NATIONAL men’s senior football coach Terry Fenwick is denying allegations that there was a physical altercation between himself and TT Football Association director of communications/media Shaun Fuentes before a national team training session at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, on Wednesday.
In a brief interview with Newsday on Wednesday afternoon, Fenwick said, “Don’t even go there, It is all rubbish and you will recognise all the areas it is coming from.”
Another media house reported that the altercation got physical.
CNC3 posted a video on Wednesday showing Fenwick and Fuentes in an animated discussion.
Fuentes posted a selfie on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon and captioned it, "Always in good shape."
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) later issued a press release saying the incident was blown out of proportion.
The TTFA said the incident, which stemmed from Fenwick expressing disapproval with the presence of a member of the media, "has been addressed at a meeting involving the two individuals, team manager Adrian Romain and the Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad."
The TTFA said apologies were exchanged and Fenwick and Fuentes have agreed to put the incident behind them.
"Both Fenwick and Fuentes proceeded to conduct themselves in a professional manner and subsequently hosted the media briefing before the media present at the venue."
Fenwick is currently preparing the national team for two World Cup qualifiers on March 25 and 28. T&T will play Guyana in Dominican Republic in the first encounter, before travelling to Puerto Rico to face that country.
It will be T&T’s first competitive match since Fenwick took charge of the national team in January 2019. On January 31, T&T suffered a 7-0 defeat to the US in an international friendly.
In 2005, Fenwick was fined and banned for his role in sparking a brawl when he was the coach of San Juan Jabloteh against W Connection in the Toyota Classic final.
After W Connection midfielder Gefferson Goulart scored a goal he ran towards the Jabloteh bench and was elbowed by the Englishman. Fenwick was banned ten games for the incident.
Furious Fenwick attacks TTFA Media Officer.
T&T Guardian Reports.
The future of national coach Terry Fenwick is likely to come into question, after Wednesday's alleged altercation in which he was alleged to have attacked T&T Football Association (TTFA) Media Officer Shaun Fuentes minutes before a press conference on the football field at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva.
A day before the T&T team was scheduled to leave for the Dominican Republic for its opening World Cup qualifying match with Guyana on March 25, Fenwick was due to address the media, but allegedly became incensed when Wired 868 journalist Lasana Liburd appeared at the venue for the press conference scheduled to begin at 9 am.
Liburd's presence sent Fenwick into a fit of rage. And in the full view of the media, the English-born coach allegedly verbally attacked Fuentes, accusing him of inviting Liburd to the event.
Media personnel present said they heard Fenwick shouting and using obscene language towards Fuentes and saying that he (Fenwick) will not participate in the press conference once Liburd was present.
An audio recording that Guardian Media Sports obtained, surfaced after the alleged incident in which the person gave an account saying that Fuentes was head-butted by the coach and verbally abused.
Chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee Robert Hadad subsequently ordered a report from Fuentes.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, TTFA issued a statement which said: "The T&T Football Association wishes to state that following an incident at the senior team training session involving men’s National Head Coach Terry Fenwick and Director of Communications and Team Press Officer Shaun Fuentes on Wednesday morning at the Ato Boldon Stadium, the matter has been addressed at a meeting involving the two individuals, team manager Adrian Romain and the Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad.
"The TTFA further advises that the matter was blown out of proportion as Fenwick only chose to express his disapproval of a certain member of the media fraternity being present at a scheduled Media Briefing on the eve of the Team’s departure for the Dominican Republic for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Guyana.
"Apologies were exchanged and Fenwick and Fuentes have since agreed to put the incident behind them and continue the focus on the Team’s upcoming assignments in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Both Fenwick and Fuentes proceeded to conduct themselves professionally and subsequently hosted the media briefing before the media present at the venue."
Two weeks ago, Hadad told Guardian Media Sports that he addressed concerns raised by the players about personal issues and the team's preparations following a Guardian Media report. He confirmed that he reached out to the team captain Khaleem Hyland about the issues.
This is not the first time Fenwick has been allegedly involved in a physical altercation locally.
In 2005, the then San Juan Jabloteh coach was captured on television elbowing W Connection's Brazilian midfielder Gefferson Da Silva Goulart while he was celebrating a goal against Jabloteh in the Toyota Classic final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. Fenwick's action resulted in a 10-game ban by the T&T Pro League.
Attempts to reach Hadad for comments on yesterday's incident proved futile.
Emotions run high between coach Fenwick and TTFA media officer Fuentes
By Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
There is a report of an alleged physical assault yesterday by senior men’s national coach Terry Fenwick on Shaun Fuentes, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) media communications officer.
Both men are expected to be part of the contingent which leaves today for the Dominican Republic, where the “Soca Warriors” tackle Guyana next week Thursday, before heading to Puerto Rico for another 2022 Qatar preliminary round World Cup qualifier, three days later.
Reported as being present in the covered stand at the Ato Boldon Stadium was Robert Hadad, chairman of the FIFA normalisation committee. But Hadad did not respond to the Express’ queries into the alleged incident, if it was reported, or if there would be an official investigation into the matter by the TTFA.
However, late yesterday, the TTFA did issue the following release:
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association wishes to state that following an incident at the senior team’s training session involving men’s national head coach Terry Fenwick and director of communications and team press officer Shaun Fuentes, on Wednesday morning at the Ato Boldon Stadium, the matter has been addressed at a meeting involving the two individuals, team manager Adrian Romain, and the normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.
The communique further stated, “TTFA further advises that the matter was blown out of proportion as head coach Fenwick only chose to express his disapproval of a certain member of the media fraternity being present at a scheduled media briefing on the eve of the team’s departure for the Dominican Republic for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Guyana.
“Apologies were exchanged and Fenwick and Fuentes have since agreed to put the incident behind them and continue the focus on the (national) team’s upcoming assignments in (the) Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Both Fenwick and Fuentes proceeded to conduct themselves in a professional manner and subsequently hosted the media briefing before the media present at the venue,” the release added.
The alleged altercation occurred following a verbal exchange between Fenwick and Fuentes in the centre of the field. Fenwick had reportedly objected to Wired 868 journalist Lasana Liburd’s presence and it was then, that the alleged incident was said to have occurred.
Present on the field was Fenwick, assistant-coach Derrick King and equipment manager Michael Williams, while logistics manager Basil Thompson sat on a bench. The players had not yet taken to the field to train.
Initially, Fuentes had opted to start the media briefing on schedule at 9 a.m., with only Trinidad Express reporter Ian Prescott and former Synergy TV cameraman Nigel Jawawir present. Fenwick was in the middle of the playing field when Fuentes approached him to request his (Fenwick’s) presence to field questions.
However, the press briefing was then delayed upon the arrival of a media party consisting of Lasana Liburd, CNC3’s Gyasi Merrique and his videographer Ignatius Wharton, along with Newsday reporter Jelani Beckles.
After some discussion out in the middle, both Fenwick and Fuentes eventually came over to the gathered media personnel and held a press briefing that lasted just five minutes. Fenwick responded to two questions apiece from Prescott and Liburd, and one from Merrique, before the briefing was abruptly ended by Fuentes, who informed that he had been instructed to keep the presser short in adherence to Covid-19 protocols.