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Football / Re: Not with team, Waldrum in limbo as T&T coach
« on: November 15, 2015, 09:38:45 PM »
W/Warriors coach sidelined; Waldrum wants chance to fix T&T women’s game
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Randy Waldrum must make do with following the “Women Soca Warriors” via newspaper reports and the social media, as poor communication and disorganisation within the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) left him on the sidelines.
Waldrum explained that the dismissal of TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips, who was instrumental in his hiring, had added to his uncertainty regarding the W/Warriors post. And now he wants an assurance about his job security before he returns to Trinidad.
The Texan, who coaches professional outfit Houston Dynamo, explained that he was supposed to return to Trinidad roughly three weeks ago to prepare the team for the ongoing Olympic qualifiers. But, instead, he was frustrated by intermittent communication with Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee and team manager Sharon O’Brien.
“It is the frustration of not doing things properly,” Waldrum told Wired868. “We are getting ready to play Olympic qualifiers and we are doing the same thing as the last World Cup campaign. This is no way to prepare…
“Last Sunday night, I emailed Tim Kee and said I still wasn’t being communicated with. And I said, moving forward, I need something in writing that says I will be here for the next cycle so I can prepare properly for the next World Cup.”
Waldrum, whose first national assignment in T&T came while Phillips’s father, Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips, was technical director, conceded that his new yearn for job security was at least partially linked to Phillips’ dismissal.
“I wasn’t sure if, because Sheldon (Phillips) was dismissed, Mr Tim Kee wanted to keep me on board at all,” said Waldrum, who insisted Phillips was a great asset to him here. “So I asked Tim Kee if he planed to keep me and he said ‘absolutely’ but I still wasn’t being communicated with…
“I have no way of knowing if Tim Kee would be re-elected and if a new president would come in and replace me. I have no guarantees and have been doing this voluntary.
“So, I told him it is in our best interest that I don’t come back until I have an agreement in writing.”
Tim Kee, who sacked Phillips on 20 October 2015, will stand for re-election at the TTFA AGM on 29 November 2015.
But Waldrum conceded that the Women Warriors’ problems begun long before Phillips’ unceremonious and controversial exit. And he said that the national team had resorted to training with as little as seven players due to the despondence of the players since the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in July.
“When I got back (to Trinidad) on October 16, I found that many of the players were so frustrated with how they had been treated that they had had stopped training,” Waldrum told Wired868. “Ayanna (Russell), (Dernelle) Mascall… I had to talk Patrice Superville into coming back to the team.
“We only had about seven players coming out to training and there is no way you can prepare for Olympic qualifiers and to play the United States with seven players. So the training was very poor because of that.
“I don’t know if we can even get all the players back… But I believe I can take care of this if I get the authority to do it.”
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/11/15/wwarriors-coach-sidelined-waldrum-wants-chance-to-fix-tt-womens-game/

Maylee and Kennya refuse to join “Women Warriors” under current manager
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

Former Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Senior Team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner are refusing to represent their country, as the “Women Soca Warriors” remain divided since coming to international prominence during their Canada 2015 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Cordner, who was a 2014 CONCACAF Player of the Year nominee, and Attin-Johnson have refused to play under current team manager, Sharon O’Brien, while former teammates Dernelle Mascall and previous vice-captain Ayanna Russell also allegedly opted out of the current Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying series.

And the disillusioned Women Warriors have company in former head coach Randy Waldrum, who also chose to remain in Dallas due to his concern about numerous administrative issues surrounding the programme and a lack of job security.

Cordner and Attin-Johnson, who were injured at the July Toronto 2015 Pan American Games are angry at their subsequent treatment from the TTFA and, in particular, O’Brien.

Cordner flew to Canada to seek medical treatment after being injured on international duty. And the former three-time Trinidad and Tobago Player of the Year was told she had to pay for her own trip home to play in the Olympic qualifiers, even though plane tickets were dispatched to other W/Warriors who were based in North America.

“Yaya paid for herself to go Canada to have her injuries taken care of,” said Waldrum, “and Sharon (O’Brien) said because she flew there on her own dime, she has to fly back on her dime.

“But she only went there because the (TTFA) wasn’t taking care of her in the first place…”

Cordner suffered a grade two MCL strain on her left knee after she collided with the opposing goalkeeper while scoring Trinidad and Tobago’s equaliser against Colombia on July 14. Her goal meant the Women Warriors retained a chance of qualifying for the semifinal round.

So, despite the injury, Cordner played in T&T’s final fixture, which ended in a 3-1 loss to Mexico. She then paid her own way to return to Canada for treatment at the LJR Physiotherapy Services.

Her ticket was subsequently reimbursed by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC).

“I didn’t really look to the TTFA for help because of the TTFA’s financial situation and I could not risk waiting and not knowing when my treatment would start,” Cordner told Wired868. “I took the opportunity because I wanted a speedy recovery in order to rejoin the team for the Olympic Games.

“By doing this, I also assisted the TTFA by taking away that financial burden.”

Cordner was flabbergasted when Waldrum informed her that the TTFA would not pay for her return to join the squad.

“I think it is very unprofessional that the TTFA would state that I’m responsible for paying my way to represent my country,” said the W/Warriors star, who is finishing her therapy in Seattle. “I’m cleared to play (by doctors here) so it’s disappointing that I won’t be representing my country in this upcoming tournament.

“I feel as though the current manager is being very vindictive towards me because there are five other players (based in North America) they (bought) tickets for.

“I do wish the team nothing but the best but I can’t subscribe to the current management they have in place.”

Former national captain, Attin-Johnson, slammed the TTFA’s stance on the outspoken Cordner as unforgivable.

“How in heaven’s name can a manager of the national team say Kennya has to pay her own way?” asked Attin-Johnson. “Is she representing us or St Lucia? For me, it shows it is a personal vendetta against Yaya because they brought in Lauryn (Hutchinson) and (Victoria) Swift but not her.

“Kennya is the one player who would play with a broken foot for Trinidad and Tobago. How can I accept that (treatment of her) as captain?

“And it is not just because she is my friend. I could never accept that for anyone.”

O’Brien did not deny asking Cordner to pay for her own airfare back to Trinidad. However, the W/Warriors manager suggested that the problem was partly down to miscommunication.

She did not elaborate.

“Kennya is an issue that we are trying to sort out,” O’Brien told Wired868. “I prefer to keep that private and we will deal with that behind closed doors.

“I feel communication was bad in Kennya’s case, so I am trying to see if I can rectify that situation.”

For now, Attin-Johnson is inconsolable. The gifted playmaker, who said she has recovered from injury at the Pan Am Games, said she will not wear national colours once O’Brien is team manager.

She explained too that she knows her request will not be an easy one for Tim Kee to fulfil—even if he wanted to—as O’Brien is the president of WOLF (Women’s League Football), which has two votes at the upcoming TTFA elections.

“For her to be a manager of a national team is unacceptable and I won’t sacrifice my body for people like that,” said Attin-Johnson, who claimed that many current players are also frustrated. “If I am not going to put my heart and soul into something, it is better I remove myself from it…

“The most difficult thing for me is knowing you worked your ass off to give a certain brand and identity to the women’s program, just to see it destroyed by one selfish individual…

“We are in 2015 and I am not going to take five or 10 goals from America again. And I am not going to make a fool of myself for a trip to Hawaii (for a high profile friendly against the United States).

“I am very proud of my contribution to the women’s national team and, by extension, Trinidad and Tobago. But not even God can tell me play for Sharon O’Brien.”

O’Brien responded that she thought Attin-Johnson was still injured. She declined comment on the former national captain’s stance.

“Maylee, as far as I understand, is still injured (because) she has never indicated to me that she is fit and ready to come back to train,” said O’Brien, who claimed she never had a falling out with Attin-Johnson or Cordner. “That is Maylee’s choice (not to play). Maylee and them have their own agenda.”

The Women Warriors whipped St Lucia 6-0 on Friday and 8-1 tonight to breeze into the Caribbean semifinal round and a match-up with Jamaica on Wednesday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

The top three nations from Jamaica, Guyana, Puerto Rico and T&T will advance to next February’s CONCACAF Olympic qualifying rounds in the United States. Only two CONCACAF teams will progress to the Rio Olympics.

O’Brien said the W/Warriors squad, which includes Arin King, Ahkeela Mollon, Tasha St Louis, Lauryn Hutchinson and Janine Francois, will be further strengthened on Tuesday with the return of Karyn and Kimika Forbes and Khadidra Debesette, just 24 hours before the Caribbean semifinals.

“I personally believe that, after months with no training, the girls are beginning to gel again now that they are in camp,” said O’Brien, “and I expect them to do well as per usual.”

Football / Re: Sheldon Phillips fired!
« on: October 20, 2015, 11:46:10 AM »
Tim Kee sacks Sheldon; TTFA general secretary pays price for Guardian gaffe
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee has sacked his general secretary, Sheldon Phillips, just six weeks before the TTFA presidential elections.
Tim Kee confirmed Phillips’ termination today, via press release, for: “failure to adhere to directives regarding the operational activities of the FA.”
The TTFA president, who is also the Port of Spain mayor and PNM treasurer, revealed that he asked his general secretary to resign on Monday evening and chose to sack him after he refused to do so.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association wishes to advise that Mr Sheldon Phillips no longer holds the position of General Secretary of the organisation,” stated the TTFA release. “This was a decision taken by the President of the TTFA, Mr Raymond Tim Kee, following the issuing of a letter to Phillips requesting his resignation on Monday evening. 
“Mr Phillips subsequently refused the request following which his services were terminated by the President with immediate effect.”
Insiders told Wired868 that Phillips paid the ultimate price for an interview with the Trinidad Guardian, which was published on Sunday October 18 and claimed that Tim Kee’s presidential campaign had the “full support” of the TTFA executive committee.
The Guardian story prompted a furious response from all three TTFA vice-presidents who said they supported anyone but Tim Kee.
Phillips claimed he was misquoted and reporter Walter Alibey and assistant sport editor Rachel King appeared to concede as much. The Guardian offered a retraction on its print edition yesterday. But it did not save Phillips, who was asked to quit and then sacked.
Tim Kee suggested that the search has already begun for a new general secretary, although any new appointment can be short-lived, as the TTFA will decide on a new president on 29 November 2015.
Thus far, Tim Kee, W Connection president and CEO David John-Williams and former World Cup referee and businessman Ramesh Ramdhan are believed to be the three nominees. The deadline for nomination is midnight on Tuesday October 20.
“The TTFA has commenced a search for a new General Secretary and remains committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities,” stated the TTFA release, “that will put the TTFA on a trajectory for growth and continued development 
“The TTFA thanks Mr Phillips for his duties dating back to 2013 and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”
Tim Kee unveiled Phillips as his general secretary and the de fact CEO of the football body on 9 May 2013. The then 47-year-old US-based administrator succeeded Richard Groden, whose name was synonymous with the 2006 World Cup bonus dispute and entangled with the financial gymnastics of the Jack Warner era at the turn of the century.
“I will do everything in my power and ability to help lead this organisation with grace and dignity,” said Phillips, at his appointment, “never forgetting our role and obligation to serve as stewards of a game we cherish; for a nation we love.”
Phillips was felt to be instrumental in the hiring of current men’s and women’s senior team coaches, Stephen Hart and Randy Waldrum, who quickly ingratiated themselves to their respective squads and the local football public.
However, in both cases, Phillips courted the respective coaches without the knowledge of the TTFA executive committee and the vice-president, Rudy Thomas, in charge of appointments. While the displaced coaches, Jamaal Shabazz and Marlon Charles, also complained about being disrespected after learning of their replacements through the media.
Hart’s success at the July 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tempered criticisms but Phillips did not fare as well when, in October 2013, the public found out that only a quarter of their funds raised for ailing Hungary-based football Akeem Adams—through a Native Spirit tee-shirt venture—would go to the player.
A TTFA release, authorised by Phillips, had instructed the public that: “The T Shirts will be sold at a cost of TT$100 with all proceeds going towards the “Heart of a Warrior” fund.
Phillips initially refused to apologise for misleading the public, after Wired868 revealed that only TT$25 from each tee-shirt—or TT$50,000 from the TT$200,000 raised—went to Adams, who was fighting for his life after a massive heart attack.
“We were in the middle of ramping up for the (New Zealand) game and we felt we would address the issue after the match and analyse it in more detail then,” Phillips told Wired868. “Hindsight is 20/20… We are not in the tee-shirt business. This was a Native Spirit initiative…
“People may see that as making excuses but that is the reality.”
But the administrative bungles and disinclination to acknowledge them continued apace.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/10/20/tim-kee-sacks-sheldon-ttfa-general-secretary-pays-price-for-guardian-gaffe/

Football / FC Santa Rosa serve plate of revenge to Levi-less Marabella
« on: October 15, 2015, 11:40:25 PM »
Santa Rosa serve plate of revenge to Levi-less Marabella
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

“Marabella is a good team,” said FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy. “They have good ball players and even a player with (Under-20) World Cup experience. They humiliated us 6-2 in the first game of the season, so we needed a win to get close to them and move up the table.

“And we needed a measure of salvation for the club to reverse that humiliation.”

Yesterday evening, Rashad Griffith was FC Santa Rosa’s redeemer at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, as the Arima-based team eked out a 1-0 win over Marabella Family Crisis Centre, who travelled without their star player, 17-year-old attacker Levi Garcia.

Garcia, who will officially join Dutch Eredivisie club, AZ Alkmaar, on his 18th birthday on November 20, pulled out of the match with a sore ankle, after he supposedly suffered some rough treatment against Police FC on the weekend.

Marabella coach Terrence Boissiere spoke of Garcia’s impending exit like a new era for the CNG National Super League Premiership Division club.

“I would say this is life without Levi Garcia,” said Boissiere, as his players licked their wounds. “I’m glad it happened now because we have to prepare for that, as he is leaving on the 20th. I think we got the chances today but we didn’t make use of them.”

Twenty-six year old ex-2009 Under-20 World Cup striker Juma Clarence probably missed the Garcia effect more than most and he might have nightmares about a wasted second half penalty kick.

Look Loy conceded that his job was a bit easier yesterday without Garcia, although he pointed out that Santa Rosa was missing the more extravagantly named “Zico.”

“Keston ‘Zico’ Henry was absent with an injury, so we didn’t have his creative juices in midfield and we had to rely on hard graft,” said Look Loy. “Levi is a tremendous player and one of their key players. Yes, it helped (that he was not there) but this is football and you still have to go out and find a way to win.”

With Look Loy screaming instructions from the sidelines, Santa Rosa set out to frustrate the Marabella outfit, which was in third position and eight points off the top of the standings at kick off.

“We knew how they played,” said Look Loy. “We knew we had to hassle them and not let them play and that is what contributed to our goal.”

There was no hint of danger when Marabella stopper Brandon Neptune ran on to a loose Santa Rosa pass in his own penalty area in the 40th minute. Neptune could have cleared but opted to screen the ball out of play instead.

And Griffith surprised him with his spunk and ambition, as he nipped in to win possession before rounding Marabella custodian Rondell Renwick to score.

As if one suicidal error was not enough, Marabella winger Kurlan Khan presented Santa Rosa with another gift in first half stoppage time, albeit a violent one.

Khan had already outpaced Rosa midfielder Kashif Clarke and smartly cut across Clarke’s running path to make it impossible for the latter player to win the ball by fair means.

And then, inexplicably, Khan flung an elbow back into the throat of the chasing Clarke. Referee Rashby McPhee showed no hesitation as he flashed the red card.

“Whenever you are away from home and you have people in the stands shouting and coming down on the referee and even the (opposing) bench,” said Boissiere, “they put the referee under pressure. I don’t think it was that colour card.”

“It was absolutely a red card,” said Look Loy. “He threw an elbow and hit him in the throat and stopped his breathing for a second or two.”

Marabella might have lost another player for a similar infringement in the second half, as captain Ghmyo Harper struck Rosa midfielder Jean-Paul Aqui-Blanc with a forearm.

But, in this case, Harper was trying to untangle himself from Aqui-Blanc and McPhee decided a yellow card was enough.

It was McPhee who tied himself in knots, 13 minutes into the second half, as he awarded Marabella a dubious penalty kick.

Harper crossed from the right flank and Rosa custodian Kitwana Manning carelessly dropped the ball before rushing to retrieve it. Somehow, Marabella attacker Dwayne Edwards ended up on the floor inside the Rosa penalty box and McPhee ruled foul play.

Clarence stepped up to take the penalty kick but failed to even hit the target.

“We rode our luck today,” said Look Loy. “Although I don’t think it should have been a penalty in the first place.”

Boissiere felt that the mental demands of leading the NSL team were weighing on a player who was once a regular for Pro League superpower, W Connection, played professionally in Turkey, has two Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team caps and scored against Italy in the Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cup.

“I think he was under tremendous pressure because no one is really coming up to scratch in terms of scoring goals,” said Boissiere.

Look Loy suggested a flesh and blood reason for Clarence’s quiet showing.

“Alfie (James) did a brilliant job on Clarence,” Look Loy beamed about his central defender, “and kept him out of the game.”

Against the run of play, Rosa had two chances to stretch their lead.

In the 78th minute, Rosa substitute Nicholas Armstrong, who replaced the injured Griffith, got to the byline and picked out an unmarked Gary Bart on the edge of the opposing six yard box. But Bart hit wide.

Then there was another horrible misjudgement from Neptune as he was caught in possession by Aqui-Blanc on the half-line and sprinted back to tackle the Rosa player from behind inside the penalty box. McPhee waved play on.

But, generally, the 10 men from Marabella bossed the game.

“Jovan, organise the team!” Look Loy shouted from the sidelines, at captain and central defender Jovan Rochford.

Rosa defended en masse and generally kept Marabella from their 18-yard box. But only just.

After Clarence’s miss, Harper abandoned his right back role and became an auxiliary attacker. He too got a golden opportunity, midway in the second half, but watched on incredulously as his low shot deflected off Manning’s trailing leg and went out for a corner kick.

“All of you, understand the state of the game!” Look Loy shouted at his troops, as the seconds ticked away.

