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KERWYN “Hardest” Jemmott, a temperamental midfielder who was recently released by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, has now found favour with national football team’s head coach Bertille St Clair. According to sources close to the TT set-up, the 26-year-old Jemmott has been included in the Trinidad and Tobago team currently preparing for the Caribbean Zone Digicel Cup First Round Group “D” round-robin contest.
Action in the group will kick-off on Wednesday with a double-header at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Tunapuna. The sources decried the fact that Jemmott, who is now without a club, as well as captain Angus Eve, currently the temporary coach of Jabloteh, were preferred over top players Silvio Spann, Travis Mulraine, Densil Theobald, Trent Noel, Nigel Daniel and Kendall Davis.

The sources also added that St Clair has been particularly inclined to keep Joe Public’s captain and central defender Derek King, who has been included in the team for every World Cup qualifier to date without leaving the bench. This while ex-nationals Keyeno Thomas, Ian Gray and David Atiba Charles are left to languish in the T&T Pro League. Those decisions, as well as the coach’s style and his controversial inclusion of 11 overseas-based professionals to play in last Wednesday’s qualifier against St Vincent, were topics of discussion during Saturday’s “Meeting of the Minds” at the Nu Tec Conference Room, Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Tunapuna.

The meeting was arranged by Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special advisor Jack Warner. Present were a number of local football personnel included TTFF President Oliver Camps, TTFF Technical Director Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips, CONCACAF technical committee member Alvin Corneal, Chairman of the TTFF technical committee Rudolph Thomas, Sedley Joseph, Peter Granville, Earl John, Muhammad Isa, Rudolph Thomas and Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris. TT Senior Team Manager Richard Brathwaite, Assistant Coach Ron La Forest, women’s Technical Director Jamaal Shabazz, Under-20 Coach Anton Corneal and Under-17 Head Nigel Grovesnor were also in attendance at the three-hour meeting of the minds. Warner noted that the meeting was “well-attended, an absolute gem.” “What has been the collective wisdom,” said the FIFA vice-president, “is that the technical structure of the team has to be reviewed.”

Stressing that more critical roles will be given to Phillips and Corneal, two former outstanding national players in the 1960s, Warner noted that all those present at the meeting were optimistic of the team’s chances of qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Phillips, the ex-QRC, Maple and TT goalkeeper, admitted that “We must prepare and we must know what we are preparing for” as the team goes into the final round, from February until November, against Mexico, United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. He was adamant that the TT team will be privy to information from their opponents courtesy of reports from scouts, adding that “We have to improve our scouting development programmes.” St Clair was absent from Saturday’s programme, but Warner stressed that the technical committee will meet with the Tobago-born tactician to discuss urgent matters arising from the team’s lack of lustre performances this year.