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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

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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139 comments

  1. Yuh know I have heard that mentioned before about Coach Hart isn’t a tactical coach eh, so therefore his two assistant Coaches isn’t tactical the same then eh. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  2. .AAAAAAA-A-MEN! AAAAAA-A-A-MEN!!..

  3. Top managers in the world today are MOTIVATERS, they get the best out of what they’ve got! We have decent players and we have established a style of football under Stephen but the ability to consistently draw high performance levels is key to at& T success.

    All of the worlds top managers today are get in your face demanding personalities that don’t take no for an answer!

  4. “We always struggle against teams that play with a lot of discipline …”

    I wonder whether the players are totally responsible? Seems like he is watching on at a team for which he has no responsibility. Just saying.

  5. Just putting the question out. Why is Keon Daniel Not on the team.

  6. Lasana Liburd We can talk all we want about new players. I don’t think tactically Hart has what it takes to get the most out of his players. He reminds me of the U.S. coach who wants to play a certain style but does not have the players with the skills to accomplish that style.

  7. If the new players are on or about that level, then sure. If they are not physically prepared and lack the experience, then they will be lambs to the slaughter against Costa Rica and away to Honduras.
    Hart has to extract what he can from within a core of barely 25 players.

  8. But if we’re getting this kind of performance from established players we’ve nothing to lose by bringing new players

  9. Why did we have to play in extra time. We were leading in goal differential.

  10. On at least three occasions with three different national coaches, Keon Daniel went AWOL.
    The last straw was when Hart sent for him to play in Jamaica and Keon came home on a TTFA ticket and just disappeared and didn’t show for his flight to Jamaica with no excuse given until after the fact.

  11. Well Vijai Ramsawak isn’t this the same team who drew with Mexico twice (a little over 1 year ago).

    I think the problem is that some of the foreign based players seem to feel that “they have reached” and are no longer willing to give their all for the national team.

    Having said the above a number of former players (including Cornell Glenn who Lasana Liburd interviewed) have commented on how their careers have “tanked” after getting injured on international duty, so maybe some of these players are concerned about something similar happening to them!

    • Once you show up, you’ve got to put your back into it. For all of Cornell’s issues with the TTFA, he always delivered on the field.

    • Dwight went through a long period where he either didnt play for Trinidad or when he did, he didnt seem to give his all.

      Its only when he came back for the 2006 campaign did you see a different Dwight.

      I am not condoning it but I think it has to be considered.

    • Yes. When Dwight realised the dream could happen and he had a coach who was on top of him, he buckled down.
      For all his talent and although he was a really hard worker, Yorke didn’t have the self-discipline necessary. It might be harder for us too since our players don’t grow up in a professional atmosphere. They are trying to learn things as men that other players were born into.
      But Hart can’t let Molino’s indiscipline affect what the team is trying to achieve.

    • I agree, my first comment (in a prior thread) was that Molino deserved to be dropped from the side for indiscipline………my second comment was related to players not seeming to give their all.

    • Nigel, the thing I’ve observed is that our foreign based professional players in the past didn’t seem to give 100% when they played for Trinidad and Tobago. You’re spot on when you speak of the change in attitudes during the 2006 campaign. All players appeared to put in some serious effort. It just seems as though our foreign based players give 30% when playing for Trinidad and Tobago. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to get injured and hamper their professional development. I’ve heard sone horror stories about Getting injured during national duty.

  12. Lasana Liburd it’s called being a professional. The sin is that these guys have wonderful opportunities to get paid for doing something they love and yet they refuse to appreciate what they have. I wonder how many of them are aware of how many people trudge thru life daily hating their jobs.

