Thu, Jun

ONCE AGAIN, David Nakhid is embroiled in controversy. The 40-year-old Trinidad and Tobago player/coach is being asked to apologise by ex-national teammate Russell Latapy, and his business manager Wayne Mandeville, over comments made on a programme aired on NCC Channel 4 on February 10. Latapy’s management team, headed by Mandeville, has sent a letter to Nakhid, dated February 28 from his (Mandeville’s) attorneys-at-law Gittens Smart and Co. The letter stated: “On Thursday February 10, 2005, in a television morning programme.... you uttered the following words: ‘Anyone can pay a couple of people to hold up some placards outside the Oval. We know that and I know that, I speak open —  so if Mandeville or whoever want to pay a few people to hold up some placards I have no problem with that’.”

Nakhid was drawing reference to the one-man protest staged by former national striker Noel “Sammy” Llewellyn outside the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain on February 9. The protest was during TT’s 2-1 defeat to the United States in the CONCACAF World Cup Final Round qualifying match. One of the cards read “if (Dwight) Yorke could play, give Latapy a call”. Llewellyn, one of the team’s most outspoken critics, has been vocal in his call for Yorke and Latapy to rejoin the team, instead of Nakhid, who made his return to international action last month. The letter continued: “Our client (Mandeville) further instructs us that he has, over the years, been closely associated with Russell Latapy as his business advisor and this association is well known to the public and yourself.

“We are further instructed by our client that he had no prior knowledge of such a protest and had no communication with anyone whatsoever in relation to the planning or execution of the protest.” The attorneys-at-law, acting on behalf of Latapy and Mandeville, have given Nakhid seven days, of receipt of correspondence, to respond by way of retraction of the statement and a written assurance that such allegations will not be repeated. Failure to do so can result in the consideration of additional legal options against Nakhid. Nakhid is no stranger to controversy during his playing career. During his time at Al Ansar in Lebanon, he fell out with the team’s hierachy, and by extension, the Lebanese Football Association (LFA), after they sliced his two-year deal in half.

Weeks later, he was embroiled in a dispute with the club and the LFA over a US $12,000 transfer fee of striker Peter Prosper from United Petrotrin. Nakhid, who was also accused of inciting 26 African footballers in Lebanon to protest their ill-treatment by the Federation, saw his ban lifted on September 12, 1997. The 1994 and 1995 Shell Cup MVP announced his retirement from the TT team on October 6, 1995, a decision he rescinded a month later. Last week, Nakhid was fined US$2,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and abusive language towards referee Stanley Lancaster during TT’s 2-1 loss to Cuba in the Digicel Caribbean Cup in Barbados. He denied the charge and has called for an inquiry.