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Hart meets TTFA today with job on the line; how coach compares to predecessors

The immediate future of Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart is likely to be decided this afternoon when he meets with a committee appointed by the TTFA’s board of directors.

TTFA president David John-Williams confirmed that this position was taken after a three and a half hour board meeting yesterday at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant in Grand Bazaar, Valsayn.

“The board met until 9 last night [and] coming out that meeting,” John-Williams told Wired868, “it was decided that a committee of the board will meet with Mr Hart at 3.30pm today. Thereafter the TTFA will make a statement.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) has a word with Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) has a word with Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

It is likely to be a last chance for Hart to save his job after, on Monday afternoon, the TTFA’s technical committee recommended change in the technical staff, despite not meeting the coach or reading his report on the Honduras loss.

The head coach was also accused by two former medical staff members, Dr Terence Babwah and Dave Isaacs, of ignoring their advice on goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, which Hart and the remainder of his coaching staff and the player himself vehemently denied.

The Soca Warriors’ form has nose-dived recently with defeats in their last three successive outings—against Martinique, Costa Rica and Honduras—and seven losses in their last 10 matches.

The results leave Trinidad and Tobago second from bottom in the CONCACAF Hex with no points from two outings while, in 2016, they failed to advance to the Copa America Centenario tournament and the Caribbean Cup semifinal round.

In fact, eight of the Warriors’ 18 defeats—or 44 percent—in Hart’s three and a half year spell at the helm came in 2016.

However, the coach might argue that this statistic was influenced by a three match tour away to Peru, Uruguay and China with a second string team, as well as bad luck with injuries (Keron Cummings and Jan-Michael Williams), discipline (Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams) and players losing form or contracts at their respective clubs (Justin Hoyte, Lester Peltier and Jonathan Glenn) or just not showing up (John Bostock and Gavin Hoyte).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino (right) hurdles a tackle against Panama during an international friendly in March 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino (right) hurdles a tackle against Panama during an international friendly in March 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

A source close to the technical staff has indicated that Hart and assistant coaches Hutson “Barber” Charles and Derek King are considering notable changes to the current squad.

There are likely to be recalls for playmaker Kevin Molino and goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh—who missed out against Costa Rica and Honduras due to an internal suspension and injury respectively—while elegant England-born midfielder John Bostock will be invited to make his senior international debut again.

However, Hart is also believed to be musing over call-ups for 2006 World Cup players Cornell Glen and Carlos Edwards, who would be expected to fight for a place upfront and at right back respectively.

And 26-year-old Houston Dynamo right back Sheanon Williams—who was born in Boston and represented the United States at Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup level but has Trinidad and Tobago parentage—is also in the technical staff’s line of vision while rugged Central FC defender Andre Ettienne might also get a second look.

Although Williams’ apparent interest in the “Red, White and Black” might be tested now that former MLS coach Bruce Arena has replaced Jürgen Klinsmann as US head coach and hinted at more opportunities for players in their local competition.

Klinsmann was sacked on 21 November after two consecutive defeats in the Hex left them below T&T on goal difference.

Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Hart will have to convince John-Williams that an influx of new talent can make a positive difference to the Warriors’ fortunes in their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

In his three and a half year spell at the helm, Hart’s record stands at 16 wins, 9 draws and 18 losses from 43 outings, which means his team have played unbeaten in 58 percent of their match with a win ratio of 37 percent.

In Trinidad, the Warriors lost just twice (to Panama and Costa Rica) in 12 matches while there was one defeat from eight competitive matches on home soil. Eighteen of Hart’s opponents—or 41 percent—were Caribbean nations.

So how does that compare with Hart’s predecessors?

Wired868 combed through the data for Trinidad and Tobago’s last eight coaches—dating back to World Cup 2006 coach, Leo Beenhakker—and compared their win and unbeaten ratios in charge.

And, for additional context, we pointed out what percentage of their games in charge were played against Caribbean teams, as opposed to stronger opposition in North and Central America and beyond.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart (centre) and players (from right) Mekeil Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Kenwyne Jones, Radanfah Abu Bakr and Sheldon Bateau at a national training session. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart (centre) and players (from right) Mekeil Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Kenwyne Jones, Radanfah Abu Bakr and Sheldon Bateau at a national training session.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images)

(Games—Win Ratio—Unbeaten Ratio—Ratio of matches played against Caribbean teams)

Stephen Hart                                    43 games—38 percent—58 percent—41 percent

Hutson Charles/Jamaal Shabazz  19 games—42 percent—57 percent—63 percent

Otto Pfister                                        7 games—71 percent—71 percent—85 percent

Russell Latapy                                  23 games—34 percent—47 percent—56 percent

Francisco Maturana                        32 games—53 percent—81 percent—65 percent

Wim Rijsbergen                               18 games—33 percent—55 percent—44 percent

Leo Beenhakker                               21 games— 38 percent—61 percent—9 percent

Bertille St Clair                                35 games—51 percent—60 percent—60 percent

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Editor’s Note: What do you think of Stephen Hart’s record so far? Can the suggested influx of talent help turn around T&T’s form? Should the Warriors coach get another chance?

