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No Latapy or Fevrier; Nakhid, Fenwick and Vranes face international competition for Warriors job

Former Trinidad and Tobago captain and Europe-based midfielder, David Nakhid, is the sole Trinidad-born candidate with his hat in the ring, as the TTFA’s technical committee pores over more than a dozen applicants to lead the Soca Warriors through the remainder of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

But there are a few more household names in the running to replace departed head coach Stephen Hart, including ex-Trinidad and Tobago national coaches Zoran Vranes, Francisco Maturana and Wim Rijsbergen, former Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick and ex-Jabloteh coach Ricky Hill.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago football captain David Nakhid speaks at the 2015 Play The Game conference in Aarhus, Denmark. (Copyright Thomas Søndergaard/Play The Game)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago football captain David Nakhid speaks at the 2015 Play The Game conference in Aarhus, Denmark.
(Copyright Thomas Søndergaard/Play The Game)

Fenwick—who is a married to a Trinidadian, Reyna Kowlessar—and Vranes have both lived on the two island republic for most of this millennium.

However, despite persistent rumours, sources indicate that the new National Senior Team head coach will not be W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier or current TTFA youth coach Russell Latapy, as neither applied for the post. Fevrier, who was born in St Lucia but spent most of his adult life in Trinidad, and Latapy are both former senior Warriors coaches.

Former World Cup 2006 captain Dwight Yorke, who has his coaching badges and applied for several jobs in England, has not formally expressed interest in replacing Hart either.

But, according to sources, there are at least another eight overseas coaches who are keen on heading the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team.

Brazilian Joel Santana (ex-Vasco Da Gama coach), Colombian Luis Fernando Suarez (ex-Honduras and Ecuador World Cup coach), Frenchman Philippe Troussier (ex-South Africa and Japan World Cup coach), Scotsman Alex McLeish (ex-Scotland, Glasgow Rangers and Aston Villa coach) and Belgian Herman Vermeulen (ex-Oud-Heverlee Leuven coach) are said to top the list.

Photo: Former Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez has applied to coach the Soca Warriors. (Copyright Record.com.mx)
Photo: Former Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez has applied to coach the Soca Warriors.
(Copyright Record.com.mx)

McLeish coached Anthony Rougier and Russell Latapy at Hibernian in Scotland and then Latapy and Marvin Andrews at Rangers.

Early contact from agents supposedly representing former Brazil World Cup coach Carlos Dunga, Netherlands and Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard and England boss Roy Hodgson failed to materialise into a formal bid—either because they were insincere in the first place or unimpressed by the terms on offer.

Most international coaches were interested to hear not just about the salary on offer but also the length of the contract, the number of staff members they can bring and the available training facilities on the two island republic.

Technical committee chairman Dexter Skeene said he was “unable to say at this point” who comprised the shortlist or which coaches caught his eye. But he said they are doing their best to source a coach“best suited to the deliver the kind of results we are looking for.”

“First, it is important to note that the technical committee is an advisory body [and does not make the final decision],” Skeene told Wired868. “We are looking at different options and soon we will put forward the possibilities [to the TTFA board of directors]. There are a lot of people interested [in the job], which is good for Trinidad and Tobago.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (centre) terrorises United States players DeAndre Yedlin (right) and Michael Orozco during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (centre) terrorises United States players DeAndre Yedlin (right) and Michael Orozco during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Skeene did not offer a timeline for the technical committee’s decision but recommendations are expected to be forwarded to the board of directors by the end of the week.

The technical committee is understood to be placing a priority on coaching experience within the CONCACAF region and coaches who handled a national team within the last three years.

Only one coach appears to tick all the relevant boxes: Luis Fernando Suarez, who led Ecuador to the second round of the South Africa 2010 World Cup and steered Honduras to the Brazil 2014 World Cup tournament.

Suarez’s career has stuttered since the 2014 World Cup, though, as he had brief unsuccessful spells with Peru top flight club, Club Universitario de Deportes, and Dorados de Sinaloa, who were relegated the the Mexico second division.