But it could have been all in vain, as Clarence got behind a free kick from 22 yards out in second half stoppage time.

This time, Clarence’s shot hit the inside of the post and bounced back across the Rosa goal mouth and away to safety. The Marabella striker looked as though he had just swallowed a cup of spoilt milk.

“We had five clear cut chances and a missed penalty,” said Boissiere, “and the only chance Santa Rosa got, they put it away. So it is a lesson for us going forward.

“But we are quietly confident that we will win the league… We know exactly what we need to do now.

“This loss may take us down to sixth or seventh place (in the standings) but that is not the end of the world.”

In fact, Marabella dropped to fifth place with Santa Rosa just one point behind in sixth.

“We needed that win,” said Look Loy. “So we will take it how we get it.”

It came with a side order of revenge.


FC Santa Rosa (4-2-3-1): 22.Kitwana Manning (GK); 24.Jesse Reyes, 13.Jovan Rochford (captain), 5.Alfie James, 3.Kerron Reid; 8.Shaka Pilgrim, 11.Durwin Ross; 19.Gary Bart (9.Desmond Baptiste 90), 6.Kashif Clarke, 21.Jean-Paul Aqui-Blanc; 7.Rashad Griffith (12.Nicholas Armstrong 49).

Unused substitutes: 30.Darren Shah (GK), 17.Kearn Noel, 18.Shaquille Antoine, 23.Claudius Howard, 27.Kedan Crosby.

Coach: Keith Look Loy

Marabella Family Crisis Centre (4-2-3-1): 23.Rondell Renwick (GK); 19.Ghmyo Harper (captain), 5.Brandon Neptune, 4.Emmanuel Adams, 7.Dwayne Edwards; 10.Kevin Moodie (20.Anderson Morrison 54), 49.Yohance Alexander; 70.Renefor Martin (17.Akida Boissiere 50), 15.Linsie Sherwood (77.Arvid Applewhite 80), 33.Kurlan Khan [Red card]; 9.Juma Clarence.

Unused substitutes: 1.Tevin Moore (GK), 13.Keston Grant, 18.Husani Thomas, 27.Akile Jeffery.

Coach: Terrence Boissiere

Referee: Rashby McPhee

Man of the Match: Ghmyo Harper (Marabella Family Crisis Centre)

Premiership Division - (Thursday October 15)

FC Santa Rosa 1 (Rashad Griffith 40), Marabella Family CC 0 at Marvin Lee Stadium;

Club Sando Moruga 1 (Trevon Mitchell 85), Matura ReUnited 2 (Kerin Vincent 12, 15) at Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;

Bethel United 1 (Teejay Cadiz 79), Guaya United 2 (Ryan Stewart 58, Jody Allsop 89) at Montgomery Recreation Ground;

Tobago FC Phoenix 5 (Simon Nedd 26, Andel Brown 38, Stefano Wright 50, Shelton Williams 62, OG 87), Stokely Vale 1 (Krishawn Joseph 18) at Canaan Recreation Ground;

Petrotrin Palo Seco 3 (Wilian Garcia  33, Sylvester Teesdale 45, 83), Siparia Spurs 3 (Daniel Diaz 4, Chris Collins 76, Andy London 84) at Palo Seco Velodrome;

Police FC v WASA FC: abandoned due to waterlogged conditions at St James Barracks.

Warriors settle for tepid tie against Nicaragua; Hart pleased with late showing
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

In the build-up to last night’s international friendly, Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart challenged his players to assert themselves at home and set a standard for football visitors at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
But, in the end, it was the stretcher bearers who saw the most action as the “Soca Warriors” and Nicaragua played to a largely dull goalless draw in Port of Spain.
Hart, who extended his unbeaten run in regulation time to seven games, was happy to look for the positives, though.
“I thought in the first half we were a little bit lethargic,” said Hart, in the post-game press conference. “(But) I was really, really pleased with the second half. I thought we just took over the game and Nicaragua realised that and started to kill the whole rhythm of the game.”
Only Hart would know how much of his positivity was genuine.
In truth, the Warriors had a wonderful opportunity to show their offensive capabilities against organised but limited opponents. And, at best, Nicaragua goalkeeper Justo Lorente looked to be in trouble just twice.
Warrior fans with long memories know what it means to dominate opponents and that was not it.
There was no doubting the sincerity of Nicaragua coach Henry Duarte’s pleasure with the result, though.
“Four days ago, Trinidad won a very difficult game against Panama,” said Duarte, via  a translator. “And they were playing at home…”
Last night was Nicaragua’s ninth game under Duarte, a Costa Rican native, and they have lost just once with six wins against Anguilla (twice), Suriname (twice), Jamaica and Cuba.
“Within a couple of years, Nicaragua will be a team to reckoned with,” said Duarte.
The Warriors do not have the luxury of time, not where their Russia 2018 World Cup dreams are concerned.
Ironically, if there were disappointed supporters yesterday, it was because the Warriors have made a habit of overachieving when it mattered.
Yesterday was a reality check. Hart’s troops are still a work in progress. They are spiky, defiant and athletic. But they are not expressive, creative and domineering.
Not yet anyway.
The first blow to the squad’s ego might have been delivered at 7 pm as roughly 2,500 people came out to see the Warriors kick off against Nicaragua. The number of supporters doubled by halftime but, in a venue built to accommodate 22,000 supporters, the attendance still seemed scant respect for the efforts of the young men.
Regardless, the Warriors started brightly and should have scored after just three minutes as playmaker Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings crossed from the left flank for full back Aubrey David whose close range shot was denied by Lorente while Khaleem Hyland and Trevin Caesar both failed to bury the rebound.
But it was a false dawn.
Joevin Jones whistled a free kick narrowly wide, three minutes later, but, largely, the Warriors struggled to get their rhythm against Central American opponents who closed passing lanes quickly.
The boys in red shirts dished out more turnovers than a server at Linda’s Bakery. But Nicaragua had neither the guile nor the explosiveness to capitalise.
Credit is due here to the composure and athleticism of the Trinidad and Tobago back four, which was superbly shielded by midfield ball winner Kevan George. But the football fans had hoped for more against a team that was already eliminated from the World Cup qualifying series, albeit by the most slender of margins against 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup finalists, Jamaica.
Trinidad and Tobago were better in the second half, although it was near impossible to be worse.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/10/14/warriors-settle-for-tepid-tie-against-nicaragua-hart-pleased-with-late-showing/

St Mary’s fails Shiva Boys exam; Penal pupils star in St Clair
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

First, the good news for St Mary’s College football fans. The Shiva Boys Hindu College team eventually gave the “Saints” their ground back this evening.
But, just to be on the safe side, perhaps CIC coach Ryan Shim should have a priest and trauma counsellor on hand for their next trip to Serpentine Road, St Clair.
The final score read 3-1 to Shiva but, for those who witnessed the affair, it was so much worse.
“It was very very difficult for us today,” Shim told Wired868. “Once we got behind, we chased the game a bit but it just didn’t happen for us in the end…
“We did all we could do today.”
St Mary’s striker Chinua Bernard put in a good shift and, fittingly, got the lone goal for the hosts. But they lacked the poise and purpose of a Shiva team that is (top of the table).
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Shiva coach Hayden Ryan. “We are seeing in spurts what we can do. And sometimes things just falling apart.”
There are indeed occasions when the Shiva Boys outfit looks like a make-shift, extempore band of liming partners.
But the beauty of Ryan’s outfit, which was crafted over the years by former “Strike Squad” defender Dexter Francis, is that, on the ball, his troops play with a single philosophy.
Their style of play could be summarised as: pass, pass, pass and wait for a winger to get possession while facing his marker. And then Shiva goes from zero to 100 really quickly.
Quinn Rodney, who started on the right flank but ended the match at centre forward, was decisive today although he did not get on the score summary. Tyrell “Pappy” Emmanuel, as always, was peerless in central midfield. And the two combined for the opener in the 26th minute.
Rodney zipped past two opponents on the touchline and whipped in an inviting cross at the far post where Pappy steered his header past St Mary’s custodian Kristopher Donaldson.
“They looked a well knit unit,” said Shim. “They had a lot of pace and power in wide areas and they look good in the middle of the park also.”
St Mary’s did respond though. Bernard was a whisker away from the opener himself, just seconds before Pappy struck, and the versatile 17-year-old attacker conjured up an equaliser for the Saints in the 38th minute.
There seemed to be little on when Bernard glided away from an opponent on the left side of his opponents’ penalty area. But Shiva goalkeeper Denzil Smith’s mind was elsewhere and the St Mary’s student surprised him at his near post.
The scoreline flattered the hosts, though, and Tyrell “Sexy Man” Baptiste corrected that, three minutes before the interval, as he spun between his markers and drove Shiva back into the lead with a finish into the far corner.
Baptiste started the season on Shiva’s bench but yesterday’s strike was his third in as many matches. Maybe Ryan has found his ‘number nine.’
The Saints were a shell of their old selves in the second half as Shiva players strode around the St Clair ground as though they had just bought the place.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/10/03/st-marys-fails-shiva-boys-exam-penal-pupils-star-in-st-clair/

Aikim in, Plaza out: Hart names T&T squad for Panama friendly
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Uncapped 19-year-old DIRECTV W Connection utility player Aikim Andrews was the surprise inclusion today as Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart announced a 20-man squad to face Panama in an international friendly on October 8 in Panama City.
Andrews, who was a stand-out for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica, caught the eye with his recent performances for Connection in the Champions League and Pro League competition.
“It is important for us to increase our players pool (in the wide position),” said Hart, “and I like the things he has done.”
The Panama clash kicks off at 9.30 pm and will be broadcast live on Flow channel 99, which, according to Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips, should be free to air.
The “Soca Warriors” will then return to Trinidad to face Nicaragua on October 13 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. Match tickets will cost fans $100 (uncovered stands) and $200 (covered stands).
As expected, team captain Kenwyne Jones and central defender Sheldon Bateau—two of the Hart’s best performers at the July 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup—return to the Trinidad and Tobago team, after they were allowed to skip an international friendly against Mexico in Utah last month due to club commitments on transfer deadline day.
Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico played to a 3-3 draw.
Bateau moved on loan to Russia top flight club, KC Krylia Sovetov, just before the transfer window shut, although Jones remained with England Championship club, Cardiff City.
There was a recall too for Gold Cup winger Lester Peltier, who was left out of the squad that faced Mexico. But it turned out to be short-lived.
Soon after the press conference, Hart was informed that the player suffered a rib injury and was unavailable to join his squad. The Warriors coach is due to name a replacement shortly.
San Jose Earthquakes winger Cordell Cato has been left out on compassionate leave, as his girlfriend is due to deliver a baby soon. Hart initially snubbed Central FC attacker Marcus Joseph and Portland Timbers 2 forward Rundell Winchester, who were his two other wide options from the squad that faced Mexico.
“Marcus, like any other player who comes to the squad, has to adapt to what we want,” said Hart, who also hinted at dissatisfaction with the former World Youth Cup player’s fitness and hunger for the international game.
The most glaring omission, though, was Bankers Insurance Central FC hitman, Willis Plaza, who scored four times in his last four games for his club against LA Galaxy, Point Fortin Civic and North East Stars.
Hart said he is well aware of Plaza’s ability but simply could not find room in his current squad for the striker.
At the Gold Cup, Plaza was selected alongside Breioablik striker Jonathan Glenn and captain Jones. But the inclusion of Austin Aztex attacker Trevin Caesar, who can play wide or upfront, and Glenn’s goal and assist against Mexico last month might have convinced Hart that he does not need an additional forward.
Plaza scored on his first outing for Hart on 5 September 2013 in a 3-3 tie away to Saudi Arabia. However, the striker did not score in his subsequent 10 international outings—seven of which came as a substitute.
Another absentee is central defender Carlyle Mitchell, who made 10 international outings under Hart before he joined Seoul E Land in the Republic of Korea’s second division.
The national coach said Mitchell remains on his radar but pointed out that the talented defender faces a 30-hour flight to Trinidad. The Warriors have just two and a half days to prepare before they face face Panama and Hart felt the timeframe involved and the possibility of jet lag contributed to Mitchell’s omission.
However, he added that the defender could still be recalled when the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign starts in November.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/10/02/aikim-in-plaza-out-hart-names-tt-squad-for-panama-friendly/

Football / De Silva delight for Central; Sharks cruise past Point Fortin
« on: September 27, 2015, 02:33:49 PM »
De Silva delight for Central; Sharks cruise past Point Fortin
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva notched an opening day double at Mahaica Oval yesterday as the defending Pro League champion club got its 2015/16 season off to a flawless start with a 3-0 win over Point Fortin Civic.
“I think coming off the CONCACAF performance this was a little bit lower,” Central coach Ross Russell told Wired868. “Our opponents did well and made things difficult, so this wasn’t as smooth as we wanted it to be. But it is a win.”
Difficult is clearly relative. Apart from keeping a leash on his enthusiastic and talkative right back, Kaydion “Drogba” Gabriel, Russell surely enjoyed his calmest day in charge at the “Couva Sharks” to date.
Point Fortin did not roll over. But it is too early in the cycle of coach Leroy De Leon’s young team for them to pose much threat to a Central team that is already a month and a half into its competitive season.
“I am still mixing and matching to see who can do what,” said De Leon. “But we will get there.”
De Leon got no sympathy from the Central club that poached his most potent attacker, Marcus “Lobo” Joseph, and his captain and defensive lynchpin, Andre Ettienne.
And, if you believe the champion club was too sophisticated to taunt its struggling rival, think again.
“Ross Russell went down south, in an army van,” sang the “Central Choir”, “came back with a defender, Andre Ettienne.”
Ettienne, as it turned out, was absent through injury while playmaker Ataulla Guerra and tricky winger Jason Marcano were also missing from Russell’s 18-man squad. But the Sharks still had ample firepower to handle their host team.
There were over 800 supporters at the fixture in Mahaica Oval, which is sizeable by Pro League standards but tame compared to when Joseph and Andre Toussaint, now at DIRECTV W Connection, were in Point Fortin’s first team.
De Leon, an all-time Trinidad and Tobago legend, still has talent within the team’s ranks although, by his own admission, he is still in the experimental phase.
Yesterday, Shackiel Henry, who starred as an inverted winged attacker for the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team at the July 2015 Pan American Games, was used as a fairly orthodox right side midfielder with the inventive Akeem Redhead on the other flank.
De Leon said he asked both players to stay wide. But, at a glance, their movement seemed far too predictable for the Central defence and surely Civic would need them to be much more involved if the proud but financially-strapped club is to have any joy this season.
Henry’s and Redhead’s tame performances yesterday made the result inevitable. Although the main problem was the centre of the park, where Central veteran Marvin Oliver was imperious and his partner, Elton John, was tidy and efficient.
Civic’s central midfielders, Kelvin “Supers” Modeste and Jayson “Mouse” Joseph, snapped and snarled but could not throw them off their game.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/09/27/de-silva-delight-for-central-sharks-cruise-past-point-fortin/

And the hilarious thing is both Brent Sancho and Kevin Harrison wrote blogs for Wired868 on multiple occasions. Lol.

Football / Alvin Jones scores stunner as Connection shocks Saprissa
« on: September 17, 2015, 03:51:14 PM »
Connection stuns Saprissa to shake up Champions League group
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team captain Alvin Jones cracked home a brilliant late free kick last night as Pro League outfit, DIRECTV W Connection, stunned Costa Rican club, Deportivo Saprissa, 2-1 in a memorable CONCACAF Champions League affair at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

It was Connection’s first win at CONCACAF level in almost six years and altered the dynamics of Group A, although it might be too late for the “Savonetta Boys” to save their Champions League campaign.
Connection has one remaining game and, to grab the solitary qualifying berth at stake, coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier must mastermind a win by at least eight clear goals against Mexican champs, Santos Laguna, and then pray for Santos to defeat Saprissa by exactly four goals in the final group match.
Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar probably has a better chance than that with her petition to annul the 2015 general election results.
Yet, it was a great boost for the reputation of the Pro League and, hopefully, would encourage supporters to pay more courtesy to their home-based players.
Jones’ 81st minute rocket, which flew, bent and dipped, would have brought fans to their feet in any competition on the planet. And it capped off a fine Connection performance against a full-strength Central American team that has won the CONCACAF competition on three occasions.
In Costa Rica, football scribes refer to Saprissa as “The Purple Monster.” Jones’ bullet might not be fatal to Saprissa’s CONCACAF campaign but the visitors left badly wounded.
“We expected to win here but we didn’t obviously,” said Saprissa coach Justin Campos. “It is a shame because I think it was a good game for Saprissa but we didn’t get the score we needed.
“We just have to wait to see what happens in the next game… I am very disappointed.”
Last month, Saprissa routed Connection 4-0 in Costa Rica and the stats were eye-opening. The Central American club managed 39 shots and 211 correct passes with 60 percent ball possession while the “Savonetta Boys” had 40 percent ball possession with just seven shots and 97 correct passes.
Neither team did any radical alterations since and there were just three changes in the Connection starting line-up yesterday. There were no detailed statistics available at Port of Spain yesterday but the Pro League team was credited with 53 percent ball possession.
It is not every day that a Trinidad and Tobago team—whether at club or international level—sees more of the ball than a Costa Rican side.
“Our coach, Stuart Charles-Fevrier, is a genius,” said a beaming Connection assistant coach Earl Jean, at the post-game press conference. “I think he watched a tape of Saprissa playing about 50 times before the match… At the team talk, he told the players to relax and enjoy themselves and play with confidence.
“He said ‘you are representing Trinidad and Tobago today, so go and show people what you can do’.”
None of Connection’s current players represented the “Soca Warriors” at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup but, if they maintain this standard, there will be a few in red, black and white strip very soon.
All five players with Trinidad and Tobago passports, who started last night, are less than 22 years old while Jones and the lively Jomal Williams are both 21.
But there was more than a hint of the quality available in the region too.
St Kitts and Nevis international goalkeeper Julani Archibald was, arguably, Connection’s best performer while his compatriot Gerard Williams was his usual efficient self as he did the less glamorous chores in central midfield and St Lucian wing back Kurt Frederick scored the opening goal.
Briel Thomas, a 20-year-old Dominican midfielder, was the real scoop, though. Tall, powerful and composed, Thomas did not look out of place against a Saprissa team that sent nearly half of its starting squad to the recently concluded Gold Cup tournament.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/09/17/connection-stuns-saprissa-to-shake-up-champions-league-group/

Football / Re: ‘Legend’ Andre Toussaint returns to W Connection
« on: September 16, 2015, 03:49:07 PM »
 :applause: :applause: :applause:

Stay away, Sancho! Central FC players protest possible Sancho and Harrison returns
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

Former Sport Minister Brent Sancho and his advisor Kevin Harrison were subjected to a new low today, as 24 of Central FC’s 29 football players signed a petition that urged their board of directors not to allow them back to the Pro League club.

