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Fast and furious: Saintfiet drops Kenwyne to go for faster Warriors attack

New Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet made his first big call as Soca Warriors coach today—and it was a six foot three decision.

Saintfiet selected his first squad today and named 28 players to face Nicaragua in friendly internationals on 27 and 30 December. And, even with 16 players summoned from the local Pro League, there was no room for the giant Central FC forward who scored 16 goals in 35 matches under former coach Stephen Hart—albeit just two items from eight games in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign so far.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (right) holds off Dominican Republic defender César Garcia during 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 5 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (right) holds off Dominican Republic defender César Garcia during 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 5 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Jones scored just once in 2016, which was also a miserable year for the team.

Saintfiet revealed that Jones was informed he would not be selected last week, which would have been within a day or two of the Belgian taking over as head coach. And the new Warriors coach suggested that, although the door was not closed to the former Sunderland and Stoke City forward, he wants to tweak the style of play of the Trinidad and Tobago team in time for next month’s Gold Cup playoff matches against Suriname and Haiti on 4 and 8 January respectively.

“I had a personal meeting with Kenwyne last week and I discussed privately with him the reason why we took that decision,” Saintfiet told Wired868. “The criteria for the selection of players is our tactical ideas and choices we want to use against Suriname and Haiti. The next thing is the current physical and mental shape of the players in our knowledge…

“Kenwyne is not out of the squad for good. I will follow up with how he performs [with Central FC] and how he performs with [his new MLS employers] Atlanta.”

Jones, who scored Central’s decisive second goal in a 2-1 win over W Connection on Monday, leaves for pre-season with new United States Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, Atlanta United FC, on 1 January 2017.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Tom Saintfiet (right) and ex-TTFA general secretary Azaad Khan take in a Pro League contest between Central FC and W Connection at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Monday 12 December 2016. Kenwyne Jones scored a deft winner but was still excluded from the national side. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Tom Saintfiet (right) and ex-TTFA general secretary Azaad Khan take in a Pro League contest between Central FC and W Connection at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Monday 12 December 2016.
Kenwyne Jones scored a deft winner but was still excluded from the national side.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The next MLS season begins in March 2017. Trinidad and Tobago host Panama and Mexico on 24 and 28 March in two vital qualifiers, which could decide the country’s World Cup fate as well as Saintfiet’s short-term coaching future.

For now, Saintfiet believes that Trinidad and Tobago’s best chance of getting results is with speed upfront and Jones, a classic target man and set piece weapon, does not fit in.

Instead, he selected San Juan Jabloteh striker Willis Plaza and the overseas-based duo of Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico) and Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA). Caesar, a diminutive speedy frontman, is one of a half dozen players who are in their off-season at present.

“I want a lot of speed upfront and space to run into on the counter attack,” said Saintfiet. “But I do not want to say too much because [the technical staff of] Suriname and Haiti can read what I say.”

Saintfiet will decide on his new captain by Christmas.

“I have not yet an answer for the [identity of the] new captain,” said Saintfiet. “I want to talk better to the players… We still have some doubts about availability of players [for the Gold Cup playoffs].”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) takes the ball around St Vincent and the Grenadines goalkeeper Lemus Christopher during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0. (Courtesy: Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) takes the ball around St Vincent and the Grenadines goalkeeper Lemus Christopher during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0.
(Courtesy: Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Orlando City midfield ace Kevin Molino is back in the squad after an internal two game suspension while there were recalls for Sean De Silva (Central FC), Alvin Jones, Hughtun Hector, Aikim Andrews (all W Connection) and Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force).

There were also intriguing call-ups for Defence Force playmaker Hashim Arcia, flying St Ann’s Rangers winger Jomoul Francois and versatile W Connection defender Maurice Forde. And, most of all, former 2006 World Cup and Sunderland flanker Carlos Edwards, who now represents Ma Pau Stars in the Pro League.

Edwards has over 80 National Senior Team caps but has not represented his country in three years.

England-based midfielder conductor Andre Boucaud, Eredivisie winger Levi Garcia and combative Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland were not named in Saintfiet’s first squad but the coach insisted that it was a matter of availability. He still hopes to have their services for the Gold Cup playoffs, if possible.

None of the four upcoming matches fall under the FIFA match window and clubs can decide whether they choose to release players to take part.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) dashes past Costa Rica right wing back Christian Gamboa during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) dashes past Costa Rica right wing back Christian Gamboa during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

However, Saintfiet said the United States duo of Neveal Hackshaw and Ataulla Guerra were simply overlooked at present.

