St. Ann’s Rangers, presently at an all-time low, have sacked its head coach Gilbert Bateau, and less than 24 hours later, have secured the services of former coach Anthony Streete.
Streete, who guided Super League outfit Club Sando to a runners-up finish in the just concluded league, one point behind winners Guaya United, is quite familiar with Rangers’ operations, having served as coach of the Pro League outfit between 2006 to 2011.
“We sensed that we needed a change,” said Richard Fakoory, the St. Ann’s club co-owner and chairman on Thursday.
“We didn’t have the right mix between the coaching and management this season.
“But now we have coach Anthony Streete back with us, initially, for the remainder of the season. Club Sando have given us their blessings and we are happy for that. Streete will assess what we have and at the end of the season we will talk again and see where it goes from there.”
But Streete, who was happy to lend his services to the club he holds close to his heart, said he is very committed to the Pro League-ambitious, Club Sando.
Club Sando and Super League and Knockout champions Guaya United are two clubs already expressing interests in joining the Pro League next season.
“I’m at Rangers just for the rest of the season,” said Streete. “I’m on a break right now and I’m glad to help out. I’m also grateful to the bosses at Club Sando for allowing me this because Rangers have always been close to my heart.
However the 55-year-old Streete isn’t expecting miracles during his brief return stint.
He said, “I’m going to try and see how best we can finish. We are not expecting miracles. Rangers are in a transition period but I’m going to try and move them off 3 points (with five remaining league games), and see how well we can do in the remaining (Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and Digicel Pro Bowl) knockouts.”
Bateau, 53, had taken up the coaching post at Rangers in the off-season (last June), after the club had split ways with former player and last season’s coach, Dean Pacheco.
Bateau was fresh at the helm of a Pro League coaching staff although being a former San Juan Jabloteh Reserve Team coach and professional team assistant coach (2011-2012), T&T National Under 23 team trainer (2011), T&T National Under 20 team trainer (2009-2011), Jabloteh trainer (2003-2010), T&T National Under 17 trainer (2003 – 2007) and (Superstar) Rangers trainer (1995-2003).
Back then a release by Rangers stated: “The owners and the board believe that, in Gilbert Bateau, they have a coach with the ability to come in and deliver the objectives that have been set for the future.
Co-owner and Director of Operations, Richard Piper also stated that the objectives were “revitalizing youth development and building back that strong connection within the St. Ann’s community.”
Now six months into the 2013/2014 season and a overall 21 matches played by Rangers, the club remains slumped at the bottom of the Digicel Pro League standings with just 3 points from 19 league games, and carrying two disappointing knockout exits.
“The team isn’t scoring or playing well in front,” continued Fakoory. “The team hasn’t gelled.”
With a relatively teenaged squad, competing against much more seasoned outfits; it was always an uphill task for Bateau.
“The resources we have, in terms of players, are very youthful,” explained Fakoory. “That was the challenge he (Bateau) took up since day one. And it’s the same way all the way through till the end of the season.
“We are building now with what we have. All our under 18s and some of our under 21s are on two and three year contracts. I know at the end of the season no one is taking our young players. I don’t have to worry about that like in the past.”
Bateau, the father of 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international and Belgium based defender Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen) and 27-year-old Philippine based footballer Sean Bateau (Stallion FC), said it was a privilege to work with the young players at Rangers.
But Bateau who was fired on Wednesday explained, “ Working with limited resources in such an environment was difficult. If we needed good results from the beginning, we needed one or two of the so-called better players. The club really tried to assist me in that but because of the money system it was difficult.
“It wasn’t a problem working with young players. I enjoy helping young players rise to their potential and giving them a way out through football. But asking players to make the change from youth football to senior isn’t a quick change. We needed that incubation time of a season, and a season and a half. We were making progress, so I believe the management should have given it a little more time.”
By Thursday morning Bateau made a return to Jabloteh, were he now serves as an assistant coach to Keith Jeffrey, alongside assistant coach Nigel Henry. He will also serve the club at various youth levels.