The petition, which was addressed to “the management of Central FC”, stated that: “We, the players of Central FC, are not in favour of the former management team of Brent Sancho and Kevin Harrison returning to the club with so many allegations outstanding against them.”

The letter was signed by the majority of the squad including: Trinidad and Tobago international senior players Jan-Michael Williams, Willis Plaza, Marcus Joseph and Ataulla Guerra, national youth team players Nicholas Dillon, Nathaniel Garcia and Javon Sample and stand-outs Marvin Oliver, Jamal Jack, Elton John and Jason Marcano.

Sancho and Harrison were founding members of Central FC, three years ago, and continued to be involved in the club’s affairs over the past eight months, despite also working for the People’s Partnership Government as Sport Minister and Advisor to the Sport Minister respectively.

However, a series of exclusive articles on Wired868 showed suspicious behaviour by the pair, which was directly related to their stewardship at the “Couva Sharks.”

In one email from Harrison on 27 August 2014, the Englishman asked British football agent Steve Davies to “slip in a personal payment” related to the transfer of Trinidad and Tobago international forward Rundell Winchester to Belgium lower division club, CS Visé, which was to be split between Harrison and Sancho.

Davies rebuffed the request.

CONCACAF also confirmed to Wired868 that, on 16 June 2015, Harrison asked the football confederation to wire money due to the Sharks to Sancho’s personal bank account. CONCACAF’s statement directly contradicted assertions by Sancho, Harrison and Central that the request was made before his appointment as Sport Minister.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has opened a probe into both matters and also asked Sancho and Harrison to explain their behaviour in the signing of then 16 year old attacker Levi Garcia and the alleged non-payment of promised bonuses to Central players.

Sancho and Harrison were given a deadline of Friday September 18 to respond to the local football body.

“(The players) don’t want Sancho and Harrison back for the reasons that they are unscrupulous and dishonest,” a Central source told Wired868, on the condition of anonymity. “We are hearing that even potential sponsors are concerned about them being involved with the club. The players definitely want no part of them.”

In their petition this morning, the Sharks also hinted at a concern over contracts as they vowed not to be pressured into replacing their existing deals: “The players of Central FC are not prepared to sign new amended contracts to replace our existing agreements with the club.”

A well-placed anonymous source explained that Central players have been asked  by club management to sign new contracts, which make them responsible for paying tax on their income. Thus far, the players have refused.

Central FC is owned by SIS officials Daren Mohamdally and Ronald Ramlogan and Wired868 was reliably informed that they have been trying to sell the club for the past month.

It is uncertain whether SIS’ apparent haste to abandon the Sharks is due to the September 7 election results—SIS is a major financier of the United National Congress (UNC)—or the recent revelations about the conduct of the club chairman, Sancho. Or a combination of the two.

But Sancho, who was said to be in a precarious personal financial situation at the start of the year, is now believed to have put together a bid for the club. Central officials remain tightlipped on the matter.

Central manager Kevin Jeffrey said he could not comment on the possible return of Sancho and Harrison or the sale of the football club. He did not know about the players’ petition either.

“I’ve been busy with our (CONCACAF) Champions League business whole day,” Jeffrey told Wired868. “I don’t know anything about a petition signed by the players. But I will definitely call now to find out.”

Jeffrey asked Wired868 to ring him back in 10 minutes. However, he did not answer subsequent phone calls or return our calls.

Wired868 also tried unsuccessfully to reach Mohamdally.

The Sharks, who are the reigning Caribbean and Pro League champions, will face Guatemalan outfit, Comunicaciones, from 8 pm tomorrow in a decisive CONCACAF Champions League fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

Fellow Pro League outfit, DIRECTV W Connection, hosts Costa Rican champion, Deportivo Saprissa, from 8 pm today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Central FC, in an unusual move for the club, did not put its players in a live-in camp before the Champions League fixture. And there is internal suspicion that SIS is trimming its budget, as Mohamdally and Ramlogan prepare exit strategies.

Sancho and Harrison always maintained their intention to return to Central if defeated at the polls and the former Sport Minister said as much in a phone-in to Andre Baptiste’s sport programme on I95.5 FM on Saturday 12 September 2015.

Harrison watched Central FC edge W Connection 1-0 last Friday to win the Charity Shield at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. But it is now clear that the players do not wish to see much more of them.

The Central players’ show of disgust continues a remarkable fall from grace for Sancho and Harrison, who were key figures behind the now defunct Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT). Sancho was a founding member of FPATT while Harrison, a former voluntary member of Britain’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), was its “special advisor.”

It is uncertain if either administrator will watch the Sharks play Comunicaciones tomorrow, although Harrison rarely misses games.

Arguably, the TTFA probe might be of more concern to Sancho and Harrison. If the two men are found guilty of improper conduct, the local football body can impose a range of disciplinary measures, which range from warnings to being banned from entering any football stadium and taking part in football-related activities.

Wired868 understands that the pair’s response—or non-response—to the TTFA’s questions will be forwarded by general secretary Sheldon Phillips to his executive committee for consideration.

The TTFA executive committee could then choose to send the case to its Disciplinary Committee, which is chaired by Newton George. Or it can put the issue before its Ethics or Player Status Committees, which are to be implemented soon under the new constitution.

Sancho is a former litigant against the TTFA and, as Sport Minister, repeatedly criticised the football body for a lack of transparency and empathy for its football players.


Editor’s Note: Brent Sancho and Kevin Harrison have both written blogs for Wired868 and participated in Wired868’s annual football festival.
However, Wired868 will not waver in its goal to provide honest and pertinent news to its readers, regardless of the personalities involved.

Ma Pau poser: How Pro League application led to Police probe in Sport Ministry
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

The Ma Pau Morvant Sports Club, almost certainly, will not participate in the 2015/16 Pro League competition, after an about-turn by the Ministry of Sport left the organisation without its registration fee.

And it is possible that the Ma Pau outfit, which participated in the Pro League between 2008 and 2011, may not have another shot at entrance in the local top flight until 2018.

There is nothing unusual about a local football club attempting and failing to secure admittance into the Pro League. It happens almost every season.

But it is not every year that a Pro League application leads to a passive aggressive media battle between the Sport Minister and a football coach, suggestions of a pliant Permanent Secretary, a police investigation for fraud and a frustrated community.

The most appealing aspect of Ma Pau’s proposed return to the Pro League is a promised TT$8.5 million refurbishment of a sport ground in Morvant, which the club will share with fellow top flight neighbours, Caledonia AIA, and the community.

And outgoing Laventille East/Morvant MP Donna Cox had hoped her last act as the area’s Parliamentary representative would have been to announce the massive infrastructural work on the sporting ground in the humble community.

Cox said that, over the last five years, she had filed questions in Parliament and written the Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Planning for help to fix the uneven ground, which is unbearably dusty one minute and flooded the next.

“It just needed refurbishing and some work done,” Cox told Wired868. “A lot of people use it because they don’t have a proper alternative but there is a lot of flooding and it is uneven and so on…

“We talk about crime but, if we are really serious about crime, this is one of the areas that is at risk. But no work has been done in Laventille East/Morvant by the Ministry of Sport. No netball or basketball court, nothing.

“Malick Senior Comprehensive has to go outside its community to train because there is no proper ground here for them… And I also made a plug for it to be the home ground for Caledonia AIA.”

Cox claimed she got nowhere with her pleas for State resources to fix the community ground.

Last month, former Central FC coach Terry Fenwick approached the MP with a promise to completely renovate the ground and she jumped at the offer. There was one caveat.

Ma Pau wanted the Ministry of Sport to support its bid to return to the Pro League.

“If the Ministry of Sport is not doing what it is supposed to do and a private company wants to come in and assist, then of course I support it,” said Cox. “I feel they should be allowed to get the job done. Why is it being stopped?

“Why didn’t the Ministry decide to partner with them and get it done?”

The catch was that Ma Pau wanted the Ministry of Sport to foot the bill for its Pro League return, which meant a TT$400,000 payment. The Ma Pau application, though, asked the Government for TT$450,000.

But why did Ma Pau, after promising to spend just over TT$3 million on a football ground before the end of year, not simply pay the Pro League’s comparatively paltry registration fee in the first place?

The Pro League gave Ma Pau chairman John Wallis an assurance that, should he choose to return to the competition, he would not have to pay a registration fee for a second time. But Wallis was not aware—or properly advised by his own staff—that this amnesty carried a deadline. And the club missed it two years ago.

When Wallis and Fenwick sat down in June to discuss Ma Pau’s return to top flight football, there were, according to the coach, two conditions: the club must have a home ground—Wallis was frustrated by Ma Pau being asked to play home games all over the country during his previous Pro League stint—and he would not pay to regain his club’s Pro League status.

From mid-June, Fenwick went into overdrive, as he met and wooed counsellors and regional corporation representatives with Ma Pau’s vision for the Morvant ground.

Inevitably, Fenwick ended up at the Ministry of Sport and in front of his former employer and current Sport Minister, Brent Sancho.

Almost a decade earlier, Fenwick sacked Sancho at San Juan Jabloteh after he grew frustrated with the World Cup 2006 defender’s supposed fondness for night life. But they worked together twice at Central and, earlier this year, the English coach was at the helm when the “Couva Sharks” lifted the Caribbean Club Championship and Digicel Pro League and Pro Bowl titles.

Sancho was already Sport Minister when Fenwick returned to the Sharks and the UNC Senator claimed he had nothing to do with it. But an email between Fenwick, Sancho and his advisor Kevin Harrison suggested otherwise.

At 8.30 am on Monday 23 March 2015, Fenwick asked Harrison, via email, to round his salary off at TT$30,000 per month and confirm his bonus for title success with the Sharks. But Sancho was the person who replied.

“We never agreed to rounding off to 30,” stated Sancho, from his Hotmail address. “It’s 28 and 10%. Please (do) not complicate this as time is of the essence.”

On March 24, Central confirmed that Fenwick would replace Serbian Zoran Vranes as head coach. Harrison claimed then that he made the decision and not Sancho.

Although Central won every available title under Fenwick, the relationship between the trio quickly soured.

At 10.52 am on 25 June 2015, Fenwick wrote a 515-word email to Sancho, Harrison and Central director Daren Mohamdally, in which the former England World Cup player ranted at the club’s supposed mismanagement and warned that the Sharks faced a thrashing from MLS club, LA Galaxy, at the CONCACAF Champions League.

“Maybe, in my moment of weakness, I expected CFC (Central FC) to recognise the huge opportunity we have been presented to provide T&T football with a much needed ‘positive’ shot in the arm from the visit of LA Galaxy to Trinidad,” stated Fenwick, as he raged about the club’s failure to sort out players’ contracts and pre-season plans. “… It is unethical to have potential employees waiting on Management and the Board to have an epiphany regarding renewal of contracts! Do you have any regard for people’s lives and families noting that they all have responsibilities to their loved ones!

“I find it not only unprofessional but disingenuous to run your club with people/players’ welfare at your disposal and not communicate with them…

“For me and my players, it is demoralising and quite startling how individuals of self proclaimed pillars of society treat with such disregard their own work force.”

Exactly 31 minutes later, Central manager Jamie Along-Charles emailed Fenwick with bad news: “Dear Terry. The Board and Management of Central FC met to discuss your proposed contractual requirement. Unfortunately at this time they will not be able to facilitate your request.

“As such, they wish to sincerely thank you for your services rendered to the club.”

Regardless, Fenwick took coach Keon Trim along to explain to Sancho and Harrison—in their official capacities at the Ministry of Sport—why the Government should support Ma Pau’s bid to enter the Pro League.

There had been a precedent as, just last year, the Government paid registration fees for Point Fortin Civic. But Sancho, despite his football background, did not support Ma Pau’s bid.

What neither Sancho nor Harrison knew is that Fenwick had already gotten the necessary approval from Ministry of Sport Permanent Secretary Gillian Macintyre, who, as the Ministry’s financial officer, does not need Cabinet or Ministerial oversight within a TT$1 million limit.

“We went to (Sancho) with the complete proposal for Ma Pau and he gave us every possible excuse why he could not do it,” said Fenwick. “I gave them six different ways they could back it because of the level of funding put out by corporate Trinidad.

“Everything they said was a contradiction because we already had an agreement from the PS and we knew that Point Fortin had already received money before us.”

The Sport Ministry contacted Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene and advised that it chose to support Ma Pau’s bid and foot its supposed $450,000 registration fee.

There was no consensus as to why the Government wrote a cheque for $450,000 and not $400,000 and, arguably, it showed a flaw in the internal process at the Ministry.

Fenwick and a Sport Minister official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed they were verbally told the fee for entry was $450,000 while the Pro League officials could not remember ever saying so.

Clearly, nobody got anything in writing from the Pro League about its registration fee, yet, despite that fact, a cheque was drawn up for Ma Pau. Furthermore, the cheque was made made out to Ma Pau Morvant Sports Club and not the Pro League.

Skeene, a former “Strike Squad” player, thought the incorrect figure was an error and not fraud.

“If I had any problems with Ma Pau’s application, I would not have put forward their application to the (Pro League board),” Skeene told Wired868. “Or I would have at least hinted (about the problem) to the board.”

Harrison, despite his role with the Sport Ministry, was present at the Pro League’s board meeting and was stunned to hear that Ma Pau’s application was supported by the Ministry of Sport.

“I went to the Pro League meeting to present info on the delays in their subventions and so on,” Harrison told Wired868. “The Chairman said there was an application to enter the Pro League when they opened up the meeting and presented a cheque (from the Sport Ministry). I said I knew nothing about it at all and neither does the Minister.”

The Pro League clubs did not support Ma Pau’s bid and, ironically, there was grumbling by club representatives that Fenwick had used his influence with Sancho and Harrison to gain an unfair advantage.

In truth, Harrison was fuming and he sped straight back to the Ministry’s PS, Macintyre, for answers. The English football administrator claimed that he and Sancho implemented a system in which Harrison reviewed any cheques issued by the Sport Ministry for over $20,000.

“Once a cheque is issued, I would review the file to ensure all the processes are followed,” said Harrison. “This is something we put in place when we came into the Ministry because of the Life Sport thing to make sure we don’t issue money to the wrong people.”

Was Fenwick the “wrong people?”

Harrison questioned Macintyre about the Ma Pau cheque and asked her to withdraw it.

“When I went back to the Ministry, I saw the PS and asked if she issued a cheque for $450,000 to Ma Pau and she said yes,” said Harrison. “And I said it was declined and you can get it back. When we then looked at the file, we realised there were a number of discrepancies… So the PS decided to take it to the police.”

One of the suggestions, raised in a subsequent Trinidad Guardian article, was that Fenwick sent photographs that fraudulently misrepresented the state of the Morvant ground by showing a spanking track around it.

The bemused Englishman countered that he had merely shown the ground in its current condition and then used photographs of a foreign track to show what it would like after work was completed.

Macintyre never questioned Fenwick, though. She ordered the coach to return the cheque, which he did, and, although the PS herself signed off on the application, the police began interviewing Sport Ministry officials on the matter.

However, the Pro League never formally rejected Ma Pau’s proposal and Skeene contradicted Harrison’s report to the PS.

“I don’t know where (Harrison) is getting this idea about the finality of the thing,” said Skeene. “The Pro League always continues to assist teams and we continue to try to help Ma Pau to get into the league… It is a continuing process.”

Had Harrison overstepped his boundaries by instructing the PS to withdraw the cheque for Ma Pau?

And had Macintyre erred by taking instructions from Harrison rather than the Pro League Chairman or CEO?

Wired868 failed to reach Macintyre for comment. Harrison denied he was working against Ma Pau’s bid.

“We said we can’t find a way and he went around (Sancho and I) and submitted an application and he got turned down by the Pro League,” said Harrison. “I certainly had no say in how they voted because I wasn’t a voting member. It had nothing to do with me.”

Was there any ill-feeling between Sancho, Harrison and Fenwick?

“I don’t know (but) I see there is a post on Facebook calling me a liar,” said Harrison, in reference to a comment made by Fenwick’s wife and local attorney, Reyna Kowlessar. “I was told by two independent sources that Terry said he got money from the Ministry of Sport without me or Brent knowing about it. And he was laughing…”

Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz said he abstained from the vote when Ma Pau’s application was raised before the Pro League board. Since then, he met with Fenwick and has been rallying other clubs to support Ma Pau.

“I had heard rumours that the regional corporation had given the ground in our Morvant community to Ma Pau and I abstained at that point to get more clarity,” Shabazz told Wired868. “Now that I have information to the contrary, I feel it is necessary for Caledonia to support Ma Pau’s entry into the League…

“The Ma Pau franchise would be able to employ at least 35 of our grassroots people and, while politicians continue to promise, the young people have to (be able to) eat.”

Shabazz suggested that Ma Pau might win a second vote from Pro League clubs but claimed the team’s bid was being undermined by “senior officials at the Sport Ministry.”

“Each club owner has their say and their vote and, because we own the league, we can change our minds as we have done and amend rules according to the situations that we face,” said Shabazz. “I’m hearing that there are senior officials in the Ministry who are trying to put stumbling blocks. I have spoken to one or two clubs who said that senior officials have insinuated that Terry Fenwick did not use proper information to secure the Ministry’s help…

“I can understand if you stop a man from doing bad. So if Fenwick trying to do something bad, I can understand (that) they stop it. But he is trying to do something good, so I can’t see why they want to stop him.