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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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233 comments

  1. Joevin Jones is one player that needs a right manager and that I believe is keeping him back. He is good enough to be playing for 1st division or even premiership team in BPL. Although I agree it takes discipline to reach there but to some extent right management is all it takes.Levi will also be bought in the next yr or so by a known club and he isn’t getting a full run out by Hart and he is playing in a good league

  2. Did you ever watch a world cup? Do you know that some countries make it to a world cup with people that you never even seen kick a ball..I believe it’s all about right management with these players. Trinidad and Tobago have good enough players to make it to another world cup..My opinion.

  3. whatever gets us to Russia. Get it done, all involved!

  4. I love how optimistic my people are. They see a bunch of players who ply their trade in the pro league, MLS and lower divisions world wide and see them as world beaters based purely on “inherent skill” and “talent”. We also believe that under the “right”coach, regardless of support from the federation, internal issues etc. will be able to get us to the promised land. Our optimism is refreshing in a world of cynicism.

    • You know most Costaricans national team players play in MLS and Costarica right?

    • What’s their federation like? What are their players like? Mentality? Drive? Discipline? It’s not a straight comparison.

    • Simone, that would be apart from the half dozen players tat Costa Rica has in the Europe Champions League and the one at Real Madrid eh?
      We have all of four players in the MLS. You’re not comparing that with the squad Costa Rica has are you?

    • Ian Fitzwilliam That’s a good point. However how many always start if available? Navas, Gamboa, Borges, Ruiz. The others are MLS or CR based.

      I can tell you knowing very well Costaricans and Central Americans in general that they would be very unlikely to leave out of the line up (or roster all together) players playing their trade in Mexico. Mexico top two divisions have the best football of Concacaf and that’s a fact. CR starter Johnny Acosta is someone for instance who couldn’t crack it in Mexico Ascenso and came back to Costa Rica quickly and is a starter on the team ahead of others. So why T&T has the luxury not to play Marshall and leave Winchester out of the roster when they start for their club in Mexico? http://us.soccerway.com/players/johnny-acosta-zamora/85565/

      What I am getting to was players selection is probably where things went wrong. Way too many players from TT Pro League have been selected in my opinion. That league doesn’t require fitness, playing aggressive, under pressure, and gives way too much time for players on the ball. That is not how they play in Central America where it’s fast pace and dog fight on every ball. Much better to use players playing in Mexico Ascenso or the Central American leagues (Weslie John and Jamal Jack) than calling TT Pro league players and USL players that have been off season for 6 weeks when you play CR and Honduras.

  5. ..That is a ridiculous statement. Criticism of the manner in which TTFA is “handling” the implosion of the team – and contributing to it – is not a defence of Hart. Yes, something must be done to steady the ship and to get it back on course. But the mismanagement of the situation by TTFA doesn’t help to resolve it. Let TTFA dismiss the man and name a viable replacement if they want to. But the undermining and professional character assassination doesn’t fly..

  6. hahahahaha nah man, nah man no comparison eh the young soca worries got 22 – 0 like they were playing American football eh and we wouldn’t call for the Coaches head eh Kurtwyn Baird. Them really good yes.

  7. I am wondering!why it seems that most people here seems to be more patriotic to Mr Hart than the National team,NO wins in the last 5 games and facing elimination,regardless to who is eating and where it’s been held something must be done,I observed many here laughed at the thrashing of the of the young soca ladies and called for the removal of the coaching staff but now! Funny ?

  8. His time has passed and his tactics are predictable and not up to standard..

  9. There are a lot of good South American managers that can take Hart’s place.

  10. Even if they keep Hart for now nothing will change. They will continue to try to set him up and tarnish his reputation. So Hart will be spinning top in mud until and we need divine intervention here, we find people at the top who are prepared to put country and not their egos/own agenda first. And that and God face we will never see. So if I were to give my cousin advice,which he probably won’t take is GET OUT and run as far away as you can from those snakes but make sure they pay you first. If they can afford Ruby Tuesday they should be able to pay you. And Lasana Liburd I took note of the timing of his losses which coincided with the advent of DJW and his eat ah food posse. Run Harty Run. Buss it. Go look for a job somewhere in some other country where ethics is the order of the day and distance yourself from these losers before more damage is done to your reputation. Done talk.

