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TTFA goes Hart-less: John-Williams sacks Soca Warriors coach at Ruby Tuesdays

Stephen Hart is out.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) officially sacked its National Senior Football Team head coach this evening, after a meeting at fast food restaurant, Ruby Tuesdays, in Valsayn.

A TTFA release said that president David John-Williams wishes Hart “every success in his future endeavours.” John-Williams vowed to announce a new coach “in the shortest possible time.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams enjoy each other's company during a press conference at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain on 19 May 2016. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams enjoy each other’s company during a press conference at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain on 19 May 2016.
(Courtesy Wired868)

No information was provided on the fate of Hart’s backroom staff, which included assistant coaches Hutson “Barber” Charles, Derek King and goalkeeper coach Michael “Brow” Maurice.

Hart took over the Soca Warriors in mid-2013 and led them to quarterfinal finishes at the 2013 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments as well as the Hex of the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, Trinidad and Tobago’s form dipped considerably in 2016 and his team lost seven of their last 10 outings. At present, the Warriors are at the foot of the Hex with zero points from two games, along with the United States who axed coach Jürgen Klinsmann on Monday.

The decision to fire Hart was made by an ad-hoc committee headed by John-Williams, which is believed to have included technical committee chairman and Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, technical director Muhammad Isa, Eastern Counties Football Union representative Sherwyn Dyer and vice-president Allan Warner.

According to the TTFA’s constitution, only the board of directors can hire or fire coaches. But the board opted to allow a sub-committee to make the call.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (right) passes on instructions to left back Aubrey David during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (right) passes on instructions to left back Aubrey David during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

John-Williams was easily the most influential person in the room, since he appointed Skeene and Isa to their current posts—he also works with Skeene at Pro League level—while Warner campaigned alongside him in his successful bid to be elected football president in November 2015.

Skeene and Isa, incidentally, had already ruled on Hart’s future on Monday when, in a technical committee meeting, they recommended that the board of directors make changes to the technical staff. That initial decision by the technical committee was made without bothering to speak to Hart in person or read his report on the Warriors’ 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss away to Honduras, which had not yet been submitted.

The potential flaw in the technical committee’s verdict—coupled with the backlash from the bizarre resignations of Dr Terence Babwah and Dave Isaacs from the team’s technical staff, might have prompted a stay of execution for Hart—as the board ruled that Hart should have a chance to speak before a decision was made.

But that only bought the beleaguered coach an additional 24 hours.

Incidentally, only seven of the 13 board members turned up to the Wednesday meeting, although the low turnout might have been influenced by the 5.30pm start in the middle of the work week.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) has a word with Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) has a word with Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Hart’s exit completes the clear-out of coaches at all significant levels under the new football president.

In under a year, technical director Kendall Walkes, women’s senior coach Randy Waldrum, under-20 coach Derek King and under-17 coach Ken Elie were all replaced. King and Waldrum were both Caribbean champions in their respective categories.

In truth, Hart’s performances fell away drastically since the change in local football presidents.

In the last nine matches before John-Williams replaced Raymond Tim Kee, the Warriors defeated Guatemala (twice), Cuba and Panama, with draws against Mexico (twice), the United States and Nicaragua. While their solitary loss came via kicks from the penalty mark in the Gold Cup quarterfinal contest against Panama.

But, under the new president, the Warriors only managed wins against St Vincent and the Grenadines (twice) and the Dominican Republic in the whole of 2016 with losses to the United States, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, Martinique, Peru, Uruguay and China and draws with Guatemala and Grenada.

During that period, Trinidad and Tobago dropped from 49th in FIFA and fourth in CONCACAF to 78th and ninth respectively.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Hart insisted that the bad run was no more than a dip in form and vowed to turn things around by shaking up his player squad. But John-Williams and his board members were unconvinced. And the former Canada head coach and St Benedict’s College past pupil had to go.

He was told that he was surplus to requirements for the John-Williams-led football body at a popular fast food restaurant.

TTFA press release:

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and Senior National Men’s Team head coach Stephen Hart have agreed to part ways with immediate effect.

This follows a meeting held this afternoon between Mr Hart and members of the TTFA board of directors.

