can build upon."

T&T lost 7-0 to the US in a friendly on January 31 with the local players showing promise when they were introduced.

Muckette added that the players are adapting to Fenwick's style.

Jones, discussing the report that there is discord in the camp, said, "I think in every family you will have ups and downs. I don't know anyone personally who had a problem. We as players have probably one or two issues but that is between us. I was surprised (to hear those reports) because for me personally nothing like that I heard of or saw, so I was a little surprised."

On training under Fenwick, Jones said, "Every coach has their way of doing things. Fenwick has his own (and) we as players just have to respect his decision, trust the process and just believe in his work and see where we go from there."

Jones knows the importance of the Guyana match and said the players must "embrace" the challenge of playing in Dominican Republic.