Tue, Nov

Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Terry Fenwick stares intently during a 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against St. Kitts and Nevis at Stade Olympique Félix Sánchez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on June 8th 2021.

When Trinidad and Tobago thought they could at least smile after Saturday's coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic Ministry of Health Press Conference, things got worst. Not because of what was said, but what came after.

With further restrictions in place on Weekends going forward, from Sunday. This Saturday afternoon into the night should have been one full of smiles, laughter, happiness, the usual banter among sports enthusiasts with anticipation for yesterday's (Tuesday 8th June) showdown with St Kitts & Nevis which is dubbed the Sugar Boyz.

However by 6.51 pm on Saturday, many were left speechless or dumbfounded by what had transpired between 5 pm mayhem.

If you are still wondering what, I am speaking of, then you are a lucky soul, that you did not have to endure watching the football match, between Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas and what had unfolded.

Bahamas lost their three previous World Cup qualification matches (7-0 to Puerto Rico, 4-0 to Guyana and 4-0 to St Kitts and Nevis) but managed with the aid of a purposefully lethargic T&T football team to draw 0-0 and end all dreams of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

I have three quick questions:

Was there ever a plan, Terry?

Was there a Plan B if Plan A failed, Terry?

What was the strategy, Terry?

What happened to many of the locally-based players who were training for over six months?

In all of this, just as in the previous matches, we must find out what sort of ideas arose at halftime in the T&T's dressing room, as we witnessed only one change, immediately after the interval. This may have suggested that to everyone else other than approximately 1.3 million citizens, everything was going to plan according to the management team.

Perhaps the main question is, should we have been surprised by all of this? the score lines, the pattern of play, the formations, the style of play, the general environment of the team, the Bahamas parking the bus and eventually the final result.

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet “to be or not to be, that is the question", has now become more relevant than ever in T&T’s football.

Those that wanted Terrence Fenwick, as national coach, since over 18 months ago whether they are named William (Not Shakespeare), Keith (Not Brutus), Lasana (Not Lady Macbeth), Colin (Not Prospero) or Allan (Not Shylock), may all be planning exit clauses, but in the minds of many, it would certainly be too late, if indeed their support was fulsome and true.

Football in this country has always encapsulated controversy, and negativity but we never witnessed the level of animosity, diatribe and total abundance of hatred and divisiveness, a lot of it attributed to social media links, where identities are generally hidden.

Many have recommended a new beginning, but how will that work, if the atmosphere, which has been described as uneasy, unfriendly and downright fistful by those, closest to the players, is allowed to permeate.

There is in history, many versions of settings, that suggest, - no time is ever good enough or bad, for change - It is the events that follow the change which is critical to any progress or improvement, and therein is the “default”. In this beautiful twin-island republic, we have heard many promises become pipe dreams never to be fulfilled, because of hunger for power.

Trust is going to be critical going forward, and therefore what needs to happen, is that coaches, players and other officials need to work with the T&T Football Association (TTFA) management team to ensure, that there is – League Football – of some kind when the sport is allowed back on the field of play.

As many turn their collective tournament direction focus onto the Gold Cup in the USA, let us hope that a plan is not only hatched but implemented for local youth football, between Secondary School league and any new Unified league.

The fact is, that since the arrival of Fenwick our football has been further divided.

Fenwick has found out, that being a national coach is not as easy as he may have believed and in these circumstances, he has found himself, caught with his pants on fire at ever turn.

While there is little doubt that several of our players underperformed and look clueless at times, the buck begins and ends with the coach – Fenwick.

Unless he can prove, that he can perform miracles with the same players, then he should do the noble deed, and offer his resignation, if not, then there would be no alternative for the Normalisation Committee to terminate his services in the current environment.

And yes it will be costly, but no more, than the loss of confidence from players, the public and potential sponsors in the team, notwithstanding there is a raging school of thought that Fenwick has already lost the dressing room and when that happens is time to press the reset button.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian