16 May 2001
- Written by Mark Pouchet (T&T Express)
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CHIEF Adegboye Onigbinde is a relieved man after his dismissal as head coach of the national Uder-17 squad. And after the Nigerian irons out some conditions of his contract, he will be ready to head back home.
Onigbinde was replaced by Brazilian Rene Simoes at a meeting on Tuesday which included Fifa vice president Jack Warner, TTFF president Oliver Camps, TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and all of the Team 2001 technical staff except Onigbinde.
Simoes, who led Jamaica a World Cup appearance in France in 1998, has also been appointed as TTFF technical director for a period of three years. The 48-year-old was expected in the county last night to sign his contract.
His predecessor, though, told the Express that he was informed of the termination of his contract via a TTFF letter on Tuesday.
His sacking came after his comments over the weekend blaming TTFF for compromising the progress of the Under-17 squad ahead of the September 13-30 JVC Under-17 World Cup championships to be hosted in this country.
It also followed Warner assertion on the weekend that there would be a “shake-up” in the technical personnel.
But the Chief, who assumed the post in 1998 was quick to add that he has no regrets. “I see it as a relief....I don’t regret having to come here,” he claimed. “It’s part of the things I’m destined to go through in my life.”
He added: “I have learnt a lot since I came here, not only in technical terms, but in how people handle things at this level. No Trinbagonian can be a stranger to me anywhere in the world now. My perspective has been broadened.”
Asked if he believed he was a scapegoat for the TTFF, Onigbinde put it this way:
“I leave the public to judge that because I haven’t hidden anything from the public.”
As happy as he is for the experience though, Onigbinde recognised that things did not go that smoothly during his three-year tenure at the helm.
His requests for exposure to top-class international teams, proper training facilities and live-in camps repeatedly fell on deaf ears.
“ I have had real difficult times executing my programme. It has not been a very easy period for me...but I’m satisfied that I have done my best within the limits of the resources made available to me.”
Onigbinde now hopes his exit will bring Simoes the support and resources he was deprived of during his term as coach that would make his former charges more experienced and prepared for the World tournament.
The Fifa instructor’s focus now, though, is hammering out some details of his contract with Groden next week before preparing to return to his homeland.
“I think I definitely will want to go back home. I hope to part as friends without any animosity and hard feelings.” he ended.