“And I am saying this as no friend of Terry Fenwick and it angers me when people think for some reason I shouldn’t stand up for him.

“I am not standing up for him, I am standing up for fair play in football. This is our livelihood and we have to make this industry work.”

Shabazz suggested that the Pro League needs Fenwick at least as much as he needs the Pro League.

“I see Terry Fenwick as a warrior like us and he brings a certain amount of competitiveness and finesse as a coach in the league,” said Shabazz. “He is second only to Stuart Charles (Fevrier) in terms of winning titles in the Pro League and for that he has my respect… Caledonia would vote in favour of Ma Pau, despite the fact that on the field I am a fierce competitor against Terry Fenwick.

“We may never be friends but I think he has a place in Trinidad and Tobago’s football. And, as a Muslim, I have a command from Allah to stand up for justice.

“Allah says: ‘Oh ye who believe, stand up firmly for justice, even if it is against yourself.’ Despite my combative vibes with Mr Fenwick, I think in fairness to the work he has done, he should be in the league.”

However, Skeene said the time-consuming furore within the Ministry of Sport over Ma Pau’s application has probably killed the team’s chances of playing in the Pro League this season.

The Pro League is due to kick off with a Digicel Charity Shield fixture on September 11 while the official competition is scheduled to begin on September 25.

“I think there was a remote possibility for Ma Pau to come into the league last month,” said Skeene. “It was very tight. Right now, it would probably be next season.”

The new TTFA constitution, which was approved by its executive committee but must still make its way through the regional associations, calls for a promotion and relegation system between the Pro League and National Super League.

When that occurs, clubs will have to earn their entrance into the top flight by slogging it out in the Super League, which now has two divisions.

It would mean that Ma Pau and other ambitious clubs must spend at least two years battling their way past over 30 community teams before they can even apply to the Pro League.

“The Pro League board still has to finalise the matter of promotion and relegation,” said Skeene. “We are looking to have a discussion with the TTFA. I would like it to (have promotion) but we have to have discussions… It will place a totally different dimension on things.”

It means that local football fans might have a long wait before they see Fenwick coaching in the top flight again.

Shabazz would miss the combative Englishman, although there may be just as many rivals who would say ‘good riddance.’ Fenwick, outspoken, combative and provocative, has always split opinions in the local game, even though his titles speak for themselves.

Cox suggested that Morvant/Laventille would be the biggest losers, though.

“I am really disappointed with all the foolishness that is going on,” said Cox. “Anybody who wants to do something to uplift the grounds, I am very grateful for it… If someone is willing to pump money into sport, then shouldn’t (the Ministry of Sport) be happy?

“There must be some underlying confusion going on that we do not know about. I don’t think any right-thinking person will not want that to happen.”

Sancho’s ex-agent, Davies, changes tune on “personal payment” request
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

British football agent Steve Davies, who represented Sport Minister Brent Sancho during his professional career in England, has made an about-turn regarding the request for a “personal payment” by Advisor to the Sport Minister, Kevin Harrison, during transfer negotiations for Trinidad and Tobago international forward Rundell Winchester in August 2014.

At the time, Sancho and Harrison were Central FC chairman and operations director respectively, and were finalising details for the transfer of Winchester to lower league Belgium club, CS Visé. Davies represented Visé at the time.

“Could you indicate when you would be able to slip in the personal payment?” asked an email from Harrison’s account, on 27 August 2014. “Probably the best payment method would be via Western Union (obviously the fees would be deducted from the initial sum). If possible, send two payments, 50% to Brent Sancho and 50% to Kevin Harrison.”

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips said the local football body was “very, very concerned” by the email and will consider a formal probe.

Last Tuesday, on 1 September 2015, Davies confirmed receipt of Harrison’s email and told Wired868 that he considered any request for a personal payment as illegal. And he produced his response to Harrison, just hours later, that rebuffed the solicitation.

“Kevin, I don’t know what (you’re) on about regarding any personal payments,” stated Davies’ email, which was sent on 28 August 2014, “as the deal was that the club will make three payments to your club…”

Harrison, according to Davies, never responded to the latter’s email and neither he nor Sancho brought it up again.

However, four days later, Davies said Sancho played no role in Harrison’s request for a personal payment to both men. He copied Sancho and Harrison on his email to Wired868.

“Having saving seen your post after my chat with you, I feel it’s only fair that I clear up the matter and copy in both Mr Sancho and Mr Harrison,” said Davies. “Once again, I would like to say that Mr Sancho has never asked for any payment to himself or anyone else. He only negotiated a payment for Mr Winchester…

“Mr Harrison sent that email to me and by my reply it is very clear there was never any secret payment discussed with Mr Sancho or anyone else.”

Davies then suggested that Harrison’s request—which the agent himself rebuffed last year and four days ago—was actually a reference to hotel and travel expenses for Sancho and Harrison’s proposed trip to Belgium.

Davis previously told Wired868 that the only thing Visé was prepared to offer to Sancho and Harrison was their airfare to Belgium and accommodation, so as to formally discuss a collaboration between the two clubs.

Davies did not suggest, in a previous interview, that he believed “slip in the personal payment” was a reference to hotel and airfare fees. But he did now.

“What Mr Harrison was referring to was the payment for the travel and hotel that Visé agreed to pay Mr Sancho and Mr Harrison to come to Belgium,” stated Davies, “to talk about a merger with the two clubs. A phone call was put into Visé after my reply to Mr Harrison’s email, which was explained that the money that Mr Harrison was asking to be paid via Western Union was the flight and hotel expenses that I agreed to pay and nothing else.

“Mr (Terry) Fenwick was aware of this and I’m sure he will clear that up with you.”

Wired868 posed some follow up questions to Davies, which were also copied to Sancho and Harrison:

How come you only found out what Harrison meant (by “slip in the personal payment) a year after the fact?

(So) Harrison wanted to split the hotel and (air) transport money 50/50 with Brent Sancho? Was that for Harrison and Sancho to book their trips separately?

“Slip in a personal payment” was Harrison-speak for “did you book the hotel and flights for us?”

Davies responded that he had made some phone calls over the last four days, which led to his about-turn. He did not say whom he spoke to.

“I’ve made some calls and was told about the call (between Harrison and Fenwick) and am passing it on to you,” stated Davies, “as your story looked as I was confirming that Mr Harrison was asking for a bung…”

If former Central FC coach Terry Fenwick is the only person who could vouch for the supposed harmless nature of Harrison’s request, then the Central official might have a problem.

“I have no knowledge of any phone call from Harrison,” Fenwick told Wired868. “That whole business had nothing to do with me.”

Why did Harrison not simply respond to Davies’ email and say: “No, I meant for hotel and airfare?”

And how could Harrison have appropriately dealt with the matter when, for over a year, Visé’s point man, Davies himself, retained the impression that he was approached for an illegal payment?

This time, Davies’ did not copy Sancho and Harrison in on his reply to Wired868.

“Lasana, the email speaks for itself (and) it was clear that I did not know what (Harrison) was on about,” stated Davies. “I pointed out to you that any request for payments other than through the correct channels was illegal and that’s clear to everyone…

“Ask Mr Harrison why he never replied.”

More than a week after Wired868’s exclusive report on the request for a personal payment, neither of the two named recipients—Harrison and Sancho—have responded to our questions on the matter.

Football / Re: Cops probe Fenwick.
« on: September 06, 2015, 11:32:33 AM »
Fenwick tackles “erroneous” Guardian article; opens up on Ma Pau’s Pro League bid
By Terry Fenwick (wired868.com

The following is a press release by ex-England World Cup defender Terry Fenwick, a former Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh football coach, in response to a Trinidad Guardian article on Ma Pau’s Pro League application:

I am aware of an article published in the Trinidad Guardian of Thursday, September 3rd detailing a number of allegations made by an unnamed source at the Ministry of Sport and which contains damaging and erroneous comments attempting to malign my character and to discredit the legitimate application by my sponsors Ma Pau, for funding from the Ministry specific to the cost of underwriting the standard fees for incorporating its youth Football Club into the T&T Pro League.

I totally and completely refute the allegations as false and malicious, with the aim to deny professional opportunity, and to cause personal harm and injury to the members of the Ma Pau team, their sponsors and to myself.

In this regard, I wish to clear the air on the misrepresentation of facts contained in the said article.

In accordance with stipulations outlined by the Ministry in its published funding policy, as head coach to Ma Pau FC, myself and current coach Mr Keon Trim—acting on behalf of the Ma Pau Football Club and its owners and sponsors—entered into open discussions with the Minister of Sport and staff of the Ministry, advising of our intention to apply under the Grant Funding to National Governing Bodies.

The funding is identified “for sport, community groups and individuals in support of their plans, programmes and activities that foster sport development, facilitate athletic performance and engender a spirit of community living.” Our application was specific to attaining the requisite fee for incorporating the Club into the 2015/2016 Pro League season.

We met with the Minister (Brent Sancho) and his Adviser Mr (Kevin) Harrison on July 21st and subsequently met with his Permanent Secretary (Gillian Macintyre) on a number of occasions to facilitate compliance for Grant Funding for Ma Pau FC’s incorporation.

The incorporation was a necessary prerequisite by the owners of Ma Pau and its associated sponsors who have committed to rehabilitating the Morvant Recreational Grounds to be used as home ground for Ma Pau and Caledonia AIA, in addition to serving members of the general public.

The cost for rehabilitation has been estimated at just over TT$8 million and are to be privately funded through sponsorship. The fees for incorporation as documented in communication was identified as TT$450,000.

This information was openly and transparently shared with the Ministry, including schematics of how the grounds were going to look post rehabilitation. It must be made clear that the process for funding approval requires details of plans, as well as evidence of fund-raising or sponsorship, which we provided.

The rules provide for access to such information at least two months prior to commencement of the project. The rules also clearly indicate that the MOS will conduct a site-visit which would have had in this instance, to be hosted by the San Juan/Laventille (SJL) Regional Corporation.

In addition to the project plans and sponsorship commitment, the club’s owners submitted documentation from their bankers to establish they were in good standing, as well as formal approval from the CEO of the SJL Regional Corporation, Mr Kenwyn Pantin, of the Corporation’s permission to use the grounds under the agreed conditions. Our documents support.

Having fully satisfied all the criteria for Grant Funding, Ma Pau FC was then issued a cheque by the Ministry of Sport “through the office of the Permanent Secretary” dated August 8th.

At the same time, a letter of notification also dated August 8th, was sent to the CEO of the Professional Football League, Mr Dexter Skeene, advising of the granting of funds and the Ministry’s support.

On Monday, August 17th, we received a phone call from the office of the Permanent Secretary, asking that we return the cheque and be present for discussions. Myself and Mr Trim met with the PS on that day at 11 am and were advised that there was an administrative error on the part of the Ministry and that the cheque would be cancelled.

Guidance was given that the cheque should have been made under a different agency of the same Ministry and a promise of written correspondence to provide reasons for the cancellation was given.

We received this notification in good faith being mindful that the Point Fortin Civic Centre Football League had already been successfully processed and their grant funding issued for their own incorporation into the Pro League season.

We have had no further communication from the Ministry to date, nor were we at any time advised that there were any discrepancies on our part, nor have we been asked to answer any questions from anyone about improper application for funding.

September 3rd was the first we had any indication that there may have been any problem with our application.

While I am deeply disturbed by the unfortunate attack on my character and the club’s owners and sponsors, my deepest concern is for the well-deserving players who are now without a place to practice and an opportunity to participate in the upcoming season.

I remain hopeful that work can begin on the Morvant Recreational Grounds to provide the community a world-class facility for the continued development of sport.

CONCACAF: Harrison directed money to Sancho while he was Sport Minister
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

CONCACAF has rubbished assertions that Brent Sancho was not Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister when his advisor, Kevin Harrison, directed the football confederation to wire Central FC funds to his personal bank account.

Harrison and Central suggested that Sancho’s back details were sent to CONCACAF in December 2014 while he was still Central chairman. And a Trinidad Guardian article on the subject referred to the matter as a “Storm in a tea cup.”

However, a CONCACAF statement to Wired868 today confirmed that Harrison did not ask for a US$40,000 payment to be paid to Sancho until 16 June 2015, more than four months after Kamla Persad-Bissessar appointed him as Sport Minister.

The CONCACAF money was supposed to help Central with expenses related to their Champions League away fixture against LA Galaxy.

“At the start of each CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF asks participating clubs to submit a wide variety of information,” stated the CONCACAF press office, “including a standard form containing the club’s banking information for the deposit of the team travel allowance per away game.

“On June 16, 2015, CONCACAF received a completed form from Mr Kevin Harrison, Operations Director at Central FC, via the Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) Latoya Dacosta. The information received was used to transfer the first payment of funds to Central FC on July 27, 2015.”

The timeline was curious since CONCACAF’s deadline to Champions League clubs to provide bank details was 28 May to 12 June 2015.

Harrison, Sancho and Central FC, which is run by SIS officials Daren Mohamdally and Ronald Ramlogan, have given two conflicting accounts as to how the CONCACAF money ended in the Sport Minister’s bank account.

In one version, Central claimed that Sancho’s bank details were sent in December 2014 while he was still club chairman. In another, Harrison said the club did not have a US bank account and was rushed to get details to CONCACAF in time.

But, according to CONCACAF, the “Couva Sharks” had two weeks to provide bank details. And Harrison took an extra week on top of that before, in June 2015, he still opted to send Sancho’s bank details to the football body.

In the past seven days, Harrison sent a thread of emails to the Guardian Newspaper and Wired868 with the headline: “Confirmation of CONCACAF error.”

The emails, which were sent between July 27 and August 3, showed Central FC manager Jamie Aleong-Charles’ attempts to change the bank details that Harrison lodged with CONCACAF.

The Guardian, on the strength of Harrison’s emails, claimed that the matter was “an apparent mix-up.”

Wired868 asked Harrison to send his emailed request for funds from CONCACAF to prove it occurred before Sancho became Sport Minister. The Advisor to the Sport Minister was also asked to provide the date that CONCACAF money hit Sancho’s account.

He did neither.

“What email to CONCACAF?” replied Harrison. “This email (from Aleong-Charles) shows Central FC submitting their correct bank details so that they could receive their funds…”

CONCACAF clarified in a written statement that Central only provided an alternate bank account after the money had already hit Sancho’s account.

“Later that same day (on July 27), Jamie Aleong-Charles, a manager in Central FC’s Administration Department, contacted CONCACAF to say that Central FC wanted to change the bank account information for the transfer of funds,” stated CONCACAF, “and that new account information would be provided to CONCACAF on July 28, 2015.

“CONCACAF received the new bank account information on July 28, 2015. CONCACAF made the second payment to Central FC’s new bank account on August 10, 2015.”

Wired868 asked Harrison whether he had wilfully tried to mislead the press on the timeline of events by giving wrong dates and a partial email trail to reporters. He did not comment up to the time of publication.

The CONCACAF statement arguably suggests a pattern of behaviour by Sancho and Harrison in which they apparently sought to divert money due to Central to the personal accounts of one or both of the men without any obvious approval by their employers.

British football agent Steve Davies confirmed this week that an email from Harrison, in August 2014, asked him to slip in “a personal payment” for the two Ministry of Sport officials during the transfer of Trinidad and Tobago internationals Rundell Winchester and Willis Plaza to CS Visé in August 2014.

“Could you indicate when you would be able to slip in the personal payment?” he asked Davies, in an email published on Wired868. “Probably the best payment method would be via Western Union (obviously the fees would be deducted from the initial sum). If possible, send two payments, 50% to Brent Sancho and 50% to Kevin Harrison.”

Davies said he considered the request to be illegal. And Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips confirmed that the local football body was “very, very concerned” about the email and was monitoring the situation.

CONCACAF has also pointed the finger at Harrison in relation to the diversion of funds to Sancho’s bank account.


June 16: CONCACAF received Central FC bank account information from Kevin Harrison of Central FC via Latoya Dacosta of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) naming Brent Sancho as the beneficiary.

July 27: First payment of US$40K was sent to Central FC with banking information provided by Central FC via CFU on June 16.

July 27: Central FC’s Jamie Aleong-Charles notified CONCACAF that the club would like to change the bank account information it had on file with CONCACAF.

July 28: E-mail sent from Central FC to CONCACAF with updated banking information with club name as beneficiary

August 10: Second payment of US$40K was sent to Central FC with updated banking information provided by Central FC on July 28 with club name as beneficiary.

Ahmmm... Thanks for the feedback people. :-\

No treble for Jabloteh as Uprising and SKHY share national youth honors
By Roneil Walcott (Wired868.com)

San Juan Jabloteh started the final day of the 2015 Republic Bank National Youth Cup contending in all three age groups but, in the end, managed to come away with just the one title yesterday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar.
The “San Juan Kings” edged WASA FC 2-1 in the Under-15 final to round off the day’s action in perfect fashion following their earlier disappointments.
Uprising Youths outkicked Jabloteh from the penalty spot in the Under-11 final while, in the the Under-13 division, Jabloteh settled for a third place finish, after being turned back by St Ann’s Rangers in the semi-finals.
The seemingly indestructible SKHY FC romped to victory in the Under-13 category with some aplomb, conceding no goals on the day while scoring six.
The final day of the Republic Bank National Youth Cup was ushered in with a brief but heavy downpour as the Under-11 and Under-13 semi-finalists took to the field at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar. The games were played simultaneously in the two halves of the field while all the Under-15 games, save for the final, were played on the stadium’s training ground.
Prior to the day’s proceedings, all Under-13 defenders should have been warned about free-scoring SKHY forward Justin Araujo-Wilson. Even if they had not heard of him, Araujo-Wilson’s giant frame speaks for itself.
The towering youngster, who might draw some comparisons with Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, opened the scoring on the day in the seventh minute of his match as he headed home from close range off a corner.
So much for that warning huh?
In truth, the La Brea-based WEZ Pro team had very little answer for Araujo-Wilson and the Under-13 MVP manoeuvred in and around the box at will. SKHY’s defence was rarely troubled and its attackers looked as though they could run up a tennis score.
In the end, they fell just short of a massacre but still managed a handy 4-nil rout. Araujo-Wilson fittingly helped himself to the fourth and final item.
The atmosphere at the Larry Gomes Stadium was not as intense or as hostile as the Queen’s Park Savannah or Constantine Park venues where spectators marshalled the touchlines. But the passion was still undoubtedly there, as parents and coaches remained as belligerent as ever on the touchlines and the players on the substitutes benches were not far behind.
SKHY’s semifinal affair was a breeze but the pair of Under-11 semis produced tenser affairs.
Cap Off Youths and treble-chasing Jabloteh played to an interesting goalless match. Interesting because Jabloteh somehow managed to come out of the match without conceding a goal.
Cap Off played all over and around their San Juan opponents but failed to get that crucial goal. And the Central Zone team’s fate was sealed from the penalty spot as they were edged by Jabloteh.
“We play all the football,” said a Cap Off coach, as he slammed his water bottle into the ground, “we’re not supposed to be going through this. Jah boy!”
Trendsetter Hawks coach Anthony “Dada” Wickham was busy preparing his team at the time and warned them about suffering a similar end.
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/08/30/no-treble-for-jabloteh-as-uprising-and-skhy-share-national-youth-honors/

Sancho and Harrison allegedly requested improper payment for Central transfers
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Sport Minister Brent Sancho and his advisor Kevin Harrison’s relationship with Central FC has again been called into question, after a leaked document suggested that the pair may have tried to personally benefit from a transfer deal last year.

