Home / Volley / Global Football / Christmas is cancelled: Saintfiet starts T&T football adventure in Nicaragua on Dec 27 

Christmas is cancelled: Saintfiet starts T&T football adventure in Nicaragua on Dec 27 

Forget Santa Claus, the Soca Warriors will spend Christmas with new Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) confirmed today that Saintfiet will begin his adventure with the National Senior Team on 27 and 31 December 2016 in Nicaragua. The Warriors will depart for Nicaragua on Christmas Day.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) takes on Nicaragua right back Joseue Quijano during friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 13 October 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) takes on Nicaragua right back Joseue Quijano during friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 13 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Saintfiet told the TTFA Media that the two matches against Nicaragua should be vital preparation for next month’s 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers against Suriname and Haiti.

“I am very happy that the Football Association has been able to arrange these two friendly matches at such short notice,” said Saintfiet, “because these will be important preparation games for us before the important Gold Cup qualifiers in January.

“It also helps me as coach to analyse the players we will select and as well as to implement and try out possible strategies which we will want to use in our matches to follow.”

It is uncertain what players will be available for selection. Apart from the Pro League players, Trinidad and Tobago’s Major League Soccer (MLS) contingent are home on their off-season along with Republic of Korea-based defender Carlyle Mitchell.

Netherlands-based winger Levi Garcia is also likely to be back on winter break.

However, the two games against Nicaragua along with the Gold Cup qualifiers against Suriname and Haiti—on 4 and 6 January 2017 respectively—fall outside of the FIFA match window and clubs are not obliged to release players to take part.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016. Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016.
Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Saintfiet promised to take a strong side to Nicaragua.

“We are still not sure about the availability of some of the European-based players and whether they will be released by their clubs,” said Saintfiet, “because these two games and also the ones in January are not within the FIFA dates.

“But I promise you that the players who will be selected from both foreign and local teams will form a strong squad to give us decent results in Nicaragua and to help us prepare for the important matches in January.”

Nicaragua, who are ranked 99th in the world, drew goalless with the Warriors at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 13 October 2015. Trinidad and Tobago have never lost to Nicaragua in an international match.

At present, Trinidad and Tobago are on a three-game losing streak following defeats to Martinique, Costa Rica and Honduras, which led to the replacement of former coach Stephen Hart.

Saintfiet has until March—and two Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium—to set that right.

Photo Trinidad and Tobago defender Yohance Marshall (left) wins a header from Mexico defender Yasser Corona in CONCACAF 2015 Gold Cup action. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo Trinidad and Tobago defender Yohance Marshall (left) wins a header from Mexico defender Yasser Corona in CONCACAF 2015 Gold Cup action.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

TTFA president David John-Williams vowed that the Belgian coach, who last led the Bangladesh national team, will have to look for a job if he doesn’t get four points from those two upcoming qualifiers.

The local football body is yet to name Saintfiet’s backroom staff.

About Editor

Editor

Check Also

Piercing questions and a proposed solution, as Court of Appeals hears TTFA v Fifa

The Court of Appeal will decide by 3pm on Friday 23 October if the Trinidad …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

113 comments

  1. At least he getting friendlies did Hart have the same luxery i whish him the best

  2. Marcus, anybody can be assistant coach right now. From dozens of people. I am not that interested in speculating to be honest.
    I’d think it unwise for Stuart to take that role at this point in time personally.

  3. I saw it in the Guardian that’s why I asked. Since it was stated he could be an assistant coach that’s why I am asking

  4. I don’t feel Bostock coming again. ….. after Hart gone …pretty sure he smell the rat now …..

  5. All the big ballers in the world have either trained, played or travelled on Christmas Day! I can’t even believe the title read “Christmas cancelled”
    It should have been “rapid response” or “a stroke of genius” some of our players are not even Christian so basically Christmas is a party! As a nation we need more optimistic professionalism.

    • La Liga and many other leagues go on winter break before Christmas. And there are no England Premier League games on Christmas. They play on Boxing Day.
      Yes, they may train. What many teams would do is a light session for one hour with enough time to get home for Christmas breakfast and lunch.
      Any manager who did different in Britain did it as punishment. I covered the UK leagues extensively.

    • Lasana Liburd could be worse I guess, Mexico’s La Liga MX final is being held on xmas day this year!

    • Lasana Liburd I don’t think I agree bro! I think playing football is a privilege and it’s a 24/7 job but I guess I don’t have a wife or kids! And I yes I understand where you are coming from but most of these international ballers don’t even have their family with them.

    • If you have to, then you have to. I’ve worked on many holidays before. I will put it this way, if Beenhakker asked you to come out on Christmas then you do it out of respect and because you think it is a sacrifice that will pay off.
      It is harder when you are a newbie with a scanty CV.

