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Shahdon pulls birthday trick but Haiti take cake as T&T finish bottom of Caribbean group

Four goals in the opening 45 minutes, seven by the 120th—however one might describe the Trinidad and Tobago era of Tom Saintfiet, the word “dull” surely would not come to mind.

Neither, for that matter, would words like “orderly”, “controlled” or “methodical” do the Belgian coach justice. This was roll of the dice stuff: backs and forwards, swings and misses, unfocused fury.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet (left) cheers on hattrick hero Shahdon Winchester during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 8 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet (left) cheers on hattrick hero Shahdon Winchester during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 8 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

By the final whistle, Trinidad and Tobago football fans were streaming out of the Ato Boldon Stadium with heads bowed while the Haitian delegate took a flag to the middle of the field and marked their newly won territory.

Haiti 4, Trinidad and Tobago 3 in extra time, after a 2-2 finish at the end of regulation time. It meant the Warriors finished bottom of a three-team Caribbean group that included Suriname—ranked 150th in the world by FIFA—despite having home advantage and 48 hours more rest than Haiti for the final outing.

To say, Trinidad and Tobago’s opponents were better prepared would be generous. Suriname, despite eight international outings last year, have not played a friendly game since February 2016. While Haiti coach Josaphat Jean Claude was appointed barely two weeks ago and four members of his squad for this competition failed to show up.

It almost seems comical now that Saintfiet’s arrival was touted as a return to defensive solidity and an end to dressing room indiscipline. Instead, the Soca Warriors have conceded nine goals in four games—five from three games against the unheralded Nicaragua and Suriname—while the newfound coach seems to have already alienated a significant segment of his player pool.

Of course, it has only been four weeks since Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams appointed Saintfiet as a supposed upgrade to former coach, Stephen Hart.

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)

And Saintfiet will doubtless claim that his bust-ups with senior players were unavoidable and an even necessary attempt to mark his territory. It did not work in Togo, though, where he took the captain’s armband off former England Premiership star Emmanuel Adebayor, which saw the striker quit, the African nation plummet down the standings and the journeyman coach make an early exit for Bangladesh.

John-Williams guaranteed Saintfiet three months in Trinidad and he would do well to reach it, particularly when so many of his fallouts were with players from the president’s W Connection club.

Tonight, the Soca Warriors needed a two goal win to advance to the final play off round against Central American opposition. It is unclear what result Saintfiet needed for his own job security, if anything at all. But Trinidad and Tobago definitely gave it a go.

If Hart was often criticised for keeping the handbrakes up, Saintfiet might be said to have no brakes at all. And, sometimes, no steering wheel either.

The Belgian could not have asked for a better start, though, as Trinidad and Tobago stormed ahead within the first minute of play. Winger Nathan Lewis slipped away from Haiti left back Christian Alex and pulled the ball back to the top of the six yard box for Shahdon Winchester, who put the hosts ahead to a load roar of approval from roughly 3,400 supporters in attendance.

Photo: Soca Warriors supporters cheer on their team during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Soca Warriors supporters cheer on their team during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Remarkably, Winchester’s opener meant the Warriors were simultaneously one goal better and worse off at the same time.

Trinidad and Tobago needed a two goal win but, since Caribbean Football Union (CFU) tournament rules don’t allow draws, they would qualify regardless of whether those goals came in the 90 minutes of regulation time or the 30 minutes of extra time.

Haiti played Suriname less than 48 hours ago while the Trinidad and Tobago team faced Suriname on Wednesday. So the host nation should have had more energy in the tank. Extra time might not be such a bad idea.

So the CFU rulebook created an intriguing subplot for the affair with a regulation time draw ensuring the Warriors a second bite of the cherry in extra time while a one-goal win for the home team would ensure Haiti advanced.

Veteran captain Carlos Edwards missed out on the fun though, as he pulled up with a groin injury in the 19th minute and left the field on a stretcher.

Trinidad and Tobago conceded before his replacement, Alvin Jones, could get on the field.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet (far left) talks to assistant coach Jamaal Shabazz (second from left) during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Suriname at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet (far left) talks to assistant coach Jamaal Shabazz (second from left) during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Suriname at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Aruban referee Ricangel De Leca gave a puzzling free kick to Haiti when it seemed that opposing forward Kervens Belfort had fouled Trinidad and Tobago defender Maurice Ford, rather than the other way around.

As Ford protested, Belfort played a quick pass to Derrick Ettienne inside the area and defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, who had just taken over the armband, was far too slow to spot the danger. 1-1.

Five minutes later, De Leca had either atoned or heaped more shame upon himself, depending on whether you were a partisan or neutral viewer.

Haiti goalkeeper Guerry Romondt, who was making just his third international cap, indulged in a bit of time wasting before he picked up the ball. De Leca whistled for a free kick inside the Haitian penalty area.

