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601
Football / Re: IRS investigates Warner’s CONCACAF legacy
« on: September 11, 2012, 10:19:24 AM »
Jack confuffles the Guardian
By Mr Live Wire (Wired868.com)

National Security Minister Jack Warner was up to his old Jedi mind tricks yesterday as he denied any suggestion that he was being investigated by the IRS and, possibly sensing the chance to rewrite history, added the bizarre claim that: “I have never faced a court or have enquiry against me. Nobody has accused me, I never take money from anybody pocket and I have no allegations of any kind.”
The Trinidad Guardian published Warner’s monologue without contradiction although he is currently under police investigation, a High Court Judge is insisting he be brought to court over his part in millions of missing World Cup revenue, FIFA indicted him as an accessory to bribery last year, he was named in several local multi-million lawsuits over the last two years including a successful suit by Khelwalaas Engineering for breach of contract and he was the target of a national Commission of Inquiry in 1990 over the 19 November 1989 World Cup ticket fiasco.
Read More: http://www.wired868.com/2012/09/11/jack-confuffles-the-guardian/

602
Football / Scotland on UK football, Roy Keane and his T&T career
« on: September 10, 2012, 11:25:01 PM »
Toasting Scotland the Brave.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com).


Technically competent, strong as an ox, a deft dribbler and a fierce striker of the ball with either foot, Jason Scotland was well worth whatever trouble he may have given the coach when he arrived in Dundee...

Fortunate to be signed by Dundee United after scoring twice in a rare outing for his country against rival club Dundee, “Scotty” thrilled fans with his skills and personality but the tangible returns, he concedes, remained modest.

Worse, he could be a handful at times. Not that there was a super-sized ego to pamper or an uncontrollable, rebellious nature requiring circumspection; what was on offer was just a cheeky, fun-loving man-child in need of guidance.

Scotland’s pre-history as the product of a poor, single-parent household in Laventille who had grown up idolizing minor league players meant that he needed an occasional arm around his shoulder and a word of advice here and there about how to succeed in a professional environment.

Dundee United coach Ian McCall was happy to provide both. He was pleased too with Scotty’s start to life in the Scottish Premiership League (SPL) although he thought his Trinidad and Tobago recruit could work harder on the defensive side of the game. He made his feelings on the issue quite clear early on.

Despite the fact that he had only just graduated from Defence Force to the SPL, Scotland’s response was less than conciliatory.

“But,” he said, “(Brazil football legend) Ronaldo doesn’t track back.”

“You,” McCall replied, “are not f*****g Ronaldo!”

Scotland grinned; McCall glared. Not for long. Within seconds, both men were laughing heartily. McCall knew his point had been made; Scotty knew that the point had to be taken.

He was not a player who thrived on criticism or who could be left alone to get on with the job. For all his bluster, Scotland’s gifts need to be coaxed out.

Perhaps that was why his talent was rarely evident in Trinidad and Tobago’s colours.

The first time Scotland was selected on a national team—although just at Under-20 level—he was so proud that he slept all night in his red, black and white kit.

Coincidentally, a Scottish coach gave him his international senior debut. It was the late Sunderland standout and ex-Chelsea coach Ian Porterfield who called him up for a 15 November 2000 World Cup qualifier against Panama at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain. T&T won 1-0 but Scotty, then only 21, did not distinguish himself.

Trinidad and Tobago had qualified for the final CONCACAF group stage with two games to spare and Porterfield opted to experiment. In what was a golden era for strikers in the twin-island republic, Scotland found the going tough as just one of a battery of talented strikers.

During Porterfield’s year-and-a-half stint, he was so spoiled for choice that he capped all of Dwight Yorke (Manchester United-England), Stern John (Nottingham Forest-Eng), Jerren Nixon (SC St Gallen-Switzerland), Hector Sam (Wrexham-England), Gary Glasgow (Kansas City Wizards-US), Arnold Dwarika and Nigel Pierre (both Joe Public) and the now deceased pair of Mickey Trotman (Rochester Rhinos-US) and Rolston James (Jabloteh) while other capable attackers like Trent Noel (Police) and Angus Eve (Joe Public) were used in midfield.

By Scotland’s last international game, nine years later, he had managed a decent but unspectacular tally of eight goals from 21 starts and 17 substitute appearances.

He was only 30-years-old at the time and still an England Premiership player with Wigan Athletic but he rarely felt appreciated within the national set-up. Eventually, the thought of spending the five-day international break with his wife and daughters instead became too appealing.

“Club football definitely saw the better side of me,” he told Wired868. “Maybe I didn’t push hard enough and take my chances. I tried to give my best but I was always in and out of the team and I always felt like a fringe player.

“I felt that, with the national team, the players who were not starting never got much attention or respect. We were not made to feel like we were part of the squad.”

Still, Scotland’s UK-career took time to flourish as, at the age of 24, he set about learning about the professional game abroad.

“In Trinidad, teams started slow and built up momentum whereas in Scotland it was pace from the whistle,” he said. “So I tended to tire quickly and was always the first person to be subbed. They started using me as an impact player off the bench instead.”

Scotland scored just eight goals in two seasons for Dundee United but his last item was a winner against Hibernian in the 2003/04 Scottish Cup semi-final at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. It booked United’s place in the next season’s UEFA Cup and he had already accepted a two-and-a-half-year deal from McCall.

But his dreams of European glory were shattered when his work permit application was controversially rejected and he was deemed to be of insufficient calibre for the SPL. Would-be conspiracy theorists noted the fact that several committee members had ties to Hibernian.

“I thought that was the end of my (European) career,” said Scotland. “I felt I had made so much progress and now, after playing in front of 60,000 fans at (Celtic’s) Parkhead, I would have to go back to 200 supporters in Trinidad. I was distraught.”

