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Sat, Oct

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KEVIN MOLINO has once again run afoul of the Trinidad and Tobago team management, particularly coach Stephen Hart, and was left out of Tuesday’s Caribbean Cup Third Round Group Four qualifier away to Martinique at Fort-de-France.

Martinique won the game 2-0 to top the group, and automatically qualify for the 2017 Caribbean Cup and the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. tt will now enter a playoff round in November to try to get into the Gold Cup but are definitely out the Caribbean Cup.

But the major talking point from Tuesday’s match was about the 26-year-old Molino, who was omitted from the team by Hart for allegedly breaking team curfew last week. With key 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting next month, all eyes are on Hart to see if he would further sanction his star Orlando City midfielder who did the same thing just over a month ago prior to a World Cup qualifier. Hart may not have to make a decision.

On his Snapchat social media account yesterday, Molino announced that he was taking a yearlong break from international football. “Last game for Trinidad (and Tobago) was against Dominican Republic. I’m taking a year off, performances matters.”

The slimly-built Molino, who made his national men’s debut in a friendly against Guyana at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on November 4 2010, has a total of 16 goals in 35 internationals. Molino, Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams, were reprimanded and fined by the T&T management before the September 2 World Cup qualifier at home to Guatemala, after breaking curfew to attend a boat ride on August 30.

He looked to have bounced back from that incident with a hat-trick in a 4-0 Caribbean Cup third round win at home to the Dominican Republic last week but allegedly left the team’s base at the Marriott Hotel in Mucurapo, without permission, to attend a nightclub in Woodbrook on Friday night.

During the post-game media conference on Tuesday, Hart said, “he was left out of the squad for disciplinary reasons. He’s in a situation where he has to fight back for (his place).” Molino, with his self-imposed break will miss key World Cup qualifiers in November against Costa Rica and Honduras as well as other hexagonal matches next year. Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa FC owner and coach Keith Look Loy, as well as ex-national captain Sedley Joseph, in separate telephone interviews yesterday, were openly in support of Hart for the stance he took. “The first time, when he had partners in crime, I was of the view that they should have been disciplined then with a suspension from the team,” said Look Loy.

“As it turned out, the coach handled it in his way. I respect that, but clearly that wasn’t enough, at least in the case of Molino, who proceeded to do what he did again. “I think now that his pattern of behaviour is quite clear and I think that the coach was absolutely correct, if he didn’t do it the first time, to suspend him. I’m fully in support of what Hart has done. this should be the line taken with anybody else who wants to engage in that kind of indisciplined and disrespectful behaviour.” Joseph said, “it’s strange that I can’t understand players who have been playing professionally, and on national duty, doing these sort of things. I say it’s unfortunate that the coach had to deal with that kind of thing, but I think he did the correct thing in leaving him off the team.

“When you’re playing in a national team, it is a no-no with players getting on with that kind of indiscipline,” Joseph added. “I suppose, with the kind of ability he has, that he can do what he wants and get away with it. But I congratulate the coach on taking the action.” there has been some debate on social media that Hart should have been more lenient with Molino, especially with creative midfielder Keron Cummings still not back to his best following a gunshot wound to his leg last December, and Ataullah Guerra out of favour.

Look Loy stressed, “I could argue in response that when he was allowed to play, after the first (infringement), which was against Guatemala, he did very little. “Do we want a team in which players are free to do whatever they want, knowing that they would get away (with) it, or do we want a disciplined outfit in which people understand that they have a role to play and which everybody will be given equal chance, within the rules and regulations, to play their part? that’s the decision which every coach, and every Football Association, have to make. In any event, Molino (being) out might give somebody else a chance to shine.”