Wed, May

John coaching at Central FC.

Former national striker Stern John has been doing some coaching with Digicel T&T Pro League outfit Central FC. He started a few days ago and could be there for the rest of season.

The Guardian understands that the ex-striker who, only recently was inducted into the First Citizens Foundation Sports Hall of Fame last year, was said to have been the replacement for Ross Russell who was sacked by the Central ‘Sharks’ recently.

Yesterday, however, the club’s operation’s manager Kevin Harrison confirmed that John, has been lending his support to the team by sharing his knowledge and experience, but on a voluntary basis. John has been expectedly, working with the strikers as goalscoring has been highlighted as their weakpoint this season.

Harrison explained with John’s record and experience in goal-scoring, that he could not think about a better person he would like to have doing work on his forwards than John.

John’s decision to coach at the central club was due mainly to his close friendship with Sancho, as both represented the senior national football team for many years including 2006 where they both donned the red, white and black at the World Cup in Germany. His decision has now become particularly important as the ‘sharks’ are on the verge of finding a brand of football that they can relate to.

Harrison reminded the Guardian of a situation at English Premiership club Liverpool in the late 1970s to early 1980s where the headcoach was usually studied by his assistant coach, saying when that headcoach leaves then the assistant coach would take over.

Harrison made it clear that the system means that the team was playing according to the coach which, would have led to changes anytime a coach leaves. This is not what we want to achieve at Central FC, but rather have a style of play that suits our team. He explained the idea is to have people with past experiences in professional football to give their input with a view to creating a Central FC football style.

According to Harrison the club’s headcoach Dale Saunders, who is a qualified coach, took over from Russell in December, has been very happy with what the club has been trying to achieve. “Saunders has been doing a great job and now he is receiving assistance from John as well as the team’s managing director Brent Sancho and to be honest the players have been receptive towards it and are doing well to date,” Harrison said.

In the team’s last game on Saturday they whipped St Ann’s Rangers 3-1 and Harrison was impressed, saying the team looked very different in terms of its play, its tactics and system. The Sharks will again take the field in a mouth-watering contest against league leaders Defence Force from 9 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium this evening.

Harrison said it will be a crucial match for them as they look to close the gap between them and the Army Coast-Guard Combination. Contacted yesterday Sancho confirmed that John has been helping the club but is not on the team’s payroll. “He is a personal friend of mine and he has been working with the strikers as well as conducting motivational sessions with players, as we have done, in allowing people who have performed at the top of their games professionally, to do in the past,” Sancho said.

He added: “As you know the team has no style of its own and we are working hard to achieve this and continue to instill professionalism as well. What we are also trying to do is find a balance between achieving success in local football, staying in line with the structure of international football, while providing an avenue of sustained development for many young footballers in T&T.”