But Owen Coyle, an assistant coach at Dundee United and former Bolton striker, had just landed the managerial job at Scottish First Division team St Johnstone and he offered Scotland a marriage of convenience that benefited both men.

“Coyle was amazing to me as a player and a person,” said Scotland. “He taught me more about movement and how to operate in the (penalty) box.”

At St Johnstone, Scotland scored 33 times in two seasons at an average of a goal every other game.

During that period, the “Soca Warriors” qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and Scotland made the cut while the Scottish nation missed out—a fact that was taken in good part as evidenced by a hilarious 29-second advert by energy drink, Irn Bru.

Scotland only played six times under internationally renowned Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker but he remains a huge fan of “Don Leo”.

“When you were not playing,” said Scotland, “he would say: ‘Don’t be mad with the guy playing ahead of you, be mad with me because I picked him.’

“Beenhakker was the ultimate coach for me. He could be serious but he would also joke around and he spoke to everyone with respect. There was no first team and second team with him, just one squad.

“I felt Beenhakker took care of his entire squad and I don’t think many other national managers did that.”

In his second season at St Johnstone, Scotland was selected to the First Division Team of the Year and was not short of SPL clubs willing to apply for a fresh work permit for him. But he chose England League One club Swansea where he joined former Defence Force teammate and friend Dennis Lawrence under Spanish coach Roberto Martinez.

The Trinidadian replaced Swansea icon Lee Trundle who had scored 21 goals in his last season and the Welsh fans were vociferous in their disapproval of the swap.

Scotland answered with the League One’s top mark of 29 goals in his first season as Swansea, playing an attractive passing game, won promotion to the Championship Division. There, there were 24 more goals, a stat bettered only by Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. That season was also the third successive one that Scotland was named on the Division’s Team of the Year.

Martinez moved to Wigan in the England Premier League and wanted Scotland to join him; Coyle had just gotten Burnley promoted to the EPL and also made him an offer.  Scotland chose Wigan.

Months earlier, even as Scotland plundered goals at Swansea, then Trinidad and Tobago coach Francisco Maturana selected a 26-man squad for an eagerly anticipated friendly against England and found room for unattached attacker Darryl Roberts and even amateur schoolboy Jamal Gay.

There was no space for Scotland and not even the courtesy of  a phone call to explain the omission.

The fixture ended in an embarrassingly lopsided 3-0 defeat that unnerved officials as the team prepared for its first World Cup qualifier in two weeks. So, a clearly overweight Scotland was hastily recalled and failed to distinguish himself in a shock defeat at the feet of Bermuda.

In national colours, he never quite managed to break the cycle of embarrassing let-downs followed by a demonstrated inability to take the chances that did come.

In Wigan colours too, all was not plain sailing.

A hernia operation forced Scotland to miss pre-season training and he had to wait until 26 September 2009 for his Premiership debut, which came against defending champions, Chelsea. And, understandably nervous, Scotland passed on the chance to take a decisive penalty kick.

“I thought about what might happen if I missed,” said Scotland, “and that would never have entered my head at Swansea.

“The pressure was just immense and it seemed to get harder and harder every week and the fans were really getting on my back.”

Scotland’s weekly performance regularly polled at 6 out of a maximum 10 from UK sport writers, which often put him among his club’s top performers. But it was scant consolation.

“I know I was doing well but doing well as a striker means nothing,” he said. “You have to score goals. I started shying away when I missed an opportunity and passing instead of shooting.

“I’m disappointed to this day that I didn’t handle the pressure better and I didn’t take my chances. I should have scored about seven that season.”

Told by Martinez in July 2010 that his chances at Wigan were limited, Scotland decided—reluctantly—to join another former soldier, Carlos Edwards, at Ipswich Town.

“I was hoping that Martinez would encourage me to stay,” he explained, “but he didn’t. And it isn’t nice to know that your manager doesn’t have confidence in you… But I sometimes wondered if I gave up my Wigan career too easily.

“Yes, I didn’t have a good first season but so what? I could have stayed and fought.”

At Ipswich, ex-Manchester United star Roy Keane was building a team for the Premiership and told Scotland that he expected his goals to take the team into the play-offs. Scotty bought into the dream and signed on.

Six months later, Keane was sacked. And Scotland, who found Keane to be more of a bully than an inspiration, was not sad to see him leave.

“He bought me to score goals and, by any means necessary, I was to score goals,” said Scotland. “Keane wasn’t a coach who spent much time breaking down the game like Martinez and the atmosphere around him was something I had never experienced before.

“Most of the players were afraid to be around him or to make a mistake. I remember cracking a joke once at a session and he just went off about jokers and said that he wanted to see how they did on the field.”

Scotland scored in the next game against Bristol City. But, to play it safe, he stopped making jokes.

Despite a spell on the sidelines under new boss Paul Jewell, Scotland finished the season as Ipswich’s top scorer with ten goals. However, he admitted to being mentally unprepared for the intensity of the Championship Division in his first year with Ipswich.

The following pre-season, Scotland was once more surplus to requirements. In the off-season, Jewell had bought two more strikers and, without a word to the striker,  he gave Scotland’s number 10 shirt to Michael Chopra. Scotland didn’t even have a place on the bench when the season started.

But, this time, Scotty refused to buckle. When Jewell rested his main strikers in the Cup games, Scotland took advantage of the opportunity to prove his worth. When he won a spot on the bench for the league games, he made his cameos count.

By the end of the 2011/12 season, Scotland had nine goals, second only to Chopra’s 14. And a suitably impressed Jewell offered him a new deal and asked him to stay as a squad player and pass on his experience to the younger talent as well as freshen up the dressing room with his charm.

It has been a slow start so far, both for Ipswich and for Scotty. He featured as a substitute in every match so far but hasn’t scored yet while the team has posted one win and two draws from its four games.

There was one decisive moment against former Premiership team, Blackburn Rovers, when a Scotland cross forced a late equaliser for Ipswich at home.

