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Another Soca Warriors player shot; Jabloteh star Nathan Lewis hit in shoulder

San Juan Jabloteh winger and, arguably, the Pro League’s most outstanding player in the 2015/16 season, Nathan Lewis, is now resting at home after being shot in a drive-by outside the Maloney Indoor Sport Arena at around 1am on Sunday 18 September.

Lewis, who has blistering pace and can operate down either flank, was Jabloteh’s leading scorer last season with 12 league goals, as he helped the “San Juan Kings” book their first CONCACAF Champions League qualifying berth in just over six years.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis (centre) terrorises the Police FC defence during 2015/16 Pro League action in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis (centre) terrorises the Police FC defence during 2015/16 Pro League action in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

His razor sharp form earned the 26-year-old winger his first Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team call-up as coach Stephen Hart gave him his debut in a 3-1 loss to Uruguay in Montevideo on 27 May 2016.

Lewis also played from the start on 3 June when the experimental Soca Warriors line-up fell 4-2 to China in Qinhuangdao.

Sunday’s hairy incident will set back Lewis’ progress slightly, as he was ordered to rest for another two weeks before he can rejoin his teammates on the training field.

Initially, Lewis’ colleagues feared it might have been much worse. The winger spent the night liming by teammate Sean Bonval in Maloney before he left for home, late on Saturday night.

Bonval, according to a football official who spoke on condition of anonymity, heard loud gunshots soon after his departure and called Lewis’ phone to ensure that he was okay. Someone else answered and said Lewis was dead.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis (right) races past Morvant Caledonia United right back Ordell Flemming in 2015/16 Pro League action. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868
Photo: San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis (right) races past Morvant Caledonia United right back Ordell Flemming in 2015/16 Pro League action.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868

Minutes later, there was a more hopeful diagnosis. Lewis had been shot in the shoulder and was rushed to the hospital.

The official suggested that Lewis encountered some curious decision-making by the attending doctor at the hospital.

“At first, they didn’t want to take out the bullet,” the official told Wired868. “They just wanted to patch him up and send him home. It is only when they heard he was a national player that they decided to take it out.

“I think they thought he was a bandit at first and they couldn’t be bothered…”

Although Lewis earns a honest living, the official feared that at least one of his childhood friends does not. That friend allegedly asked Lewis to join him at a sweat in the Maloney facility, after he left Bonval. And they were together when some unidentified assailants hopped out of a vehicle and opened fire.

Lewis was said to have dived into his car for cover. And the gunmen, uncertain of whether that was a defensive or offensive move by the Pro League footballer, riddled his vehicle with bullets, during which time he was shot in the shoulder.

Lewis’ friend as well as a few bystanders were allegedly shot as well. But there were no reported fatalities.

Photo: (From left) San Juan Jabloteh's Tyrone Charles, Caledonia AIA's Nathan Lewis and Kareem Joseph await the verdict of match referee Tricia Des Vignes during 2014/15 Pro League action. Lewis has since joined Charles at Jabloteh. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: (From left) San Juan Jabloteh’s Tyrone Charles, Caledonia AIA’s Nathan Lewis and Kareem Joseph await the verdict of match referee Tricia Des Vignes during 2014/15 Pro League action.
Lewis has since joined Charles at Jabloteh.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“You will have friends when you are growing up and some people go one way and you gone the next,” said the official. “You have to understand that you are putting yourself in jeopardy by keeping company like that. We know sometimes it can be hard to see an old friend and to just keep on walking. But this is what can happen when you don’t do that.

“We have tried to warn Nathan before. Maybe he will listen now.”

Lewis’ misfortune continues a bad year for local footballers, who often come from at-risk communities.

Soca Warriors ace midfielder Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings was shot in his leg after a boat ride last December while promising 23-year-old Defence Force utility player Ross Russell Jr and his former teammate, Balondemu Julius, were charged for the murder of Selwyn Gaff on 21 June 2016.

Women Soca Warriors star Ahkeela Mollon is also lucky to be alive after her vehicle was caught between the crossfire of two rival gangs outside her Longdenville home on 23 June 2015.

And, last week, 21-year-old former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 left back, Damani Richards, was charged for possession of a 9 mm pistol, 10 rounds of ammunition, two pistol magazines and 44 grammes of marijuana at his home.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Keron Cummings (left) challenges Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera during 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Keron Cummings (left) challenges Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera during 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

In other football news, the Warriors will not have option of using Police FC attacker Makesi Lewis for the upcoming Caribbean Cup competition, after the poacher suffered a broken leg in practice.

Lewis was the Pro League’s top scorer last season with 20 goals in 27 matches while he won three international caps with the National Senior Team against Grenada, Uruguay and China.

