I AM HAVING FOOTBALL BLUES

It hurts, I am in pain. The fact that we lost to a Bahamas team ranked 201 by FIFA, out of 210 teams, it hurts.. It hurts that Bahamas lost their last 3 matches 4-0, 4-0 and 7-0 before our game. It hurts even more than the time Guyana knocked us out, even before the first group stage for the 2014 qualifiers.  I remembered there was a time when we won Caribbean Cup with local players. Now our best team with full overseas players can’t even beat Bahamas. I remembered we beating Panama 7-0 in Port of Spain, now we can’t even lose 2-0 to them. Just 6 years ago, under Stephen Hart, we finished ahead of Mexico in Group C of the Gold Cup. Now, we aint sure to be in the next Gold Cup.

T&T COACH TERRY FENWICK GIVES HIS TEAM INSTRUCTIONS DURING A TRAINNING SESSION

PHOTO COURTESY TTFA

But I must ask the question, were we ready ? were we prepared ?

We haven’t had any sports for over a year locally because of Covd-19 and we haven’t had Pro League football for about 2 years, and I can’t blame Covid for that one. While sports have been opened up in other countries, not here.  Last season European Leagues ( 2019-2020) were able to finish then the 2020-2021 seasons were able to start and complete. But in Trinidad and Tobago ? No.. we didn’t find it important. Instead, our fine government decided to allow recreation sports and keep organized sports dormant. So anyone can jump out of a car, join a ‘sweat’ at the Queen’s Park Savannah or Nelson Mandela Park, without even taking a temperature check, and play football. But organised sports, who could have put Covid19 protocols in place, who could have their matches and games behind closed doors, were not allowed. So our locally based players, could not have got valuable match time.  Local players were not match fit. They were ‘training’ fit.

SPORTS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO HAVE NOT BEEN PLAYED SINCE THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC

The government would have killed 2 birds with one stone if they allowed organised sports to play. By having the sports played behind closed doors, that would give small production houses the opportunity to stream the events, or record, package or whatever video production needed and that would have been creating work for a small sector of the country.

Now back to the effect it would have on the team. By not having Pro League, the coach was forced to pick the majority of overseas players and not have local players who are clearly better than some of the professionals we have outside. And how good are our overseas players? We no longer have them at Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Falkirk or Rangers. Now we have players playing in India, Moldova and Cyprus, a few in the USL. At best we have 1 player in English Championship, a couple in the MLS, and Belgian first division. So are our overseas players actually better than what we have locally ? Can they really add value to what we have?

By not having sports, and because of the strict covid19 protocols from the government, Trinidad and Tobago ‘lost’ their home matches, and were forced to play ‘home matches’ in the Dominican Republic. So it is safe to say that we were knocked out long time by the government.

HEALTH MINISTER TERRENCE DEYALSINGH HAS NOT GIVEN ORGANISED SPORTS THE GREEN LIGHT TO RESUME

Was the team really prepared? The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association has been in problems and turmoil in the last couple of years. This executive, which is appointed by FIFA, had to deal with court matters, with persons who do not have the country’s football interests at heart. Were they distracted? Were they caught up with the nonsense from the former executives who were killing the sport?  

Why did they even replace former coach  Dennis Lawrence with Terry Fenwick in the first place? Has Fenwick made a difference? Did he improve the standard of the team? Fenwick’s record as Trinidad and Tobago coach now includes a 0-7 loss to the USA and a goalless draw with 201 ranked Bahamas. I will put on my Kamla voice and say ‘Fenwick must resign NOW!’

In the lead up to the international fixtures, the national team spent most of the time playing Proleague teams, at varying levels. There were even concerns raised about the teams the Proleague clubs were fielding at the time. Some of them were just as strong as the school teams level.

We have a lot of work to go before the game against Montserrat next month to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. How do we use this game against St Kitts/Nevis? How does the coach approach the match? Should he still be in charge next month? It looks like we have more questions than answers. We will just have to wait and see.

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