But the real pleasure will come when he notches his first goal. He will flash the bright smile that has warmed the hearts of fans in Trinidad and Tobago, Scotland, Wales and, now, England.

The journey has been as remarkable as the destination. Forget Ronaldo. Scotland is special in his own right.


603
Football / Charitable Connection beat D/Force in season opener.
« on: September 08, 2012, 06:44:43 PM »
Charitable Connection beat D/Force in season opener.
By: Lasana Liburd (wired868).


Charity begins in the dressing room at DirecTV W Connection. As Connection beat a 10-man Defence Force team 2-0 to lift the Digicel Charity Shield at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium this evening, announcer Wayne Cunningham informed the audience that the $10,000 charitable cash prize at stake would go to captain Jan-Michael Williams to offset medical expenses for his fiancée Candice Worrell.

Worrell was brutally assaulted while being relieved of her mobile phone in January and was comatose for nearly three months. The former beauty queen is alert, speaking and eating normal foods now although she hasn’t regained authority over her legs.

Hopefully, Connection’s gesture this evening would aid the family’s recovery from a traumatic experience.
It was a rare example today that the Pro League does not operate in a vacuum but is a part of Trinidad and Tobago’s society.

The love was not visibly returned to the footballers who kicked off the 2012/13 season in front of roughly 200 spectators.

Young patrons made full use of a bouncy castle, complete with clowns, that went up at halftime while more seasoned football fans could sit in judgment of present and, possibly, future national players like Defence Force’s Richard Roy, Devorn Jorsling, Rodell Elcock and Ross Russell Junior or Connection’s Shahdon Winchester, Clyde Leon, Joevin Jones and Jomal Wiliams.

The season officially starts next weekend with the first Digicel Pro League fixtures but, for all the talk of a negligent Sport Ministry, insensitive Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and stingy private sector, the threat to local football by the indifference of sport fans is just as worrisome.

Read More


604
Football / Harford: Warriors’ “Legends” absence is non-issue.
« on: September 08, 2012, 10:40:46 AM »
Harford: Warriors’ “Legends” absence is non-issue.
By: Lasana Liburd (wired868).


Anthony Harford, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) marketing manager, said that ongoing High Court action might have influenced the TTFF’s failure to invite the 2006 World Cup players for the Sport Ministry’s 50 Greatest Legends in Sport award ceremony. And he insisted that their absence from the Jubilee function is a non-issue.

Thirteen past and present “Soca Warriors” are engaged in legal action against the TTFF over non-paid bonuses from the country’s historic appearance at the Germany 2006 World Cup.

“We have ongoing litigation with this group of boys and there is no communication apart from in the High Court,” Harford told Wired868.com. “So let the captain (Dwight Yorke) pick up the award. I don’t think the TTFF erred or they are monsters.”

Harford, who was also a convener for the Legends selection committee, said he could not confirm whether the TTFF intentionally snubbed its most famous squad but admitted that he would understand if they did.

“It is a unique situation,” said Harford. “They recently raided the TTFF offices. I’m not saying that (the TTFF) took that into consideration but I could understand if they did.”

The 13 World Cup 2006 players involved in litigation against the TTFF are: Stern John, Kenwyne Jones, Cornell Glen, Collin Samuel, Aurtis Whitley, Evans Wise, Anthony Wolfe, David Atiba Charles, Avery John, Cyd Gray, Brent Sancho, Kelvin Jack and Shaka Hislop.

On 8 February 2012, the World Cup players had a court-appointed marshall seize all removable assets from the TTFF headquarters due to its failure to meet an interim payment of $4.6 million (US$724,000) that should have been paid on 18 October 2011. A large portion of that court-mandated figure remains unpaid.

On Thursday, the TTFF issued a press release that offered its regret about the situation and claimed it was not advised on the possibility of inviting all 24 members of the team nor was there “any discussion over which members should or should not be invited.”

Harford, who held a dual role with the Legends committee and the TTFF, did not feel he erred by failing to advise the local football body to honour its 2006 squad.

“I did not ask (the TTFF to invite them) because it is a delicate matter,” said Harford. “I don’t see it as an issue… I don’t disrespect the players; a lot of them I get on extremely well with and I quite like them. But, if I was in the position of the TTFF, I may have made the same decision.”

World Cup 2006 captain and ex-Manchester United star Dwight Yorke was at the ceremony to collect an individual award and also picked up the team prize. Former Porto playmaker Russell Latapy always received individual recognition while ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was invited, by All Sport, due to his role with ESPN but was not formally acknowledged.

Former 2006 World Cup defender Cyd Gray said the circumstances of the players’ omission hurt rather than the fact that they missed a gala event.

“If the country was celebrating 50 years of independence and we were part of something legendary during that time, then I feel we should have been there,” Gray told Wired868. “I have no problem with Dwight accepting the award but the whole team should have been there because it was a team effort.

“If they wanted to mend bridges with us, this would have been a great step to start and try to put whatever differences we have aside and move forward for the best of the country.”

Gray, a former San Juan Jabloteh defender, was one of Trinidad and Tobago’s standouts at the World Cup and excelled when the “Soca Warriors” faced England in its second group match in Nuremberg.

Coach Leo Beenhakker asked Gray was to mark England striker, Michael Owen, and the “Roxborough Rocket” kept the former European Player of the Year off the score sheet although England eventually grabbed a controversial goal in the final eight minutes before sealing a last gasp 2-0 triumph.

Gray could barely walk into the dressing room after the final whistle and a MRI scan discovered that he suffered a tear in his knee cartilage during the match but defied pain to play the full 90 minutes.

After six years of legal battles, the retired player felt the TTFF should have taken the opportunity to be more civil to the legendary squad.

“Mr (Jack) warner criticized the Opposition Leader for not attending the (Jubilee) function but how is this different?” asked Gray. “They say one thing and do the opposite. For me it is already gone now and it doesn’t matter anymore. But it would have been nice to go.”


