No chemo for TTFA cancer as footballers continue to suffer the same fate.
Life insures that when things can't possibly get any worse, it always does. Below is an insight into the Trinidad and Tobago men's senior team before, all of the latest fiasco that is happening with the Soca Warriors players who is threatening to strike if past payments are not met by their employers soon.
Definitely, not the fault of new TTFA president Mr. David John-Williams- but surely a problem that he can fix quite easily. The former W Connection CEO have been only three weeks on the job and must be thinking to himself what sort of problems he has gotten himself into after realising the debts his predecessors have left for him to clean up.
The TTFA headman and his board members along with the players are embroiled in a battle to help settle salaries that are owed to them. To-date, its apparent no terms have been met and now T&T football teams (Men & Women) are about to take a plunge into the unknown if things isn't fixed fast enough.
T&T are only 3-weeks away from its important historic Copa América Centenario playoff match against Haiti, scheduled for January 8th 2016, at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama. A tournament if T&T qualify for will not only bring revenue to the TTFA, but will surely improve their chances of securing huge potential sponsors.
In the meantime, the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) went ahead and released its exclusive on Hart's team and how the former analytical Canadian coach went from being a Canadian misfortune after the Honduras mishap, to a Trinidad and Tobago genius who have won the hearts of the entire nation and even overcame some of T&T's biggest critics. One must seek-out Sheldon Phillips and thank him for recommending coach Hart to T&T, Canada lost, T&T gain.
Analyzing Hart's soldiers.
If you're thinking about representing Trinidad and Tobago's men's national football team at the senior level, well, you better bring your A-game and be prepared to fight laboriously to be selected for the team.
In-fact, I'll even go on record saying that it's highly unlikely anyone connected to T&T at the moment looking in, will find it easy to play for them and I am saying this about a team that has no big superstars, just a devoted and immensely talented bunch with a never-die attitude. They have been on a Leicester City run, of CONCACAF.
When your team gets branded by international pundits for a game they played against CONCACAF's most successful outfit Mexico as the greatest Gold Cup match ever witnessed, it surely feels good being from Trinidad and Tobago, now imagine, how proud the players and coaches must be feeling!
A few months later after the game against Mexico, playing in-front of a sold-out crowd at home against the second most successful CONCACAF team (USA) and making them look like underdogs and, what's quite interesting is, T&T seems as though they didn't even reached into full stride. It must be a reassuring feeling for T&T die-hard to know that their side still have a lot more fire in their cylinder.
Even though he had to forensically restructure his squad. Hart's pragmatic approach shows that he is not taking teams for granted while silently waiting to pick them off one by one if the opportunity arises. It must be frightening for opponents to see how much potential this team has when playing well.
The chemistry and relationship the guys share on and off the pitch is simply amazing, not to mention the love they share for their coach is an unbreakable bond. They even did noble acts in the past few months without being paid and, still came in and played their hearts out. Tell me where else in the world you see this? At least not in these modern days of football, and, I'm not saying its right, but its just damn impressive, especially when they have families to feed.
When you see players like Justin and Gavin Hoyte, Aubrey David, Marvin Phillip, Yohance Marshall, Willis Plaza, Carlyle Mitchell, Ataullah, Guerra, Lester Peltier and Jonathan Glenn finding it hard to break into the first team, you know something good is happening.
Sheldon Bateau, Keron Cummings, Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Kevin Molino, Mekeil Wiliams and Cordell Cato have all shown tremendous growth and still have the capacity to improve greatly, it causes other teams to raise eyebrows and scratch heads to see so many talents playing for a country that had lost its way after the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Hart's attuned to the millennials worked excellently.
Then you have regulars, Jan-Michael Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Kenwyne Jones and Andre Boucaud that are staples on the T&T side, and although, Jan-Michael Williams has been inconsistent at times, he is still regarded as the best keeper in the country and, probably the best to come around since a spectacular shot-stopper named Kelvin Jack. One of the names the Bahrainis will never forget, the other, Dennis Lawrence of course.
Hart must be commended for building such a deep talent pool unlike anything we've have seen in the past and with so little at his disposal.
