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If not now, then when? Jorsling quits Warriors after G/Cup snub

Defence Force striker and the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League’s all-time top scorer, Devorn Jorsling, has scored his last goal in the red, white and black strip.

Jorsling, who failed to break into the Trinidad and Tobago squad for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, declared today that he feels his last chance to play in a major tournament for the “Soca Warriors” is gone.

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) holds off St Ann's Rangers defender Seon Thomas during 2014/15 Pro League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) holds off St Ann’s Rangers defender Seon Thomas during 2014/15 Pro League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“To be honest, I believe that under the present coaching staff I won’t be getting a look in anytime soon,” said the 31-year-old Jorsling, who was the Pro League’s top scorer in the just concluded season. “Because if I am displaying this kind of form now and I’ve got in shape and I still can’t get into the 23, then when would I ever get into the team?

“I think my mind and my heart is telling me it is time to call it a day in international football.”

Farewell, number nine. Trinidad and Tobago Pro League fans and die hard Warrior fans would mourn Jorsling’s passing. Although the supporters who only show up for the glamorous international matches would wonder what all the fuss is about.

Jorsling’s tally of 17 international goals from 40 outings is the tenth best Trinidad and Tobago return of all time. From the strikers available to Warriors head coach Stephen Hart, only Cornell Glen’s 23 goals from 67 caps and Kenwyne Jones’ 18 items from 70 caps were more prolific for their country.

Glen, incidentally, is not in the squad either and has not been picked since the 2013 Gold Cup, after which he headed to the Indian professional circuit.

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (left) hammers the ball past then Central FC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (left) hammers the ball past then Central FC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.
(Courtesy Wired868)

The reason that many fair weather fans might shrug their shoulders at Jorsling’s retirement is that his 17 goals were all scored against Caribbean opposition: Antigua and Barbuda (5), St Vincent and the Grenadines (4), Guyana (3) and one apiece against Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, St Lucia and Haiti.

He has never scored in a World Cup qualifier nor played at a Gold Cup tournament. And, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, that has become a reason not to play him when the big games come along.

In truth, Jorsling’s international career was partly stunted by the glut of quality forwards on the scene at the time. He made his debut in 2008 under Colombian Francisco Maturana when the likes of Stern John, Jason Scotland, Cornell Glen, Kenwyne Jones and Darryl Roberts were all in the mix.

“I think my career was a success in terms of the era I was in,” Jorsling told Wired868. “There were even top players in the local leagues at the time like Kerry Baptiste, Gary Glasgow and Errol McFarlane. Because of the quality around, that hampered my chances a bit.”

Jorsling is neither a dazzling dribbler, a pacy frontman nor an aerial bully. So, without height or athleticism, he maximised his own less flashy talents to the point of making an art of it.

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (left) fires past a crowd of W Connection defenders during the 2013/14 Pro League season. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (left) fires past a crowd of W Connection defenders during the 2013/14 Pro League season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I think the plus I bring to any team is my set pieces,” said Jorsling. “I don’t think there are many players in world football who can score from a direct set piece. Also I can hold up the ball and bring players into the game and create for my teammates… Besides scoring obviously.”

Scoring seems overrated in the modern game, if only because few championship teams cherish poachers these days. Apart from Jorsling, consider Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain, Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, Netherland’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or, perhaps, Colombia’s Radamel Falcao.

“To be honest, they aren’t many ‘number nines’ left,” said Jorsling. “When you look at (Luis) Suarez and so on, most teams opt for a false nine or a floating striker. But then football is always changing and maybe two or three years down the line they might go back to a classic nine.

“I wouldn’t say that should affect me though because, barring for the exceptional teams, many sides still use a nine to hold up play or work one-twos with tricky attacking players coming from behind.”

Hart declined the chance to have Jorsling as an option at the Gold Cup. Willis Plaza, Jonathan Glenn and Jones are more versatile attackers. Tellingly, none of those three started their senior careers as classic centre forwards.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza (left) tries to keep the ball from Panama captain Roman Torres at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza (left) tries to keep the ball from Panama captain Roman Torres at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Expect Pro League fans to moan if and when the Warriors do need a poacher to bring off the bench. Although Hart suggested that fitness issues rather than talent has curtailed Jorsling’s chances over the last two years.

The Defence Force striker has done appreciable individual work over the last six months and he looks leaner than ever. But, apparently, doubts linger within Trinidad and Tobago’s technical staff as to whether Jorsling can be trimmer still.

