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Cornell poised for shock return! But Jan and Nathaniel are out as Saintfiet stands firm

Former World Cup 2006 attacker Cornell Glen looks set to return to the international stage after a three-year absence from the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team.

The 36-year-old Glen, who now plays professionally in India for Ozone FC Bengaluru, last wore the red, white and black strip on 15 July 2013 when the Soca Warriors were edged 1-0 by Mexico in the quarterfinal round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international striker Cornell Glen (centre) celebrates with teammates during his spell with I-League team, Shillong Lajong FC. (Copyright DNA India)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international striker Cornell Glen (centre) celebrates with teammates during his spell with I-League team, Shillong Lajong FC.
(Copyright DNA India)

Glen left Pro League outfit, North East Stars, for Shillong Lajong FC in the I-League—immediately after the regional competition—and was never selected to represent Trinidad and Tobago since.

However, Wired868 understands that Glen could be set for a surprise recall to the national side and might join the squad in Nicaragua.

Glen is joint fifth on Trinidad and Tobago’s all-time scoring charts alongside former National Senior Team captain Kenwyne Jones, who was omitted by Saintfiet. Both forwards have 23 international goals although Glen’s 67 caps are 20 shy of Jones’ tally.

Former World Cup 2006 striker Stern John is in a class of his own with 70 international goals followed by fellow retirees Angus Eve (34), Russell Latapy (29) and Arnold Dwarika (28). Ex-World Cup 2006 captain and Manchester United star Dwight Yorke, according to the RSSSF statistics, is ninth with 19 goals for his country.

National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet refused to confirm or deny Glen’s possible recall until the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) officially names the travelling team tomorrow.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

But Saintfiet admitted that are there vacancies within his squad for the Nicaragua outings on 27 and 30 December, due to the sudden unavailability of several members of his initial 29-man squad.

San Juan Jabloteh striker Willis Plaza leaves this week for a trial in Dubai while Orlando City midfield ace Kevin Molino and San Jose Earthquakes winger Cordell Cato have business with their clubs. Attacker Joevin Jones, who won the MLS Cup with Seattle Sounders three weeks ago, also asked for additional time off to recover from his long season.

It means Saintfiet may be forced to summon additional Pro League players, which could open the door for the likes of Jabloteh wingers Nathan Lewis and Tyrone Charles, Defence Force midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar and Morvant Caledonia United utility player Jameel Neptune or the Police FC pair of Christon Thomas and Kareem Freitas.

Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling and Jabloteh frontman Jamal Gay—based on the coach’s explanation for excluding Kenwyne—might be unsuitable to Saintfiet’s plans.

Two players who definitely will not figure in Saintfiet’s contingent for Nicaragua are goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and midfielder Nathaniel Garcia, after the national coach failed to reach a compromise with their employer, Central FC, who are chasing a hattrick of Pro League titles.

Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinals. Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinals.
Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Saintfiet initially called up both players, along with midfielder Sean De Silva, but was infuriated when the “Couva Sharks” insisted on deciding when they could train and refused to accept a directive that they skip Pro League matches on Tuesday and Friday night.

FIFA rules mean that clubs are not obliged to release players outside of the international match window, although Central were the only local team to take that hardline.

Ironically, both club and country will miss out on playmaker Sean De Silva after the two-time World Youth Cup midfielder injured his groin at national practice and will now spend two weeks on the sidelines.

At the height of Saintfiet’s disagreement with Central FC, he unfavourably compared their managing director, Brent Sancho, to his last employer in Bangladesh—he did not accuse Sancho of a third world mentality, as initially suggested by his assistant coach Jamaal Shabazz and Sancho himself.

Saintfiet still accused Central of reneging on a gentleman’s agreement to release players to the national team whenever deemed necessary. But the Warriors coach promised to consider the pair for next month’s Gold Cup play off fixtures against Suriname and Haiti on 4 and 8 January respectively.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Nathaniel Garcia runs with the ball while San Juan Jabloteh players (from left) Kennedy Hinkson, Keyon Edwards and Damian Williams keep watch during Pro League action on 17 May 2016 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. Jabloteh won 3-2. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Nathaniel Garcia runs with the ball while San Juan Jabloteh players (from left) Kennedy Hinkson, Keyon Edwards and Damian Williams keep watch during Pro League action on 17 May 2016 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Jabloteh won 3-2.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

“I don’t want to [create problems for] my players,” Saintfiet told Wired868. “They [are] split in two directions; they want to respect the club and the owner and they want to play for their country…

“I need time to work with my players and see how they implement my technical ideas and it is always best to have [time to work with your] players. But I never close doors or have any problem with players.