President David John-Williams, on behalf of the TTFA, thanks Mr Hart for his services over the past three years and wishes him every success in his future endeavours.

Mr John-Williams confirms that the announcement of a new head coach for the TTFA Senior National Men’s Team will be made in the shortest possible time.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) is helped to the dressing room by defender Yohance Marshall (centre) while captain Kenwyne Jones (right) looks on after 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) is helped to the dressing room by defender Yohance Marshall (centre) while captain Kenwyne Jones (right) looks on after 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

AboutLasana 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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473 comments

  1. It does not matter who coach come is the same shit until TTFA whole approach to football development , discipline before self is change TTFA is about self not country first, we have been changing coaches like is jockey shorts we are changing and what same problem TTFA take a good look inside first , the problem is not the coaches but TTFA

  2. And imagine the ex- corrupted Sports Minister doesn’t only own a professional team eh but he is also one of the Coaches, along with his right hand man Stern John, and Dale Saunders eh and they are winning to eh, which shows us once you have the right set of players that will be a done deal eh, so maybe my dictator president can invite them to his new office at Ruby Tuesday and hire the trio to continue to Coach the Soca Warriors eh. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  3. And just imagine eh they fired my Coach Hart eh, but most of the Coaches are still coaching in out bootleg professional league since the league started about 12 years ago steeuuppss, and hence the reason why the level of our football remains the same eh, and there isn’t a very large pool of players to choose from, so I will be waiting very patiently to see what miracles that our new foreign base Coach is going to perform to get us to Russia 2018. Them really good yes

  4. JW want Latapy long time now . The firing of Hart is a set uo

  5. Nah my Coach Hart will never stooped so low eh. Dion Sosa. Them really good yes.

  6. the reason he carry him ruby tuesday he wanted a public place so that coach hart could not wring some good mother so and so on him

  7. I guess when he said that he would appoint the new coach in the shortest possible time he meant that it now ‘Latapy time’.

  8. America sneeze an we catch a cold. I do not belive that any coach can take us to Russia with the team we’re fielding at present..

    • You are sure right bro. Mr. Hart is just another scapegoat in this whole matter. The necluous of this team is not strong .The indiscipline manner in which some team members fall into leading to suspension has all impacted on the teams performance. So don’t beat up Hart. Sour administrators.

  9. Good ❗️Taught he indispensable.Piece ah shit,way 2 go David,show dem U eh joking .???

  10. Lasana, I am appreciating ALL that you said in this article without explicitly stating it. Deftly done. Message received loud and clear.

  11. Why did you say “replacement” in your first sentence though Lasana Liburd? Who was he replaced with?

  12. I believe we could create a good leadership team with Russell an other senior local footballer such as Glenn an others which are willing to bring back trinidad an Tobago football

  13. They change coaches by the dozens over a period of time and is only one world cup we ever make it to. Let’s be honest Trinidad football sucks.

  14. Everyone knew from the day DJW got elected Hart time was on a countdown. This man is a just like Jack Warner in it for his agenda. How can anyone be d the head of TTFA and still have major ties to a pro-league team. This man will continue to push his agenda whether or not it’s the right thing for the team. I honestly wish the entire team get together and boycott until DJW resigns…he’s a jackass!!

  15. I don’t know why my Coach Hart didn’t get rid of Mr. Bound not to score long time nah, look what happened now eh, and as I said before he wudda cost him his job eh, my dictator president shudda also invite him to Ruby Tuesday the same eh and also buss his throat eh Them really good yes steeuuppss.

  16. Well Christmas coming so they might finally be paid before the new Foreign Base Coach fly in. Them really good yes.

  17. We are dreaming if we think another coach can get the most out of these players with the current shenanigans coming from the TTFA administration. Need to get them paid asap to help turnaround in mindset with new coach coming in..

  18. Brian Jordan like you didn’t read my previous messages , my players didn’t get paid for the games eh steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  19. Can anyone confirm if players have been paid for last four or five games? No matter who comes in will face that self inflicted nonsense off the bat..

  20. ..LOL. Well, you know Judas was at the Last Supper, eh..