An email, allegedly sent by Harrison in August 2014, appeared to show the club employee requesting a private payment for himself and Sancho while discussing the financial details related to a move of four Trinidad and Tobago players to Belgium lower division club, CS Visé.

Although Sancho and Harrison were founders of the Couva-based football club, there is no available evidence that they were ever more than employees with the “Couva Sharks.” Harrison, who is the current advisor to the Sport Minister, was operations director at Central while Sancho was chairman.

Harrison, a British national, told Wired868 on Wednesday that it was SIS directors, rather than Sancho and himself, who owned the Couva-based football club.

“It belongs to the directors who are SIS employees,” said Harrison, who is employed as an advisor to the Sport Minister. “The bulk of the sponsorship and funding comes from SIS…”

However, a report in last week’s Guardian newspaper described Harrison as a “co-owner” of Central. Sancho also suggested he was a club owner, arguably as a means of deflecting criticism for a payment due to the Sharks that ended up in his bank account.

Wired868 reported exclusively that, four months after Sancho’s appointment as Sport Minister, Harrison directed CONCACAF to deposit a US$40,000 payment into the personal bank account of the current UNC Toco-Sangre Grande candidate.

Harrison, Sancho and the SIS-run club claimed the payment was done in error but have been unable to adequately address the chronological order of the wire transfer.

Sancho was made Sport Minister in February 2015 and it was not until May 2015 that Central qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League. The request for the club’s bank details came within a week of its qualification and the deadline for a response was between 28 May and 12 June 2015.

Wired868 can reveal that, according to documents lodged with the Ministry of Legal Affairs, neither Sancho nor Harrison are listed as directors or shareholders at Central FC.

Instead, SIS officials Daren Mohamdally and Ronald Ramlogan are listed as directors of the football club, which was registered as Central United FC Limited on 21 August 2012, under the Companies Act. Ramlogan was also named as the company’s secretary.

Central FC has never filed annual returns.

Neither Sancho nor Harrison responded to Wired868 requests for clarification on their supposed stakes at Central in light of documentation received by Legal Affairs.

More shocking was an email that appeared to be sent from Harrison’s email address to a Visé official, which requested an “agreed personal payment” for Sancho and himself during transfer negotiations for local players.

The email mentioned Central players Willis Plaza, Rundell Winchester and Elton John as well as Kevon Villaroel, who all moved to the Belgium club in August 2014.

Visé was also directed to send the transfer money to the pair via Western Union rather than to Central’s bank account.

“Brent said that you cannot send the first payment as well as the agreed personal payment,” stated the email from kh.centralfc@gmail.com. “I think we agreed that the second payment will be in January and the third in May. It’s no problem, but could you indicate when you would be able to slip in the personal payment?

“Probably the best payment method would be via Western Union (obviously the fees would be deducted from the initial sum). If possible, send two payments, 50% to Brent Sancho and 50% to Kevin Harrison.”

Plaza, John and Villaroel were all free agents so the money was believed to be for Winchester’s move.

An informed source claimed that Visé was asked to pay US$15,000 to the Pro League club and US$5,000 as a personal payment. However, that figure could not be confirmed.

Former Central FC coach Terry Fenwick was Visé coach at the time, although there is no suggestion that he was involved in the deal or had any role in transfer deals for either club.

The Visé official directed to make the payment was allegedly Sancho’s agent during his playing career in Britain. However, there is no evidence that Harrison and Sancho were ever paid, as the Belgium team quickly landed in financial hot water.

A request for a secret payment to help facilitate a transfer, which is referred to as a “bung” in British football, is illegal and might have exposed either club to FIFA sanctions. According to FIFA’s Regulations on the status and transfer of players, clubs in breach of its transfer code could be punished with anything from a reprimand or fine to a transfer ban or demotion.

The email from kh.centralfc@gmail.com sought to explain why Visé should send a transfer payment through Western Union rather than to the club’s bank account.

“This makes it a lot easier than through the bank as, in my experience, bank transfers to Trinidad aren’t liked by European banks (something to do with sort codes, if I recall correctly),” stated the correspondence from Harrison’s email address.

The Belgium club imploded financially and Fenwick and the four players were soon back in Trinidad.

Winchester, who is 21, was subsequently sent on loan to United States second tier club, Portland Timbers B. It is uncertain whether any payments were made for the player and, if so, where the money ended up.

Wired868 asked Sancho and Harrison to explain the request for a “personal payment” and why the entire transfer figure negotiated was not directed to Central FC’s bank account.

Neither responded by the time of publication.

Here are the key questions on the issue in my opinion:
1) When did Brent Sancho become Sport Minister? 2) When did Central FC qualify for the Champions League? 3) When did CONCACAF ask for Central's bank details?
1) Sancho become Sport Minister on 2 February 2015.
2) Central qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League on 22 May 2015.
3) CONCACAF gave Central FC between 28 May and 12 June 2015 to send bank details.
I have no personal stake in this. Good luck to all parties. But I won't be anyone's fool and I will not pretend to be.

Sancho collected Central FC qualifying money while Sport Minister
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Sport Minister Brent Sancho could feasibly find himself reported to the Integrity Commission after leaked documentation showed that CONCACAF money due to the Pro League club was diverted into the minister’s personal bank account.

Then Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison admitted that he directed CONCACAF to wire US$40,000 (TT$253,000) to a United States-based bank account owned by Sancho. Harrison, who is British, also serves as advisor to the Sport Minister and is paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Government.

The CONCACAF payment was supposed to help the “Couva Sharks” with expenses for their trip to Los Angeles where they faced MLS team, LA Galaxy, in the Champions League.

Sancho was appointed as Sport Minister on 2 February 2015 and has repeatedly insisted that he is not involved in Central business due to the obvious conflict of interest.

The Sport Minister declined comment on the payment to his account. However, Harrison tried to clear it up.

Why was CONCACAF directed to send money to Sancho in July, five months after his appointment as Sport Minister?

Harrison suggested that the CONCACAF paperwork happened while Sancho was still Central CEO.

“The only reason I think CONCACAF would have even a record of Brent Sancho,” Harrison told Wired868, “is because we had to apply (for the CONCACAF Champions League) early.”

Wired868 can confirm that Central had not even qualified for the Champions League when Sancho was appointed Sport Minister.

Central only booked its spot in the Champions League on 22 May 2015 after a penalty shoot out win over Haitian club, Don Bosco. And CONCACAF asked qualified teams to send bank details on 28 May 2015.

Why did Harrison not forward the club’s bank details rather than Sancho’s?

“Central didn’t have a US bank account at the time,” said Harrison. “When we filled out all the application forms, the only US account we had access to was Brent’s own. So we put that down for ease of use.”

There is no stipulation that the club needed a US bank account.

More relevantly, Harrison did not explain why Central did not simply open a US account, since CONCACAF gave the Sharks between May 28 and June 12, roughly two weeks, to provide the necessary bank details.

Interestingly, Sancho did not immediately forward the US$40,000 to Central when he received it. Instead, as the Sharks prepared to face Galaxy, other club officials received word that they were due money for their trip to the United States.

Harrison admitted that there was a time lag before Sancho relayed the money to the relevant club officials. In the interim, Central struggled to get visas and tickets in time and the players travelled to Los Angeles in three batches.

They were subsequently thrashed 5-1 by Galaxy.

“We got an enquiry from Central FC (who asked) did you receive money,” said Harrison, “and lo and behold the money was there (in Sancho’s account). I personally got the cheque from Sancho and gave it to someone at the club.

“It was for (around) US$39,000 because there were some charges…

“As far as I am aware, Central FC then opened an account afterwards and directed CONCACAF money to be sent there.

“I have not been involved with Central FC since. They keep me out of the loop.”

Central FC, the reigning Pro League and Caribbean club champion team, is owned and largely funded by SIS directors and, contrary to common belief, Sancho is not a part-owner.

The relevant SIS officials are rumoured to be now keen to relinquish their role with Central and sell the club to any interested buyer. However, Wired868 could not confirm this potential change in direction and Harrison said he was unaware of any such moves.

Star Child, I have written several articles on David Muhammad's abysmal management:

And Rastaman, Tim Kee insists on being announced as the Port of Spain Mayor in all his football functions. Maybe you should ask him why he considers it relevant then.
Anyone who believes that the political affiliation of someone does not matter when you are discussing their relationship with another political party... I can only respectfully say that I disagree.
And for those who think this is much ado about nothing, please call the T&T U-15 players who missed their CFU competition and let them know.

CFU endorses Nakhid for FIFA presidency; aims to recover Warner money
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick has endorsed former Trinidad and Tobago football captain David Nakhid’s bid for the role of FIFA president, as the most unlikely presidential campaign gathered considerable traction.

Nakhid, who never worked within FIFA before or held an administrative portfolio outside of his Lebanon-based David Nakhid Soccer Academy, met Derrick two weeks ago and was subsequently invited to address the CFU in St Maarten.

The CFU President said Nakhid, who has a double major in International Relations and Economics from American University in Washington DC, gave an exceptional account of himself and the Caribbean will support him.

“(Nakhid) came to me in Antigua and described his passion and why he thought he was qualified to hold such a high office in geopolitical terms,” Derrick told Wired868. “He convinced me that he is serious and he has the academics and international appeal… I invited him to our ExCo meeting and he gave an exceptional account of himself and showed that, if given the opportunity, he can make noise in the race.”

Thus far, the international media has focused on the candidacies of UEFA president and former France football star Michel Platini, who is widely considered to be the favourite, as well as Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Hussein, a FIFA vice president, and Chung Moon-joon, an honorary FIFA vice president and business tycoon.

Derrick’s endorsement could potentially change that.

The Caribbean has 25 of FIFA’s 209 member associations, which is roughly 12 percent of the electorate and more than the South America and Oceania confederations combined.

However, Derrick pointed out that the CFU does not vote as a bloc anymore in the manner it did under former president Jack Warner, who was known to victimise associations that did not toe the line.

“We get together and discuss matters but there is no such thing as a bloc (anymore),” said Derrick. “We try to convince everybody that we should vote in one direction. Last election that didn’t happen, partly because of the confusion with (the arrest of CONCACAF president Jeffrey) Webb.

“But I think the region will continue to come together strong and we will vote based on the needs of the Caribbean because that is who we represent.”

At present, CONCACAF and the Caribbean are reeling from a string of indictments from the United States Department of Justice—two of which were issued to Warner and Webb—for racketeering and money laundering among other charges.

Derrick himself was censured by FIFA for his role in the 2011 Mohamed Bin Hammam bribery scandal, which led to Warner’s disgraceful exit from the game.

But the Antiguan football administrator insisted that he did nothing wrong and never touched any of Bin Hammam’s brown envelopes.

Derrick said he spent the night of 10 May 2011 alongside Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) president Everton Gonsalves and compatriot and global cricket icon Sir Viv Richards, who was in Trinidad to shoot a Johnny Walker advertisement.

The Antiguans were sanctioned for failing to report the alleged bribery to the governing body. But Derrick claimed he never saw the envelopes himself since he did not go to collect the “gift bag” on that same night.

And, by the following morning, he woke up to discover that something big was amiss.

“When everything broke, a lot of us didn’t know exactly what was going on,” Derrick told Wired868. “So, out of an abundance of caution, we wanted to hold out and find out what was happening (before we said anything) because it seemed like an attack on the Caribbean more than anything else.

“Everyone can be armchair quarterbacks now. After all the facts are known, it is easy to say that you should have spoken earlier. But Antigua never received any money.

“Nobody said there was money to be given either. (CFU officials) said please pick up your gift package.”

Derrick insisted that he had always been a critic of Warner’s governance and he refused to sign anything in defence of the crooked Trinidadian. But he claimed that FIFA unfairly tarnished the entire region when it went after the former CFU and CONCACAF president

“They painted a brush over the entire Caribbean and implicated a lot of people who didn’t have anything to do with it,” said Derrick. “We just happened to be there (and) we wanted to find out what is happening first before we washed our laundry in public.

“We were charged with loyalty and fiducial responsibility. I was reprimanded not banned. If you get a parking ticket that can’t be the same thing as murder.”

Derrick believes Nakhid’s candidacy could be the breath of fresh air that Caribbean football needs as it tries to recover from the Warner era.

“It seems in football, our leaders are always negative and it is always about bobol and confusion,” said Derrick, who works in Antigua’s banking sector but holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. “We need to show that is not what our region is about. There are persons of ability here and we are not inferior to anybody in terms of academics or anything else.

“We want to show the world that we are a qualified people.”

For his part, Nakhid has vowed to produce his manifesto in just over a week and is asking the football fraternity to judge him on his ideas rather than his influence—financial or otherwise—within FIFA.

In an exclusive interview with Wired868, Nakhid mused over changes within CONCACAF like the rotation of the Gold Cup and a system for developing young talent within the schools, which used Belgium as a template.

The former Caribbean Player of the Year said Platini would continue outgoing president Sepp Blatter’s system of ‘patronage’ to the developing world, which led to more corruption than development.

“Patronage extended without proper oversight is not proper patronage at all,” said Nakhid. “It is all well and good that football is taken to the wide areas of the world. But when money is given to build a football field and there is no oversight and nothing happens, you are just giving away money and that does not help development or anyone but the person who pocketed the money.

“Platini comes from the wealthiest confederation in the world. You have to ask how can he help us or help Africa coming from on high. Why should this be a coronation for him?

“FIFA should not be for the elite. FIFA’s role should be to develop football throughout the world.”

Derrick suggested that he too is more interested in a stronger Caribbean on the football field rather than using his post to fatten secret bank accounts.

There is little evidence that the CFU was ever anything more than a vehicle for the enrichment of football officials.

In the 1974 World Cup qualifying campaign, three of CONCACAF’s top six nations came from the Caribbean while Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago finished first and second respectively.

But, after the CFU’s formation in 1979, Caribbean nations slipped further and further away from the top of the confederation while, conversely, regional administrations became more influential than ever.

Warner left a penniless CFU behind when he abdicated in 2011 and it has been a bumpy ride for the Caribbean, as the body often struggled to put on tournaments on time and were plagued with administrative mishaps.

Still, Derrick pointed to the July Gold Cup as evidence of real progress in the region as all four Caribbean nations advanced to the knockout round while Jamaica beat United States for a place in the final.

The inaugural Women’s Caribbean Cup in 2014 also preceded Trinidad and Tobago’s exciting campaign in which the “Women Soca Warriors” came within 90 minutes of earning the region’s first qualifying spot at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Women Warriors were eventually edged 1-0 by Ecuador in a two-legged contest.

“I want all our teams to be competitive so when (the bigger nations) play us, we are respected and they know we are not walkovers,” said Derrick, who shares Nakhid’s dream for a Caribbean professional league.

He explained that, despite the Caribbean’s political clout within the confederation, its programmes are inadequately financed by CONCACAF. And he revealed that he is considering his legal options to recoup millions meant for the CFU, including the controversial US$10 million South Africa Diaspora Legacy fund, that were allegedly misappropriated by Warner.

“We only get a subsidy of US$20,000 for a four-team (club) tournament when it costs US$150,000 on average to put it on,” said the CFU president. “Gate receipts can only do so much and sponsors are not coming forward. We have to solve that; and that is what the leaders of the region are supposed to be doing and making cases to CONCACAF to ease us up.

“When I heard about the US$10 million dollars that was supposed to come to CFU. Not CONCACAF eh; the CFU!

“Do you know what that could have done for our region in terms of development? And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We will have to see what legal recourse there can be and if we can recoup that money somehow. I have sought legal advice but we have been advised to hold strain until we see what the outcome (of the US Department of Justice action) is.”

Unlike the previous CFU president, Derrick is far from CONCACAF’s negotiating table and, despite speaking for two-thirds of the confederation, does not even have a position on its executive committee. Although Derrick was the Caribbean’s elected leader, he was overshadowed by Webb, who was Blatter’s pick as CONCACAF president and was elected unopposed to the confederation’s throne.

“I was elected (as CFU president) in 2012 and, in February 2013, I raised the issue about having a place on the CONCACAF ExCo,” said Derrick. “But the executive committee felt Webb was already there and he was a Caribbean man… My argument was the position of CFU president should be an integral part of the CONCACAF executive because he needs to be there so he can bring knowledge down to his members.

“But the members didn’t agree. They wanted to go along with the then leader who was a Caribbean man and part of the CFU. That was their rationale.

“What has happened now has brought credence to my feeling that the president of all the representative bodies should be there (on the executive). Not just the CFU president but the UNCAF (Central American Football Union) president also.”

Derrick said he was stunned by the racketeering charges laid against Webb.

“I am still in shock and denial over Jeff (Webb),” he said. “I don’t want to believe what I am hearing because it doesn’t look good or sound good.”