The TTFA is believed to be offering its new head coach just a 12-month deal. However, a storming run in the CONCACAF Hex and a good showing at the 2017 Gold Cup—if the Warriors can get there through a convoluted Play Off series—will probably suit coaches who hope to use the job as a stepping stone.

Photo: Former Ecuador and Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez. (Copyright Alchetron)
Photo: Former Ecuador and Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez.
(Copyright Alchetron)

Neither Nakhid, Fenwick nor Hill have coached on the international stage before while Vranes has not coached a senior international team during the suggested time frame. However, all five are convinced that they can deliver success to the “Red, Black and White.”

Nakhid, who has a UEFA ‘A’ licence and runs his own coaching academy in Lebanon, pointed out that celebrated Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola would not meet the supposed requirements of the TTFA’s technical committee either and still had his learning plates on when he took over at Barcelona.

He dared the TTFA to think outside of the box.

“I see it as a great challenge to be able to get our men’s national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with 24 points left [to play for],” said Nakhid, who campaigned unsuccessfully for the FIFA presidency last year. “It’s precisely the kind of challenge that I have lived and played through and been successful with.

“I think Stephen did a fantastic job in his tenure and I know that I could finish this particular journey with success.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (centre) gives instructions to substitutes (from right) Andre Boucaud, Willis Plaza and Jomal Williams during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016. (Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (centre) gives instructions to substitutes (from right) Andre Boucaud, Willis Plaza and Jomal Williams during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)

Fenwick, one of the Pro League’s two most successful coaches alongside Fevrier, suggested that TTFA president David John-Williams would probably be afraid to give him the shot as head coach because he would be too good at it.

“They would not know how to deal with my success,” said Fenwick, a former England World Cup defender. “They are worried about putting me into the job because, if I am successful, they would not know how to handle me.

“They want a brown nose and someone they can pull the strings of, which doesn’t allow the coach the freedom to experiment with the team and really develop the national side.”

Still, Fenwick, who runs his own academy, Football Factory, in St Clair, admitted that the position of Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach remains a burning ambition.

He has coached 10 of the 26 players used in the 2018 World Cup campaign so far, including defender Sheldon Bateau, midfielder Khaleem Hyland, playmaker Kevin Molino and both goalkeepers, Jan-Michael Williams and Marvin Phillip.

Photo: Terry Fenwick (right) salutes the crowd after leading Central FC to the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield title. Looking on is Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene (centre). (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Terry Fenwick (right) salutes the crowd after leading Central FC to the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield title.
Looking on is Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene (centre).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“It’s the job that I wanted for a long time,” Fenwick told Wired868. “I am an Englishman living here for 17 years and married with a young child. I see myself as Trinidadian and I spend very little time in the UK. I know the players better than anyone and better than they even know themselves; and I know the culture, although I am not a part of the culture…

“They are [probably] looking at a Brazilian, South American or Central American coach, which does not [match our attributes]… We are big, strong, fast and we can compete. But we cannot match those teams on the ball. We have to play the game on our terms, to our strengths and not [try to copy our opponents].”

Hill, a former Jabloteh and Tampa Bay Rowdies coach, claimed to have coached as many as 13 players who were involved in Trinidad and Tobago’s historic 2006 World Cup campaign. He said he is “acutely aware” of the natural talent on the two island republic and wants a crack at taking them to glory.

“The opportunity to coach such a talented group of players in Trinidad and Tobago would be a great honour,” said Hill. “To successfully take Trinidad and Tobago through the Hex and qualify for Russia 2018 is an achievable target with a few tweaks. I am ready for the challenge.”

Vranes, who coached the Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda National Senior Teams, pointed out that the core of the current squad—Bateau, Molino, Aubrey David and Daneil Cyrus—were graduates from his Under-17 and Under-20 World Youth Cup teams in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Central FC head coach Zoran Vranes.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The Montenegrin-born coach, a former Yugoslav Under-23 midfielder, noted that he has coached Trinidad and Tobago at every FIFA level but the senior World Cup and believes he can take the Warriors there, given the chance.

