Home / Volley / Global Football / Aunt Phyllis: Saintfiet is defaming Cyrus; T&T defender had just one glass of Bailey’s!

Aunt Phyllis: Saintfiet is defaming Cyrus; T&T defender had just one glass of Bailey’s!

Does one glass of Bailey’s on New Year’s Day constitute excessive drinking for a professional athlete?

Phyllis Andrews, the “aunt” of 26-year-old Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team defender Daneil Cyrus, insisted that national head coach Tom Saintfiet has defamed the Soca Warriors player. And she is urging Saintfiet or the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) to clear Cyrus’ name.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (centre) and Dr Terence Babwah (left) talk to defender Carlyle Mitchell during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (centre) and Dr Terence Babwah (left) talk to defender Carlyle Mitchell during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

Saintfiet dropped Cyrus and 22-year-old national midfielder Jomal Williams and told the media that the players missed their noon check-in at the Cara Suites hotel on New Year’s Day and smelt of alcohol.

“Two of the players came one and a half hours too late in camp and had still decent smell of alcohol around him (sic),” said Saintfiet. “That was Daneil Cyrus and Jomal Williams. Both were immediately sent home, back to party—but are replaced in the squad.”

Aunt Phyllis admitted Cyrus was late for their residential camp in Claxton Bay. However, she is offended by the insinuation that the versatile W Connection player turned up for national duty reeking of alcohol.

“If [Saintfiet] says the other fella was drinking, he has to prove that too but that is their business,” said aunt Phyllis. “You can drop [Cyrus] for any other reason but don’t say he was stink of alcohol. That boy never came in my house stink of alcohol. And I open the door most of the time for him because he always loses his keys…

“So I want them to clear that up.”

Cyrus did, she admitted, have a glass of Bailey’s. The national defender told Wired868 yesterday he did not touch alcohol that morning. However, he confirmed that he had one drink.

Photo: W Connection defender Daneil Cyrus (left) tangles with Atlantico FC flanker Adrian De Jesus during 2016 Caribbean Club Championship action in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection defender Daneil Cyrus (left) tangles with Atlantico FC flanker Adrian De Jesus during 2016 Caribbean Club Championship action in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

She insisted there was a social context that should not be overlooked, though. It was New Year’s Day and just one glass of “weak” alcohol. Don’t players in England, Belgium and other European countries, she asked, have a drink to celebrate too—once they do not end up drunk?

“He slept by me that night and he left from my house to go to camp,” she told Wired868. “We had a family lime and my children don’t get to have much time with him anymore, so they are always happy when he is around.

“He had just one drink and they were laughing at him and saying ‘Bailey’s boy?!’ I have all the alcohol in the world in house and he would hardly drink. All he would say is ‘Ms Andrews, I am taking a shandy’.

“So I really, really take offence to this. This is tarnishing the boy’s name.”

Aunt Phyllis first opened her Santa Rosa Heights home to Cyrus a decade ago when the Plymouth-based teenager needed a place to stay in Trinidad to train with the National Under-17 Team.

She was friends with the mother of National Under-17 forward Stephen Knox. One day, Knox’s mother introduced her to then National Team manager Chris De Silva who asked whether she would give a place to stay to a teenaged boy she had never met.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Daneil Cyrus (centre) hurdles Mexico player Adrian Aldrete (left) while his teammate Carlos Pena looks on in the 2013 Gold Cup quarterfinal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.     (Copyright AFP 2014/ John Amis)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Daneil Cyrus (centre) hurdles Mexico player Adrian Aldrete (left) while his teammate Carlos Pena looks on in the 2013 Gold Cup quarterfinal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
(Copyright AFP 2014/ John Amis)

“[Knox’s mother] asked me if I could take him and then Mr De Silva and Daneil’s mother came and met me,” said aunt Phyllis. “Daneil was 15 and he has been with me ever since. I have two younger children and everyone welcomed him with open arms, so we are all like family.

“If anything, my children felt I spoiled him. But they are like brothers and sisters.”

Cyrus went on to play in two World Youth Cups for Trinidad and Tobago—the Korea Republic 2007 Under-17 and Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cups—and cement his place in the National Senior Team.

Aunt Phyllis gave her account of what happened on New Year’s Day, as Cyrus set off for his noon check-in time with his national teammates in Claxton Bay.

“He left [Santa Rosa Heights] about 11am and, when he was in the back of St Helena, he got a flat,” she said. “So he had to call another partner [to come and help him since he did not have a jack]. He called and spoke to the manager [Azaad Khan] and the manager said: ‘Okay come… The coach is really upset but still come’.