  13. It’s his job to work these items out prior to games! I understand all of what he said but who’s accountable? Hard to continue supporting these guys. I remember the days when I used to spend my cash and fly all over to see the team – well today I won’t even go to a home game

  14. Players who wants it…shows it with rel hard work…they put out 200%…our players are on a free ride…the T&T metality where we want everything for free…they want to be selected for the free airfare, free hotel, free transport and they also want to have a free ride on the team…by not performing…that is what they want…a free ride…time for questioning their desire is long gone…time for new players…with the right attitudes…players who are fit and hungry…not tired and lazy…with poor work rates…if Hart doesnt chnage the team and bring in new players…then it would be time to change Mr Hart…any other country when players are not performing they are dropped…why are we sticking with a bunch of jokers parading as Football Professionals…

  15. ……and people wonder why I don’t support my local team as much as I used to.
    This team needs a serious mental worm out of epic proportions because it seems that they’re not ready to put in the necessary work and discipline to beat relative minnows like this.
    Speaking of discipline…..

  16. Hannibal Najjar

    Once the “basement” window was cracked and the draft began it’s first seep of cold air (first camp break), it was a matter of time before its hold on the spirit and psyche of all in the entire room was embalmed and mummified.

  17. They want it. But the question is if they are prepared to sacrifice for it.

  18. We’ll be sure to find out. I’d look externally first because you know what you have domestically.

  19. our defence is our 1st major problem…seems they are afraid to go to the player with the ball…allowing them the run at goal and shoot…time to drop some of our defenders…players on the whole not running back …team looking tired…lacking interest…get new players…

  20. Problem is where are we going to find those players from? Can he get Pro League players ready within a month to face Costa Rica?
    Unless he is bringing guys born abroad, I don’t think this is realistic at this stage.

  21. Stephen Hart:
    “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…
    “Clearly some changes need to be made to shake up the team. 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.”

  22. our players cant seem to see the value in playing in the Gold Cup…yet they want to play in the hex…to try and qualify for a World Cup…we cant even win a Caribbean Cup anymore…we cant even be automatic qualifiers for the Gold Cup…we cant even be a force to be reckoned with in any tournament…we need a new start…new players…a programme of Intl matches in preparation for every tournament…a buildup…T&T just cannot continue without a long term plan and programme in place anymore…these last two matches have shown this…TTFA is setting up ALL our coaches for Failure…look at what happened to Latas…

  23. this result was so predictable…a team in turmoil…players who have lost discipline…poor attitudes, low work rate…a bunch or jokers…a coach who obviously needs more Intl friendlies to get to know his players…as he is using players outta positions…a coach who is sticking to players who are not giving him 100%…a coach who is not playing attacking football at all…no wonder we lost…wasnt this game supposed to be used as a final warmup for the hex…we cant even defeat a Caribbean team…dis was an all important match for T&T…yet our players didnt see that…didnt seem to care…the party atmosphere in camp is the cause…Hart is not tough enough on the players…seems he is begging our players…that should never be…T&T has always had this problem…if this is the case…then we must go with a local based team…as we have given the foreign pros too many chances…

  24. Ok Bertram. Well, the story on Molino being axed from the team spells out why Keon Daniel isn’t there. And that’s because he was even more indisciplined than Molino.

  25. After this game the players should sit and ask them selfs are we world cup ready. Do we really want to go to the world cup the way we are playing at present . Why are we not getting 100 % from each player leave the so call who think in their little heads they are stars at their clubs scout new players

  26. Yuh see why ah does call them the Soca Worries eh because they can never be consistent eh. Them really good yes hahahaha

  27. I cannot understand the concern for the Gold Cup when we should be concerned about the World Cup and the fact we were beaten by a team that’s not even a member of FIFA

  28. While the Molino news was stinker, clearly the biggest news now is the clash of fixtures of WCQ and CFU play off this loss will cause.