“I have a very good relationship with all the players in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Vranes, who also pointed two Caribbean Cup titles as head coach and one as assistant. “[…] With good physical and psychological preparation, they should all be able to play very well, although they have been playing below their possibilities for a while.

“As a national coach in 1995 and 1996, [I won] the Caribbean Cup both years with 90 percent results and I was also assistant coach in 2001, which was the last time that Trinidad won the Caribbean Cup…

“I think I have a very good relationship with football fans in Trinidad and also their support. I also think that you can talk to players I worked with who are experienced enough to give their opinion about the way I work.”

While the chase for the men’s team is dominating the media’s attention, there is a similar audition taking place in the women’s programme.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (far left) celebrates with teammates after her stunning game winning goal against Guatemala in Houston, Texas on 12 February 2016. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Tasha St Louis (far left) celebrates with teammates after her stunning game winning goal against Guatemala in Houston, Texas on 12 February 2016.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Earlier this week, Italian coach Carolina Morace, a former international player with 105 goals from 153 appearances, arrived in Trinidad and held a solitary session with the country’s home-based Women Soca Warriors before jetting off.

Morace, who applied to coach the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team, is a FIFA technical instructor and ambassador as well as technical director for a football league and coaching academy in Australia.

She also coached the Italy women’s national team and led Canada at the 2011 World Cup, when they were eliminated in the group stage.

But, arguably, she is most famous for coaching the Viterbese Calcio men’s team in Italy’s third division, which is believed to be the first time that a woman has coached a men’s professional team.

The experiment lasted just two games before Morace quit, supposedly due to interference in her team selection by the Viterbese football president.

Photo: Former Canada coach Carolina Morace during the 2011 Women's World Cup. (Copyright Zimbio)
Photo: Former Canada coach Carolina Morace during the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
(Copyright Zimbio)

Police FC head coach Richard Hood, who coached the Women Warriors at the 2016 CONCACAF Championships, has also applied to keep his job.

John-Williams has so far been tightlipped on the TTFA’s hunt to fill both head coach positions.

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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301 comments

  1. Going and book a room from tonight at the hotel……..BOOM.

  2. So it all goes down at the Marriott

  3. 😅😅 dey mussy wanna emulate slam 100.5… Drama Wednesdays!! 😂😂😂

  4. Wednesday ? Why Wednesday ? Wouldn’t it be better to make the big announcement on Friday at TGI’s? Just for consistency nah.

  5. Lasana Liburd , I expect you to buss the mark before their breakfast announcement at whatever restaurant they decide . You know dey must have food with this TTFA crew

  6. What do they mean by the venue will be confirmed eh, isn’t the venue Ruby Tuesdays eh, the same venue that they invited my Coach Hart to fire him eh, I guess the secrecy continues. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  7. Well it all will be revealed on Wednesday morning at 9 am

  8. Alyuh want to know what country he is coming from eh, and why did they hire a Coach from a country that never won a World Cup eh. Them really good yes.

  9. Cheyenne, should someone be maccoing at the airport? LOL

  10. TTFA will announce the new coach on Wednesday morning at 9am .

    Anyone in the know can leak the announcement ? Lol

  11. Getting out of this hex is a very difficult proposition. The thing is A new coach at this time will not be able to do much with out next game will be in March. Added to the fact the pool of players are not the best available. Even if I am sounding like a prophet of doom. I ask will we fire the new coach at the end of the hex because we not going any Russia.

  12. Nakid wants to be in everything fifa president ciach what next

  13. You could change coach a million times , if that players are not dedicated to the team and the mission which is to qualify for Russia then we spinning top in mud ,Admin needs to get their act together otherwise we eh going ah place but Hasley Crawford stadium

  14. Iwer George is my candidate for the next coach. He’s already well known by the entire team and he can facilitate a few boat rides for them when needed.

