Former Trinidad and Tobago National Footballer Ron La Forest is hoping to take Super League New Boys Guaya United to the top-flight of Trinidad and Tobago football.
La Forest took the helm of the then Eastern Counties team in June 2012 and immediately stamped his authority on the team letting his players know that their reputation counted for nothing, as his reputation was much bigger than theirs. He recalls that members of the Community would approach him, praising him for what he has done with the team, giving them a sense of pride, which was fulfilling for the man from Carenage, miles away in the west.
The head coach guided the team safely through the Champions of Champions (COC) Competition and promotion to the TTFA National Super League, where they currently sit third, (as of Sep. 12th) with two games in hand, seven (7) points behind leaders Club Sando and two (2) behind Malabar FC, suffering 1 defeat.
Coach La Forest had stints at the helm Frontline in the Northern Football Association, ECM Motown, Trinity Pros, as well as Assistant and then head Coach of San Juan Jabloteh in 2001 and 2002, winning the First Citizens Cup Competition during both season. According to La Forest, this failed to impress the management at Jabloteh, who opted for a foreigner, first Ricky Hill and then another Englishman in Terry Fenwick.
An adamant La Forest says that there is a school of thought in local football that a younger coach is the way to go, however, he is intent on showing otherwise, insisting that players from his generation of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Coach La Forest says players of his generation have a lot to offer and they shouldn’t be cast aside, especially with the wealth of knowledge they possess.
In 2000 to 2002 La Forest had a hand in moulding current Trinidad & Tobago and Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones, having been given the head coaching duties at St. Anthony’s College in Westmoorings due to an illness to longstanding head coach Nigel Grosvenor. La Forest remembers converting the Jones from defender to striker as St. Anthony’s dominated Schools football.
Confident in his ability to identify good players is his strong point as a coach, insists La Forest, “I consider myself a very gifted coach” says the former Defence Force midfielder.
Recalling his playing days, La Forest is keen to show that he is just as good a coach, as he was during his playing days being one of the most talented midfielders this country has produced. He is not a believer in the notion that great players don’t usually make great coaches.
On his current mission, La Forest says, “I have unfinished business in T&T football and it continues with Guaya United” and he feels he has the players to do it. At his (La Forest) disposal are former national under-17 footballer Carlon Hughes, Ryan Stewart, formerly of TT Pro League Club, Caledonia AIA and Leston Paul, former captain of the national Under-17 and Under-20 teams. His aim is to win the Super League Title.
Prior to that, coach La Forest will have the chance to rub-shoulders and test his team along with the Pro League elite when the National FA Trophy Competition comes around and again during the Toyota Classic Cup Competition, a scenario he is looking forward to and he is bent on keeping his team in the top-half of the Super League Standings to make sure it happens.
Should any offer come his way to move to another Club, La Forest insists that he will turn it down, saying, “I have two years to complete my mission at Guaya United and I will not leave before that is done.”
Meanwhile, the Guaya Coach heaped praise on the current Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Administration.
He says, “They are doing a tremendous job, they are going very well, this is something that has not happened in a very long time, when the FIFA window is open our national senior team playing meaningful matches, very good.This is what our senior team needs.” “And for coach Stephen Hart, I have full respect,” La Forest concluded.