An injury before the Warriors’ Gold Cup opener against Guatemala on July 7 might have opened the door for the poacher while it is not inconceivable that Hart could opt for something new for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, which starts in October.

But Jorsling, frustrated and hurt, feels he cannot wait in line anymore.

“No disrespect to the current players but I don’t see myself being left out of a 23-man squad,” said Jorsling. “I know that Kenwyne brings that experience and pedigree to the team but, otherwise, I don’t think there is as much talent as before when I started.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's record goal scorer Stern John (left) controls the ball under pressure from England's John Terry at the 2006 World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s record goal scorer Stern John (left) controls the ball under pressure from England’s John Terry at the 2006 World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2015)

“Being left out in the past to the likes of Stern John, Jason Scotland, Cornell Glen and Kenwyne Jones, even though it was disappointing you have to be humble and say those guys are better than you…

“But if I can’t get into the 23 now with the form I am in, I think my mind and my heart is telling me it is time to call it a day in international football.”

Jorsling scored three times from one start and three substitute appearances under Maturana. But he was only ever considered a local alternative for the foreign stars at the time.

His best spell came under coach Russell “the Little Magician” Latapy when he plundered ten goals from 15 appearances.

“Latapy is the first coach who honestly gave me an opportunity,” said Jorsling. “I had to work my way up under Latapy too but I felt confident and that I can be myself. Hence the number of goals I scored under him.

“For me, confidence is a great factor in playing football. Latapy was the best coach I worked with on the national team for that reason.”

Photo: Inverness assistant manager and former Trinidad and Tobago football star and coach Russell Latapy. (Courtesy BBC)
Photo: Inverness assistant manager and former Trinidad and Tobago football star and coach Russell Latapy.
(Courtesy BBC)

Jorsling got his first taste of World Cup qualifying action under Latapy as he played for 36 minutes at the Azteca Stadium in a 2-1 loss to Mexico, 13 minutes away to Costa Rica in a 4-0 defeat and then from the start in a 2-2 tie at home to Mexico.

“Two memories stood out for me while playing for Trinidad and Tobago,” said Jorsling. “I remember the night when Latapy told me I would skipper the team the next day (against Antigua and Barbuda). The next one that was playing in such an amazing atmosphere at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico.

“I also had the chance to play alongside Dwight Yorke (in Mexico) and sharing the dressing room with someone of that quality and stature was something amazing for me.”

But there were lean days ahead after Latapy was sacked in December 2010.

Jack Warner quit football, six months later, and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s finances went with him. In the next two years, the Warriors played just four friendly matches and their form dipped drastically.

Photo: The Soca Warriors had court-appointed marshalls remove the TTFF's assets on 8 February 2012.
Photo: The Soca Warriors had court-appointed marshalls remove the TTFF’s assets on 8 February 2012.

Jorsling made only two appearances for Otto Pfister and did not score in a combined 75 minutes of playing time. He scored a hat-trick in his debut under Hutson Charles, against Antigua, but found himself relegated behind younger, faster but not necessarily deadlier strikers like Jamal Gay, Richard Roy and Plaza.

His last international goal came against St Vincent in a Caribbean Cup qualifier at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet on 14 November 2012. At the time, Jorsling’s tally read: 17 goals, 30 caps. He failed to score in his next eight outings for Charles and Jamaal Shabazz and was also goalless, this year, in two  substitute appearances for Hart against Curaçao and Jordan.

“I picked up a slight ankle injury (against St Vincent) and didn’t play for the rest of the (qualifying) tournament,” said Jorsling. “The Caribbean Cup was tough as I started off as the fourth choice striker and managed to work my way into the team. I did well with my link up play but I didn’t manage to score, which I know is the thing that strikers are judged by…

“Then Hart came in and I was in the wilderness for two years.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Devorn Jorsling (left) brushes aside a Martinique player during the 2012 Caribbean Cup semifinals. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Devorn Jorsling (left) brushes aside a Martinique player during the 2012 Caribbean Cup semifinals.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The goals kept flowing at Pro League level though and Jorsling’s form during the 2014/15 season, in particular, suggested that the Warriors might have a “fox in the box” for the Gold Cup. But Hart decided to go without a classic number nine.

“I would have loved to play in an international tournament but I have no regrets,” said Jorsling. “As a boy, it was a dream to play for my country. And right now I am tenth in the all-time scoring list. So I am pretty pleased with what I’ve achieved in international football.”