And, as the bewildered Haitians complained, Aikim Andrews returned the favour in full with a quick free kick to Winchester who drove into an empty net to restore the 2-1 advantage. Which, of course, was also a potential disadvantage.

No matter. Haiti were happy to do Trinidad and Tobago the double edged favour of equalising once more, as Belfort headed into the near corner off a Charles Hérold corner kick in the 39th minute. 2-2.

Photo: Haiti playmaker Hérold Charles (left) tries to keep the ball from Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (centre) while Aikim Andrews looks on during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Haiti playmaker Hérold Charles (left) tries to keep the ball from Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (centre) while Aikim Andrews looks on during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Belfort, whose goal eliminated Trinidad and Tobago from the Copa America Centenario playoff 12 months ago, celebrated with a roar and flex of his muscles.

It was riveting and atrocious at the same time.

There was more farce as Saintfiet gave a severe tongue lashing to Jones for putting the ball out so a Haitian player could get medical attention—never mind the fact that it was still the first half and Haiti themselves maintained a spirit of fair play, in similar circumstances, throughout the match.

The Haiti bench, naturally, took offence at Saintfiet’s instructions to the young defender and one did not need a lip reader to get the gist of the Belgian’s aggressive, animated response, which was shades of his rant at the fourth official during the Suriname match.

If Saintfiet were to give his players a manual on what does and does not constitute good discipline, it would probably be as thick as the bible.

In the 56th minute, there were cheers as World Cup 2006 Cornell Glen was introduced as a replacement for Tyrone Charles. Glen, incidentally, missed the Suriname match with a tweaked hamstring and he certainly did not look his mobile self tonight.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs 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 (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

But then surely Dr Terence Babwah and Dave Isaac would never sit back and allow an injured player on the field. Right? Well, except for central defender Carlyle Mitchell who hobbled back on against Suriname on Wednesday although clearly impeded.

Mitchell’s return, Saintfiet later explained, was fine since the player wanted to do it.

These are head-scratching days in local football indeed.

It was a circus on the field too. At one point, referee De Leca allowed Trinidad and Tobago to take a throw-in despite there being another ball on the field. There might have been a Haitian riot if Glen’s attempted lob had gone in from that passage of play.

Andrews came close with a shot from distance too. Otherwise, it was still the Haitians who created the best opportunities as Abu Bakr and Ford threw themselves in the way of a Belfort shot in the 68th minute—like FBI agents protecting a US president—while goalkeeper Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Adrian Foncette made a superb save with his legs to keep out Ettienne in the 76th minute.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Haitian contingent looked physically spent. But if the Warriors went ahead then, they would have to score twice or risk the chance of eliminating themselves.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevan George (left) tackles Haiti substitute Listner Pierre-Louis during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevan George (left) tackles Haiti substitute Listner Pierre-Louis during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

So, for the first time since Saintfiet touched down in Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago tried to hold on to the ball. As a further testament of the host team’s porous defending, Foncette was still called to make a late save from Christian. But the Warriors made it to the end of regulation time on level terms.

Some supporters cheered the accomplishment of applied mathematics over football. Others were not as au courant with the rules and needed to be talked back to their seats after a crash course in CFU tournament logistics.

On to extra time then. Abu Bakr kept Haiti at bay with a brilliant lunging tackle on opposing striker Jonel Désiré in the 100th minute while Winchester was blocked by Romondt on a razor sharp counter in the 103rd minute.

Romondt, as calamitous as the circumstances required, turned a Lewis cross off his own bar in the 108th minute.

Saintfiet sent Abu Bakr upfront with supposed orders to imitate Kenwyne Jones—the striker he claimed he did not need. And, by then, the match had all the tactical subtlety of an air hockey game between two hyperactive children at the mall.

Haiti scored twice in the second half of extra time as Belfort and Andrew Jean-Baptiste crashed home headers. All four Haitian goals, remarkably, came from set pieces.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Adrian Foncette (left) reaches for the ball while defenders Maurice Ford (centre) and Radanfah Abu Bakr look on during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Adrian Foncette (left) reaches for the ball while defenders Maurice Ford (centre) and Radanfah Abu Bakr look on during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

In between the Haitian strikes, Winchester—who turned 25 today—celebrated his birthday with a hattrick after driving between Romondt’s legs following a flick on by Abu Bakr. Winchester made his senior international debut in mid-2010 and, six years and 17 caps later, has just four goals. Maybe national coaches should give him birthday cards on every match day.

At the post-game press conference, Saintfiet pleaded for more time at the job and claimed that former Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 Leo Beenhakker lost three of his first five games in charge of the Warriors.

Not for the first time, the Belgian was totally wrong. Beenhakker’s first five games as Trinidad and Tobago coach were: Bermuda (win), Bermuda (win), Panama (win), Mexico (loss) and Honduras (draw). And his first five competitive fixtures were: Panama (win), Mexico (loss), Honduras (draw), Panama (draw) and Colombia (loss).