Jan-Michael Williams (GK) - See above.
Daneil Cyrus (DEF) - Has the ability to play at right-back and his preferred center-back. He gets forward effectively, he's quick and has a must win attitude even if it's a meaningless game, he wants to win it. Though, Cyrus gets caught out of position on occasions, he energetically makes up for it. His long throws are like corners that can causes all sorts of problems for opponents, something that would surely peak the interest of former T&T player Winston Phillips.
Radanfah Abu Bakr (DEF) - Characterized for a lack of speed, however, Abu Bakr is an intelligent center-back that expertly uses his sensible man-marking techniques to make up for his pace, he also wins almost every aerial threat.
Kenwyne Jones (CF) - A true captain, a man with a mission to take T&T to the World Cup. At the moment there isn't many defenders in CONCACAF capable of stopping him when he is up to the task. The striker has the size and strength to drag 3 defenders with him and still score or not fall down, asked Mexico. Kenwyne recently scored some goals for T&T that were simply breathtaking. I am still on cloud-9.
Andre Boucaud (CM) - T&T's most composed player. Does the simple things meritoriously, can slow down the game, keep procession well, strike with venom, make important tackles and rarely gives up the ball. In my opinion, the hard-nosed midfielder is one of T&T's best foreign imports, of course, Christopher Birchall and Women Warriors center-back, Arin King also makes my list, yes, she's that good.
Sheldon Bateau (DEF) - Currently carrying a yellow card, if suspended, his place on the team is irreplaceable. Bateau is one of T&T's best ball interceptors and his aerial play is another one of his strengths. Definitely one of T&T's most improved young players.
Keron Cummings (AM) - A player who came along and won the hearts of many since he made his debut under former T&T coach and legend Russell Latapy. As former T&T coach Otto Pfister would say: “He has a million dollars in his legs.” Cummings has been on fire for his club and country, only 6-months ago he was literally unknown, today, T&T's newest secret weapon is famous, especially after helping conquered Mexico, twice. They know him very well. For the new 2015-16 Pro League season thus far, he has scored 7 for his club in all competitions and 3 for his country, all coming against Mexico.
Khaleem Hyland (CM) - Best long-range passer of the ball since Densill Theobald. Proved why coach Hart spent so much time trying to get him fit after his long dry spell season with former club KRC Genk. T&T is starting to see his true potential, the Yaya Toure effect.
Kevan George (DM) - The only player on the T&T's team with two first names. The iron-man that makes the players around him play with confidence and security. The best defensive midfielder to come along since Christopher Birchall and Reynold Carrington. George does most of the donkey work in midfield and when he's on the field, you'll never hear him cry, fall down or see him coming, however, one thing's for sure, you'll definitely feel his presence. With no comparison to Luis Suarez, the small framed midfielder packs a big bite.
Joevin Jones (LW) - Has pace that is hard for opponents to contain, he normally gets double teamed, but has the skills to get himself out of trouble. One must compliment coach Hart for using him on the left wing because going forward the midfielder can breakdown any defence. His corners and free-kicks show flashes of Chelsea's midfielder Willian and, sometimes show silky-smooth skills in the mould of former T&T player Warren Archibald, however, he still has a long way to go if he wants to reach Archibald's skilful level.
Mekeil Williams (LB) - The hard working defender was simply colossal in defence for the Warriors. The natural center-back was thrown into left-back and perfected it successfully. He has also improved on his clearances and passing as well. His high energy level, overlapping runs and ruggedness allows Joevin to get forward more often. New York Red Bulls are said to be monitoring Williams and could make a move in for the giant defender come January? Williams, who were immense throughout the season for his club team Antigua GFC also helped them captured its first ever Guatemalan Apertura Championship title and as a result, qualification into next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.
Cordell Cato (RW) - Despite being the youngest off the regulars, Cato does not show his immaturity. He plays with confidence, he is skilful and never stops running. He can also score goals, he successfully took Lester Peltier's place on the team, at least, for now.