However, Lewis is now expected to be out for eight months after colliding with a goalkeeper in training.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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73 comments

  1. no one is safe in T&t, its the WIld , Wild, West of T&T. or Showdown at the Ok corral. we reach.

  2. Going for a sweat at 1 o’clock in the morning? Some folks are really brave! Doesn’t Nathan have exercise equipment at his house? Some people are apparently under the assumption that it will happen to “them,” but not to “me.” How wrong can one be. Anyhow Nathan get on the mend speedily.

  3. Sad. Wish he takes this as an eye opener. Talented guy.

    Sports science people…how much can that bullet injured shoulder affect his speed ?

    I know it all depends on where he was shot…but generally speaking

  4. What kind of madness that I am reading here eh my prolific goalscorer Makesi Lewis got a broken leg and he will be out of commission for 8 months eh and isn’t Nathaniel Lewis the MVP of Jabolteh this past season?

  5. So are you saying shoot others but not our sportsmen and women?

  6. Friends carry you but they dont bring you back – good example

  7. We brought my good friend and player Ralston James from Tobago,who I Coached at Doc’s Khelwalas he got shot a W.Connection player but by then he was also a National player, the killer was never found😪

  8. Marvin Phillip was stabbed a couple years ago: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Goalkeeper_stabbed_fighting_bandits-115488554.html
    Maybe I will go through the team and see how many players have had scary episodes.

  9. Let the people know who our sportsmen and women are put them up on billboards in the neighborhood. Respect them they represent us. Save them.

  10. Lasana Liburd its true about the medical staff not interested in taking out the bullet or bullets,if they think you are into that lifestyle,I have seen it happen more than once☹️️

  11. If the bullet needed to be removed it needed to be removed(now I dunno the details) whether he was a national footballer or a vagrant shouldn’t have changed this ..

  12. Boi…I dunno… but if it’s a public hospital well… not surprising

  13. That is really sad…. who is out for 8 months with a broken leg? That’s crazy. Man does come back from a broken leg in 2-3 months now.

    • Hmmm… One for the medical practitioners again. Maybe I should have gotten more details on that leg break.

    • Yeah man.. I used to think a broken leg was career ending as a kid. Nowadays 6 weeks later people are back playing…

    • In Trinidad, anything that required operation used to be career ending! Lol. Sad but flipping true. The number of top players whose career ended with a simple ankle or hip injury. Heartbreaking.

    • Lasana yuh have to remember some players reinjure themselves by returning to play (sweat or minor league), or seeking advice from 2 or more physicians, or not seeking proper treatment at all.

      Ankle injuries aren’t as simple as they seem…

    • Well, we would never know Kirwin Weston because they never got the treatment. Teams don’t have physios and any medical treatment you need that requires more money than the manager has in his pocket… You’re on your own!
      For that matter Kirwin, there isn’t a signal NATIONAL football team with an accredited physio right now.
      So don’t tell me Barrackpore is the only football team in the country with a physio. Lol. Footballers still generally don’t get advice from one physician let alone two.
      The footballers who have been around for a while are smart enough to seek out proper physios on their own. God help the others.

    • That could be debated, but will be a pretty long one.

      Barrackpore ain’t got no physio eh, slow down, lol.

      There are people who can help with their rehabilitation locally. Of that I’m sure

    • Yeah, we know about the national team.
      But there are other people who can do rehabilitative work in Trinidad. There are people who can treat ankle and hip injuries, I’m certain

    • What I’m saying is if the national teams don’t have physios, then how many club or school teams will have?
      And following that line… How many young players would have access to a proper physio?
      Of course there are physios in Trinidad that people can find. But how would they know about their value? From the same teams who don’t use them in the first place?

    • Referrals…needs basis.

      No one really has money to afford them as they should too

    • Lol. No Kirwin, this is no debate. I am telling you that the national team has no accredited physios. Not one!
      They have trainers who go online and try to get information or whatever. There are no physios working there. Ask anybody.

  14. And what about the doctor allegedly being disinterested in removing the bullet? Shaun Lynch? What are your thoughts on that part?

  15. Talented kids from these rougher than most neighbourhoods really need to be shepherded out of this country on the back of a scholarship.

  16. Like football linked to gangster business or wha?

  17. There probably isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t have a school friend or old neighbourhood friend who didn’t end up on the wrong side of the tracks.
    This is a wake up call.

  18. In a sense, I think this also demonstrates that sport is able to reach youth in at-risk areas and give them something positive and worthwhile to do.
    Although, of course, it cannot always protect them from the community itself.