  11. Soooo is he dropping Jones or what? He always looks and plays dead

    • Jones is not the real problem. There are many players on the team who no ready for real high level football. Messi will look bad in Jones’ position on that team. We only good for small sweat with plenty ” fancy flicks” and showboating. CHECK THE COLLEGE LEAGUE AND YOU WILL GET WHERE IM COMING FROM

  12. Hang in there Stephen. Don’t let them raise your blood pressure. You are a good man and your passion for the game will never wane.

  13. There goes what little support they had from me………very stupid decision

  14. Well once sanity prevails and Hart remains – good to know that at least one of MLS T&T heritage trio is being considered

    Still need them all though

  15. I’m stunned to read that the meeting was held at Ruby Tuesday. So they were discussing a matter of great national interest and which should be highly confidential and privileged in a public place . Possibly over food and maybe drinks . Wow! We are running fast to no where.

  16. Well as I said before even if the corrupted TTFA replaces my Coach Hart eh, with which ever Coach either a local or another top of the line foreign base Coach eh, our Soca Worries won’t be going back to another World Cup anytime soon unless there is a real shake up in the corrupted TTFA organization and they really start doing the right things for the players, the Coaches, and the beautiful game eh, so it is they who really needs to fire themselves and replace the organization with the real football professionals who understand the business eh steeuusspp. Them really good yes.

  17. Nice stats on predecessors, but it counts for nothing much as Mourhno prior to last season’s Chelsea debacle was brilliant (still is), but he was fired. Lol.

    I agree 100% with a team shake-up. But we can’t count Bostock as he was never here.

  18. Editor’s Note; “Should the Warriors coach get another chance?”

    But his first chance eh gone yet…has it ?

  19. Is the Rolling Stones providing the background music live for this “Bigly Weirdly”???

    https://youtu.be/fvp6gseKJS8

  20. When a coach comes in he picks his team no interfarence from the outside when this is done and no progress is made he must face his mistakes he let players with no motivation on his team keep playing them some year’s ago he made us felt a love again for T and T football but you don’t remember someone for what they done in the pass you stand to answer for the present

  21. KEYYY STAT!!

    “In fact, eight of the Warriors’ 18 defeats—or 44 percent—in Hart’s three and a half year spell at the helm came in 2016.

    However, the coach might argue that this statistic was influenced by a three match tour away to Peru, Uruguay and China with a second string team, as well as bad luck with injuries (Keron Cummings and Jan-Michael Williams), discipline (Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones and Mekeil Williams) and players losing form or contracts at their respective clubs (Justin Hoyte, Lester Peltier and Jonathan Glenn) or just not showing up (John Bostock and Gavin Hoyte).”

  22. Leave the man nah…Oh gosh! Deal with the ‘players’..

  23. Some people does really talk arseness oui. Hart brought back a pride in our football that we haven’t seen since 2006 but one set ah ass lickers stabbing the man in his back because they refuse to admit that he is being undermined by the new TTFA. left,right and centre. You think changing the coach will change the shit that passes for administration of our football? You could bring Mourinho or Guardiola and NOTHING will change as long as we have idiots running our football. STEUPS!!

  24. Just imagine eh the Soca Worries goal keeper Coach eh has been there just after 1989 eh no wonder there isn’t any improvements with our goalkeepers steeuuppss Them really good yes

    • I think if Michael Maurice was no good, Beenhakker would not have kept him around. And he did. And every coach since had an option to bring in their own goalkeeper coach too and kept Maurice.
      So he must be doing something right…

    • Well of course he didn’t accept Latapy eh because he was still playing on his team and I wudda done the same thing to but I am sure he didn’t business with his goalkeeper Coach because as I stated he had two real professional goalkeepers at his disbursal and I am positively certain that he had nutten to do with they becoming real professional goalkeepers eh. Them really good yes.

    • No Mango. Latapy was not in the national team then. He had retired. Beenhakker started in May. Latapy eventually joined the team in October or so after being unhappy at not getting a coaching job on his staff.

    • Latapy’s first game back was against Guatemala with just about three games left in our campaign.