Midfield anchor Kevan George, who is also in his off-season, ruled himself out of the Nicaragua games and will be left out of the Gold Cup playoffs as a result, since the new coach believes there will be insufficient time to get him in shape and fit him into his new tactics.

There were four W Connection, three Central and two Ma Pau players in the squad. Shahdon Winchester, Jomal Williams and Triston Hodge, who are on loan from Connection, were also selected.

There was no room for Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling, Central FC attacker Marcus Joseph, Jabloteh wingers Nathan Lewis and Tyrone Charles or Mexico-based defender Yohance Marshall while Connection defender Jelani Peters is believed to be out due to injury.

World Cup 2006 striker Cornell Glen, who now plays professionally, was also overlooked although he was identified by Hart as a potential inclusion to help save Trinidad and Tobago’s faltering Russia 2018 World Cup chances.

Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (left) gets past St Ann's Rangers defender Jameel Antoine during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 October 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (left) gets past St Ann’s Rangers defender Jameel Antoine during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 October 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago 28-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (Central FC), Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);

Defenders: Carlos Edwards (Ma Pau Stars), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Sheldon Bateau (Krylia Sovetov Samara—Russia), Triston Hodge (Toronto FC II—Canada), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids—USA), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC—Korea Republic), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Sillamae Kallen—Estonia), Maurice Ford (W Connection), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Aubrey David (Dallas FC—USA);

Midfielders: Nathaniel Garcia (Central FC), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Sean De Silva (Central FC), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—USA), Aikim Andrews (W Connection), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA), Jomoul Francois (St Ann’s Rangers);

Photo: W Connection winger and former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 player Aikim Andrews (centre) tries to find way past a gang of Santos Laguna players during 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection winger and former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 player Aikim Andrews (centre) tries to find way past a gang of Santos Laguna players during 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Forwards: Willis Plaza (San Juan Jabloteh), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA).

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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408 comments

  1. We are going to be playing a defensive style I hope all of you understand that

  2. we interrupt this team selection to take a word from our sponsors….
    DJW…the man, the moment…when yuh tusty, drink ah cold hard DJW…for when yuh pickin side—only a DJW side will do!
    …now back to the cricket…

  3. .. I will wait before I jump the gun .oui. But I do hope we come good.. Since we making a connection with this team.. Hope the results of these picks justify its self..

  4. Earl you sure is Christmas 2016 and not Christmas 2017 them getting paid lol

  5. hahahaha oh gosh my dictator president will never do that to his players for the Christmas season eh, he will pay them just watch and see.

  6. Jones is the biggest forward we have and the strongest, many people just see him as a lazy player and what they don’t is ability to get up and header the ball in the box he also assist in most of t&T goals.

  7. He has a role in the team as a hold up player….but he needs service and help….from the games I watched….the crosses were bad….and there was never a player running off of him when he had the ball at his feet

  8. trinidad eat ah food country mango

  9. Just before Christmas they should be paid eh.

  10. When do the players get the monies owed since the China match? Seems like new coach has come in, new director of programs was added, yet I am hearing the players haven’t been paid yet??

  11. Shake up is sorely needed. Let’s see how quickly KJ’s replacement settles in & become productive and how quickly KJ does what’s right in training to regain his position. Looking forward to more shake-ups

  12. Shake up is needed. Let’s see how quickly KJ’s replacement settles in & become productive and how quickly KJ does what’s right in training to regain his position. Looking forward to more shake-ups

  13. And my last question is, where in the World eh any country does have four goalkeepers on their national team eh ? Them really good yes hahahaha

  14. Wonder where Bostock is in the scheme of things now?

  15. Ah like this coach already forget his CV

  16. Its an embarassment to Kenwynne and T+T Football…if nobody hasnt recognised….you dont come from Bangladesh and get a team that is in the HEX…and drop their Captain clean off the team….NONSENSE…KJ is unfit.. and it is OK to drop him off the starting 11based on that…but i am positively sure he can contribute as a substitute…..disrespec to our Football and the Captain…. Mr Saitfeit not going USA and drop their Captain….firmly based on one reason…RESPECT…
    The other angle to pay close attention to is…..is their something in d mortar beside the pestle…

  17. Thank god it’s about damn time…. Imagine kenwyne keeps going down and down in England …and he is captain of t&t squad only labouring….hats off to the new coach it’s time to make ah example of labourers on the pitch

  18. This is a shit move …. you don’t just drop your captain like that ….this is the training squad ….you drop him without assessing his current condition in practice? I sense other powers at work here this happens when you’re a puppet on a string. Perhaps it will make it easier to undermine players regarding match fees with KJ absent.

  19. ..KJ out? Edwards in? Good call. Now ah sitting up watching..

