Once again, 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago defender has withdrawn from international duty to pursue a professional career in Vietnam. This time, he won’t come back. Perhaps.
As DIRECTV W Connection prepared to face Central FC in the 2014 Digicel Pro Bowl semifinals, Cyrus was on his way to the Piarco International Airport for a day and a half trip to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Connection owner David John Williams confirmed that Cyrus has agreed personal terms on a year and a half deal, which should see him remain with Hanoi T&T until late 2015.
“We agreed a deal late last night and it was personal terms he couldn’t refuse,” Williams told Wired868. “It is a very good deal for the player.”
The Vietnam transfer window, according to Williams, closes on Monday; so there was no chance that Cyrus could postpone his move to represent the “Soca Warriors” in high-profile friendlies against Argentina and Iran next month.
It will be Cyrus’ third trip to Vietnam in three years and Williams hopes the third time is a charm.
In November 2012, Cyrus withdrew from the Trinidad and Tobago national football team squad just before the Caribbean Cup semifinal qualifying group stage to go on trial with Song Lam Nghe alongside Willis Plaza and Hughton Hector.
All three players were subsequently offered contracts but Song Lam insisted that they agree to miss the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Cyrus stalled and, eventually, the V-League club opted not to present him with a formal deal.
Cyrus, who was one of his country’s top performers at the Gold Cup, returned to Vietnam last November after a deal was supposedly agreed with Hanoi T&T in advance. But it fell through.
“It was a pre-arranged deal,” Williams said then. “… All they wanted was for him to train twice and play a 90-minute game to prove his fitness. But it didn’t work out…
“He didn’t feel he adjusted to the situation over there.”
Williams is confident things would work out this time and explained that Hanoi never gave up its pursuit of the player.
“They always wanted him but I am a tough negotiator,” said Williams. “They came back and I said no and they kept harping until they made an offer we couldn’t refuse…
“He wanted to play tonight (in the Pro Bowl semifinals) but we didn’t want to hold him back. We are not a club that holds back players.”
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart admitted to mixed feelings about Cyrus’ impending transfer, though.
“I understand he has to look after his interests but there are a lot of things to weigh,” Hart told Wired868. “What is your international career going to look like when you have to fly for 30 hours and across several time zones every time you have to play for your country?
“And then some of these Asian clubs put stipulations in the players’ contracts which do not allow them to represent their country; although I don’t know the details of this contract.”
Hart confirmed that Central FC defender Yohance Marshall will take Cyrus’ place in the national team for their mini-South American tour. And, if he stays in Vietnam this time, the Warriors are likely to lose a key player for their 2015 Caribbean Cup campaign as well.
For more reasons than one, the national coach expressed regret that Cyrus did not secure a deal with Belgium top flight club, Racing Genk, after his trial there last year. Hart suggested that a Belgium move would have made the defender more accessible to not only the national team but scouts from top European outfits as well.
“To me, Cyrus is one of the players who has talent to go to Europe and do well,” said Hart, “once he has the right mentality and so on.”
It is Hanoi T&T that caught Cyrus’ attention, though, and he will join 29-year-old former club and national teammate Hughtun Hector at the Vietnamese team.
Williams did not reveal any financial details of the move. But he insisted that Hanoi T&T made the 37-hour trip financially worth the while of the former two-time World Youth Cup player.