605
Football / Harford: Warriors' Legends snub is non-issue; Cyd Gray disagrees
« on: September 08, 2012, 10:39:51 AM »
Harford: Warriors’ “Legends” absence is non-issue
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

Anthony Harford, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) marketing manager, said that ongoing High Court action might have influenced the non-invitation to the 2006 World Cup players for the Sport Ministry’s 50 Greatest Legends in Sport award ceremony. And he insisted that their absence from the Jubilee function is a non-issue.
Thirteen past and present “Soca Warriors” are engaged in legal action against the TTFF over non-paid bonuses from the country’s historic appearance at the Germany 2006 World Cup.
“We have ongoing litigation with this group of boys and there is no communication apart from in the High Court,” Harford told Wired868.com. “So let the captain (Dwight Yorke) pick up the award. I don’t think the TTFF erred or they are monsters.”
Harford, who was also a convener for the Legends selection committee, said he could not confirm whether the TTFF intentionally snubbed its most famous squad but admitted that he would understand if they did.
“It is a unique situation,” said Harford. “They recently raided the TTFF offices. I’m not saying that (the TTFF) took that into consideration but I could understand if they did.”
The 13 World Cup 2006 players involved in litigation against the TTFF are: Stern John, Kenwyne Jones, Cornell Glen, Collin Samuel, Aurtis Whitley, Evans Wise, Anthony Wolfe, David Atiba Charles, Avery John, Cyd Gray, Brent Sancho, Kelvin Jack and Shaka Hislop.
Read More: http://www.wired868.com/2012/09/08/harford-warriors-legends-absence-is-non-issue/

606
Football / IRS investigates Warner’s CONCACAF legacy
« on: September 07, 2012, 09:47:26 PM »
IRS investigates Warner’s CONCACAF legacy.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com).


Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb confirmed on Thursday that the United States’ Internal Revenue Services (IRS), accounting firm BDO International and global legal company Sidley Austin LLP are working in tandem to scrutinize the legacy of his predecessor and Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister Jack Warner.

The CONCACAF Executive was due to receive a report of these investigations at an extraordinary congress this month but Webb claimed that the scale of the operation has forced a postponement until the first quarter of 2013.

“This audit is a massive undertaking that will set our financial house straight and ensure that CONCACAF’s operations are executed in a responsible and ethical manner going forward,” said Webb, via a media release.

“This initiative was inspired by the new CONCACAF’s commitment to full accountability and transparency and it is essential that we get this right so we can move on to focus on our true purpose, the development of the game.”

Warner was CONCACAF president from 1991 to 2011 when he quit after being indicted by FIFA for allegedly facilitating the bribery of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials.

Webb, the 47-year-old former Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president, replaced Warner at the CONCACAF helm in May while the 38-year-old Colombia-born Enrique Sanz, a former director at football marketing company Traffic, was named as the successor to outgoing general secretary Chuck Blazer.

It appears that Webb and the present CONCACAF Executive are not prepared to forgive and forget where Warner is concerned.

In a release to the CONCACAF member associations, Webb insisted that the confederation was still investigating the ownership of the João Havelange Centre of Excellence in Macoya.

Read More


607
Football / Sport Ministry fiddles as national football teams shut down
« on: September 07, 2012, 12:09:40 AM »
Sport Ministry fiddles as national football teams shut down.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com).


Sport Minister Anil Roberts and, by extension, the Trinidad and Tobago government spared little expense in celebrating the finished article as it recently feted Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott and 50 of the country’s top sportsmen.

But the feeling within local football circles is that the Sport Ministry is not delivering to the athletes who are most in need.

This week, the Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team, which breezed through its Caribbean qualifying group in July with 28 goals scored and one conceded from three matches, was forced to halt its preparations for the final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying round in February.

The national under-20 team has cancelled a weekend trip to Fort Lauderdale, Miami where it was due to play two practice matches against Canada in the build-up to its Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifiers in November.

And the senior team has abandoned a scheduled warm-up fixture away to Puerto Rico, which was meant to prepare the “Soca Warriors” for the upcoming Caribbean Cup.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) marketing manager Anthony Harford told Wired868 that the local football body has not received payment from the Sport Ministry since April and there was no money to continue.

“The position remains exactly as it was,” said Harford, who is also a director at All Sport Promotion. “They continue grand charging but we still haven’t received one cent. We are all becoming disillusioned by this.
“In my opinion, the government should to be there to facilitate and encourage growth and encourage its citizens. We have 300,000 young people in Trinidad who are struggling without many choices and we are just monkeying around with them.”

National technical director Anton Corneal was distraught.

The TTFF’s coaches had survived with a stipend of $2,000 per month while they report to sessions for three days a week. Corneal has not been paid this year.

“We have been pushing on for as long as we can without the funds but we can’t do it anymore,” said Corneal. “The under-17 and under-20 teams qualified and we have to say ‘thank God.’ We owe coaches, maxi drivers, everybody. I have not been paid for the year and I have a family to look after. I can’t do this anymore...

“I have been to the government and there have been promises but I don’t know how long we can wait again.”

Ashwin Creed, the Sport Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, admitted that Corneal has visited him. However, he dismissed any suggestion that the Sport Ministry was obliged to help.

Read More


608
Football / Wired868 previews 2012/13 Pro League season
« on: September 05, 2012, 11:56:39 PM »
Central FC joins Pro League; Jabloteh misses out.
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com).


Newly formed outfit, Central FC, is set to become the latest entrant to Trinidad and Tobago’s Pro League ranks after being accepted for the Digicel Pro League 2012/13 season.

Central, which lists its address as 53 West Boundary Street, California, Couva, will be the 20th football club to take a stab at professional football in the twin-island republic. The “Sharks” are headed administratively by the former North East Stars duo of ex-2006 World Cup defender Brent Sancho and Englishman Kevin Harrison who are managing director and operations director respectively.

