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Nightmare in Fort-de-France: T&T dumped out Caribbean Cup without Molino, Kenwyne and Joevin

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart might have nightmares in French tonight, after the Soca Warriors were eliminated from the 2017 Caribbean Cup by virtue of a 2-0 extra time loss away to Martinique.

The Warriors can still sneak into the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup but that now means a minimum of three playoff matches—two against Caribbean opposition and one against a Central American nation.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

The dates for the Caribbean play off matches are 9, 12 and 15 November, which are obviously impossible for Trinidad and Tobago who face Costa Rica and Honduras in World Cup qualifying action on 11 and 15 November respectively.

The Caribbean Football Union (CFU), in drawing up dates for its play off rounds, clearly didn’t anticipate that the Soca Warriors—the Caribbean’s only team left in the Russia 2018 World Cup race—might be required to take part.

The late defeat to Martinique and uncertainty over the team’s immediate future compound a miserable 24 hour spell for Hart and his squad.

On Monday night, the coach axed his best finisher and playmaker, Kevin Molino, after allegedly learning that the Orlando City midfielder broke team rules to party at the Vas Lounge nightclub, three days earlier. It would have been the second time Molino put his love of the nightlife ahead of his teammates and country within roughly a month, although, so far, Hart would only say he was excluded due to indiscipline.

Then, on Tuesday night, Hart found himself without his team captain as well, after Kenwyne Jones limped off the field in the first half after a firm but legal challenge from a Martinique opponent.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Kenwyne Jones takes a breather during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Kenwyne Jones takes a breather during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868

By the second half, Joevin Jones—whose double against Guatemala preserved the Warriors’ World Cup dreams—was off too, after being replaced by the more workmanlike Andre Boucaud following a largely unsuccessful stint in Molino’s vacated advanced central midfield role.

And, when Martinique struck in extra time through Kevin Parsemain and Steeven Langil, Trinidad and Tobago could not deliver a response.

“We weren’t at our best clearly from the opening whistle,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “We were sluggish and we couldn’t seem to get the tempo of the game up.

“At the end of the day, too many of our so-called quality players were way below their best. Technically we didn’t want the ball and when we did get it we didn’t use it in a positive manner to try and penetrate and put them under any real threat.”

The Warriors did have their moments, mind you. Teenaged winger Levi Garcia struck the bar in the first half, after one of his trademark twisting runs. And Joevin hit the post from a free kick before the interval too, which was awarded for a foul on Kenwyne’s replacement, Trevin Caesar, who worried Martinique at times in the first half with his sprints down the channels.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) gets a shot off under pressure from United States midfielder DeAndre Yedlin during a goalless draw at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in 2018 World Cup qualifying action on 17 November 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) gets a shot off under pressure from United States midfielder DeAndre Yedlin during a goalless draw at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in 2018 World Cup qualifying action on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Kenwyne, Molino and Jones are the first, second and third highest scores of Hart’s tenure respectively and have plundered a combined 34 of the 65 scored under the current coach. To lose all three at once and with little warning was always going to be  extremely difficult for the team.

And Martinique, who gathered momentum as the contest went on, took advantage of their toothless opponents.

Parsemain hit the bar with one header while it took a desperate and timely Aubrey David tackle to thwart another challenge before the opening goal came in the 105th minute. Warriors winger Cordell Cato hit a weak headed back pass, just inside the Trinidad and Tobago half of the field, and Parsemain, who is Martinique’s record goal scorer, seized possession and finished with a fine strike into the corner from 20 yards.

And, in the last minute of extra time, Langil completed the job, as he ran in off the right flank and blasted past Warriors goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams at his near post.

“Today where were a lot of players who didn’t press the ball effectively and when we had it, we didn’t play combinations,” said Hart. “We have always struggled against teams that sit down and play with a lot of discipline and Martinique did that. When they got the ball they took the game down to a very slow level and just played for the mistake.

“And we made the mistake at a crucial time in the game and we paid for it.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams muses over Mexico's decisive goal in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal. (Copyright Getty Images/AFP/ Mike Zarrilli)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams muses over Mexico’s decisive goal in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal.
(Copyright Getty Images/AFP/ Mike Zarrilli)

Trinidad and Tobago’s upcoming schedule is complicated now. Arguably, the more pressing matter is to find a long term solution to the Molino dilemma, which is: if he should play again and under what circumstances; or whether Hart can replace him or be forced to alter his formation to compensate.

But Molino was not the only player to concern the national coach, as he lamented the failures of the squad to rise to the challenge—as was the case in their 1-0 Copa America Centenario play off loss to Haiti in January.