Aubrey David (DEF) - If I had a rhyme to describe him, it would go, “quiet like a mouse and sturdy as a house, Aubrey, Aubrey, Aubrey.” A very sturdy and composed defender that can ruffle even the biggest of attackers. Former Costa Rican striker Paulo Wanchope are a big fan of him. Deportivo Saprissa is said to be eyeing the hard man.
Jonathan Glenn (FWD) - He is a late bloomer, strong, mobile and is currently one of T&T's most clinical finishers according to coach Hart. The talented striker doesn't see much playing time for his country because of Kenwyne's current form, however, with the striker determination to do well for both club and country it's only a matter of time before he gets his chance to break into T&T first team on a more regular basis. He is currently rated as one of the best strikers in Iceland for the past 2 seasons.
Kevin Molino (AM) - Deserve a special mention. He has been out for almost the entire year with an ACL injury, his return will give Hart further headaches. The player has a positive attitude, a high work-rate and good technical ability, his return will surely lift the Warriors to another level.
Justin Hoyte, Carlyle Mitchell, Marvin Phillip and Lester Peliter are all capable starters, surely, Hart has built an empire with so many options to choose from, that it's making it difficult for players who were once interested in T&T to join the fighting Warriors.
Recently, T&T has stalked many good foreign players and to name a few; Nick DeLeon, Ryan Inniss, John Bostock, Sheanon Williams and even Bradley Wright-Phillips comes to mind.
While by no means the door is shut, the above players will find it hard to walk into Hart's starting team, and they are all very good players.
In my humble opinion, Ryan Inniss seems like the most worthy gamble and may deserve a greater persuasion. At 6' 5" and still very young, the 20-year old defender can surely help T&T tighten things up in back, a department that needs special attention, as we've seen in their last 12 games T&T allowed 16 goals with 2 of them being own goals.
Inniss is contracted to Premier League side Crystal Palace and is on loan to League One side Port Vale. He has played for both England national Under 17 and Under 20 teams, however, the giant center-back hasn't suited up for the Three Lions since 2012 at any level.
He comes highly recommended by Tony Pulis, a coach known for his successful defensive tactics. Inniss has been described by his team-mates as a typical modern-day center-half: tall, athletic and aggressive. He also plays alongside our very own Christopher Birchall who has been whispering in his ear about joining the Panmen. Good going Chris, we need a T&T ambassador looking out for us there in the UK, a role Dwight Yorke doesn't seem interested in despite being an ambassador himself.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, 30, might be another decent option. The New York Red Bulls striker is being considered by many nations including Grenada and Jamaica, despite never being capped for a senior national team, the striker is still very reluctant, instead, he says he wants to focus on his club career. Can you believe that? At 30, he's turning down a chance to play at the highest stage either with T&T or even Jamaica. I'll bet that may soon change.
He has played for England Under 20 team on 5 occasions dating back to 2005 and never made it to the English senior side. Though, he currently has an impressive strike rate for his club, clocking 45-goals in 73 outings, the English-born striker may very well be hoping for an England call-up? He has understandably caught the eye of clubs around the world, and a move back to his native England may be in the cards as AFC Bournemouth is said to be giving chase.
On another note, Jamaica is said to have upped its chase and might be leading the way to win his signature. Jamaica is known for being successful in acquiring foreign-born players, hence the reason they have over a dozen players born in England that suits up for the Reggae Boyz. T&T on the other hand is lacking in the administrative department and normally wait's for players to change hands instead of pursuing them. Maybe with the new TTFA president installed things could change for the better, only time will tell.
English-born winger John Bostock, 23, is definitely the most skilful of the bunch. He can dribble, he's fast, he can shoot the ball with power and precision and can take free-kicks too, all this and more, but wait, why isn't he on the Trinidad and Tobago team? Forget T&T, what about England? One major problem, his attitude is not up to scratch and it has branded him bad, another reason why he's already played for 9 club teams and only 23 years old.
He is a graduate of the Crystal Palace Academy and was once the world’s most wanted teenager with the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal giving chase at age 14.