Another Englishman, former Chelsea assistant coach and Arsenal standout Graham Rix, will serve as head coach with former Trinidad and Tobago national youth players Kevin Jeffrey and Anthony Sherwood as his assistants. Norris Ferguson, a former Pro League Manager of the Year at W Connection, is the club’s manager.

Central’s delight is offset by the pain of Professional Football League (PFL) founding member, San Juan Jabloteh. Jabloteh was unable to find a sponsor for the 2012/13 season and will not participate in the local top flight competition for the first time.

It leaves DirecTV W Connection as the only privately-owned team to participate in every season since the PFL was formed in 1999 although Defence Force, the army/coast guard combination, also provided a steady presence.

Connection and Defence Force, as last season’s Digicel Pro League and Pro Bowl winners respectively, will kick off the 2012/13 campaign with the Digicel Charity Shield exhibition fixture from 5 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Connection is already two games into its new season due to the club’s participation in the CONCACAF Club Championship. And the “Savonetta Boys” have made three significant changes to its title winning team with the return of midfielders Andrei Pacheco and Silvio Spann while Trinidad and Tobago utility player Daneil Cyrus should start in central defence.

The Defence Force club, which was understandably distracted last term with a three-month long State of Emergency, also celebrates the return of striker Devorn Jorsling.

Jorsling helped Caledonia AIA to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) crown in June but rejoins the army to make a potentially eye watering strike partnership with new hot shot Richard Roy.

Central has some intriguing recruits as well with ex-Joe Public winger Hayden Tinto on its books as well as former Jabloteh captain Marvin Oliver, T&TEC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and the North East Stars duo of Anthony Wolfe and Marc Leslie.

Read More


609
VB, that is both how the story was written and the reality. After post primary, Scotland did not re-enter school until he was 16. I believe Arnold Dwarika would have a similar story.

610
Thanks Asylum Seeker. And adjusted.

611
Football / Jason Scotland's trip from Laventille school reject to UK star
« on: September 05, 2012, 08:35:43 AM »
The remarkable Jason Scotland
By Lasana Liburd (wired868.com)

 
Can you recall a day in your life that you wish you could take back?

Jason “Scotty” Scotland, a former trainee electrician from a poor neighbourhood in Morvant, Trinidad, does.

His mother, Ann, now lives in a comfortable and sizeable two-storey home in Barataria. He drives a Range Rover. This July, in his ninth consecutive season in Britain, he signed a new deal with English Championship Division club, Ipswich Town.

At 33, Scotland is living the dream of millions of males worldwide; he is a Europe-based professional footballer. And yet, it might have been so much more.

As former England star Paul Gascoigne once poignantly described his own career, Scotland, a World Cup 2006 squad member, fulfilled his dreams but not his potential. One moment is particularly hard to dislodge when he traces over his career.

His mind wanders back ever so often to the afternoon of 26 September 2009.

The then Trinidad and Tobago international striker was making his England Premier League debut for Wigan Athletic at home to Chelsea. The London outfit was the Premiership’s defending champ and, steered by Coach Carlo Ancelotti, had not been defeated in seven months.

But Scotland could have changed that.

The score was tied at 1-1 when Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech brought down Wigan attacker Hugo Rodellaga and was sent off. And, for what seemed an eternity, the ball lay unattended in the penalty area.

Then Rodellaga, a Colombian international, scooped it up and converted as Wigan went on to win 3-1 and stole back page headlines all over the country.

Scotland had been the regular penalty taker at Swansea under manager Roberto Martinez and Coach Graeme Jones who brought him along when they were promoted to the Wigan post.

In the midst of Wigan’s post-game celebrations, Jones called Scotland aside.

“Why didn’t you take it?” he asked. “You’re our man.”

Scotland smiled back sheepishly.

“Yeah, I know,” he replied.

Scotland silently vowed to take his next opportunity. Only that was it. It was another six months before he got his first and only Wigan goal and he never got a penalty for the Premiership team.

Read More


612
Football / Re: Wired868 previews Barca-Madrid Super Cup
« on: August 30, 2012, 06:47:47 AM »
Oh my! Sorry. My eyes were playing tricks on me, which can happen when you're writing at about 3 am! Thanks for pointing it out... I should be able to afford a full time editor for a second pair of eyes eventually:-)

613
Madrid lost to Barcelona and Getafe already this season and drew its first league match... Should I make that clearer? And thanks for feedback:-)

614
Madrid ambushes Barcelona to lift Supercopa
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)
 
On the last occasion that Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova took his eye off Real Madrid boss José Mourinho, he almost lost it.
Vilanova was assistant to Pep Guardiola for the second leg of the 2011 Spanish Supercopa when Mourinho inexplicably yanked at the former man’s face during a fracas.
In the wee hours of this morning in Madrid, Vilanova lost only his pride. And yet it is uncertain which hurt more.
Real Madrid, the defending champions of La Liga, snapped up the first trophy of the 2012/13 season this morning with a 2-1 victory against their arch-nemesis at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. And the murmurings in the capital, after two losses and a defeat, gave way to gusty songs of “Campeones, Campeones.”
For Vilanova, this might have felt like another mugging.
In the first half hour, Barcelona was already two goals behind and a man down while Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo looked in the mood to rip to pieces one of the world’s greatest teams.
Read more: http://www.wired868.com/2012/08/29/madrid-ambushes-barcelona-to-lift-supercopa/

615
Football / Re: Wired868 previews Barca-Madrid Super Cup
« on: August 29, 2012, 07:53:51 PM »
Madrid ambushes Barcelona to lift Supercopa
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