  21. Just imagine they took my Coach Hart to Ruby Tuesdays eh, to have eats and drinks and then to buss his throat eh, I still cannot get over that one eh, Them administrators really wicked yes.

  22. It’s looking like that Charles. Thats usually the outcome when you have leaders who think they have all the answers to our problems.

  23. The rout is now complete the NEW JACK has succeeded in his clearing house exercise of removing all vestiges of the past administration. It is more about the internal politics of the TTFA than about the football itself, the new head honcho is firmly establishing who is the new BOSS of what has been for sometime, PRIVATELY OWNED TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FOOTBALL. The template for the STRONGMAN type of leadership of our FOOTBALL, was laid down decades ago even before JACK and while it has produced LEADING OFFICIALS who have done very well for themselves, it has stood in the way of the development of our young natural talent, which abounds in this tiny country of ours. WELCOME TO ‘ NEW JACK CITY’.

  24. its really sad that Hart lost his job,in my view his only major problem was that he place to much faith in some players who really let him down starting with the captain who should be nowhere on the team not even the bench,Jovin Jones should return to his wingback position as he give little defensive work playing on the wing an exposes the wingback,Bocaud should be the first midfield pick on the team sheet, really dont know what became of him in the last 2 games only playing a couple mins an there should be an nationwide manhunt for strikers there must be 1 or 2 that are being overlooked somewhere

  25. Who say ‘strike squad”…Gally resurrected.

  26. JW will run t&t football to the ground

  27. Terry Fenwick is too volatile a coach. He can’t be controlled. No way in hell our good president would give him the job. After making a bad decision to sack Hart, our good president better come with a star studded top-class coach to take over the helm. Anything less we’ll be calling for his resignation.

    • I really not seeing how it make sense to fire hart to hire fenwick. No disrespect to him. Thats a backward step in my book. Only if they thinking 2022 WC

    • Carlos Lee why you say he’s too volatile and can’t be controlled? Would love to know what you’ve based such a strong opinion on ? What’s the correlation to that and his success in the proleague ?

    • Which credible coach with any sense in their head will want to work under this administration? Take note of ” credible”.

    • Reyna – His volatility in tnt football is well known. Fights with other coaches and players etc. As for the control statement, that’s not a negative on his part. More a comment about the TTFA and the fact they like local coaches they can control (player selection, friendly matches etc.). Terry does not come across as a yes man so no way in hell our good president would want to put him at the helm of the senior team.

    • Thanks for your comment, please allow me to respond.
      i’ve been in Trinidad 17 years, identified and developed local players far more than any other person or club. I have stood against the appalling treatment of players and neglect of governing bodies who have over the 17 years not progressed the game in T&T. I have never raised my hand in anger to any of my players, to the contrary, I have supported them on and off the field. I clashed with DJW because of the whole sale Brazilian players W.Connection brought in to win our “little” Pro-League asking what that does for the development of our local players and indeed the local game? I stood my ground when an opposing player had ran 80yds into my technical area to abuse me and my team, I have stood against the establishment clearly happy and content with mediocre. Multiple persons, coaches and opposing players and particularly administrators have clashed because I will not conform to their lack of standards.
      I only win cup, trophies and championships and develop and deliver top players. Removing my long spells out of the Pro-League, check the stats, most successful coach.
      The World is a changing place at this time, look at the US, Europe, Middle East, its a mess, folk have had enough of beaurocrats edging for themselves. IT’S NOT JUST ME

  28. El fútbol es parte de nuestra vida

    • Earl Best

      …pero el presidente actual sera parte de nuestra muerte.

      Sorry, Brian, it’s not poetry it’s the harsh reality; the current president will be part of our death. I have no proof except the coldness in my bones and in my veins after the sacking – without any public explanation/justification – of the man best placed in my view to engineer a rebound of our World Cup 2018 fortunes.

      I wonder if Andre Baptiste has a cousin or an uncle who in line for the post. I for one will be glued to my radio tomorrow evening when he talks to the doctor and his aide.

    • Impressive you waxing poetic this morning J… I needed Google-translate for that one!