    • Yeah and when Latapy come back was the reason why we finally made it to our very first World Cup eh, he never allowed him to play in the first two games until the crowd starting chanting for him in the last game against Paraquay eh and the commentators couldn’t believe when they saw the Magician was on the field and wanted to know where was he all this time eh, just because the Coach and Latters had a falling out he didn’t played him et all against Sweden nor England steeuuppss. Them really good yes

    • Really? Leo Beenhakker wasn’t calling the shots eh, that shot was called when the corrupted Jack Warner and his cronies sold out to my second sweetest country in 1989 eh in order for them to go to Italy 1990 because they were hosting their first ever World Cup in 1994 that made plenty millions of monies and a matter of fact Earl Carter The Spider-Man should have been the goalkeeper on that given day not no rum drinking drunken master police man who also went out the night before the game eh, hence the reason why he complained about the sun was in his eyes eh when a 40 yarder shot was scored on him and furthermore what could he have thought our two real professional goalkeepers Kelvin Jack and Shaka Hislop eh Mr Live Wire. Them really good yes.

    • Earl Mango Pierre, Beenhakker called his own shots and you have it really wrong if you thought otherwise.
      When he first accepted the job, the TTFA told him who his assistant coaches would be and he refused to accept them. One was Russell Latapy.
      He decided on Michael Maurice himself after being satisfied with his work.

  25. Oh yeah for real eh. Keith Look Loy Them really good yes.

  26. I agree is time to bench K Jones, get two antagonist up front, but leave Hart.

  27. ..Them TTFA people staying for a long time Mango. Surrounded by a board that is content to play along in return for a flight, an appointment to a committee, or entry into the stadium VIP lounge. Sound familiar?..

  28. Yuh mean whatever gets us to Qator 2022 by that time my dictator president should be long gone eh and finally their might be a president who really knows the subject steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  29. Unless our nation understands that we lack a lot of discipline then we will be forever spinning in mud wondering why we aren’t progressing. We have a very poor work ethic at all levels. Doesn’t matter if T&T brings in Messi’s coach, if we don’t have the drive and discipline to work harder then we’ll forever be mediocre.

  30. And the TTFA now have a Players Rep in their organization now eh, ah better apply for the post and really show them how to always treat our players so that they could always give 1000% at all times. Them really good yes.

  31. Nice place for Board Meeting, Ruby Tuesday, lol…. On a more serious note, The idea of including Glenn and Edwards would have positive impact on Team. It would interest me to find out which foreign trini-roots players the TTFA have scouted? I again say, there are a number of UK and Euro based players that should have been on our radar, but…. Secondly, our players seem unmotivated on field of play, maybe it is just my observation, but this is what I see. Are we addressing this? The TTFA is meeting Coach Hart, is there meeting scheduled with Players’ Rep? The Captain?

  32. It seems that it is the Ministry of National Security we dealing with here steeuuppss. Them really good yes.

  33. ..1) Meeting at Ruby Tuesday eh. OK! 2) Who on this committee if the technical committee already met – in the absence of the coach or even a report from him – and formed conclusions? 3) Is said committee now superseded by this apparently ad hoc committee? 4) Why everything so secret?..

  34. Soooo who paid the bill at Ruby Tuesday ?

  35. While in the Long Circular mall yesterday with meh player for life who is visiting our sweet country Andrew Ali the top of the line goal keeper who represented Sando Technical along with Latapy, Walkes, Leonson Lewis, and some other great players we ran into my Coach Hart and I introduced Andrew to him and said if you need a top of the line back in the days goalkeeper he is available eh, well Coach Hart just smiled eh and I also told him doh worry eh the wired family got you, yuh not going ah place. Them really good yes.

  36. #StephanHartmuststay

  37. Someone asked for Bertille St Clair’s stats, which I will now add to the story:
    Bertille St Clair 51 percent (win)—60 percent (unbeaten)—60 percent (against Caribbean opposition)…

  38. Could never understand why Maturana was fired smh

  39. There is no Jack Warner to bankroll a top-level international coach so we are stuck with Hart or Charles-Fevrier. We have to put Kenwyne and Cyrus on the bench and improve conditioning. We can win with ball skills and continuous PACE.

  40. Interesting analysis Lasana Liburd. With the exception of Beenhaker and Wim, Hart has the next highest percentage to non Caribbean teams and a high win and unbeaten ratio. Can you say what Bertille stats were? Didn’t Beenhaker take over from him?

  41. But de Board of Directors and Technical Committee have shown themselves to be impotent so far. And these are de people deciding Hart’s and our national senior team’s future? Steups!