Hadad: Angus brings “stability, quality and belief”; N/C retains T&T coach

Angus Eve will continue as Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach for the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League, despite the country’s underwhelming showing at the recent Concacaf Gold Cup.

Eve’s contract expired at the conclusion of the Gold Cup tournament and has been the subject of much speculation since—with many Soca Warriors fans voicing their loss of confidence in his leadership.

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Angus Eve (right) and Jamaica head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson watch on from the sidelines during their Concacaf Gold Cup clash in Missouri on 28 June 2023.
Jamaica won 4-1.
(via TTFA Media)

Regardless, just three hours after Wired868 wrote on his imminent appointment, Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad confirmed, via the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) website, that he would remain in the post until March 2024. (Wired868 has since updated this story to reflect the TTFA’s new stated position.)

Ironically while Hadad and fellow committee members Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez steadfastly refuse to activate a technical committee to advise them on tactical matters including coaching selections, they will now impose an “advisory panel” on Eve.

The Normalisation Committee statement claimed that they have “commissioned a technical advisory panel that will be available to assist Eve”.

“The names of the members of this panel will be finalised and announced within the next few days,” stated the Hadad-backed body.

No further details on the work of the advisory panel were provided.

Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad addresses the audience during the launch of the TT Premier Football League at the Hyatt Regency on 6 February 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Who appoints the panel? What influence can its members have on Eve’s selections and tactical approach exactly? Will its members travel to international games to witness events first-hand, or will they be at home watching on television like the average armchair fan?

(The Normalisation Committee sent no goalkeeper coach, trainer or masseuse with its national youth team to the 2023 Concacaf Under-15 Championship, so will travel plans really be made for Eve’s advisory panel?)

Will the panel merely become a convenient scapegoat for Eve if things do not improve?

Trinidad and Tobago players (from left) Sheldon Bateau, Levi Garcia and Alvin Jones look dejected during their 4-1 loss to Jamaica in Concacaf Gold Cup action in Missouri on 28 June 2023.
(via TTFA Media)

If the Normalisation Committee believes that Eve is not fully up to the job, why not just replace him—rather than assign him babysitters?

Twelve weeks since the Soca Warriors were eliminated from the Gold Cup on the back of a joint record 6-0 loss to the United States, Hadad and his gang are yet to arrange a formal technical appraisal of the tournament.

Unless, of course, Hadad, Romano and Gomez—three men with zero pedigree in the game and virtually no administrative football experience before their Fifa appointments—conducted the technical assessment themselves.

Trinidad and Tobago players discuss their state of affairs during Concacaf Gold Cup action against Jamaica in Missouri on 28 June 2023.
Jamaica won 4-1.
(via TTFA Media)

Farcically, they believe Eve needs help more than they do.

Just two weeks away from Trinidad and Tobago’s opening 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League A match against Curaçao and Eve, Wired868 asked whether the Hadad-led normalisation committee unilaterally granted Eve a new contract, without consulting the TTFA membership in any form or even going through the potentially dubious trouble of an ad-hoc advisory committee.

The answer to that, based on Hadad’s own statement, is “yes”.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (right) with Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team and U-20 Team head coach Angus Eve in March 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“Angus has come into the role bringing stability, quality and belief to the team,” Hadad told the TTFA Media. “We have navigated challenges together along the way and believe that he is the right individual and character to take us into League A.”

Eve, naturally, was pleased.

“This is a great honour to continue to serve my country and serve in a positive manner,” he said, via the TTFA’s website.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Angus Eve urges on his troops during an exhibition game against Barbados at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 25 March 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The 51-year-old Eve’s retention of the biggest coaching post in the country will quell speculation of a return by former Warriors coach Stephen Hart or a more radical appointment like iconic 2006 World Cup player and now rookie coach Dwight Yorke.

Eve’s first job will be smoothing over relations with senior players, after he allegedly blamed them for Trinidad and Tobago’s humbling defeat against the US. Or maybe, emboldened by a fresh mandate, he plans to jettison the old guard altogether and return to the local players who were overlooked for the Gold Cup.

It is likely to be more difficult for Eve to regain the support of local football fans who initially cheered when he replaced the hapless Terry Fenwick but have since cooled on the incumbent’s self-declared “pragmatic” approach.

Trinidad and Tobago defender Triston Hodge (right) reacts to referee Armando Villareal’s decision to disallow a late item by forward Marcus Joseph, who was booked for handled ball, in CNL B action against Nicaragua in Bacolet on 27 March 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Since his appointment in June 2021, Trinidad and Tobago played 14 competitive matches. Eve won six of them, against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (two), The Bahamas (two), Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

There were four draws against Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and French Guiana, and defeats against Nicaragua, El Salvador, Jamaica and the United States.

(Trinidad and Tobago edged French Guiana in the subsequent penalty shoot-out, although the result is recorded as a draw by Fifa with the penalties serving only to decide which team advanced.)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Curtis Gonzales (fourth from left) looks on with his teammates during their penalty shootout contest with French Guiana in Fort Lauderdale during the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Playoffs on 6 July 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

The Soca Warriors were ranked 103rd in the world when Eve inherited the post—first on a temporary basis, before the Normalisation Committee handed him a two-year contract until March, which they then extended until the July Gold Cup.

During Eve’s 27 months at the helm, Trinidad and Tobago have never defeated a team ranked among Fifa’s top 100 nations in a competitive fixture.

However, Trinidad and Tobago’s gentle rise of two places in the Fifa rankings along with their qualification for the 2023-24 Nations League A competition—after Nicaragua were penalised for use of an illegal player, Ricard Rodriguez, in two of their six matches for an aggregate total of 36 minutes—satisfied the Normalisation Committee.

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Rampersad (centre) trudges off as Nicaragua players celebrate their promotion to the Concacaf Nations League A at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet on 27 March 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Well, partially at any rate. Eve was only awarded a six-month deal with advisors to boot. Does that mean the position of national head coach is now also “normalised”?

Eve is happy to continue in the post, regardless.

At present, the TTFA is 42 months into a normalisation process that was initially set at 24 months. Maybe Eve, now on his fourth contract, will also enjoy such staying power—beyond the reach of local football stakeholders like the HadCo co-chairman.

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Angus Eve gestures during their friendly contest with Guatemala on 11 June 2023.
(via TTFA Media)

Eve has not been an unmitigated success on the football field, but he has unquestionably enjoyed the support of the Zurich-imposed interlopers that now run the TTFA.

That kinship has now provided him with a fourth bite of the cherry as Soca Warriors head coach.

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  1. Steven Hart should have never been fired in the first place

  2. There is a primary school league. The SSFL is not enough to develop talent. The league runs from September to December. How much development can you get in 4 months? You can add another 2 months as most teams start training in July.

  3. Article well written !! Nothing against Eve, but didn’t live up to expectations! As a result Steven Hart should have been offered the position. They never contacted him yet there were rumors of him being reappointed.
    What we really and truly need at this time is development of our young talent. Initiate a primary school league , after which players could move on to SSFL, by which time talent, skill, knowledge and IQ should be evident. These players should then be offered specialized nutrition, and wellbeing training etc.

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