Jorsling wished his teammates well at the Gold Cup and hinted that the door was not closed entirely. But, for now, he has given up on adding to his international goal tally.

“Everything is subject to change because I am a member of the TT Defence Force and my priority is to serve my country,” he said. “But at the present moment, I feel that it is best to retire. If i can’t get a chance now, when will I get the opportunity again?

“Of course I wish my teammates all the best and I hope they do well because that will determine a lot for the upcoming World Cup (qualifying campaign) and the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s football.

“I will always wish them well in the game because football has given me everything I have.”

Photo: Defence Force winger Jemel Sebro (far left) and Devorn Jorsling (far right) celebrate with teammates during a Pro League fixture against W Connection. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force winger Jemel Sebro (far left) and Devorn Jorsling (far right) celebrate with teammates during a Pro League fixture against W Connection.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Jorsling’s focus will now switch to the Pro League where his overall returns of 136 goals—five more than San Juan Jabloteh’s Kerry Baptiste—is a domestic record.

Only Pro League fans would be able to appreciate his lethal finishing now.

 

Trinidad and Tobago’s top international strikers

(According to RSSS statistics)

1. Stern John (70 goals)

2. Angus Eve (34 goals)

3. Russell Latapy (29 goals)

4. Arnold Dwarika (28 goals)

5. Cornell Glen (23 goals)

6. Nigel Pierre (22 goals)

7. Leonson Lewis (21 goals)

8. Dwight Yorke (19 goals)

9. Kenwyne Jones (18 goals)

10. Devorn Jorsling (17 goals)

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Editor’s Note: RSSS credited Devorn Jorsling with 18 goals although one strike against Guyana was actually played in a scrimmage that was not registered as an international game.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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53 comments

  1. Interesting point Dexter Cyrus

  2. Trinidad and Tobago football have nowhere to go unless racism at all levels is confronted and rectified

  3. He always had fitness issues

  4. Jorsling had many chances at national level, I don’t think he is suited for a tournament, I believe he will do great during world cup qualifiers, it will give him time to get his fitness level up to international standards

  5. Well well wat next
    dats how d tech staff treat people all d time

  6. Hannibal Najjar

    I am happy for Devorn. Very few have been able to let go and move on and his responses show a sense of maturity that I am happy to know lies within his soul. He should lead a peaceful life with this mentality unlike many of yesterday “heroes” who seem not only unable to let go, but horribly disdainful of others that appear to be threatening their self-perceived and self-made legacies. When you reach a point that you have to speak of yourself, then it is only because no one cares to speak on your behalf. Ride on Josling; your new horizon awaits you.

  7. Gotta be mentally resilient too.

  8. Personally, I hope he continues his fitness work and keeps himself in the right condition so we can coax him back into the team if necessary.

  9. Travis Mulraine, the other thing is national team played against clubs a lot then too. Even the Strike Squad played so many games against club teams. Those don’t count.

  10. i also spoke to corneal snr.he told me he scored more goals than stern ,but we were still a colony during most of his career so it wasn’t recorded

  11. yep, sammy Llewellyn is my personal friend and he told me he played his last game at 24

  12. My first disagreement with my coach hart was when he left out jorling who was league leading scorer to pick Jamal gay but Devon needed to work on his fitness.Now as it stands i again disagree with him being left out for J Glen who plays in a questionable league!! My coach normal gets it right tho so disagree but understand his thinking in terms of future and improvement potential! To Jorling keep up the fight and answer back on the pitch like a real solider!!

  13. Travis Mulraine, Steve David was credited with 16 international goals. The weird thing is he scored 15 in just the 1974 W Cup campaign. He had one in 1978 campaign.
    So that means he never played or scored in an international friendly.
    I must ask Vidale more about what happened in those days.
    But a lot of our best players then retired in their mid-20s due to issues with administration

  14. Lasana Liburd what of those legends of the 60’s and 70’s ? the steve davids,archibalds,gally cummings, bound tp score cave,ron la,sammy etc, what are their international records? i see players in a top ten with less than 20 goals, i know our stats keeping was shite to say the least at the TTFA, but its hard to believe non of those greats aren’t in the top ten

  15. keep doing ur thing star, one thing i sure about in football is what is for you no one can deny, its hard to motivate yourself after these types of disappointments but motivate yourself to reach 200 pro league goals before u hang up your boots(that d if the pro league survives).so you can at least be the no.1 in the pro league era.