But Webb’s absence does leave a vacancy at the helm of the confederation. At present, Jamaica’s Horace Burrell, Cuba’s Luis Hernandez and Turks and Caicos Island’s Sonia Bien-Aime are the Caribbean’s only representatives on the CONCACAF executive committee.

If Derrick maintains the confidence of the Caribbean delegates, a shake-up within the confederation is almost inevitable.

Nakhid would appear to be the first salvo for the supposed new image of the region.

Derrick chuckled when Wired868 pointed out that things did not work out very well the last time Caribbean officials supported a Trinidadian.

“It is a great irony,” said Derrick, with a laugh. “I think it would be Shakespearean. But maybe that is what is required.

“Trinidad produces one kind of man in Warner and then shows the world it can produce another in Nakhid.”

Nakhid, who speaks six languages, has to make the rest of the world believe it too. He said he will offer delegates the chance to create a better FIFA and strengthen their own associations rather than give them brown envelopes and free footballs.

“There are 209 associations and six confederations and some will operate in ways we cannot effect,” Nakhid told Wired868, in a previous interview. “We have to be pragmatic and we are not so naive to say we will have everyone holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya.’ But we believe a serious, honest undertaking of development throughout the world with philosophical undertones will appeal to their ideological notions of their selves.

“We believe many officials come in for the betterment of the game but find a situation where it is easier to accept patronage than to elevate themselves and their region.

“Some will be inspired by our rhetoric and want better. But some will want to cling to patronage and support a famous footballer from Europe who sends them 3,000 footballs…”

With support from the Caribbean, he can turn his attention to the Middle East where he would presumably be supported by the Lebanon association. A visit to Africa is also on the cards.

Nakhid potentially has as many as 25 associations in his corner. But he still needs another 80 votes if he is to succeed Blatter at the FIFA Congress on 26 February 2016.

I just have to smile at the attempts to confuse from facts.
Everyone knows that the TTFA hasn't done its accounts since 2008, according to Rastaman. True. But what does that have to do with FIFA regulations? Is that the TTFA's defence? You know I ent do it so what allyuh asking for it for?
If the audit was supposed to go to FIFA at the end of March, then why is KPMG's departure in June relevant?
And, as I showed in my article looking at the constitution and Tim Kee's specific duties, Jack Warner would never have been able to leave the TTFF/TTFA finances in the state it is in without the help of Raymond Tim Kee.
And why do I mention Tim Kee's other job titles like Mayor of POS and PNM Treasurer?
It is fact and up to readers to decide if it is relevant or not.
For instance, the TTFA has no money coming from FIFA. The TTFA has no money coming from private sector. The TTFA relies almost entirely on taxpayers money. And yet the TTFA president has refused to meet the Minister of Sport, regardless of the impact on his football body.
At this point, some readers might consider Tim Kee's political role to possibly have some bearing with the country on a brink of a general election.
But, if you don't, then just gloss past it and pay it no mind.

FIFA freezes TTFA funding; KPMG suspends services while football staff unpaid
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is in the midst of another financial crisis after FIFA confirmed that it has frozen its annual US$250,000 (approximately TT $1.5 million) subvention to the local body while the TTFA’s auditor, KPMG, has also suspended its services.

As a result, the TTFA’s administrative staff has not been paid since June. And, worse, without KPMG’s assistance, the football body has no chance of meeting the criteria for funding set by FIFA or the Ministry of Sport.

Yet, on the surface, TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee and general secretary Sheldon Phillips present a facade of calm and progress, as they recently embarked on a media tour to boast of their leadership.

Last Friday, the football body announced a marketing deal with Clever Advertising and the launch of their “Being a Warrior begins here” campaign. No financial details were provided and media personnel present were not allowed to ask questions during the “interactive segment.”

Phillips confirmed to Wired868 that the TTFA has not paid its office staff since June.

“Yes, we have not been able to pay the staff for July because our funding has not come through from FIFA as yet,” Phillips told Wired868. “Also we were forced to spend $650,000 that we had not budgeted for as the Ministry was supposed to have paid for our travel… And also the remainder of the subvention is to be discussed.”

Phillips refused to give details regarding FIFA’s actions, though.

“Raymond (Tim Kee) is the best person to get details on that particular issue,” he said. “I will have him call you.”

Tim Kee did not return any calls to his mobile phone or respond to a presumed prompt by Phillips.

However, Wired868 can confirm that the TTFA’s problems are directly related to its own accounting issues.

FIFA releases just over US$250,000 (approximately TT $1.5 million) annually to its member association under the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), which is paid in four tranches. However, that payment was not wired to Trinidad in July.

A FIFA spokesman told Wired868 that it had turned off the tap due to the TTFA’s failure to provide audited accounts.

“As mentioned to you previously, in accordance with the General Regulations for FIFA Development Programmes, all member associations including the TTFA have to comply with certain standard procedures,” stated FIFA, via an email, “such as internal financial audits in order to receive funds corresponding to the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) and other FIFA development programmes.

“Financial assistance and approval of new programmes to the TTFA are currently on hold awaiting full compliance.”

According to the General Regulations for FIFA Development Programmes, Tim Kee and Phillips were duty-bound to provide audited financial statements approved by the TTFA executive and presented to its general assembly.

The TTFA audit, according to FIFA, should have been up to December 2014 and ought to have landed in Zurich by 31 March 2015. But, up until 22 May 2015, the football body had only done audited statements up until 2008.

Ironically, Tim Kee blasted Sport Minister Brent Sancho for his initial refusal to release taxpayers’ money to the football money without the proper audited statements. After a two-month stand off, Sancho relented and resumed State funding for the TTFA.

FIFA has so far refused to be as lenient and, with president Sepp Blatter on the way out, there is no more patience for the excuse that it is all the fault of ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

It has been four years since Warner quit all his football posts and three years since 13 World Cup 2006 players took several accounting documents out of the TTFA’s headquarters during a court ordered levy.

Tim Kee has repeatedly said he inherited a financial mess at the TTFA that was not of his own making. Arguably, the TTFA’s constitution says otherwise.

Under the current constitution, which should be formally replaced within the next two months, the TTFA’s vice presidents are assigned specific responsibility for one of three areas: Technical Matters and Development, Funding and Finance, and Competitions and Tournaments.

For more than a decade, Tim Kee had direct responsibility for “Funding and Finance” at the TTFA, including the controversial period before and after the 2006 World Cup.

And, although Tim Kee claimed he did the 2006 “Soca Warriors” a favour by helping them to receive a settlement for money owed through a World Cup bonus agreement, he had more than a passing responsibility for the football body’s finances at a time when the TTFF gave the players bogus income statements related to the prestigious FIFA competition.

Tim Kee is also the PNM treasurer and Port of Spain Mayor. And, with Trinidad and Tobago’s general elections looming in 2015, there is concern that, should the PNM replace the People’s Partnership, the TTFA president might hope to use taxpayers’ money to cover for the financial irregularities within the football body.

Still, Tim Kee and, by extension, the TTFA are not the only culpable parties.

FIFA violated its own FAP rules for over a decade as it continued to fund the TTFA despite the local body’s failure to fulfil its accounting obligation to the Zurich-based governing body.

And, even after Warner’s controversial departure in 2011, FIFA continued to send cheques to Trinidad. The FAP money is used primarily to pay the TTFA’s office staff and general secretary, Phillips.

Phillips, despite the TTFA’s failure to raise money from the private sector, receives a salary of just over TT$23,000 per month plus a housing allowance of around TT$21,000 and a company car.

On 30 November 2014, after Wired868’s exclusive report about a missing TT$400,000 TTFA licensing fee, Tim Kee restructured Phillips’ portfolio and hired football manager William Wallace to “lead government relations and team managements.”

Yet, although the TTFA agreed to pay Wallace to absorb some of Phillips’ key duties, the general secretary’s salary remained untouched.

And, although Phillips’ contract expired in May, he continued to operate and be remunerated as general secretary.

The TTFA’s new crisis started with the United States Department of Justice’s swoop on FIFA, just before Blatter’s re-election in May.

As US law enforcement agencies started faxing extradition requests to Zurich, FIFA officials were apparently no longer willing to turn a blind eye to errant football bodies. And the TTFA’s pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears.

Crucially, KPMG was also spooked. After the DOJ’s arrests, the global auditing firm took a battering for its role as auditor for FIFA and many of its member associations.

KPMG’s audit, according to MarketWatch.com, is intended to express an opinion on whether the financial statements, prepared by FIFA personnel according to International Financial Reporting Standards, are free from material misstatements.

KPMG reviews the organisation’s internal controls when deciding which audit procedures to perform but did not, in FIFA’s case, express an opinion on the effectiveness of their internal control system.

The international auditing firm should select activities and transactions to be tested “based on their risk of causing a material misstatement of financial reports.”

“With all the prior allegations of corruption and bribery levelled against FIFA and some of its member associations over the years, KPMG should have been on high alert to the potential for corruption,” said Jerry Silk, a partner at law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossman that represented investors in lawsuits against the global audit firms. “Auditors are supposed to do more and be more vigilant when there’s clearly higher risk.”

Did KPMG decide, belatedly, that the TTFA was not worth the trouble?

The auditing firm declined comment on its relationship with the local football body. However, Wired868 was reliably informed that KPMG’s international body suspended its services to the TTFA soon after the FIFA Congress in May. And there is no timeline for a resumption of the relationship between the two bodies.

Phillips insisted that the TTFA was not responsible for the KPMG suspension of services although he said the local football body was trying to “sort things out” with the international auditing firm.

“Yes, there are issues (but) the KPMG thing has nothing to do with us,” said Phillips. “It is about the international branch calling the local branch and it is to do with the FIFA investigation and the DOJ investigations, which swept us up into the whole mess.”

Was KPMG, like FIFA, guilty of turning a blind eye to the TTFA’s or TTFF’s shenanigans?

It is worth noting that, while KPMG was responsible for auditing the TTFA, the auditing firm had no such authority over the football body’s various Local Organising Committees (LOC), which never seemed to close.

On 4 May 2008, a TTFF letter instructed committee members and companies seeking tickets for an international friendly against England to make all cheques “payable to LOC 2006 Ltd.”

Tim Kee, the then TTFF vice president, was copied in on the statement.

The letter, which was dispatched a full two years after the 2006 World Cup, not only implicated Tim Kee in the possible diversion of funds that should have gone to the football body.

It might also explain why the TTFF repeatedly refused, even under the threat of contempt of court, to hand over the LOC’s accounting statements to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, during the bonus dispute.

For instance, in 2010, Warner instructed the South Korea FA and FIFA to wire a combined US$750,00 (approximately TT $4.5 million) in aid relief for Haiti to the LOC rather than the KPMG-audited TTFA.

For years, the TTFA pointed to KPMG’s reputation as a defence to accusations of fraud and misappropriation of funds while Tim Kee claimed that the football body’s scandals had nothing to do with him.

It appears that nobody is accepting either excuse anymore. And, without FIFA money and a cool response from the private sector, Tim Kee would be desperate to benefit from State funding if he is to have any chance of retaining his post at the TTFA’s election in November.

In the interim, the TTFA has used 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup prize money and funding for different programs to keep the national teams afloat while Tim Kee continues his standoff with the Sport Minister.

The football body will also play Mexico in an international friendly in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 4. In keeping with tradition under the current TTFA leadership, details of the match contract were not only hidden from the media but from its own executive as well.

According to one London-based football agent, who operates in the Caribbean, match agents usually charge the host nation a minimum of £5,000 (approximately TT$50,000) per game plus “full affair costs”, which means all expenses such as travel costs and match fees.

On top of those fees, agents usually demand a percentage of gates and television revenue as well.

An agent with a commitment from an international team to arrange a game on a particular day, for instance, can hawk around the world until he or she finds a suitable football association that will pay the most for the match.

Trinidad and Tobago, according to the agent who spoke on condition of anonymity, is an attractive proposition for match agents as it is one of the few international teams that generally has all its affair costs paid for by its government.

So, in theory, a match agent could charge the Romania or Jordan FA for the cost of airline tickets and match fees for the Warriors and then pocket that money once the trip is written off by the Ministry of Sport. On top of that, the agent would still benefit from a booking fee and cut of the gates and television rights.

Phillips was a match agent and ran his own company, Element Agency, before he took up the position of TTFA general secretary in May 2013. He claimed to have closed the company then.

However, more than a year later, Wired868 received documentation that showed Phillips using his Element Agency email account to conduct TTFA’s business for a high profile friendly away to Argentina.

Phillips claimed it was an honest mistake.

“I have a glitch in my email where sometimes emails that go out go out with my Element address,” Phillips told Wired868. “I’ve tried to fix it and even disabled the address but emails still go out. I have to get that fixed.

“Element has never been a part of anything since I got involved in the TTFA.”

Nakhid: If FIFA wants reform; then reject Platini and vote for me
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Former Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team captain David Nakhid announced today that he will contest the post of FIFA president at the upcoming elections on 26 February 2016.

Controversial president Sepp Blatter has vowed to step aside to make way for a new leader at the helm of the maligned billion dollar corporation, which has been plagued by corruption for decades.

And Nakhid, who is a former St Mary’s College student with a double major in International Relations and Economics from American University in Washington DC, believes he is the man for the job.

“It is not about me wanting the job,” Nakhid told Wired868. “This is our time for a completely new face and a new ethos. According to the late (Trinidad and Tobago economist) Lloyd Best, we are the first, true globalists…

“The position of FIFA president is a diplomatic post with serious connotations. It needs someone who understands football and understands implementation and has the ability to transform that into how we reform the developing world.”

Nakhid, who is in Antigua at present, has already discussed his presidency with Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee, among other regional football administrators.

He claimed that, on Derrick’s invitation, he will speak to Caribbean football delegates on Saturday at a CFU executive meeting in St Maarten.

A CONCACAF official has never stood for election at a FIFA congress while Nakhid’s move comes at a time when the Confederation is reeling from United States Department of Justice indictments of regional administrators for racketeering.

Current CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb was extradited to the United States to stand trial while past president and Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner is fighting extradition.

However, Nakhid, who has not lived within CONCACAF’s geographical boundaries for nearly two decades and runs the David Nakhid Academy in Lebanon, suggested that it was philosophically important that football’s reform began in the Caribbean.

“We want this to come out from the Caribbean because this is a place that has been underdeveloped,” he said, “and used for votes in the past by people from other parts of the world…

“I will do whatever it takes on my side to give us in the region a chance to sit at the (FIFA) head table. We thought we had someone on the table but that was an illusion.

“We had someone there who pushed his own agenda and rendered the Caribbean servile and impotent.”

Nakhid, who claimed that his campaign has so far been self-funded, aims to win over the Caribbean with his manifesto, which points toward better development for the game in the region at all levels. He promised to make his manifesto public within two weeks.

One of his more radical proposals is the rotation of the CONCACAF Gold Cup throughout the Confederation, including Central America and the Caribbean. At present, the Gold Cup has never been staged outside of the United States and Mexico.

“We have ceded the Gold Cup to the United States for a trickle down of TV dollars,” said Nakhid. “But a tournament like the Gold Cup could force investment in infrastructure and development and coaching and so on throughout the region and in Central America.

“We want to be more equitable. The last board ceded that for their own benefit (and) that is just a sample of the inept leadership in the region before.”

Nakhid, a former Grasshoppers (Switzerland) and New England Revolution (MLS) playmaker, also proposed a new paradigm for the development of players in the Caribbean that seeks smooth relations between schools and professional clubs.

He believes the Caribbean must have a professional league and said the CFU might be the last region in global football to be without a properly organised competition. However, he thinks schools can and should remain the bedrock of player development.

“The Caribbean is very much school-based and community-based (and) we are very distinct in that way from Europe where things revolve around clubs,” said Nakhid. “I can tell you what a small European nation did that we can learn from.

“In the 1990s, Belgium introduced a template in which incentives were given to primary schools and secondary schools, where, if they produced players for the national level, they got funding for school grounds and so on… I know because I played there.

“Some parents oppose sending their children to clubs but they allow them to represent their schools. This template forces schools to invest in better coaching and create more curriculum time for football because it pays off in real economic terms.”

Nakhid suggested his intimate knowledge of issues in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa makes him a superior candidate to Platini.

Platini, according to Nakhid, is likely to continue Blatter’s system of ‘patronage’ to the developing world, which has led to more corruption than development.

“Patronage extended without proper oversight is not proper patronage at all,” he said.

“It is all well and good that football is taken to the wide areas of the world. But when money is given to build a football field and there is no oversight and nothing happens, you are just giving away money and that does not help development or anyone but the person who pocketed the money.

“Platini comes from the wealthiest confederation in the world. You have to ask how can he help us or help Africa coming from on high. Why should this be a coronation for him?

“FIFA should not be for the elite. FIFA’s role should be to develop football throughout the world.”

Last month, a Reuters report, which quoted from an anonymous source, said Platini already had the support of four from FIFA’s six confederations. But Nakhid heard differently and he believes that, based on the strength of his ideas, he can surpass the Frenchman and former European Player of the Year.

“Now is time for the FIFA leadership to challenge the status quo,” he said. “UEFA is by far the wealthiest confederation and biggest beneficiary of talent from the developing world. And still, with all the largess they have, they complain within the democratic process about the money that goes to the developing world…

“I can’t come from a position of absolute strength and think I can identify with the people in Morvant (a depressed area in Trinidad). Platini has never worked in development (and) my track record is clear.

“Not only did I play in the developing world and speak out many times against the lack of infrastructure and development, I have been very active in raising the profile of football in the developing world.”

Nakhid stressed that he was not suggesting increased monetary hand-outs. But programs tailor-made for individual nations and properly monitored to lessen corruption.

The CFU president, who extended an invitation to Nakhid, was implicated in the Mohamed Bin Hammam bribery scandal that brought down Warner, four years ago, while Tim Kee served as vice president to the crooked Trinidad football official for nearly two decades.

So how could Nakhid hope to affect this cancer, particularly when his base is ravaged by it?

The former Caribbean MVP said he hopes the US Department of Justice’s arrest of football officials is a wake-up call to the football body. Beyond that, he suggested that a combination of improved oversight and an “appeal to the better nature” of officials could help turn FIFA around.