  20. We was not getting positive results n the past few games so let’s give this man a chance …..he is making some drastic calls ….showing strong leadership ..so let’s see.

  21. But am. Leaving out Jones is a mistake.
    Play d man in attacking midfield So can’t fuck up.
    Look how much connection players get call up… Them does train just to loose game stueps. At least molino dey yes.
    And why d ass Carlos dey? Best dey call back latapy
    Carlos ain’t play a international match in years. I shock to see he still kicking ball
    He should be playing fete match. ?

  22. Oh gosh Alyuh don’t like the man but great move. Jones time is up. I was truly hoping Plaza get a chance. For me Jones could come off the bench

  23. Carlos is one of the fittest players I’ve ever seen. Hard to judge him from the Pro League games I’ve seen. So will be good to see how he copes with the faster game against Nicaragua.
    I think Shahdon has quality. But I can’t say that I have seen that so far in a national shirt.
    Hard to see Kenwyne move being anything but political.
    Who wouldn’t want that threat at least on the bench?
    Plaza can do the business on his day. He can be hit and miss but if he is in form, he’d be first pick from those options.

  24. lol easy to see presi picking that pull of players all those connection players. What about Britto he is scoring most games? Lol get Scottie back in the team he would still be able to run circles round some of those youngsters and be able to teach them aswell how to be real professionals on and off the field!

  25. That new manager full ah shit. 1. He eh make no decision so he lie! 2. Despite popular (uninformed) opinion KJ is not the problem. KJ is not a defender and responsible for the bevy of garbage goals we concede. He also cannot pass the ball to himself where he needs it to be. He leaps higher than everyone in CONCACAF and yet can hardly ever get a sensible ball in the air. And finally 3. DJW doh want KJ there because KJ not interested in his bullshit and not afraid to rally the players when the FA half stepping. Speed my ass, if anyone dunce enough to believe dat, I have ah Villa in Sea Lots on sale at a ready to sell price.

  26. But I digress, dropping him altogether makes no sense, especially without at least a couple training sessions. As others said, we have other pacey strikers but they lack that international experience and finishing ability. Plaza looked goofy last match, maybe it was the nerves so we’ll see. Shadon shouldn’t even be selected in my opinion, I don’t see international quality in him at all. Britto and Gay should be given a shot to make the team at least. Carlos…well…I think he’d make a bigger impact as an assistant helping our wingers understand their roles and how to take advantage of their abilities in a game

  27. I believe the reason given at this time to omit Kenwyne from the team selection is justified. I saw the game last Monday at the Ato Boldon stadium and I believe he was totally shut out of the game although Central won 2-1 against Connection.

  28. Keith Clement, you should know about what smelling quite well, the amount of scents you created and gave off being in administration in local basketball #SportAdministrationSmellologistEXTRAODINAIRE

  29. Jones wasn’t really doing nutten

  30. Jones time has passed.
    Time for new

  31. No Levi Garcia, no pace…. Period

  32. U know how long this should have happened

  33. …If this Coach is so good then he should just pick 22 and go and play…..I just feel that its not Saintfiet that selected that 28-man training squad…..it looking like ah front office selection….

  34. Coach Saintfiet judge ah man before seeing him in his first training session…..ah wonder if it’s he that made that decision or someone made it for him…..so the coach could not have waited until after the training session and cut the man if he needed too…this smelling!

  35. I tell allyuh that hire is 2 promote them shit hound fromW to get caps

  36. If Levi Garcia and Highland were available this side wudda been epic. Carlos edwards is the experience coupled with skill.

  37. We…who is “WE?” He Belgian or French?

  38. Once he said he wanted speed and was leaving out Kenwyne Jones as a result, that meant curtains for Jorsling’s chances too I think.

  39. You’re telling me that the Soca Warriors captain under former coach Stephen Hart kyah even mek the team under this new coach?

  40. Then I would have played Jones just behind the attackers or what you would call in an Attacking Midfield role.

  41. Carlos Edwards is one of my favourite all time players, but I truly believe if he can get a ll up, Aklie Edwards and Jorsling deserve call up, I also think that Jerrel Britto and Jamal Gay deserve a chance. Can not understand Marcus Joseph not being in this 28…… Cornell Glen should also be in fray……. Based on the 28, I honestly do not see much optimism for improvement. Whilst Kenwyne Jones had some issues, I truly think he has a role in this transition, simply for his leadership. only thing I see positive is inclusion of Glenroy, based on his recent performances, he deserve this opportunity. Did the Head Coach select his Assistant Coaches?

  42. look.how many w connection men get call up now.. aye this is so wrong eh