  15. Try Anil Roberts then..😂😂😂😂

  16. I would like to see Alex McLeish or Dunga coaching Trinidad and Tobago.

  17. A foreign coach is needed period

  18. I really doesn’t understand why some of you all continues saying that the TTFA has no monies eh, and they are going and hire another foreign base Coach eh. Them really good yes.

  19. I don’t want Terry Fenwick ANYWHERE near this national team! That said!…The TTFA IS A WASTE OF TIME! Our boys have a game in January and our genius TTFA Board decides to fire the coach without a plan. The U.S. nat’l team did change their coach but it wasn’t adhoc. I’m certain they day down before the hex started and decided if the team didn’t perform well in the first two games that they would sack JK and replace him. I’m certain they decided on who to replace him with as well. Our TTFA has sacked Hart without a proper contingency plan…and to quote Matrix Reloaded, “it’s because they can’t think more than five seconds in front of their face”. If they had a problem with Hart’s tactics, like everyone did, have a sit down and tell him that much. If he then refused to change tactics then I’d agree with such a thoughtless firing. If he agreed then they could’ve kept him on until WCQs were done. If we qualified(which I think we would have) then keep him on even further, if we didn’t, then fire him. We are notes left with a coachless team with no money to afford a quality foreign coach or to even bring back Latas(who also got a raw deal). A team needs to get comfortable with a new coach and his style, tactics etc and a team needs time to buy into it. The TTFA as far as I am concerned has setback our football program years and in my opinion, short of a miracle, we have to start looking forward to Qatar 2022, just forget Russia altogether

  20. And please let’s not drift from the facts, the DJW administration have fired Stephen Hart not TF, the DJW administration are entirely responsible for the appalling results at every level since the Tim Kee admin. Why flap about the details, it is as clear as the nose on my face who is responsible for the declined of T&T football.

    • Hmmmmmm. As much as I agree, yiu clearly don’t want the job. No need to respond . I know you are being simply truthful.. just remember employees play for their bosses. Also , employees don’t leave jobs they leave their bosses. Yes , one of the guys in this thread would say – “yiu are a studious intellectual “. – tell him I’m happy to not be an un-intellectual idiot

    • This is a pile of lala ….employees play for their bosses…they leave their bosses? Lalaism!!

  21. kurtwyn that 1 month camp will be locals only or players out of contract or season done (mls) otherwise that can never happen and the men in the 1 month camp won’t be the core of the unit when game time arrives

  22. Its not the coach it is one player making the hold team play bad ,the captain

    • Well said sir I will agree with dat . but d coach do have ah big part to play cause he is d 1 who is playing DAT player over an over

    • Bro saying that might be true but when you as a coach don’t have 100 % in which he have that he could leave some players on the bench we will always go under even if the game is one that we could win tell me what that cap do to be playing he stand up and walk all his games a player of that standard evening on your own players . nearly all the games he was out of it .when ever he come of the game niw come alive but it’s to late .19 ti 15 minutes In games like that dose not work if you can’t drop him make him a last stopper he have the knowledge of the game

  23. One step forward two steps backward!

  24. DJW know what he doing if he bring a outside coach & we don’t make it to the world cup he will fire the coach then let a local coach take over for the next 3 years the man have it all plan out so he can have his WC players get on the team then get a contract outside so he can make money …smh

  25. This has to be a joke right? The TTFA cyah be serious?

  26. A lesson Hart had to learn; when people are going down, don’t hold on to them, or else you will be brought down with them. There is a time to let go. This advice works for football, jobs, bad relationships etc.

    Basic lesson in football – make sure your striker can strike. Kenwyn was a ‘pass – off – er’.

  27. Well if he is a dictator like how everyone knows him to be eh, of course he will always want things to go his way. Them really good yes.

  28. Lasana Liburd I get the view this is not about the T+T senior team but anger about DJW