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T&T football trialists comfortable in Turkey after London scare

Former Caledonia AIA and El Dorado West Secondary student Keon Russell got to Turkey yesterday to complete a contingent, led by local scout Dion Sosa, who left Trinidad on Wednesday to attend football trials in Europe.

Photo: Former Caledonia AIA midfielder and El Dorado West Secondary student Keon Russell.
Photo: Former Caledonia AIA midfielder and El Dorado West Secondary student Keon Russell.

Six players were forced to spend an unscheduled night in London due to a problem with travel arrangements. While three young men, Jean-Luc Rochford, Dwight Quintero and Keon Russell, contacted the High Commission in London on Friday morning, as they neared check-out time with little money and no ticket for Turkey.

Relatives of the players were outraged at the time while the young men themselves were bewildered and upset.

The Sport Ministry quickly paid for plane tickets for all three men to get to Istanbul.

Last night, a relative of one player said the players were comfortable and there was a dramatic change of environment in Bolu, Turkey.

“Everything over there is very professional and scheduled,” said Nathalie Fournillier, who is the aunt of National Under-23 striker Dwight Quintero. “They are now under the care of a Turkish agent who I spoke with yesterday and things seem to be under control.”

Photo: Former Central FC forward Dwight Quintero (left) tries to escape from North East Stars midfielder Keithy Simpson during a 2013/14 Pro League contest. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Central FC forward Dwight Quintero (left) tries to escape from North East Stars midfielder Keithy Simpson during a 2013/14 Pro League contest.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Sosa told Wired868 on Friday night that everything was fine and he suggested the players acted too hastily when they call the the High Commission. However, he admitted that there was a financial issue and it was the Government, rather than himself, who paid to get the last three players to Turkey.

The 18 players listed in his initial travel group were asked to pay TT$25,000 each for the chance to show their wares before scouts in Turkey. However, most were unable to foot the entire bill.

Sosa promised to provide more details on the Turkey trip and the financial arrangement with the players but, so far, has not been accessible for an interview.

Photo: San Juan North captain and striker Brent Sam (centre) shoots past St Anthony's College midfielder Leon Whyle in 2014 Big Four action. Sam and Whyle are both among a group of T&T trialists in Turkey. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: San Juan North captain and striker Brent Sam (centre) shoots past St Anthony’s College midfielder Leon Whyle in 2014 Big Four action.
Sam and Whyle are both among a group of T&T trialists in Turkey.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Sosa’s initial list of wanna-be trialists: Raheem Belgrave, Curtis Gonzales, Dario Holmes, Weslie John, Jelani Peters, Keon Russell, Jamel Farell, Leon Whyle, Leston Paul, Jean-Luc Rochford, Duane Muckette, Keane McIvor, Xavier Rajpaul, Micah Lewis, Qian Grosvenor, Phillip Borde, Dwight Quintero and Brent Sam.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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4 comments

  1. TTD25,000 to be viewed by scouts!
    Pathetically ridiculous.
    Real scouts would give their left arm to see decent players for free.
    Somebody needs to be questioned by the fraud squad.

  2. I cant wait to interrogate him.

  3. Yeah. I’d really hoped for more info on this whole thing. But at least the boys are safe and hopefully in the right frame of mind.

  4. Waiting patiently to hear what he has to say, because a player handed him money for a return ticket and still got left behind.