“[Cyrus] wasn’t sure of the time [he spoke to Khan] but he thinks it was before 12… I know he left by me a little late and he could have been earlier. But he would have been on time, if not for the flat he had.”

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)

Aunt Phyllis said she called W Connection co-founder and TTFA president David John-Williams to complain today.

“I called John-Williams and he said he is not charge of the team and that is the [coach’s responsibility],” she told Wired868. “But he said that could be fixed. He said: ‘you know he has a reputation of being late for Connection practice’. But what does that have to do with this? I am dealing with the defamation of character with the [coach claiming the] boy was smelling of alcohol.

“I don’t have a problem with him being dropped for being late. But not for alcohol.”’

Wired868 asked John-Williams to confirm if he said said Cyrus’ issue could “be fixed” and what he would have meant by that. But, although he read the message, he did not respond up to the time of publication.

The website was unable to get further comment from Saintfiet, Jomal Williams or national team manager Azaad Khan.

The Soca Warriors face Suriname from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday in the first game of a round-robin series, which also includes Haiti. One of the three nations will advance to the next Gold Cup playoff round against Central American opposition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Carlos Edwards (left) takes on Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson during the Germany 2006 World Cup group B opener on 10 June 2006 at Dortmund stadium.  Edwards is the captain of the current Soca Warriors team. (Copyright AFP 2016/Odd Andersen)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Carlos Edwards (left) takes on Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson during the Germany 2006 World Cup group B opener on 10 June 2006 at Dortmund stadium.
Edwards is the captain of the current Soca Warriors team.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Odd Andersen)

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.

Check Also

Soca Warriors paid only fraction of owed money, accuse Guardian newspaper of ‘fake news’

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team players are still owed match fees and …

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.

427 comments

  1. I read and understand you loud and clear Mr Look Loy.

  2. Lance Noel hart was a failure before he came tnt, and left as a failure

  3. .You READING what I writing pal? You UNDERSTANDING it?..

  4. Seems you have already condemned him to the rubbish heap Mr Look Loy.

  5. HAHA.The man has been a failure everywhere he’s been. DJW threaten the man WHILE UMVEILING HIM! Who waiting to laugh?..

  6. Anselm,some of us just waiting to laugh at the coach if we lose,not acknowledging that he is working with a less than professional team.

  7. Anselm I would say inability to analyse and comprehend is a bigger problem.

  8. Lance Noel indispline is a major problem for some of the lawlessness we have in TNT today and you can read it right here from some very intelligent people of TNT.

  9. Mike Rodak
    ESPN Staff Writer

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the Buffalo Bills’ two biggest stars on offense, say discipline among players was lacking under coach Rex Ryan, who was fired Tuesday.

    “I think the discipline has been an issue,” McCoy said Friday. “Players just [need to take] accountability for their own actions. … I just think as players, as professionals, we need to step up and play accountable. That’s the biggest issue.”

    “It’s discipline,” Watkins said Thursday. “Whatever around the locker room that needs to be addressed — on the field, off the field, flags, whether it’s a running drill. … I just think being professional as players [needs to be] fixed first.

    “Then the coaches have to be hard on us, not scared of us. Get at us, yell at us, curse at us. Whatever to get the player to do that job the best he can, that’s what they need to do.

  10. .. CARLON!! YOU RIGHT BOY!! I GONE!!..

  11. So hear nah. When you have a school where the students are undisciplined and the teacher has to spend most of his or her time disciplining the students instead of teaching, can that teacher be successful? The same goes for coaching. So to hear people dismissing the importance of discipline while waiting to judge the coach on results is indicative of the shallow culture in T&T football especially among local coaches who are just as culpable for the culture of indiscipline in local football. Discipline be damned. Winning is everything

  12. The thing is this.. if any big name coach had come here and done the exact same thing everyone would have been singing his praises. However, this coach doesnt have ‘a name’ so he’s judged by a different standard.
    But look at it this way.. the easiest thing for this coach to do was to keep those guys and look for ‘results’ to appease a clearly skeptical footballing public, yours truly included. However, he’s sticking by HIS principles, just as Mourinho, Conte, Klopp et al would do and I respect that. I’m not crowning him a saviour or even giving him a pass but he has to be given credit for that.

  13. Allyuh bring out some drinks now,nah man(lol)

  14. Always comment early in a thread….after a while the comments and comprehension deteriorate at equal pace

  15. So to make a long story short,the coach was right to do what he did.We now await the two games to judge his ability to coach,by the onfield performance of the team.

  16. So you not waiting to see if he wins or loses lance? You happy already?
    You don’t have a sink or something that you can pay me to fix and then write a Reference for me before I do the job?! ???

  17. ..And I ain’t vilifying anybody by saying that. But I not getting tie up and doing cartwheels because a coach with a shit CV drop some men. If he does well I will praise him..