“Clearly some changes need to be made to shake up the team,” said Hart. “The competitive element for places needs to be stepped up. For me the positive thing is we are in the hex and we start next month…

“Some players have to look at themselves and ask if they really want this and if they have the discipline to do this… For me, discipline is very important. Not just ‘yes sir, no sir’ but how you carry yourself, how you rest and how you recover.”

Sleepless nights await. Hart’s next move could have a profound effect on the Warriors’ World Cup campaign in one way or the other.

(Team)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 5.Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 2.Aubrey David; 19.Kevan George, 8.Khaleem Hyland; 7.Cordell Cato, 3.Joevin Jones (14.Andre Boucaud), 16.Levi Garcia; 9.Kenwyne Jones (captain) (12.Trevin Caesar [11.Shahdon Winchester]).

Unused substitutes: 20.Adrian Foncette (GK), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 18.Tristan Hodge.

Coach: Stephen Hart

AboutLasana 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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139 comments

  1. If we can’t beat them who we will beat

  2. The same one you will be on a bandwagon for

  3. Molino would feel sick when we make it to the world cup

  4. Lasana Liburd Don’t get sensitive on me now Slick. haha

  5. Like I said Gerard, I’m not knocking your opinion. We both see the same issues. I just come to a different conclusion or see a different solution.

  6. Lasana Liburd You living in the past. You dug up a 2002 Canada team now you move the time travel forward. Brother I’m talking about now. Guatemala is not good. We made them look good. And as far as Hart I’m talking about the current crop of players and his inability to get more out of them.

  7. Maybe. Guatemala whipped our 2006 World Cup team 5-1 in Guatemala City though. And it took real heroics to sneak past them 3-2 in Port of Spain to keep our World Cup dream alive. Otherwise they would have gone to Germany and not us.
    So I can’t dismiss the worth of a win over Guatemala.

  8. Lasana Liburd He was in the weakest group.

  9. After Haiti knocked us out of the Copa America Centario qualifier, I dismissed it as an aberration. Now Martinique knock us out of the Gold Cup. It is now cause for concern. Martinique and Haiti are lesser teams to the ones we will face in the World Cup qualifiers. My confidence in this team doing well in the Hex is greatly diminished. Ironically I was going to buy my season pass ticket today, that however has been put on hold pending performances against Costa Rica and Honduras. I will continue to support my team, but failure to rebound positively in the next two games vs Costa Rica and Honduras ……………………….well let’s wait and see how that goes.

  10. The last time we met Canada in World Cup competition was 2002 and we beat them comfortably home and away. So I don’t know why you think he was leading a bomb squad.
    I completely ignored your point about me using the word “weak” because it isn’t a worth a debate. You are arguing that he is not tactically good enough for T&T but not tactically weak? Ok. No problem. I’m not feeling to have a discussion on semantics.
    And “the coach from Tobago” is a flippant way to refer to Bertille St Clair who was the first coach to ever take Trinidad and Tobago to a FIFA tournament and NOT Beenhakker.
    And if Hart truly got “10 knuckleheads” to qualify for the Hex, then he has to be the greatest coach alive.

  11. hahahahaha Gerard Johnson yuh really knows the subject eh and you is so right in meh Coaching back in the days I will tell my players what was the game plan eh and many times they will go on the field and do their own thing yes and the reason why we use to win eh, was because of their individual talents eh Them really good yes.

  12. Lasana Liburd This is why I call you slick. You completely ignored the fact that it was you who used the word weak. In every sport, from basketball to american football to ice hockey to soccer, there are coaches who are good enough to get you to a certain place but not beyond. That’s all I’m saying. The coach from Tobago was in the same position and Beenhakker took over a team that was left for dead and qualified. Please don’t compare the Canadian footballers with some of the crap we have here. Our players do not understand football. They simply play football. We need a coach who can transition from where we are with these knuckleheads and turn them into respectable footballers who can understand football. Don’t tell me they play professionally because you can hide one knucklehead among ten. But you can’t hide ten knuckleheads.

  13. Honestly though, i have seen the team play much better so I know they are capable. Just need to figure out why they aren’t performing consistently.