He's now sitting in the modest clubhouse cafe of Oud-Heverlee Leuven, a club in the Belgian First Division. Bostock is aiming on rebuilding his career and breaking into the England side. He has already twice denied a T&T call-up and still hopes to catch the eye of England's head coach Roy Hodgson. He does however, follow T&T's progress, so there is some interest from the talented Camberwell born midfielder.
American-born pair Nick DeLeon and Sheanon Williams are not bad options either, but not to die for. DeLeon has been praised for his work-ethic and the ability to use both feet, but has never played for any U.S. teams (youth or senior) and has already turned down T&T on a few occasions. In his 3-years with DC United, he has scored 12 goals in 109 appearances. At age 25, Nick should reconsider his decision as it looks like it will take a miracle to make the U.S. national team because they have a very deep talent pool that are of higher pedigree. What also makes DeLeon chances harder is the fact that he has never suited up for the Yanks at junior level.
As for Sheanon Williams, the 25-year old Houston Dynamo defender doesn't have the ability to make the current T&T side, nor does he or DeLeon have the passion to wear the Red, Black and White, at least not for now.
On a side note, there are 2 young defenders worthy of the chase, despite the odds being stacked in favour of the United States, should T&T get either, it could argue well for them in the future and, with a new president who seems eager to build for the future we may very well see some sort of network created that will pool all possible potential players together?
In the meantime, American-born Desevio Payne, 20, is a great option for T&T's future providing he's still available. U.S. assistant senior team head coach Tab Ramos is a huge fan of the FC Groningen defender and has kept a close eye on him. The South Carolina native qualifies for T&T through his Trini-born dad. He was raised in the Netherlands and made it clear his ambition lies with the United States whom, he has already been cap four times for them at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
His captain on the U.S U-20 team, Shaquell Moore, 19, son of Tobago-born and former T&T striker Wendell is another great prospect, though its highly unlikely he will commit despite saying if things doesn't work out with the U.S. that his ambitions could change towards T&T. Shaquell did give T&T first preference before he became a United States international, but was told he were too small in body size to make the T&T youth team. Shaquell subsequently went on to captain 3 United States youth teams at Under 17, 18 and 21 levels, respectively. The Huracán Valencia CF right-back would have been a great asset to T&T unfortunately, they have blown it. Maybe they'll be a turn of the tides in the near future but only time will tell as both (Payne and Moore) are still eligible to represent T&T at senior level. Maybe, an invitation to join the T&T senior team may just do the trick and entice them a bit.
No one can blame the above mentioned players for wanting to play for their country of birth, the same way no one could blame Hart's soldiers for not falling short of theirs either. One thing is certain, the Soca Warriors is a fighting bunch and have shown the world that they are a force to be reckoned with. So if you are planning on joining the T&T team one day, beware of the Warriors, enter at your own risk.
Eyes on the ball.
T&T is not short on talented players like Levi Garcia, Neveal Hackshaw, Duane Muckette, Kadeem Corbin, Shannon Gomez, Alvin Jones, Aikim Andrews, Weslie John, Nathan Regis, Rundell Winchester, Hughtun Hector, Uriah Bentick, Trevin Caesar, Julius James, Andre Fortune, Jamal Gay, Kareem Moses and a possible Canadian-born goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh who has expressed deep interest to play for T&T, comes to mind.
By not getting too carried away by some of T&T's recent performances because teams do peak up and down and as coach Hart rightfully pointed out: "We’ve achieved nothing to date." Maybe, Hart may just look towards some of T&T brightest youngsters coming up to beef of his squad for what could be a long journey especially if T&T gets into the Hexagonal series, who knows?
Whoever Hart chooses, he usually gets it right.
Well done T&T, more-so, the spectacular Stephan Hart. Thank you for resuscitating our football once more and, with very little financial support- after, the destructible Jack Warner's regime had destroyed it.
Up next for the Warriors, a date with Haiti for a place in the historic Copa America Centenario, to be played in the United States from June 3-26, 2016. T&T will square off with the Haitians on Friday, January 8th, 2016, at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Haiti, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: the Soca Warriors is coming to town!
Seasons Greetings to all from the SWO !!