  16. I have no idea why he didn’t pick him ….not the 1st not the last decision I am confused about coach ……???

  17. It’s a give or take situation. Anyway, it’s a professional sport decision that Coach Hart needs to make. The player may feel hard done but what can you do…that’s d nature of sport. Tough luck, keep playing, and hope for the best !!!

  18. To me Cato is not a scorer and worst yet with Jones plaza has his moments but not at intl level winchester is a winger not a natural goal scorer and corbin is yrs away from being a snr intl striker

  19. they have to fire stephen hart

  20. But sticking with Jones who is clearly not doing the job because he’s playing in a better league makes no sense. Jorsling has done better and perhaps should have been given more chances.

    Not that any of this matters because we not going anywhere anytime soon.

  21. He’s prolific but what’s the quality of the league ? I think if Jorsling wanted more national caps or a thriving football career, he should have seeked football oversees. I see no fuss with his non selection.

  22. 17 in 40 is a better return than Glen and Jones by far. And to suggest Jones is more prolific for scoring 1 more is almost double the amount of games is just plain ridiculous.

  23. If ah player scores more than 20 goals in league he must be good. hart too disrespectful. Jorsling leave these people and their football

  24. Time to look to the future, Corbin and Rundell Winchester can gain a lot of vital tournament experience this summer and Plaza and J.Glen are inexperienced at this level too so if one of them can really come into their own this summer it will be a good choice to pick them over a 31 yr old with World Cup qualification later this year. Respect to Jorsling for his 40 caps but I fully understand Hart’s decision here.

  25. I agree with him to a point, but if there’s nothing really special to your game then give the youths a chance. 2018 is right around the corner, so it’s make or break for the young players.

  26. Stephan C Reid see why I say men does get fight down?

  27. To be honest and real all at the same time Coach hart plays very defensively and trys to break on the counter and from watchin the last couple games i really don’t see where the goals will come from at the goal cup , jones has 18 from 70 caps he don’t look like scoring anytime soon I pray he proves me wrong, concurls and Cato little to no crosses, we now have 1/2 of a creative player in guerra and for the good of t&t showing up at the cup I would push Joven in a more attacking role .

  28. That’s just sport. The player has been exceptional at ProLeague level but then again how good is the ProLeague. His playing style, and fitness levels has always been the focal point for his non-selection or lack of playing time.

  29. I don’t remember Jorsling ever really flopping. He was just always back to the bench once foreign based were available.

  30. We Retire the Wrong Players it again proves Pro League Top Performers Continue to be overlooked which brings the question How do we pick a squad .That Gold Cup Team is filled of players who is Unattached or lack of playing time ..Well Done Jorsling Proud fan

  31. Maybe the best goal-scorer in he country presently

  32. He should b on the team i understand u have to give youth a chance but in tournament like these u need tht experience esp in front off goal and lets b real not because your playing in a top league that means your any good because our captain cant control to save his life and his finishing is poor so i don’t c y Cool Droggy cant make tht team….

  33. enuff chances and flopped so i c no biggy

  34. I’m sure he’ll be getting a buzz for the WC campaign.

  35. Same here for our nr 6 Sheldon Shelly Bateau he s of a great class. Shakira Thompson

  36. I can see why Hart didnt pick him…3 striker spots…KJ brings Height size & experience…Plaza speed…so its between Jorsling & Glenn…Given his age at 30+ Jorsling is a short-term solution if picked whereas Glenn is an investment in the future being younger…also given his lack of versatility he cant be used as a winger like Corncurls or Cato…I understand his frustration but at the end of the day the Coach sees these guys in training every day unlike us and knows what he wants/expects from them…plus is HIS head to roll if things do NOT work out.

  37. True talk we need him on our team

  38. Of course he deserves to be there. They have overlooked him so many times but the guy can score, the guy can score! I’d pick him over el capitano any day.

  39. Of course he deserves to be there. They have overlooked him so many times but the guy can score, the guy can score! I’d pick him over el capitano any day.

  40. I usually defended Hart but In my opinion Joggers is the best striker we have currently despite his lack of mobility and speed! But he holds up the ball and distributes well

  41. Wow continue to be an example for your community

  42. He is right tho…i dont see corbin or cordelle cato having much of an impact tbh..hart will regret this..this team needed a natural finisher

  43. Correct is right Hart and them mad. Leave out the pro league leading goal getter to carry Johnathan Glen hmmmm doi shit me up nah man

  44. He definitely deserve to be in that 23 man squad

  45. Stand up for your rights trooper