  14. Gerard, I’m not really debating you. I’m just giving my view. I’m not trying to say yours is invalid.
    He got fired from the Canada job because they failed to get the to Hex. You can look at the game they lost badly and say he was tactically weak. Or you can look at Canada’s considerable Gold Cup success with him and say he is tactically strong.
    The Argentina game was their last home match before the 2014 World Cup. Fete match? That’s your opinion.
    Against USA, our opponents probably had two looks on goal for the whole game. We were not particularly good on the ball but I thought we were organised.
    I am talking about Guatemala away not at home. We were poor at home to Guatemala.
    As for tactical errors, the best coaches make them. Pep, Jose, Ferguson, Ancelotti… They all admitted to errors in big matches.
    Because he made a mistake doesn’t mean we should sack him.
    I’d say look at the volume of his work and consider if he can continue to improve and help the team. I think he can. But I’m not about to fight with someone who thinks otherwise. We can all have different opinions. That’s fine too.

  15. Earl Mango Pierre Wasn’t that tactically stupid? lol

  16. Nah he got fired because he decided to go with a younger team against his opponent and got 8 goals yes, and I know that it is always important to have older experience players along with the younger players on your team eh.

  17. Lasana Liburd Wasn’t that why he got fired in Canada. His last game was tactically stupid. The 0-0 game against the U.S. was nearly a disaster. He played high pressure the entire first half instead of using it tactically to surprise the U.S. The team was spent in the second half and was lucky to escape with a tie. I don’t know which game you watched. The Guatemala game again was tactically unsound and to be fair the players may have contributed to the problem. Look Slick you are getting desperate if you are going to use the Argentina game as some example of tactical awareness because of the score. We both know Argentina treated the game like a fete match and the score could have been much higher. The other two games you mentioned I did not see so I can’t comment. But don’t confuse a tactical substitution for a tactical game plan. Finally Slick I didn’t say he was tactically weak. Those were your words. I said he didn’t have what it takes tactically to get the best out of this team. Everybody has to raise their game. I just don’t think he can raise his.

  18. True….. Still not seeing the Positive unless they could make a Miraculous Transformation.

  19. Well, better than not being in the Hex.

  20. After such a performance, being in the “Hex” is a “Positive”? ?

  21. Doh worry ah planning to meet him in person and give him some Holy Ghost taps on his head because it seems that he really needs to be delivered eh hahahaha

  22. Hahaha. I think he gets your drift Mango. You’re nearing Marcia Braveboy-level stalking now. Lol.

  23. HAHAHAHA ah want him to finally get meh points eh

  24. How many times you will tag Molino, Mango? You want him to report you to Facebook or what? Lol.

  25. After watching the highlights of the game I remember some years ago when we was in a semi- final in the Haitain Semi- professional league in New Jersey and I had a bomb squad team from L- R Garfield (St. Vincent and the Grenadines Internationa) Neil Williams (Army) Brian Griffith, Irasto Knights ( National team/ Caledonia), Samuel James ( St Francois ) Sheldon “Mousy” Brawaite ( A.S. L/ El Dorado, Kevin Barrow, Patrick “Patty ” Modeste ( Grenada International) Franklyn “Dollar” Drayton Grenada International, and Felix ( Goal keeper) Grenada National team…..and sometime into the game a Haitain player by the name of Jimmy committed a serious foul on my prolific goalscorer and feared play in the league Irasto Knights, while he was on the floor in alot of pain I stood at the side line making a decision in my head to take him off the field because he was going to tryout the next day for a real professional league and I didn’t want to jeapodize his chance in doing so especially in this bush league so when he finally got up of the floor after about 5 mins I signal for him to come of the field, well everyone thought that I was crazy because nobody on my team knew that he was leaving to tryout for the professional team the following day, to make a long story short I didn’t believe that I would have lost the game 4- 1 especially with the rest of the players that I had on the squad especially my midfield general Andre Legendre, what I saw was that their shoulders dropped just like what I was seeing in the highlights of that game and this was because our players didn’t have Kevin Nash Molino on the field and of course the Captain K.J. who also left the field early due to an injury, so we was destine to loose and this just shows how just one or two important players missing from the team does really make a difference, well after the game in NJ, some Haitain supporters came to me asking what happened and that was because they usually put big monies on our team that we will win, and also to this day meh friend and player Mousy believed that I took a bribe for us to loose eh hahaha never happened, well that was the end of my Coaching career especially when meh son and most loyal player Marvin Oliver had also moved on down to Florida to continue his football career, so some decisions will have to be made by Coach Hart and his technical staff as to where do we go from here and how to really handle my prolific goalscorer Kevin Nash Molino situation.

  26. I can’t confirm however I grew up knowing it was done by York,Latapy, Lara and the list can go on and on…what was done then???…the new generation think that could get away with it…who knows Hart may well get fired…who knows ???

  27. But then didn’t he look tactically adept when we won away to Guatemala and Panama and drew USA goalless with them barely getting a sniff? We were well beaten but not a basket case against Argentina either.
    I don’t think Hart is a tactically weak coach.