On the last occasion that Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova took his eye off Real Madrid boss José Mourinho, he almost lost it.
Vilanova was assistant to Pep Guardiola for the second leg of the 2011 Spanish Supercopa when Mourinho inexplicably yanked at the former man’s face during a fracas.
In the wee hours of this morning in Madrid, Vilanova lost only his pride. And yet it is uncertain which hurt more.
Real Madrid, the defending champions of La Liga, snapped up the first trophy of the 2012/13 season this morning with a 2-1 victory against their arch-nemesis at the Estadoi Santiago Bernabeu. And the murmurings in the capital, after two losses and a defeat, gave way to gusty songs of “Campeones, Campeones.”
For Vilanova, this might have felt like another mugging.
In the first half hour, Barcelona was already two goals behind and a man down while Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo looked in the mood to rip to pieces one of the world’s greatest teams.
Read more: http://www.wired868.com/2012/08/29/madrid-ambushes-barcelona-to-lift-supercopa/

616
Football / Mischievous Mourinho takes fresh jab at Barcelona
« on: August 28, 2012, 04:46:15 PM »
Mourinho stokes fires ahead of El Clásico
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

It is a new La Liga season but prepare for the same old José Mourinho.
As Real Madrid try to recover from last Thursday’s 3-2 first leg Spanish Supercopa deficit, the highly successful but equally controversial Portuguese coach returned to one of his old classics by accusing rival Barcelona of influencing the outcome of its matches off the field of play.
Incidentally, Mourinho’s most provocative soundbyte was the only statement he made in English during this afternoon’s press conference at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. His mischievous assertion was not verbal but a rubbing motion between right thumb and forefinger.
In April 2011, Mourinho wondered aloud whether the United Nations Children’s Fund—Barcelona’s shirt sponsors—was somehow involved in supposedly favourable refereeing decisions enjoyed by the famous Catalan club after Barcelona knocked Madrid out of the European Champions League.
Madrid is the defending La Liga champion now but Mourinho has not changed his opinion, which is totally unsupported by fact, that Barcelona enjoys an unseen advantage beyond the magical left boot of Argentine sensation Lionel Messi.
“Between those two clubs, no result in the first leg is a result that you cannot change,” said Mouinho. “We lost last season at home in the (Copa Del Rey), we lost here (and) we went to Barcelona and we didn’t win for something.”
Mourinho rubbed his right thumb and forefinger before continuing.
Read More: http://www.wired868.com/2012/08/28/mourinho-stokes-fires-ahead-of-el-clasico/

617
Football / Re: Wired868 previews Barca-Madrid Super Cup
« on: August 27, 2012, 09:46:05 PM »
Well spotted. Thanks;-)


Madrid prepares for Barcelona examination
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)


“Are you a football fan?” I asked the taxi-driver, who collected me at the Barajas Madrid Airport.
“Yes,” he said. “Real Madrid.”

His eyes searched mine through the rear view mirror for a few seconds. It resembled the look of a man who had just shown off his girlfriend and now hungered for a sign of approval.

My maiden visit to Madrid comes courtesy of DirecTV’s Madrid Tour 2012 and either good luck or a signal of Wired868’s early inroads into the Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting consciousness. I could live with either explanation for my selection at the moment.

Abraham, who looked to be in his 60s, was my first interviewee and he seemed a tad insecure.
“We lost to Getafe last night,” he said. “Getafe?! I would not mind so much (if it was) Barcelona or Valencia or a big club. But Getafe?!”

If the words seemed bitter, the speaker appeared more tortured than aggressive.

Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the 2011/12 La Liga title, which should make it unofficially the best football club in the world—even without the European Champions’ League crown or the less heralded FIFA World Cup title. They amassed a number of records on the way too including 100 points and an amazing goal difference of +89.

But a stroll through north Madrid suggested that the “Madridistas” have not completely exorcised the inferiority complex that took hold when ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola took the Catalan club to the capital in 2009 and trounced Real 6-2 en route to the first of two successive league triumphs.
 
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618
Football / Wired868 previews Barca-Madrid Super Cup
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:43:05 PM »
Madrid prepares for Barcelona examination
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)


“Are you a football fan?” I asked the taxi-driver, who collected me at the Barajas Madrid Airport.
“Yes,” he said. “Real Madrid.”

His eyes searched mine through the rear view mirror for a few seconds. It resembled the look of a man who had just shown off his girlfriend and now hungered for a sign of approval.

My maiden visit to Madrid comes courtesy of DirecTV’s Madrid Tour 2012 and either good luck or a signal of Wired868’s early inroads into the Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting consciousness. I could live with either explanation for my selection at the moment.

Abraham, who looked to be in his 60s, was my first interviewee and he seemed a tad insecure.
“We lost to Getafe last night,” he said. “Getafe?! I would not mind so much (if it was) Barcelona or Valencia or a big club. But Getafe?!”

If the words seemed bitter, the speaker appeared more tortured than aggressive.

Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the 2011/12 La Liga title, which should make it unofficially the best football club in the world—even without the European Champions’ League crown or the less heralded FIFA World Cup title. They amassed a number of records on the way too including 100 points and an amazing goal difference of +89.

But a stroll through north Madrid suggested that the “Madridistas” have not completely exorcised the inferiority complex that took hold when ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola took the Catalan club to the capital in 1999 and trounced Real 6-2 en route to the first of two successive league triumphs.