  29. But where the Terry Fenwick fans ….and Terry you know I am no fan of yours eh but you see I batting for you. The football is the football

  30. Carlos we …starting with Me have accepted that. Now I get old I better understand the stance that people like Bertille and Alvin took.

  31. Since the World Cup came into existence we were only able to qualify once. If this norm of not qualifying continues, we will be firing coaches every four years.

  32. Cheyenne – there are several reasons why our local coaches appear less successful than foreign coaches. First local coaches are almost always given less than half the resources given to foreign coaches. Second local coaches get significantly less compensation than foreign coaches, and more importantly almost rarely get their salaries on time and/or in full. Local coaches are almost never set up to succeed. Their legs are broken by the TTFA from the beginning, yet the TTFA is quick to call them cripple.

    • ,,And I will say it ; we don’t respect ourselves but we respect white people. Don’t call me racist. It’s true..

    • Colonialistic mentality lives..

    • A football is black and white . My argument isn’t about local coaching standard it’s about what the players will respond to and I do not see them responding to any Trinidadian coach. They will walk right over him . DO NOT confuse my point and make this a racist argument .

    • ..As I said. My point is not racist. It is just a statement of fact. I could code it by saying “we respect foreign coaches more”. But the fact is that we respect foreign, white, coaches more. And that goes for administrators, players and fans. Take that as you will but I been in football here and abroad my whole life and them’s the facts..

    • Ok well my point is strictly players and if we agree they respond to that then let’s leave it there . I just don’t see a local having an impact with this crop . If all the boys were local based footballers then fine but majority are not

    • ..I agree there is no local coach to move the team forward. We just have to await the TTFA’s next move..

      • Earl Best

        Keith, the question I think you need to answer to crystallise your point is this: is it conceivable that a local coach will one day develop the competence to earn the respect of players and fans alike?

        I have heard people say, for instance, simply on the grounds that he is a local, that Hart can take us so far but no further. The implication is clear. Is that a view to which you subscribe?

        Is that a view, perhaps more importantly, to which DJW subscribes? But answer for yourself and leave DJW to Wired868.

    • Be careful Shabaaz don’t start up on you for saying that . ?

    • But Cheyenne, I think Bertille contradicted what you were saying emphatically at the 2000 Gold Cup.

    • Is everyone forgetting that Stephen Hart IS a local Coach, one of the best to lead our team at a time when we were rudderless and brought pride for the game back to our nation??? He was also succeeding until alas he suffered the same fate as other local coaches at the hands of the ego of DJW and his lick my ass administration.

  33. Jamaal like you lobbying for those two men i mention Moses again and the Russian promised land

  34. To bring tnt fball to a good standard takes time Mr hart gave the players confidence in dem self u can see it by d way dey keep d ball better , to bad it’s crunch time and results is d only thing that counts #hewastherightmantho

  35. Terence William Fenwick working for the TTFA run by President David John-williams??? This should…WOULD be interesting 🙂

  36. So Hart could not turn it around do you think Hart got a Morenio at Chelsea from players and TTFA as he and JW had issues

  37. I think both Terry Fenwick or Stuart Charles could take this team and either can turn things around

    • That suggests you didn’t think that Hart had the ability to lift us out of this mini-slump, which all coaches have. Even Pep.
      If DJW was Manchester City boss, he might have fired Pep when they were about three of four games without a win including at Celtic and Swansea.

    • Lasana Liburd Oh gawd Lasana now you comparing Hart with Pep. If Pep’s team is in a slump, because of his accomplishments and his reputation you can have faith and confidence he will find a way to turn it around. There is nothing in Hart’s resume that suggests after a string of poor performances and losses he has what it takes to do the same. Cmon man.

    • Lol. But Hart’s team beat Panama and Honduras already Gerard and drew with Mexico and the US. If he gets them to do as well, then we can finish fourth right there and go to the play offs!

    • Who’s dreaming now Lasana? Haha. He had to first identify the problems before he could have fixed them and I don’t think he knew what they were because he would have fixed them already. When the team was winning in the softest group, I wrote about the technical flaws but you know what you guys said, well at least we got to the hex. Winning solves all problems in T&T and it seems the coach bought into that, so do you, because you keep pointing back to teams we beat. Those teams watched films and fixed their flaws. We didn’t. Did anyone notice everytime Cato and Joevin started their runs from deep they were met with a double team but they kept making those dumb ass runs with no one in the box. They knew we had speed on the wings and they countered. What do we ever do to counter other teams?