“There are 209 associations and six confederations and some will operate in ways we cannot effect,” said Nakhid. “We have to be pragmatic and we are not so naive to say we will have everyone holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya.’ But we believe a serious, honest undertaking of development throughout the world with philosophical undertones will appeal to their ideological notions of their selves.

“We believe many officials come in for the betterment of the game but find a situation where it is easier to accept patronage than to elevate themselves and their region.

“Some will be inspired by our rhetoric and want better. But some will want to cling to patronage and support a famous footballer from Europe who sends them 3,000 footballs…”

Nakhid has no intention of being cornered by the stereotype of a dodgy Caribbean football official, as evidenced by his own compatriot, Warner.

His own battles with Warner are well known within Trinidad football circles. His outspoken nature meant he was blacklisted from the international game for much of his adult career, despite being the country’s first real European star.

“I was blacklisted from 1989 to 1994 but for one game in-between,” said Nakhid. “I was criticising Jack Warner before criticising Jack Warner was in-vogue… and I suffered for it too, through hatchet jobs in the media and so on.

“But I don’t want this to seem like a get-back campaign because this is more global reaching than just Jack.

“For all intents and purposes, Jack is irrelevant. He is only a reference to how things should not be done and how they should never be done again.”

Nakhid also took the opportunity to discuss his interaction with former Trinidad and Tobago football icon and coach, Everald “Gally” Cummings, who left the then Switzerland-based midfielder out of his “Strike Squad” team in the 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I have no problem with Gally,” said Nakhid. “Maybe (my omission from the Strike Squad) was just due to a clash of personalities, which could happen. Right now, I am prepared to give Gally the benefit of the doubt…

“Maybe he thought I couldn’t fit into that team. I would strongly differ. I think I would have been perfect for that team, especially where I was at that time.

“But that is football.”

A silky playmaker in his heyday, Nakhid travelled to Switzerland for a trial with top flight club, Grasshoppers—on the recommendation of FIFA technical committee member Walter Gagg—as a 24-year-old university graduate in mid-1988.

By the following February, German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gave Nakhid his competitive debut and an appearance in the European Cup soon followed.

Nakhid, who waited two months before he was allowed to train with the Grasshoppers’ first team, was angry that it took so long.

“My chance came when I was allowed to play in a scrimmage between the team,” said Nakhid. “Hitzfeld basically told me I had 20 minutes and I went to town. I was a dribbler in those days…

“At the time, I was very critical of Ottmar… But I understand now that it was his first big club and he didn’t want to take risks.

“I was coming from a university in the States and they were in the European Cup at the time and had beaten teams like Real Madrid and Liverpool in the past.”

Hitzfeld left Grasshoppers three years later for Borussia Dortmund and a career that saw him become one of only five managers to win the European Cup with two different clubs.

Nakhid spent four seasons with Grasshoppers and also played professionally in Europe with Waregem (Belgium), PAOK (Greece) and Malmö FF (Sweden). It was a rarity then for European teams to use central midfielders from the developing world.

“I didn’t accept the status quo,” he said. “I was told many times over when I first came to Grasshoppers that I was coming from a region without a serious culture of football. They felt we didn’t have the tactical and mental acumen to run the show…

“I was stigmatised because of the region I came from and I wanted to change that.”

At Malmö, Nakhid met an inspired another talented maverick.

In Chapter Five of “I am Zlatan”, Sweden and PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic recalled his first meeting with Nakhid during pre-season, in which the Trinidadian challenged him to make the most of his talents.

“If someone else had said it I would have hardly believed in it,” said Ibrahimovic, in his biography. “But this guy, he apparently knew something. He had been around the world and it went like a dagger through my body.

“Was I really a pro talent in the making? I started to believe in it. For the first time I really did that and sharpened my play even more…

“The guy from Trinidad Tobago had indeed prepared me for (professional football).”

Nakhid speaks six languages: English, Greek, German, Arabic, French and Spanish; and has lived in Trinidad, United States, Switzerland, Greece, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

He gave his interpretation of Best’s quote about the Trinidad and Tobago ‘globalist.’

“Where we have come from with our diverse background of African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian and European heritages,” said Nakhid, “we were pushed into this melting pot to forge our identities. Globalism is a struggle to reach a certain identity.

“They in Europe have more global access but they are not globalists and that position at FIFA needs a true globalist. And looking at where I have lived and how I have lived, my track record speaks for itself.”

Nakhid pointed to his arrest and a five day stint in a Lebanese cell, in April 1997, for helping ‘exploited’ African players, as evidence of his character and willingness to stand against wrongdoing. He challenged the European media to scrutinise Platini’s own record.

“Now that Blatter is going, we hope the media looks at the people who are going up and their track records,” said Nakhid, who pointed to the role Platini and his son, Laurent, played in Qatar’s controversial 2022 World Cup bid. “Look at Platini’s record and you will see a double standard by the European media in terms of their willingness to scrutinise their own leader…

“The scrutiny should not only be on those who resigned but those who are seeking the post. They should be scrutinised even more so…

“Platini has done many of the same things he accuses Blatter of and he was making trips with Warner and Jeffrey Webb and so on. But there are no in-depth investigation into those.”

Nakhid insisted that, if FIFA’s members truly want reform, they will ignore Platini and vote for the Trinidadian instead.

“We want this to be a campaign of ideas and hopefully delegates will consider the substance of these ideas and then let the best man win,” Nakhid told Wired868. “I am not looking to divide Confederations and voting blocs, I want everyone to look at my manifesto and campaign and vote for me, including UEFA.

“Now is the time we feel that, instead of UEFA calling the Caribbean for a vote, I want, based on ideas, to be able to call UEFA and ask them to vote for me.”

Hart exam: T&T coach talks football philosophy, squad selection and the 2018 W/Cup
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

“I think football is about creating a balance,” Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart told Wired868. “The first thing you need to know is how you are going to recover the ball. If you cannot recover the ball, then you are in trouble.

“And when you recover the ball, depending on the part of the field you are, knowing how to play. Do you keep it or do you look to launch a counter-attack?”

Hart sat down with Wired868 for a wide ranging interview into the state of the “Soca Warriors”, the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup tournaments, his tactical and player selections and the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

This is the second and final instalment of our Hart-to-heart:

Wired868: What was the trick with Kenwyne Jones? He seemed to have worked with you better than any other coach…

Hart: I think you would need to speak to Kenwyne about that. I try to always advise Kenwyne along certain lines and let him know if I am happy with what he is doing or if I am not happy with what he is doing. But I am also aware of the enormous strain he is under from the Trinidad public, which I think is unfair.

People don’t take into consideration the kind of attention other teams pay towards him. And what I’ve found is it has been very difficult to find a partner for Kenwyne who could create the type of service he would require.

He is not the typical Trinidad and Tobago striker who could pick up and make room for himself or beat his man. He requires service. So the difficulty was to create situations where the service was close enough to him to exploit the space he creates by being double marked and/or to feed off things that come off of him, which is what (Kevin) Molino did so very well.

Wired868: You think Kevin Molino is by far the best partner for Kenwyne?

Hart: Yes. Because Kevin played close to Kenwyne. The other ‘number 10s’ (attacking central midfielders), so to speak, have a habit of playing close to the midfield. And, quite frankly, if a team is defending and the (opposing) ‘number 10’ is playing in the middle of the park, they have done their job.

But if the ‘number 10’ is finding room on the top of the penalty box, then it creates a problem. And Kevin has the ability to find room on the top of the penalty area.

Wired868: Jonathan Glenn didn’t play a minute at the Gold Cup and I think he only played 10 minutes in the Caribbean Cup. What is the value that you think he brings to the team?

Hart: He is an excellent finisher. His finishing ability is probably the most composed in the squad. I think he will get his chance but Kenwyne was playing so well…

Glenn is a ‘nine’. He said he rarely ever plays wide. It is just a matter of biding his time and when he gets the opportunity…

Wired868: The younger players, Rundell Winchester and Kadeem Corbin, didn’t get a look in. Is it harder for new players to grow on you?

Hart: No. It was unfortunate but the way the team was playing at the time, it didn’t make sense changing up the squad for the sake of giving them experience in a tournament.

That is what happens with Trinidad and Tobago football at every level. We are going to tournaments for experience and the (part where we properly prepare players beforehand and provide them with the) experience so they can play in a tournament is severely lacking.

So it is very difficult for me at that point to know what would be coming off the bench with those younger players, even though Rundell is not so much of a risk as Corbin.

Wired868: And what about another newcomer, attacking midfielder Keron Cummings, who got into the team after injuries to Molino and Hughtun Hector?

Hart: I think his attitude was good in that he came in listening… I told him there are  two potential positions you could play and if you do this you would have a very good chance of playing.

But even in the first half of the Mexico game, he started off doing what I told him I didn’t pick him in the past for. Which is he was getting comfortable with the midfielders (and playing too deep). (He would) bounce a ball and get it back but really not do anything (to effect the game).

At half time, the basic knowledge passed to him was get close to Kenwyne and feed off anything that comes to him. (Cummings went on to score twice in the second half with both goals coming from assists by Jones).

Wired868: What do you think of the composition of the squad?

Hart: I think there is a lot of room for improvement and the fact that we had two centre backs playing full back speaks for itself. In my opinion, Aubrey David has the option to be a very good centre back.

I like Cyrus a lot at full back because he gives you so much. But he still has a lot to learn about being a full back. His positioning can be better.

Mekeil did his best but it was a huge learning curve for him. He was put in the left back position (although he is) a centre back (for his club)…

Soon we will get the Hoytes (Justin and Gavin) back, who can both play full back. Especially Gavin. Their In Stats ratings are very high. Gavin in particular has the ability to play stopper.

Wired868: What type of player do you think is missing on the team or you feel you can do with more of?

Hart: I think people underestimate the kind of tournament Kevan George had but he was outstanding. He broke up so many players by taking away passing lanes. (And) he kept popping up with the ball in crucial times.

His energy in the midfield and his ability to cover the attacking partner in the midfield and protect his two centre backs was outstanding. A second player to do that job with the same sort of physical qualities would be a big asset.

Wired868: Isn’t that what Dwane James is supposed to be?

Hart: Yes but to be fair to Dwane he is still learning the midfield position at North East and the international learning curve seemed to be a bit fast for him to adapt. He looked far more comfortable in training as a full back.

Wired868: And what about a playmaker who can help us keep the ball better?

Hart: Well that search will continue. Certainly Cummings can do that and Ataulla (Guerra) has the ability to do that but they both have the habit of doing it on the wrong part of the field.

If you look at the other ‘10s’, they come off the defence looking for the ball in pockets like the Mexican (playmakers).

(He explained that Mexico employed a floating ‘10’ rather than one particular player, as Andres Guardado, Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos all played the role at times).

And look how much damage (Michael) Bradley did popping up as a sort of quasi-10 for the US.

Our ‘number 10s’ play too far away from the ‘9’, ‘7’ and ‘11’ (centre forward, right winger and left back). And they play closer to the ‘8’ and the ‘4’ (holding central midfielders) which is not what we want.

Wired868: And what about the deep-lying playmaker that we had before like David Nakhid or even Densill Theobald? Is there a role for that kind of player now?

Hart: Yes. If you could find one for me. But I don’t think we have anything in that mould so to speak.

Andre Boucaud is one who helps us keep the ball very well and every time he came on in this tournament, he settled us down. Because he always tends to be available and, if you look at his passing statistics, he was exceptionally good.

He also has the tendency to make the forward pass rather than the square pass. But his passing range is not like Nakhid’s.

Wired868: So you would like an athletic, combative midfielder?

Hart: No. Not necessarily. I would like a bit more variety in the role of ‘10’ and in the position of the midfield (anchor) so it gives me a bit more tactical variation that I could work with.

So if I need two out and out holding midfielders so I can release four or five players up the field and feel comfortable I can defend, then fine. There are games I would gladly go in doing that.

And if I can get a ‘10’ that can create opportunities for ‘7’, ‘11’ and ‘9’ (right winger, left winger and centre forward) and score some goals, I would gladly accept that…

I think both my goalkeepers (Jan-Michael Williams and Marvin Phillip) are highly underrated by the way. They are two very good goalkeepers and, by goalkeeping standards, they are young.

Wired868: Apart from Corbin, any other national youth players you can see being fast tracked into the senior team for the 2018 World Cup campaign?

Hart: Given the right situation, if they are playing regularly with their clubs.

(He named five National Under-23 players that he is watching closely. But he did not want their names published as he felt it might put additional pressure on the young men).

Wired868: Will we go back to the 4-3-3 formation that you tried to implement at the Gold Cup? Or has that been scrapped?

Hart: Let me just say that the adaptation to the 4-3-3 seemed to be a bit too complex for the players in the time frame that we had. We were losing shape way too easily…

(He gave a detailed breakdown of the two main variations of the 4-3-3 he attempted to use and explained how each would affect the shape and responsibilities of his midfielders, attackers and full backs. However, he preferred not to reveal those ideas publicly).

With the 4-3-3, I could have gotten the best technical players, on paper, on the field. But somehow I think some of those players don’t want to hear anything with the word ‘tactic’ in it.

(He explained how the movement of some players in key roles could cause the collapse of the 4-3-3 system and why he felt it became too much of a risk).

Wired868: Would you say you are pragmatic coach? Do you set up your team not to be beaten and then anything else is a bonus?

Hart: I think football is about creating a balance. The first thing you need to know is how you are going to recover the ball. If you cannot recover the ball, then you are in trouble. And when you recover the ball, depending on the part of the field you are, knowing how to play.

Do you keep it or do you look to launch a counter-attack? What is required?

But the first thing is creating some sort of balance.

Wired868: Do you see Trinidad and Tobago primarily as a counter-attacking team now?

Hart: I would say in the timeframe I had to work with the team, it was easier to put that in place. But it is one of our weapons. Yes.

Wired868: Have you signed your new job contract yet?

(His contract as head coach expired at the 2015 Gold Cup).

Hart: No. We are still in negotiations.

Wired868: Anything you’re looking for that you can reveal? I know that before you did not have performance bonuses…

Hart: Well it is not so much about me as (it is about) the capacity to give us what is necessary come the World Cup qualification campaign. I think those things must be seriously discussed.

It is not just what I get out of this but do we have everything covered for the players and staff, do we have everything covered in terms of (practice) games (and) the equipment to physically prepare properly. You know. Everything that goes with a proper World Cup campaign…

Wired868: And I assume you have asked the TTFA to make the In Stats software available?

Hart: Of course. In Stats was a tremendous help for me both in keeping track of my players as they played every weekend (with their clubs) and (to monitor) the opposition. (It also gives) a breakdown of my team and every single pass (made during the game); if it was backward, forward or square, completion or not completion, every dribble, every touch of the ball broken down by player…

Wired868: What for you is an adequate working environment?

Hart: Well, first to begin, it would be nice to have a working budget. So we would know we can go out and sign contracts and nail down games months in advance.

We and the players should know this is what we will be receiving contractually and we would get it upon arrival. And of course that includes staff. So we will not have anything to worry about.

This is extremely important because a lot of the staff take time off from work… (I have) a tremendous support staff (and) they have to be taken care of…

Wired868: Ideally what games will you like to get before the World Cup qualifying campaign?

Hart: The first thing is just to play on every single FIFA date. To play home and away. FIFA dates don’t allow us to train together anymore. So the main thing is to play the games (and), regardless of the outcome of the games, get the players working together on a consistent basis. And to play (our friendlies) on a home and away basis (as we will during the qualifying campaign).

Hopefully (I want to play) against Latin American teams and, depending on how the fixtures come out, play a team that will play similar to the United States.

Wired868: What team plays similar to the United States?

Hart: We would probably have to go to Europe for that.

Wired868: What about the Copa America Play Off against Haiti?

Hart: We can’t get a firm date on that and it is actually hindering us going out and looking for teams to play (in the upcoming FIFA windows). Because we don’t want to sign a contract and then (CONCACAF says) we have to play Haiti then.

Wired868: Is the Play Off a one-off game or a two-legged contest?

Hart: I have no idea. CONCACAF can’t seem to tell us.

(He shook his head disapprovingly).

Wired868: So we just have the Mexico warm-up game?

Hart: We have a few more things in the works but the Mexico game is the only contract that was signed.

There are six FIFA match days between now and the start of the World Cup qualifiers. I hope to use them all. But, if I can’t, I would prefer to play on the second date so I can have the players together for a longer period of time.

Wired868: What about the national players who are not playing competitive football now or might not even be attached to clubs?

Hart: Hopefully, I can shortlist some of them and they can work consistently with (fitness trainer) Tobias Ottley… It is going to be difficult for them, let’s face it.

Wired868: Any local-based camps planned or that you would like to have?

Hart: At this point, I think it is a little complicated. There certainly can’t be one in August because of the CONCACAF Champions League as too many players would be missing.

We may be able to have one after the (Mexico) game in September. But that depends on our finances.

Wired868: What’s the value of the next three months for you as World Cup coach?

Hart: Two things. One is to start to play some games so we can keep together as much as possible. See players and experiment with players. The games have no value except for the fans. The real value for us is in building the team again to (play in the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament).

Wired868: Thanks for your time, coach.

Hart: No problem.

Hart exam: T&T coach talks football philosophy, squad selection and the 2018 W/Cup
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

“I think football is about creating a balance,” Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart told Wired868. “The first thing you need to know is how you are going to recover the ball. If you cannot recover the ball, then you are in trouble.
“And when you recover the ball, depending on the part of the field you are, knowing how to play. Do you keep it or do you look to launch a counter-attack?”
Hart sat down with Wired868 for a wide ranging interview into the state of the “Soca Warriors”, the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup tournaments, his tactical and player selections and the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.
This is part two of our Hart-to-heart:

Wired868: What was the trick with Kenwyne Jones? He seemed to have worked with you better than any other coach…
Hart: I think you would need to speak to Kenwyne about that. I try to always advise Kenwyne along certain lines and let him know if I am happy with what he is doing or if I am not happy with what he is doing. But I am also aware of the enormous strain he is under from the Trinidad public, which I think is unfair.
People don’t take into consideration the kind of attention other teams pay towards him. And what I’ve found is it has been very difficult to find a partner for Kenwyne who could create the type of service he would require.
He is not the typical Trinidad and Tobago striker who could pick up and make room for himself or beat his man. He requires service. So the difficulty was to create situations where the service was close enough to him to exploit the space he creates by being double marked and/or to feed off things that come off of him, which is what (Kevin) Molino did so very well.

