Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips explained today that Leo Beenhakker opted to skip the national team’s present training camp in Trinidad so as to give new head coach Stephen Hart more exclusive time with his staff and players.
The former 2006 World Cup coach was absent at yesterday’s press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, which served to officially introduce Hart to the local media. And Beenhakker will not meet the “Soca Warriors” until they head to Florida next week.
However, Phillips said Beenhakker made the decision not to travel to Trinidad this week so as not to crowd out the ex-Canada coach.
“Leo hasn’t arrived in Trinidad because he believes that Stephen is and should be treated as the head coach,” Phillips told Wired868, “and therefore should have at least a week with the players and staff exclusively.
“The original plan was for Leo to come to Trinidad at the end of this month but, when it was decided that the team would base the second part of its camp in Florida, Leo believed it would be more prudent to meet Stephen and the staff there and return to Trinidad with the team (after).”
Five World Cup 2006 players, Cornell Glen, Kenwyne Jones, Densill Theobald, Chris Birchall and Carlos Edwards, are in the present Gold Cup training squad while Beenhakker also worked briefly with goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and attacker Darryl Roberts.
Although Hart, a 53-year-old Trinidad and Tobago native, has never coached in the land of his birth before; he said he rarely ever misses a game and is aware of the abilities of most of the Warriors.
Hart is expected to select a final 23-man squad on Thursday from the present 35-man preliminary team.
(T&T 35-man Preliminary Squad)
Cleon John (NE Stars), Marvin Phillip (Central FC), Jan-Michael Williams (St Ann’s Rangers);
Radanfah Abu Bakr (Vostok—Kazakhastan), Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen—Belgium), Daneil Cyrus (W. Connection), Aubrey David (Caledonia), Carlos Edwards (Ipswich Town—England), Justin Hoyte (Middlesbrough—England), Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver—Canada), Kareem Moses (NE Stars), Seon Power (Chainat FC—Thailand), Robert Primus (Aktobe FC—Kazkhastan);
Chris Birchall (Port Vale—England), John Bostock (Toronto FC—Canada), Andre Boucaud (Notts County—England), Kevon Carter (Defence Force), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union—US), Keyon Edwards (Caledonia), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Ataullah Guerra (RoPS—Finland), Hughton Hector (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk—Belgium), Joevin Jones (W. Connection), Clyde Leon (W. Connection), Jason Marcano (Central FC), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—United States), Darryl Roberts (Samsunspor—Turkey), Densill Theobald (Caledonia);
Jamal Gay (Caledonia), Cornell Glen (Shillong Lajong—India), Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City—England), Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force), Willis Plaza (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Shahdon Winchester (FF Jaro—Finland).