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VETERAN footballer and former striker of the Trinidad and Tobago senior team Stern John said that the time has come for players to prove themselves.

John made the comment yesterday during an interview with the Express. John said the hiring of new coach Stephen Hart would mean that the players would experience a “shake up”. John said the time has come for the players to stand and be counted, and place the country back on the football map.

“Right now we need leaders. The players need to step up and be counted. No one respects us right now; We need to get the respect on a world stage,” John said.

John added that it does not matter whether the coach is local or foreign. He added that former national coach Leo Beenhakker, who led the “Soca Warriors” to World Cup in 2006, made the team buy into his dream.

He also noted that the changing of a coach is a normal thing in football, and hopes that the players can adjust in time for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which kicks off on July 7 in the United States.

According to John, the major issue now is not about the coach and the skills of the coach, but about the players. Whenever a new coach comes the players are rattled, he pointed out, but was not convinced there would be enough time to do so, given that the Gold Cup is less than two weeks away.

John said he was not sure of Hart’s capabilities, but is sure that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) would have done their research before hiring him.