Wired868: You think Kevin Molino is by far the best partner for Kenwyne?
Hart: Yes. Because Kevin played close to Kenwyne. The other ‘number 10s’ (attacking central midfielders), so to speak, have a habit of playing close to the midfield. And, quite frankly, if a team is defending and the (opposing) ‘number 10’ is playing in the middle of the park, they have done their job.
But if the ‘number 10’ is finding room on the top of the penalty box, then it creates a problem. And Kevin has the ability to find room on the top of the penalty area.

Wired868: Jonathan Glenn didn’t play a minute at the Gold Cup and I think he only played 10 minutes in the Caribbean Cup. What is the value that you think he brings to the team?
Hart: He is an excellent finisher. His finishing ability is probably the most composed in the squad. I think he will get his chance but Kenwyne was playing so well…
Glenn is a ‘nine’. He said he rarely ever plays wide. It is just a matter of biding his time and when he gets the opportunity…

Wired868: The younger players, Rundell Winchester and Kadeem Corbin, didn’t get a look in. Is it harder for new players to grow on you?
Hart: No. It was unfortunate but the way the team was playing at the time, it didn’t make sense changing up the squad for the sake of giving them experience in a tournament.
That is what happens with Trinidad and Tobago football at every level. We are going to tournaments for experience and the (part where we properly prepare players beforehand and provide them with the) experience so they can play in a tournament is severely lacking.
So it is very difficult for me at that point to know what would be coming off the bench with those younger players, even though Rundell is not so much of a risk as Corbin.

Wired868: And what about another newcomer, attacking midfielder Keron Cummings, who got into the team after injuries to Molino and Hughtun Hector?
Hart: I think his attitude was good in that he came in listening… I told him there are  two potential positions you could play and if you do this you would have a very good chance of playing.
But even in the first half of the Mexico game, he started off doing what I told him I didn’t pick him in the past for. Which is he was getting comfortable with the midfielders (and playing too deep). (He would) bounce a ball and get it back but really not do anything (to effect the game).
At half time, the basic knowledge passed to him was get close to Kenwyne and feed off anything that comes to him.
(Cummings went on to score twice in the second half with both goals coming from assists by Jones).
Read more: http://wired868.com/2015/08/09/hart-exam-tt-coach-talks-philosophy-squad-selection-and-the-2018-wcup/

Hart exam: T&T coach talks Gold Cup, fitness, ice baths and peanut punch
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)

“If you know deep down in your heart that you are not properly prepared, you will never be able to play good football,” Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart told Wired868. “You will always have an excuse or you will be thinking ‘I am not sure if I can play 90 minutes.’

“You just cannot work fast enough when your body is not prepared to do what the brain is telling it to do.”

Hart sat down with Wired868 for a wide ranging interview into the state of the “Soca Warriors”, the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup tournaments, his tactical and player selections and the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

This is Part One of our Hart-to-heart:

Wired868: Compare your emotions at the end of the 2015 Gold Cup and the 2013 edition?

Hart: First to begin with, the feeling was entering both competitions somewhat underprepared, which was frustrating. And like any other coach, it always worries you because you know deep in your heart you can be as prepared as possible but all goes wrong in the tournament itself.

USA and Guatemala are prime examples. They had fabulous roll outs up to the tournament and it went wrong for them during the tournament…

There was more a sense of relief in 2013 that we had managed to achieve getting to a quarterfinal and at the end of the day losing to Mexico in the 84th minute. I don’t want to say it was satisfactory but that is what it was. We did our best, we got to a quarterfinal and we came within minutes of probably going to a semifinal.

This time around, I was a little disappointed in the fact that we were growing from strength to strength in the tournament. I was worried for the Panama game about if we had recovered enough because we were playing a team that had two more days rest than we did.

I was so proud of the players with the fact that they were able to take it to the penalty situation, which quite frankly I felt was our best chance (of winning the match)… Even though we are disappointed, it is a situation you cannot train for. Because the day before nobody missed (in practice). But then again, there were not 80,000 people and you didn’t just finish playing a game for 120 minutes.

Wired868: Before the game against Panama, you spoke about the importance of keeping the ball. How did you feel looking on from the sidelines at how the game went?

Hart: I recognised pretty early that we were in trouble and the ability to keep the ball and do what we had planned to do was breaking down and it was a direct relation to both mental and physical fatigue.

We struggled to get hold of the ball in the first place. And then when we did get hold of the ball, we were not patient enough to try and rest with the ball sometimes. It is a big learning curve.

Wired868: In terms of the attributes of your players, was the squad constructed to be able to retain possession against a team like Panama?

Hart: Certainly not against Mexico. But I felt that we could do it against other teams. But the team was more or less designed to play a counter attacking type of game because I felt we were athletic enough and the technical players were further up the field that can bring that kind of goal scoring attributes.

So even though we did a lot of work on keeping the ball, we also worked on our variety in terms of how we would play. I wouldn’t say we had the ability to keep the ball against a team like Mexico. Their pressing and the organisation of their press reflects a team that has played at the highest level consistently. It was evident.

Wired868: What do you think about the Mexico coach being fired?

Hart: Well, I think a lot of things should have been considered. I’m not saying it is acceptable to strike a reporter…

Wired868: I’m glad you feel that way. (Both men laugh).

Hart: I can see the frustration though in what he went through. Also I think no consideration was given that when he took over Mexico (in 2013) they were literally out of the World Cup and he had one chance to prove himself (in the FIFA Play Off). He proved himself and gave a decent World Cup showing and then he won the Gold Cup…

So I really feel sorry for him. But I don’t think in the long run he was the coach a lot of people in Mexican football wanted. That is just my take on it because the getting rid of him happened so quickly. It was almost as if they had the excuse they wanted.

Wired868: What would you see as the main positive and negative in the 2013 Gold Cup?

Hart: In 2013, I lacked that complete understanding of player relationships. I had a good idea of the Trinidad team but I didn’t really understand the players’ minds…

The only negative thing I found was that I knew I would have to get rid of some players who served Trinidad and Tobago football very, very well. And I needed to start replenishing the potential team for World Cup qualification.

Wired868: Why did you see that as necessary? Was that a matter of attitude or physical attributes?

Hart: No. It wasn’t a matter of attitude. But I felt we were starting to be in a situation where we were starting to lose some quality physically in very key areas of the field. And once you start having veterans in that situation, the managing of the situation becomes a little more complex.

It is very hard to bring people to your way of thinking if you were not part of their make-up over the years.

Wired868: Teaching old dogs new tricks?

Hart: Maybe a bit of that. But to be honest none of them gave me any problems. It was just a deep down feeling that the team needed freshening up.

Wired868: One of those would be Cornell Glen who said he never retired…

Hart: Cornell never gave me any real trouble. I would love to be in a situation where I could give the Trinidad and Tobago public the chance to say goodbye to both him and ‘Bleeder’ (Densill Theobald) who served us so well. But really and truly, I just felt it was time to freshen up and to give some other players the opportunity to move within leadership roles within the squad which they would not do if the older heads were there.

Wired868: And what were the positives of that campaign?

Hart: The results in being able to show we could endure a lot of footballing activity despite a lack of what is required at the highest level professionally. It meant that the players did have a certain mentality and love for the country. I think that was a huge positive.

And then the second thing was the way some of the young players stepped up to accept responsibility. And when I say young players, I mean players that would probably have been in the shadows and were not part of the 2006 campaign…  (Kevin) Molino, Andre Boucaud certainly came to the forefront as a team leader and the way Kenwyne responded to myself and the working relationship between the two of us.

He could have easily sat in his comfort zone. But the response was tremendous.

Wired868: What would be the negatives of the 2015 Gold Cup campaign?

Hart: I was disappointed in the individual recognition of players of where they should be physically to play international football. That was a big negative for me. It is almost the way football was in the 70s and 80s where they would let themselves slip on their off season and then have to work themselves all the way back.

My players knew they were going into a Gold Cup. They should not have been in that physical state. To me that was a huge negative and it affected their mental.

Wired868: How so?

Hart: If you know deep down in your heart that you are not properly prepared, you will never be able to play good football. You will always have an excuse or you will be thinking ‘I am not sure if I can play 90 minutes.’ You just cannot work fast enough when your body is not prepared to do what the brain is telling it to do. That is why we play old timers’ (football) today. (Laughs)

Wired868: And you are talking local and foreign based here?

Hart: I would say yes. The local players in general are far off the fitness levels required for international football. And the foreign-based players allowed themselves to slip too much.

Wired868: What have the discussions been like with Pro League coaches about issues like fitness?

Hart: It is hard for me to talk to the Pro League coaches about their teams and their players because that is not generally how I work. But the league itself does not demand that you are at your best for every single game. Because there are only two or three games that really push you (during the regular season), so it is easy to get through with bad habits…

When I say habits, I also mean simple habits like how to recover from games, the use of modern recovery methods, players’ sleeping habits, players’ eating habits… Players are arguing that they don’t want to go in and ice bath whereas every youth team from 16 years old are accustomed to those things. And they know the gains you can get from it. I have to fight with players to take a simple ice bath…

I have to let them know that I am not asking them if they want to take an ice bath. It is not an option. It is part of the recovery process.

Even the eating habits and the lifestyle. Players are actually thinking a punch is good for you and it is strengthening. It is absolutely ridiculous. The sugar and the milk… It is archaic.

I read the Dennis Lawrence interview in the (Trinidad) Express where he said part of the reason we are not seeing more Trinidad players in England is the mentality thing and I think he is right.

Right now, very few players can play in England. I think Molino and Kevan George can but very few others.

Wired868: What other tips would you give local players in terms of recovery from games?

Hart: Well, (fitness coach) Tobias Ottley brought in a dietician and I think the players learned a lot. But whether or not they took in a lot of what they were shown and directed towards, I am not sure. But for them understanding the absorption of carbohydrates when you can maximise it, what quantities you need, why you need it, etc, etc.

If your whole dietary intake is not planned properly, they can go back to eating wrong foods or having a sequence of eating that is the wrong way…

I would advise players: Seek every edge possible to give you an advantage. Outside of drugs, of course. For example, one of the players was telling me that he didn’t like leather boots because they were heavier than the boots he liked. But the real question is the difference in weight between a leather boots and an ordinary synthetic boots is minimal if your body is not prepared the boots as efficiently as possible in the first place.

So why don’t you seek the same advantage with your body, which is really the engine for your work and not the boots?

Wired868: What do you take as the big positive of the campaign?

Hart: One, the willingness of the players to do what is necessary. Also the competition for places within this squad. I think that is positive and it is more positive for players who accept they must constantly be at their best in order to be part of this squad. And also to understand that every game is different and players will be utilised due to the tactics required for that game. So if you are dropped it is not necessarily that you were playing badly. It could mean we require a different type of player…

I do think the camaraderie was commendable. It is not easy to have players together for an entire month eating together and living together with just a couple hours off in between. But I must say the players were fantastic.

That was a huge positive. Even the players who came off the bench brought a mentality of doing everything possible to advance the team.

Wired868: You said during the 2014 Caribbean Cup, once the players’ minds moved to financial issues, their concentration never fully returned. Were there any issues this time?

Hart: It started to become a problem. They kept me away from it.

Wired868: What do you mean?

Hart: I think it is important that I stay away from things like that. I cannot be dealing with money and then turn around and coach the players as well. So management has to deal with that. But it did become a problem during the tournament.

The only thing I said to them was go out and show that you deserve to be compensated properly. But to make it in such a way that players have to first go out there and play without knowing they would be compensated…

We have to show more respect for our players than that. Because they have families to feed, they have lives outside of football. They are not children. They have their own children and mortgages to pay and car payments and everything everyone else has…

WPL stutters to finish line; but organisers beg for a second chance
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

The inaugural Women’s Professional League (WPL), the brainchild of Sport Minister Brent Sancho, looks set for a farcical finish this week with understaffed teams and crammed fixtures, as organisers try to wrap up the competition by Thursday July 30.

The hastily arranged competition was initially criticised by the public. However, skepticism made way for encouraging reviews as the WPL kicked off with entertaining action played before appreciative crowds.

Concerns about the WPL’s schedule proved to be well founded, though, as the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games effectively scuttled the competition’s momentum in more ways than one.

On Sunday July 26, the women’s competition announced fixtures for the same day with barely 15 hours notice to the media and public while clubs are uncertain about venues for matches this week.

Boom Champions Fuego were unbeaten before Sunday but, with just 14 available players, lost 2-0 to Wave FC in front of a nearly deserted stands. Fuego now play their last two outings within 24 hours of each other against Petrotrin Oilers and CNGC Rush on July 29 and 30 respectively, which means three games within five days.

The crammed WPL schedule is against FIFA’s medical guidelines for competitive matches.

“I am very concerned about (the fixtures),” Fuego coach Richard Hood told Wired868. “I argued with the organisers (but) for whatever reason they said we had to finish the league by Thursday. I think there would have been additional costs if they didn’t and they didn’t want to deal with that.

“It is not good for the girls but they decided.”

Fuego, Hood said, plays at the St James Barracks on Wednesday and then in Siparia on Thursday. Or maybe not.

Rush coach Marlon Charles said he believes the Thursday double header was moved to Chaguanas instead. Charles enjoyed the brief WPL tournament, although he believes the administration of the competition must improve.

“It looked good when the girls went on the field because they did their part to sell the league,” said Charles. “The girls gave 100 percent effort, so I think the league achieved its goal in that sense. But the administration itself needs to be more organised. A lot of things surprised them I think.”

Hood and Charles were both wrong about this week’s fixtures. WPL director Kairon Serrette told Wired868 that, after today’s double header at the Eddie Hart Grounds in Tacarigua, the remaining games will be held at Edinburgh 500 in Chaguanas on Wednesday and the St James Barracks on Thursday.

Serrette was unaware of the FIFA medical guidelines for competitions, which doesn’t strictly apply as the WPL is not a FIFA competition. However, he admitted that they ended up in a race against the clock, as the tournament’s 40-plus foreign players are due to leave Trinidad on Friday.

“It was more of a scheduling issue but it had to be done based on the schedule we had to complete the league,” said Serrette. “We had different challenges that we had to react to, so we had to adapt.”

Serrette chose not to give specific examples of those challenges. However, he said there were more positives than negatives to take away from the maiden WPL season, which cost taxpayers $1.7 million.

“We have had challenges (and) we have not done things perfectly and had to adapt,” said Serrette, “but we will do the post-mortem after and see how we can improve.

“I firmly believe it is worth another edition. We have learnt a lot in this first year and once the same principles are involved with more resources, I think this can really take off…”

Most of the WPL’s coaches, players and spectators agreed that the potential for a women’s professional league is real.

Undoubtedly, the six teams involved have bent over backwards to play through less than ideal circumstances.

There was no pre-season and most teams did not get together until two or three days before their opening fixture. Clubs do not have their own physiotherapists but use medical staff assigned by the WPL board.

In at least one fixture, the lone physio on duty abandoned the two playing teams to warm-up the squads for the second fixture.

Charles said that, for the past two weeks, he often held training sessions with just his seven foreign players as many of the locals had to work. So, he combined with Wave FC coach Derek Arneaud, who had the same problem, and they essentially combined their two squads.

“I think the league, given an opportunity again, can only do better,” said Charles.

Roughly one third of the rostered WPL players, around 40 women, came from North and South America as well as the Caribbean. And the skill levels of the imports varied greatly.

There were some standouts like the Angels duo of American defender Jaclyn Poucel and Jamaican midfielder Jodi-Ann McGregor as well as the Brazilian pair of Fuego goalkeeper Leticia “Lele” Bussato and Rush midfielder Priscilla “Pri” Selau. But most were solid at best.

However, Charles believes the WPL is enhanced by the foreign talent, even when they are less gifted than the local players.

“A lot of our local players were very unfit when they came to screening and I was very disappointed with that,” said Charles. “If you are a footballer, you have to be at least 75 percent fit at all times. The foreign players came eager and ready to play…

“Some of the foreign players were not as good as the locals but the locals have to step up next time.”

Whether there will be a “next time” is another story. Serrette has his fingers crossed. But he knows that State funding will be vital to the WPL’s survival.

“I think we won some fans wherever we played, even though we know we were not perfect, and I am happy with that,” Serrette told Wired868. “I don’t know what will happen in the next few months but I hope whoever has to sign off (on the next competition) sees the potential and that it is worth putting the money into it again.

“We tried with a very small staff to provide the best experience possible to the athletes and the public. You never know what is going to happen but we really hope it can continue.”

Serrette pointed out that there are few opportunities for professional women’s football in South and Central America. And he claimed that the imports all enjoyed their time in Trinidad and have vowed to return.

With more time to plan and scout and increased staff and resources, he thinks the WPL can only improve.

“Next year with a few changes, we may be able to attract even better talent and we can improve on the whole product and take it further,” said Serrette. “This thing can really be good. It can be big…

“It wasn’t perfect but, at the core, it is really just to execute better. It is a good introduction into women’s football.”

Hood, Charles and their coaching counterparts hope that the WPL is here to stay.

“I love what the league is bringing,” said Charles, “and I think it was successful on the field where the players really represented.”

Before they get to the post-mortem, though, there are still three gruelling double headers to play in as many days, with a fixture list that is anything but fair to the six teams involved.

The maiden WPL season has encouraged on the field but also disappointed off of it. However, the weighing up of its pros and cons and subsequent reshaping of Trinidad and Tobago’s domestic women’s top tier could be vital to the long term development of the “Women Soca Warriors.”

WPL Fixtures

(Tue July 28)

Wave FC v SCG Dragons, 5.30 pm, Eddie Hart Grounds;

CNGC Rush v Chancellor Angels, 7.30 pm, Eddie Hart Grounds.

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