Read More


619
Football / Shabazz: Guardiola and Brazil make a perfect match
« on: July 08, 2012, 11:22:55 PM »
Guardiola and Brazil make a perfect match
By Jamaal Shabazz (Wired868.com)

The Brazil national football team faces a big problem.
The 2014 World Cup hosts must win the illustrious FIFA tournament and, if you know Brazilian fans, even that won’t be enough. Brazil must deliver victory in style like Barcelona and Spain at their best.
I have just the solution. Brazil should hire ex-Barcelona coach and Spanish legend, Pep Guardiola, to coach its national team.
It’s a perfect fit. Pep needs a new challenge to expound his footballing vision but, instead of a team he must build from scratch, he has a country with the richest history of flair and flamboyance in the game.
Read More: http://wired868.com/868/index.php/view-point/item/199-shabazz-guardiola-and-brazil-make-a-perfect-match

620
Football / Fresh W/Cup bonus delay as Judge tries to step aside
« on: July 03, 2012, 08:15:59 PM »
Fresh W/Cup bonus delay as Judge tries to step aside
… Cash-strapped TTFF hires QC
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)


Legal representatives for the 2006 World Cup players and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) are anxiously awaiting word from High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad as to whether he can recuse himself from a contempt charge against TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and former president Oliver Camps.

Yesterday at the Port of Spain High Court, Rampersad agreed to step aside from the players’ application for contempt proceedings against the past and present football administrators. The relevant judicial committee would select a new judge for the contempt case while Rampersad would continue to rule on the original bonus dispute.

However, Rampersad subsequently called both parties back to the court on Monday evening and informed them that there was some dispute as to whether the rules provide for his proposed manoeuvre.

A final decision was promised to both legal teams by this evening but, at the time of publication, no update had been received.

Read More:


621
Football / Re: UEFA Euro 2012 Thread.
« on: July 02, 2012, 07:45:40 AM »
The Spanish inquisition ends; but is it better than watching Brazil?
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

On Sunday night, the Spain football team left its opponents confounded, breathless and whipped into an open mouthed awe. And those were just the armchair critics.
God knows how the Italian players felt.
Spain’s 4-0 triumph over Italy at the Euro 2012 finals in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium was the most lopsided result of a major international tournament—ever!
Ironically, it eclipsed another unhappy mark by the Italians. Forty-two years ago, the “Azzurri” was dismantled 4-1 at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico City by a Brazil team that had reached its pinnacle and was subsequently lauded as the greatest team of all time. Until now.
Cue hyperbole.
On Saturday, analysts insisted Spain was in decline and was a shadow of a team that won the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cups. Twenty-four hours later, the same pundits declared that the Spanish outfit was the greatest of all time.
It is the life of a top flight athlete, of course. One scoffed shot can be the difference between utter disgrace and having a statue built in your honour.
For me, it is devilishly difficult to compare such wonderful teams that defined their respective eras. And surely it is farcical to do so based on statistics.
Read More: http://wired868.com/868/index.php/volley/item/196-the-spanish-inquisition-is-over-hail-the-euro-kings

622
The Spanish inquisition ends; but is it better than watching Brazil?
By Lasana Liburd (wired868.com)


On Sunday night, the Spain football team left its opponents confounded, breathless and whipped into an open mouthed awe. And those were just the armchair critics.

God knows how the Italian players felt.

Spain’s 4-0 triumph over Italy at the Euro 2012 finals in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium was the most lopsided result of a major international tournament—ever!

Ironically, it eclipsed another unhappy mark by the Italians. Forty-two years ago, the “Azzurri” was dismantled 4-1 at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico City by a Brazil team that had reached its pinnacle and was subsequently lauded as the greatest team of all time. Until now.

Cue hyperbole.

On Saturday, analysts insisted Spain was in decline and was a shadow of a team that won the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cups. Twenty-four hours later, the same pundits declared that the Spanish outfit was the greatest of all time.

It is the life of a top flight athlete, of course. One scoffed shot can be the difference between utter disgrace and having a statue built in your honour.

For me, it is devilishly difficult to compare such wonderful teams that defined their respective eras. And surely it is farcical to do so based on statistics.

Read More:


623
It's a pen name taken by the writer

624
CFU aims to bring Euro 2020 to the Caribbean
By Filbert Street (Wired868.com)


Scene: Office of  Caribbean Football Union President, Gordon Derrick.

The telephone rings.

“Good morning, Bonjour, Buenos Dias, Goedemorgan, Guten morgen, Chow Baby, Gordon Derrick speaking.”
“Uhm, Good morning, Mr Derrick. Sepp Blatter here.”

“Ah, your Lordship. How are you, sir?”

“I’m very well, Mr Derrick. However, I have a couple of concerns that I need to discuss with you.”

“Fire away, your Highness.”

“Well, the first issue concerns a conflict of interest involving your football team, Antigua Barricudas. Does it seem fair to you that your team should gain automatic entry to the CFU Club Championship on the grounds that you are the President of the CFU?”

“Why not, your Majesty? If you recall, Mr Warner’s team, Joe Pubic, often competed in the CFU Championship.”

“Yes, but his team had to qualify; yours gets automatic entry.”

Read More:


625
Football / Euro 2012: Spain’s conquistadors aren’t done yet
« on: June 30, 2012, 04:24:26 PM »
Spain’s conquistadors aren’t done yet
… Italian renaissance must wait
By Lasana Liburd (wired868.com)

So you’ve lost your taste for tiki-taka, have you?
Perhaps you should consider alternate plans tomorrow when Spain defends its European football crown against Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.
Should Spain win, it will become the first nation to win three consecutive major trophies after success at the 2008 Euro and 2010 World Cup—although Spain finished third in the less heralded 2009 Confederations Cup that Brazil lifted in South Africa. The Spaniards will also match Germany’s record haul of three Euro titles.
A familiar foe, Italy, is in the way.
Boring Italy? Pretty but ineffective Spain?
Spain buried its stereotype at the last Euro, four years ago, and Italy has done the same in this edition. But that does not mean there are not strong and differing identities running through either camp.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson credited Italy with inventing the smokescreen and said that, when promised pasta, he checks under the sauce before he gets the fork out.
Yet, there is a transparency to Italy coach Cesare Prandelli’s team that seems at odds with a nation more famed for Machiavellian principles.
Read More: http://wired868.com/868/index.php/volley/item/194-spains-conquistadors-arent-done-yet

626
Football / An Unsporting Conversation with the Spalk Minister
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:22:25 PM »
An Unsporting Conversation with the Spalk Minister
By Filbert Street (Wired868.com)


It is Monday morning in the Office of The Minister of Sport. The telephone rings.
 “Good morning. The Minister of Sport speaking.”