  18. So we are waiting to see if he loses,then we would say,yuh see,he shoulda pick de boy dem.Lord have mercy upon us.(lol)

  19. Vilifying is saying he needs to win games to be a success Lance Noel? Seriously? You watch sport? Have a favourite team?

  20. ..Allyuh can”t understand a simple idea. He right to send home men who liook for it. But he will NOT be judged by that. He WILL be judged by what happens on the field tomorrow and Sunday because he is here to WIN MATCHES. Can’t make it any clearer..

  21. Lasana, it’s not about blind loyalty, this is not the PNM or UNC. This is about being sceptical, true, and waiting for results 2mrw and Sunday. Hart had a long time to groove in, in the last year or so, he got soft

  22. Here we are villifying a coach for trying to instill discipline into a losing football team.

  23. And it is the “that man sounds good so let us give him blind loyalty regardless of what he actually produces” that makes our country the mess it is.

  24. I didn’t want to say it Anselm.It’s the win at all cost mentality that has our country constantly reversing.

  25. Keith Look Loy just exposed himself by this statement “THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS WINNING!! EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY!!..” I would not want to play for a Coach like that because he truly does not have my well being at heart.

  26. So,Lasana,the coach was out of place to send the players home citing late coming and an alcohol aroma?

  27. Can someone tell me if the game tomorrow is on TV please

  28. Politicians can stick around for five years achieving nothing but doling out sound bites and get reelected. Some people accustomed to that. Sport doesn’t work that way.
    That’s why sport has score boards.

  29. ..Have you been reading my comments? Who needs to be disciplined must be disciplined. But Saintfiet ain’t our school master. He here to WIN MATCHES. WIN MATCHES. I waiting on these two CFU matches..

  30. If I recall correctly,we were talking about tanty saying ”dey slander de boy name”.

  31. Who said this current strategy will continue into the future? He had to start somewhere and make the deviants see he means business, once they understand that,all will be well and he will give them leeway

  32. But we aren’t debating the coach’s ability Lasana.

  33. So Mr Look Loy,not being a coach myself,once you are winning,indiscipline is not an issue?Surely that isn’t so.

  34. Anselm, I hear your point but the good coaches know that multitasking gets the ship moving in the right direction faster. He has to fix broken windows and paint and landscape and anything else his staff can assist with all at the same time given the stated mandate to win these games..

  35. It seems like Lasana Liburd was drinking with Cyrus and Williams. If he had to report to reporters Camp the Coach would have sent lasana home to for alcohol on his breath.

  36. So we should give him six months Zen? He got three. That’s what he signed up for.
    If he loses the dressing room, he might well end up like Bob Bradley too.
    This is football.

    • I agree. If he loses the dressing room it’s on him.but hearing Jomel’s interview it’s telling me he’s actually gaining respect…people are falling in line..Jomel is prepared.
      In the end, results are going good to matter, but attitude and culture are going to play a major part in getting there. This shake up may be exact thing to get these same players to get with the program. I could guarantee you that Jomel is never going to be late again.

    • Nice. But doesn’t matter if entire team loves or hates him. What matters is how he uses that to win matches.

  37. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS WINNING!! EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY!!..

  38. You do the sport no good by tolerating indiscipline Lasana.Can’t you see the results of our National team,bro?

  39. No no, it’s not trying to change it. Most coaches, when they take over struggling teams, have taken adjustments with strategy a day personal before they start seeing results. Why should he be judged differently? You’re seeing it all over the world…Mourinho struggled in the beginning at ManU, Klopp took 6 months to get something going at Liverpool and Content struggled in the beginning get at Chelsea, and the ALL made tough personal decisions. Not saying this coach is of the same calibre, but his approach is the same.

  40. People who see football as a pastime can afford to say winning games don’t matter. Nobody who sees sport as a living can do so.

  41. Lasana yuh losing me with yuh argument bro.

  42. ..Then is a good thing you ain’t TTFA president. Lose all their upcoming games and stay eh? Hahahahaha..

  43. Correct Anselm.It’s not as though he is tinkering with a winning squad.

  44. Ever heard that the theory of broken windows is nonsense that wasn’t proven Anselm? That bit missed you?
    Regardless. We hired a coach to win games not fix windows.

  45. Agreed Lasana,but surely indisciplined players cannot be good for the game.I am one who subscribes to the view that a star player could never be an indisciplined player.

  46. Lasana Liburd is missing the big picture. Even heard of “the theory of broken windows?” You have to fix the little things first and they will help fix the bigger things. That’s exactly what the Coach is doing, I don’t care if they lose all their upcoming games, the Coach is trying to fix a broken machine.