    For the first time since taking over as coach I’m worried for coach Hart smh

  29. I find the team’s performance has dropped precipitously since the 6-0 win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

  30. Stephen Hart could only do so much…. Time for the fellas to GET SERIOUS & WAKE UP!

  31. the blame game starts now, if we had won, we would all be singing a different tune. Admit every sport in T&T suffering from bacchanalia. We always want to put a side together two days before a tournament/match and we want success. We not tired doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result, whether it be cricket, foootball, hockey etc, Administrators/management with thier own self serving agendas. You think after all this time we would get it right

    • In all honesty, this core of players has been together for the last three years. Recently, we seem to be flattening out, after making considerable progress under Hart. The absence of three starters last night, all front players, meant we were up against it. It also shows that the player pool isn’t as deep as we’d like to believe. No blame game, just an objective assessment of where the squad is, going into two crucial upcoming Hex matches.

  32. Come on nah man forget de partying thing nah man oh jeez. Play yuh football parties will always be around. Jah boy

  33. I agree with Molino being dropped, discipline must come first……..my fear is that this result would lead to the firing of Hart.

    It seems since the change of administration that Hart has had a target on his back.

  34. Too much money spent on this football team for nothing .. indiscipline players etc

  35. Now this definitely will be a major influence on whether or not I purchase that season ticket. Two major players in the form of Molino and Joevin Jones (playing out of position is like not being on the field at all) potentially unavailable. I hope we get our act together. Those French colonies are never easy teams to beat as many of their youth players tend to have European club experience.

  36. Is this sabotage on the part of the players? Major Enquiry.

  37. The player pool isn’t a very deep one. Playing tonite without the front there and on the road showed that we are a relatively fragile unit.

  38. So here we go lasana. Play back my comments when the trio broke the rules before the previous game. Had a harsh judgement been made then Molino would have thought twice and we might have had a chance in this game. We will never know but giving players a bligh for a misdeed so grave is never good. Sad but maybe one day we will do better. We as a nation deserve better

    • Earl Best

      I don’t know about a “harsh” judgement but certainly a firm, stern line needed to be taken.

      And I worry that Wired’s approach to this article may exacerbate the problem, which plagues a lot of local sport. It seems to me wrong to conflate the issue of a clear breach of the rules and the issue of the important role the” breacher” plays in the team. I think Wired868 has not made it clear enough here that goalscorer or no goalscorer, linchpin or not linchpin, captain, cook or mere bottle washer, if you break the rules you are going to be fairly but duly sanctioned.

      Trini cricket fans won’t readily admit it but we have an excellent example of what can happen when you do otherwise in the person of an outstanding cricketer called Brian Lara.

    • Well, the counter to that is a harsh penalty was made. The players got fined something like US$6,000 I believe.
      It was harsh enough for Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams. But not for Kevin Molino.
      I think some people just can’t help themselves, no matter the cost.

    • I thinks that’s light. As long as we settle and allow these players to think that they have the country by the balls these are the results we will get . And then we whine when the public say they want more. Well I want more and this is bullshit. He should never play for TT again!!!!!!!

    • My own stance is that I didn’t want to get opinion into a news piece here and wanted to just present readers with the facts as I know them and allow them to make their own minds up. And I think the comments left showed that people were able to do just that.
      But I will do a commentary on this in the very near future as we look forward to the Hex.

    • ok substitute “harsh” with stern etc. I will suggest though that it’s the rimming and playing in the fringes suggested with the words while the bigger picture is the cancer that keeps us there. This is national representation and im a fed up taxpayer and supporter, so what they giving me I consider to be harsh for my contribution

  39. Indiscipline smh… I hope the fete was worth it…

  40. Do we know who the Caribbean play off matches are against as yet? Or where?

  41. Shocking not to see Jomal Williams in the 18 despite Molino being out. MLS has great marketing, I give you that. Level wise it is no better than that same Ascenso MX league where Jomal Williams and Yohance Marshall are playing in with good performances. Look no further than newly promoted Necaxa beating NYC FC this week. Panama and Honduras have starters from Ascenso MX. Why T&T has the luxury not to use these two players?

  42. Hart did say the injuries are no excuse for losing the game on and interview after the game. he has a lot of tough decisions to make

  43. Well it isn’t over as yet eh so we just need to continue to keep our hopes on a high eh and Coach Hart will surely come thru for us I am a believer……BOOM