“It is a decision from their club and I will not punish players who are forced into a situation [like that]. I will analyse [our training sessions in] the coming week and our friendlies against Nicaragua and reassess the [need for Williams and Garcia].”

Central operations director Kevin Harrison insisted that the club are light on numbers at present, due to injuries and suspension, and cannot do without Williams and Garcia.

At present, they do not have the services of injured defenders Robert Primus and Kaydion Gabriel while midfielder Leston Paul is suspended and forward Kenwyne Jones—who is on loan from MLS team Atlanta United—has headed to Atlanta on business. De Silva has now joined the injury list.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva trains with the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team in November 2015. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva trains with the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team in November 2015.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Harrison said there were no hard feelings over De Silva’s injury, although he alleged that his club have often paid to rehab players injured on international duty such as Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 forward Nicholas Dillon.

He insisted that all Central wanted was compromise.

“We definitely don’t want to effect the players’ careers by trying to prove a point to the coach, which certainly seems to be his intention towards the club,” Harrison told Wired868. “However, we have to consider the club’s position first… We are the players’ employers and we do pay their salaries and we feel that should be respected.

“Nathaniel Garcia is very keen to play [for Trinidad and Tobago] and Jan wants to reassert himself in the national team. Sean probably [got injured in national team training because he] over-exerted himself, as he was so keen to impress.

“We don’t want conflict with our players because we don’t want to release them. We talked to them and they understand [our] position and we understand their position.”

Photo: Central FC midfielder and captain Darren Mitchell (foreground) celebrates his game winning strike against San Juan Jabloteh in Pro League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder and captain Darren Mitchell (foreground) celebrates his game winning strike against San Juan Jabloteh in Pro League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The Sharks, who are four points clear at the top of the table, face second from bottom Morvant Caledonia on Tuesday night and then sixth placed Defence Force on Friday. And Williams and Garcia will have to make do with those less exotic challenges.

For Saintfiet and his team, Christmas is cancelled as they prepare for life after ex-head coach Stephen Hart.

Apart from Glen, combative midfielder Kevan George also looks set to join the team in Nicaragua, although he will miss their first fixture.

Despite losing several key players for various reasons—and Eredivise winger Levi Garcia is the latest player to be ruled out of next month’s Gold Cup play offs—Saintfiet was satisfied with his first week on the job and, from all reports, the players have responded positively to his training sessions.

“I don’t want to think too much about [the players who] we do not have,” said Saintfiet. “We have to construct a team with the players who are available. We want to go to Nicaragua and see how good we are with who we have.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (centre) and Dr Terence Babwah (left) talk to defender Carlyle Mitchell during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (centre) and Dr Terence Babwah (left) talk to defender Carlyle Mitchell during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago training squad)

Goalkeepers: Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);

Defenders: Carlos Edwards (Ma Pau Stars), Daneil Cyrus, Maurice Ford (both W Connection), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC—Korea Republic), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Sillamae Kallen—Estonia), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids—USA), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Aubrey David (Dallas FC—USA);

Midfielders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Alvin Jones, Hughtun Hector (both W Connection), Elton John (Ma Pau Stars);

Attacking midfielders: Aikim Andrews (W Connection), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Jomoul Francois (St Ann’s Rangers);

Forwards: Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA);

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Cornell Glen (left) tries to elude a Mexico player during the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Cornell Glen (left) tries to elude a Mexico player during the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Out: Jan Michael Williams (Central FC), Sheldon Bateau (Krylia Sovetov Samara—Russia), Nathaniel Garcia (Central FC), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA), Sean De Silva (Central FC), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—USA), Willis Plaza (San Juan Jabloteh),

Possible Additions: Kevan George (Jackson Armada FC—USA), Cornell Glen (Ozone FC Bengaluru—India).

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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77 comments

  1. 2 season with Shillong lajong 33goals.one season with mohun bagan 17 goals.one of the best foreign player ever played in Indian soil.it is great news for all glen fans here in India . ” powlikk bro”

  2. Cornell Glen pls come back bro ☺️

  3. I am waiting to hear people that just talking but Nice move.

  4. Stueeps. Thats the best we could come up with…..C.Glen. This World cup campaign is total failure…Can’t beat the Mexicans, Costa Rica, USA, Honduras, Panama with this mixture. Real failure.