    • Gerard your question was whether anything in his CV suggested he could beat those teams eh. And I’d say beating them before does that.
      Regarding tactics, I’d say with Molino and/or Bostock in central areas, we’d have a lot more variety in our attack.

    • Lasana Liburd Ah Slick there you go again. I said there is nothing in his resume that suggests he can turn around a team that’s playing poorly. Nice try Willie. Haha

  38. Saw this on a friend’s page… the mob is fickle, so this would seem appropriate
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D_aQupiaCSA&feature=youtu.be

  39. Terry Fenwick and Stuart Charles are definitely local very much like they could not have called me a foreign coach in Guyana .

  40. Define “LOCAL” Stephen Hart is technically a local Coach who was based in Canada and Terence William Fenwick is technically an English-born Coach who based locally in Trinidad nearly 2 decades now no?

  41. World Cup 1998 Jamaica – Rene Simoes
    World Cup 2006 Trinidad and Tobago – Leo Beenhakker
    Gold Cup 2015 Final – Jamaica
    Winnie Schafer

    I see a trend

    • Plus I remember Jan-Michael Williams saying in a interview sometime this year that when Hart first came the team thought he was a foreigner too until he spoke ha

    • Gold Cup 2000 Trinidad and Tobago Bertille St Clair…

    • Lasana Liburd semi final . Great achievement but Jamaica reaching a final , beating the hosts in a SF is a far greater achievement in my opinion

    • Trinidad and Tobago were recorded as second place finishers Cheyenne. Because the other two teams were foreign. And we were one missed penalty from David Nakhid away from potentially winning the entire Gold Cup in 2000.
      You can’t minimalise that. And whereas Jamaica did it with a squad born outside of Jamaica for the most part and educated in academies in England, T&T did it with players like Mickey Trotman and Brent Rahim and Jerren Nixon…
      Don’t take that away from us man.
      Imagine the TTFA pulled Dwight Yorke from the side in the group stage. Then Latapy was ruled out through injury… And yet they couldn’t stop the team.

    • Fair enough . So one massive achievement for a senior team under a local coach but the other 3 with foreign coaches

  42. I can compare the work of coaches like Alvin Corneal Jimmy Blanc, Edgar Vidale with sessions I have seen in Europe and South America. When does the Caribbean man get the opportunity to grow on the Job? Off course there are areas he needs to improve on 1. How he deals with the Federation in terms of demands and what he/she accepts . 2. Man management 3. Using modern technology are some key issues

  43. Jamaal do you know who is in the running as interium and long term coach as man in town long around the football

  44. Bertille St Clair qualified a team to a youth World Cup. So did Anton Corneal. Gally came close. The time will come when the Caribbean Coach is given the opportunity to get the experience and he improves his management skills …we will then only speak of coaches

  45. Do you really think local coaches with their lack of experience , quality and coaching education and sometimes actual education can have the effect necessary on players who ply their trade abroad under “foreign” coaches ?

    It has been proven time and time again that local coaches cannot cut it … I’m including your time on that list . Latapy’s stint , Bertille’s last stint when he was proven to be outdated and done .

    I’m sorry but they will just not respond to you guys . And before you say Hart was a local let’s not forget he lived majority of his life in Canada and came here as an unknown to these players hence his effect on the team . He’s gone stale as has the team. It happens

  46. The TTFA is just as bad as The WICB-waste of time, football going nowhere!!!!

  47. No man we reasoning. Is coaching today a question of competency or geography ? The term foreign seems to demonstrate competency and local …incompetence…. I think it’s deeper than that .

    • Define “LOCAL” Stephen Hart is technically a local Coach who was based in Canada and Terence William Fenwick is technically an English-born Coach who based locally in Trinidad nearly 2 decades now no?

  48. Hope after all d work Mr Hart put into getting Bostock to come play for us he still desires too, jus thinking he might be d Birchill factor from here on.