  6. Good call. It shows we mean business. Friendlies are important learning platforms. Any player who in as so much as hesitates or shows the slightest resistance to report for duty because it’s Christmas should be benched or dismissed from the team

  7. Sorry but I think it’s a big big mistake to ask a TT team in any sport to leave home Christmas Day to play a friendly. Good luck with that

  8. Some of those players gonna get food poisoning they not gonna take dat trip on Christmas day

  9. Huhhh dey leaving Christmas day boi against who boi

  10. Nicaragua is an ideal opponent for hex prep. And this is a great chance to give saintfiet the oppurtunity to learn our local/north American based players which he wouldn’t have much knowledge of. I would assume he would have information on our Europe based players.

    It would have been nice if one of the matches was home though.

  11. Well, at least some of you are optimistic….
    #RattansCoach

  12. So wait nah, the Coach said that we will be picking a strong side to play against Nicaragua eh, so what is taking so long for the TTFA to say who will be his assistants eh. Them really good yes.

  13. Ha reminds me of W Connections 2014 Suriname trip Christmas trip that I was on

  14. I sensing some withdrawals coming…

  15. The whole of Trinidad should cancel Christmas

  16. He have two games to save his ass no time to lose we’ll see who committed now.

  17. John Bostock is on break from Dec 17th to Jan 13th, great time to finally see him play. Also bring Molino and Keron Cummings. Next week will be a good time to try out some new players as well.

  18. Lasana Liburd, can you get an interview with the coach where he gives us some insight on his philosophy on how the game should be played? Curious to see what school of thought he falls under.

  19. Who is DJW appointed yes man that will be ” assisting ” the new coach in picking the team for this tour, as the new coach is not familiar with any of the players ? Or is the coach just going with the 23 from the last two Hex games?

  20. We playing Caribbean opponents in January so these two games vs Nicaragua would actually be good prep for the Hex games vs fellow Central Americans Panama & Mexico

    • It is good opposition at this stage. Not too weak, not too strong. Just stiff enough for a squad that might have a lot of Pro League players in it.

    • Agreed! Very positive move… excited to see the team selection

    • Whoa! I didn’t go that far yet. Lol. I have no idea if it is a good idea for him at this point. Anything that doesn’t get him onside with the players probably isn’t a good idea.
      He has been given such little clout from the start that he is at the mercy of his players. If they don’t like it, then it is a bad move. Because he will be unemployed by his birthday if he cannot inspire them.

    • Well as much I resent his appointment as I’m sure several of the players do too like it or not he is the Gaffer til at least March 28th and not performing isn’t going to hurt HIS reputation such as it is but rather the players who need to remember not getting picked has implications for those who want to play in England.

    • After their last performances, you would think the team would be excited to get back on the field and prove themselves and also see what the new coach brings. If big man go sweat missing christmas after the crap they put down recently, they don’t need to be on the team. Call me Scrooge,

    • I don’t think this squad is stuffed with mature minds Brian and Gerard. We see plenty examples of that.
      And coach can’t force them. He someone has to woo them.
      I don’t think most of those players want to play England. They may say so. But they don’t mean it. Because they don’t put the work in it.
      Not all of course. But too many.

    • Lasana Liburd After their last performances, you would think the team would be excited to get back on the field and prove themselves and also see what the new coach brings. If big man go sweat missing christmas after the crap they put down recently, they don’t need to be on the team. Call me Scrooge,

    • I’ve always felt the main issue in the squad was the mental weakness and lack of star quality in the squad. In that sense, Tom can’t really be blamed much for what happens next unless it becomes embarrassing.

    • Lasana Liburd you making excuses for him already. You are a real trooper.

    • Lol. I’m not making issues for him. I don’t think he is the best man for the job. But I’m just acknowledging that it’s a difficult job and part of the reason is we no longer have nearly a dozen player in European top flight competitions with that sort of winning mentality.

  21. Perfect way to win over players. Sour they Christmas ?

  22. I was staying home and eat ham.

  23. I don’t think the players were showing that commitment to their own suppose desire to go to the World Cup at the end. So good luck if he can revive that.
    But like I said, this is just about motivation here. We ent reach to if he is any good as a coach yet. His CV doesn’t suggest he is much good at winning football matches.
    So what is left for T&T fans now?
    Let’s see if he can make an early impression with the squad at least.

  24. I want to see he cancel Carnival then I know he serious.

  25. The way I see it is we need 23 players who don’t care about anything but Russia 2018 so whoever is sulking needs to find another country to play for! You don’t get to celebrate when you are this close to becoming a legend!

  26. It is good for him to get them in camp soon. But the players have the power in this relationship. They know they will be here longer than he will essentially.
    So he really has to use that psychology degree and get them on side. That won’t be easy. And we are not even talking the football side of things yet.

  27. Great start, no time for fun and games in the hex