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Francisco Maturana, the Colombian who coached the T&T team back in 2008-2009 is said to be among the candidates vying for the job of T&T national senior men’s coach as a replacement for Belgian Tom Saintfiet.

Yesterday, the Technical Committee of the TTFA which is being chaired by former national player Dexter Skeene, first had to deal with the walk-out of one of its members, former national coach Bertille St Clair.

The Tobagonian who made one of few appearances at technical committee meetings at the office of the TTFA, Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday, left dissatisfied. His position will be taken by another ex-national coach Edgar Vidale, the Guardian Media learnt. 

Guardian Media under-stands that as the meeting proceeded four other coaches were on the shortlist to be interviewed, among them former national World Cup players, defender Dennis Lawrence and Russell Latapy, along with Englishman Terry Fenwick and St Lucian Stuart Charles Fevrier. 

According to our source Guardian Media was told that Latapy was originally expected to take over from Saintfiet, but with Maturana now in the mix Latapy chances became tough.

Maturana shot to popularity by coaching local team Atletico Nacional to the Copa Libertadores Cup in 1989. He is now a member of the FIFA Football Committee.

It is understood that apart from Latapy, interviews were also conducted with Terry Fenwick, a former England international and the former coach of local pro club San Juan Jabloteh and Stuart Charles Fevrier.            

According to Fenwick, who spoke to Guardian Media just before his interview, “The plight of T&T football is clearly isn’t very good, were are plummeting down the FIFA rankings list, there’s disarray throughout the TTFA, we are failing at all levels of football and that’s not just with the national senior team but all the youths teams below that and the ladies. That is clearly because there are people and appointments that are being made with people who are clearly not up to the standard required for international football”.

He credited for coach Stephen Hart for his job and said, “A great job done by Stephen Hart, who resurrected football from the depths of three years ago”.

He continued, “T&T football need somebody stronger, somebody that is very familiar with. It really comes down to only one person and that’s me”. He pointed out that, “Stuart Charles Fevrier had a go at it before in the past and failed. His style of football is not suited for the type of players that we produced here in Trinidad and Tobago, and it will cause more disruption over time if it’s a Stuart Charles Fevrier appointment. And clearly the relationship he’s got with the president of the TTFA would be very unhealthy for our football”.

Saintfiet resigned on Tuesday after 35 days on the job claiming he did not receive the support of the T&TFA and its president David John-Williams.

Meanwhile, it is under-stood a squad of 23 players conducted an online vote via chat and placed Fevrier in front with nine votes overall. A player from the chat who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that Fenwick received two votes and Hart the same amount. There was also a vote for Angus Eve, a former national coach to be considered for the Soca Warriors top spot as well.

Guardian Media was told that the players, though willing to work with any coach chosen by the TTFA, had decided to offer their suggestions to the football association. Results of their vote were not to be submitted to the media as agreed by the players.

However, the player, who were at the end of a damning controversy under Hart, has lashed out at recent claims that information sent to an online site properly represented the outcome of the vote. Jan-Michael Williams who assumed the position of team-spokesman, revealed that Hart, Fenwick and Fevrier were their choice for head coach, while Eve would have been an assistant to either.

They are also calling for the immediate removal of team doctor Terrance Babwah and his assistant Dave Isaac due to lack of trust by the members. Both men resigned recently under Hart as they claimed the coach refused to take professional advice from them, as they objected to the selection of Williams (Jan Michael) for the FIFA/CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula last year. 

In addition to Skeene, as chairman, the other selection committee members are Edgar Vidale, who replaced Bertille St. Clair who removed himself from the Committee, Muhammad Isa, Dr. Alvin Henderson, Errol Lovell and former national player Jinelle James.