“Ah, Minister, it’s Tony here.”

“Tony, Tony, I’m so glad you called. I wanted to speak to you about your funding.”

“I’m very pleased to hear that, Minister. I was becoming concerned”

“Yes, I heard you on that show on the weekend, The Brainless One. Tony, you have to understand that this government is determined to improve efficiency. We must streamline procedures.

Gone are the days when you can walk into a minister’s office and collect a cheque. Since the new Minister of Finance took over from Winston on Friday night we have procedures, oversight, checks and balances and accountability.”

“Yes, Minister, I understand that. But I have provided full receipts for everything.”

“I know that, Tony, that’s how you have always done it.  It’s the reason why I’m happy to approve everything, all $4.5 million.”

“That’s great news, Minister. When can I collect the cheque?”

“Just now, Tony, not so fast. I told you things have changed. You have to send in your claim to the correct department.”

“What do you mean, Minister? I’ve already sent it to you.”

“Tony, you’ve sent me a claim for transportation, yes?” 

“Yes, Minister. We have to collect the players from across the country every day.”

“Right. Well, according to the new guidelines, that claim has to go to the Ministry of Transport.”

“Whaaaaaaat?”

“Aye, that is my line. Anyway, there’s no mistake, Tony. I can only fund actual sport. Which is why I can approve your catering claim but I can’t actually pay you the money.”

“Well, who do I send the claim to?”

Read More


627
Football / Another adjournment in 2006 W/Cup bonus case
« on: June 22, 2012, 03:28:38 PM »
Another adjournment in 2006 W/Cup bonus case
... High Court distracted from Warner chase
By Lasana Liburd (wired868.com)


The 2006 Germany World Cup bonus dispute had another adjournment today and will resume on 2 July 2012 with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) aiming to convince High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad that he should recuse himself from the case.

Wired868 was informed by a legal source that TTFF lawyer Derek Ali asked for an adjournment until August but was turned down.

The TTFF’s request for Justice Rampersad to withdraw from the case is a spin off from a contempt of court application made by 13 aggrieved former World Cup player against its general secretary Richard Groden and ex-president Oliver Camps.

And the contempt charge is a by-product of the sole purpose of the ongoing High Court proceedings, which is to get Works Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner to present accounting statements to the High Court that would reveal what the players are owed.

Read More


628
Football / Caledonia AIA is Caribbean champ
« on: June 21, 2012, 10:28:15 PM »
Caledonia AIA is Caribbean champ
… W Connection edged in final penalty shoot out
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com)

 
Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA enjoyed the most memorable night of the club’s 32-year history today as the Morvant/Laventille-based football team edged fellow Trinidad and Tobago Pro League team, W Connection, to win the 2012 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.

Twenty-two year old goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel, in his first game since resigning for the “Eastern Stallions” saved a spot kick from young Connection substitute Johan Peltier as Caledonia won 4-3 in a penalty shoot after a tight, tense affair.

Regulation time ended goalless and was most memorable for the ground being farcically thrice plunged into darkness. And the two teams traded goals in extra time as a Radanfah Abu Bakr header was negated by a successful Clyde Leon penalty.

At the death, though, Caledonia prevailed from the spot for its first ever Caribbean title in a season that saw the Stallions lift three of five domestic Cup titles at stake and book its first appearance in the CONCACAF Club Championship.

Read More


629
Football / Re: Thread for the (CFU) Club Championship 2012.
« on: June 21, 2012, 06:21:13 PM »
Islanders grab CONCACAF date with Beckham
By Lasana Liburd (wired868.com)

England football star David Beckham and the LA Galaxy will be going to Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Islanders beat Antigua Barracuda 2-0 this evening at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella to secure the final CONCACAF Club Championship spot at stake.
Read More: http://wired868.com/868/index.php/volley/item/190-islanders-grab-concacaf-date-with-beckham

630
Football / Re: Thread for the (CFU) Club Championship 2012.
« on: June 19, 2012, 08:27:52 PM »
W Connection trounce P/Rico Islanders for second CONCACAF spot.
By: Lasana Liburd (wired868).


The Trinidad and Tobago Pro League is assured two of three CONCACAF Club Championship spots available after Neal & Massy Caledonia and W Connection were both victorious in tonight's Caribbean Football Union (CFU) semifinal fixtures in Marabella.

Second half goals from Radanfah Abu Bakr and substitute Devon Jorsling created a piece of history for Caledonia AIA as the "Eastern Stallions" qualified for the CONCACAF tournament with a 2-0 win over Antigua Barracuda at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

And Connection was even more emphatic as the "Savonetta Boys" whipped Puerto Rico Islanders 4-1 in the second match of a double header.

Connection and Caledonia will meet from 8 pm on Thursday in the CFU finals while Barracuda and the Islanders will fight for one spot from 6 pm at the same venue.

Barracuda was fast, energetic and resolute but rarely threatened as Caledonia reaped the rewards for its ambition in the opening fixture.

Caledonia left winger Trayon Bobb and adventurous right back Kareem "Tiny" Joseph repeatedly stretched the Antiguan team before Cornelius Stewart conjured up the opener from the right wing.

Stewart, a St Vincent and the Grenadines international, gave a patchy performance on the night but produced a brilliant cross in the 64th minute and Abu Bakr, who snuck forward from central defence, rose to head the ball down to the left of goalkeeper Molvin James for the opener.

Caledonia did not keep the ball as well as coaches Jamaal Shabazz and Jerry Moe might have liked and lively Antiguan international striker Peter Byers kept the back four honest. But Jorsling came off the bench to settle the home team's nerves in the closing minutes.

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