FORMER national players and current coaches Angus Eve and Brian Williams have called for more respect to be shown to the national jersey. The pair stressed that man management and respect are key factors in maintaining discipline in Trinidad and Tobago football.
Eve and Williams were speaking on the heels of an alleged situation that caused two national footballers — Daneil Cyrus and Jomal Williams — to get sent home from a training camp and later dropped from the squad for the Gold Cup qualifiers starting today.
National head coach Tom Saintfeit told the media he decided to send home Cyrus and Williams after they arrived to camp 90 minutes late.
According to Saintfiet, winger Joevin Jones failed to report to camp while Kevin Molino had initially declined to take part but then changed his mind. Saintfiet said he decided to omit Molino from the qualifiers as he had missed the training camp for the Nicaragua friendlies in December.
This is just the latest incident where the commitment of T&T footballers has come into question. On August 30 last year Molino, Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams broke camp to attend a party days before a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.
The players were fined for their actions. Molino later committed another indiscretion and was banned for two World Cup qualifiers.
Eve said he was unaware of the full details into what transpired between Cyrus and Williams (Jomal) and the national coaching staff, but believes indiscipline in T&T football is becoming a problem.
“It is alarming that so much players are now involved in (these situations).
It seems like players don’t want to play for their country anymore,” he declared.
“I don’t want to get down on the players in any way but I would say is that people should just be honest.
I think we’re missing honesty, if you do not want to play just say you don’t want to play instead of making yourself look bad, putting yourself out there for people to say bad things about you, just say I don’t want to play or I don’t want to represent the country at this point in time and people have to respect your decision at the end of the day.” Eve acknowledged that when he was a national player there were situations of indiscipline but said there was still a level of respect for the national colours.
“Boys will be boys. None of us were perfect, we all had things that we would have done that coaches may not have liked, but at the end of the day it boils down to respecting the game and we have to remember that the game is giving us the things that we have in life.”
Eve, who coaches at the secondary school and Pro League levels, admitted it is a challenge to manage an entire squad of players. “It is very difficult because each player comes from a different home, they come from different values and they always say that the most important thing in coaching is man management and respect. Man management is knowing that I could talk to you one way but I can’t talk to another player the same way because he won’t react to it similarly.”
Brian Williams, a former Strike Squad defender, admitted he is worried about the indiscipline among T&T footballers. “Definitely it will be very concerning because this is something we have to look into seriously, as coaches try to avoid situations of such indiscipline and other than that it is important that we instil the level and maintain the level of discipline within the football team. Williams, who is now the national Under-20 coach, also spoke about the importance of man management.
“Besides coaching the team, what we call man management is an important part. You (must) show equity and show that rules and regulations are being maintained concerning the footballer. That is something we need to look at seriously.” Williams further explained, “favouritism sometimes may kick in where you discipline certain players and you make other players do certain things, but you must try to keep that balance throughout so the players will know where you’re at.”