  5. What happening with his brother Johnathan Glen who score against Mexico ???

  6. Mmbm St Louis buh look at sancho na smh

  7. Cornell Glen 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  8. Cornell an Carlos boom good going coach

  9. Ah liking this coach …long time we calling for this big player !!!!

  10. About time….he’s in form and one of the best strikers we’ve had in the last 10 years

  11. When would the young talented players get a chance to experience hummm that y we are in this position

  12. Shotta Sean wah we said the other day ?

  13. I don’t know what to say about Brent Sancho. This was such a poor decision on his part dangling the livelihood of these players and using it as a means to hold them at random.

  14. Hannibal Najjar

    Glenn has always had the attributes to pierce most any defense. His confidence is his biggest strength and yet, poses to be his biggest weakness – this when individualism soars higher than team. If Glenn comes back, my suggestion to him would be twofold 1. Though there is an “I” at the center of win, he would accomplish more and make the desired impact he is so eager to give, if and when 2. He follows John Wooden’s team-strong philosophy, that, “The main ingredient in stardom, is the rest of the team.” I also leave with him, from his very first National Team coach, the following of which only a True Champion is made of – “One who gets up when lame, shares the fame, and always takes the blame” (hn-1994). Cornell can make a strong contribution to this team.

  15. Al alast t@t get ar real work horse striker orrrr

  16. This coach is off to a bad start. Warring with the clubs will not help the situation.

  17. Yes Cornell we need you right now show them how it’s done

  18. I believe dis is an opportunity for some other players to make d national team shanco bad decision u make me feel like u are undermining yr country national team

  19. Best we bring back Yorke and latapy too yes

  20. Good luck Cornell….go get the goals..that experience could help

  21. Come on Glen dont let ur fans down

  22. I’ll take Cornell over Jones

  23. Well after seeing Carlos getting call up and now the probability that Glenn will be called I realize that the reason Kenwynne get dropped is because he is too young.

  24. Glen Was Always a good striker. This recall is nothing but a stop gap measure.

  25. Is rab we like!!! raaaabbbbbb!!! Basil

  26. Well along with my prolific goal scorer eh, my other prolific goal scorer Devon Cool Droggy Jorsling should also be returning the same eh and they both should also be on the starting team . Them really good yes.

    • Sigmund Mad-Scorpion Williams

      Mango try yuh bess eh. Jorsling better than KJ? Is he somehow faster or more athletic than KJ? Yuh steady riding KJ and seem fine with his exclusion but calling for Jorsling? Forgive me but I rell confused by that.

  27. Didn’t I told you all that Mr Bound not to score and Jan Michael Williams will no longer be part of the Soca Warriors eh and that my newly appointed foreign base Coach Tom didn’t make the shot call eh steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  28. Shawn Charles yuh campaign wukking. Lemme see what i want yes you could send a letter to my employers

  29. cause they fighting down we boi latas dais all..ent basketball pick ah 48 year old oman to play for we …an latas is still de bes player in trini hahahaha ah laughing like earl mango pierre lol

  30. Why isn’t Latapy in the squad?

  31. Why is Marcus Joseph not getting a look in these current plans, who is advising this man, Marcus top scored in the last two pro league seasons if I’m not mistaken. But we looking to Cornell, no disrespect to Glen, top lad, but at 36, he’s past his prime.

  32. history lesson please …saw the top five goal scorers for Trinidad and Tobago , was taken aback ..how many goals do the following players have for our country ..Leroy Deleon..Steve David…Alvin corneal…Sammy Llewellyn…Ron la forest.. and other players of the past ..or do we have accurate stats on those players past exploits as far as representing Trinidad and Tobago….goal scoring information

  33. just asking, given the same situation lets say in England,..Brazil,..Spain, France,…Italy..or America…do you think tom saintfiet could would …. or may of puled that stunt off.??. am .always marvel ed when there is a reaction by locals against what they may deem as not being right ..the ‘experts’ come up with the[ third world behavior theory ]..I can hazard a guess that the new coach may be influence by other locals to do what they could not do on there own …hope for our world cup advancement sake it works!! also can the third world mentality’ come from a so-called first world nation person ?? just examining..

  34. Idk what kinda WICB management is this na…so idiotic…nothing makes sense anymore

  35. Pure chaos…third world mentality…Tom may not make it till January 4th the way this ting going…but say what

  36. Robert Primus is a name I hadn’t heard in ages …arguably one of the country’s best defenders…. what’s the status with him Lass??

  37. Just when I thought Nathaniel Garcia was going to get his shot :/