It is hard to tell where it ranks among Saintfiet’s ridiculous and, arguably, dishonest claims so far: he boasted of being Belgian’s youngest professional coach without ever coaching a senior professional league club there, he inflated Togo’s FIFA ranking by almost 20 places at his unveiling and, hilariously, he boasted of working with Adebayor when the former Arsenal star refused to play for him.

Is the TTFA’s new coach making it all up as he goes along?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet shares a light moment with a member of the crowd during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Suriname at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet shares a light moment with a member of the crowd during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action against Suriname at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Saintfiet has certainly added a touch of excitement to the national football arena. Whether three losses from four matches suggest he is the man to rescue the Warriors’ faltering campaign is another matter entirely.

Tonight was Jean Claude’s second game as Haiti coach and his international career is barely two weeks old. He was selected from the Haitian league—which is inferior to its Trinidad and Tobago counterpart—and does not have the Caribbean Club Championship titles that Stuart Charles-Fevrier, Terry Fenwick, Dale Saunders and even Saintfiet’s assistant, Jamaal Shabazz, possess.

Time will tell whether Saintfiet will indeed turn things around. Or, if he fails, whether he will take his TTFA appointees with him.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Adrian Foncette (GK); 11.Carlos Edwards (captain) (16.Alvin Jones 21), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 17.Maurice Ford (15.Hughtun Hector 91), 2.Aubrey David; 19.Kevan George, 14.Andre Boucaud; 8.Nathan Lewis, 18.Aikim Andrews (20.Trevin Caesar 68), 7.Tyrone Charles (13.Cornell Glen 56); 10.Shahdon Winchester.

Unused substitutes: 21.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 5.Hashim Arcia, 9.Akeem Roach.

Coach: Tom Saintfiet

Haiti (4-2-3-1): 1.Guerry Romondt (GK); 21.Samuel Pompée, 16.Andrew Jean-Baptiste, 3.Mechack Jérôme (captain), 22.Christian Alex; 15.Sébastien Thuriere (19.Listner Pierre-Louis 18), 17.Wilguens Aristide; 11.Derrick Etienne (2.Paulson Pierre 92), 10.Charles Hérold, 9.Kervens Belfort (5.Romilaire Ambroise 114); 18.Jonel Désiré.

Unused substitutes: 23.Valendi Odelus (GK), 4.Handy Delice, 6.Waldo Vernet, 8.Roberto Louima.

Coach: Josaphat Jean Claude

Referee: Ricangel De Leca (Aruba)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago substitute Shahdon Winchester (centre) takes on Suriname right back Miquel Darson during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago substitute Shahdon Winchester (centre) takes on Suriname right back Miquel Darson during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Gold Cup playoff

(Sunday 8 January 2017)

Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Shahdon Winchester 1, 25, 112), Haiti 4 (Derrick Ettienne 20, Kervens Belfort 39, 111, Andrew Jean-Baptiste 117) at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

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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214 comments

  1. What’s a Coach to do with mediocre players? T&T best players are not playing due to disciplinary issues. Blame dem.

  2. Hmmmmm…. everybody just bad talking saintfiet and not even giving him time, nobody sees that it’s a fight down for him that’s why he has ONLY local players, I saw an improvement with the locals and no one will give him a chance to see what he can do if he had the stars. The coach is a strictly disipline which I realise an nobody sees that, only supporting the players for doing there stupid Ness outside with the parties and drinking aye allyuh really good inno, only a set of criticism that’s all we are known for hmmmm…..

  3. How is he an improvement to Hart? Pray tell.

  4. “If Hart was often criticised for keeping the handbrakes up, Saintfiet might be said to have no brakes at all. And, sometimes, no steering wheel either.”

  5. Jeez ppl who doh even have food to eat beating Trinidad. DAT is why my money does stay in meh pocket!

  6. Hope Brian Springer watch Hart record ???

  7. Just read a Haitian on line saying that they beat Trinidad and Tobago with their b team.

  8. Once again 1 of the poorest countries in the world beat us

  9. T&T football needs a magician not a coach. Saintfeit should just dust his pants and get out one time, let John Williams do his own coaching…. I mean magic

  10. This team can’t play the full 90 mins aggressively nor do they have the calibre of players .. plays like Sunday football

  11. Retain the coach , can’t expect him to change shit into sugar overnight !

  12. I saw something different. ……they were not fighting among they self’s like the A squad …. there was love in that game . I haven’t seen that in a while….. they played hard ( especially for what they went through ) with a 4 string goalkeeper

  13. Molino and Jones needs to get their attitude check because I aint get no hat trick from them and if they were that good why we in this position smh?

  14. Mr Siewdath you will give administration a migraine and run the risk of they hurting themselves thinking about all that info you just gave them.

  15. The guys who were on d field representing TT seem to lack adequate football acumen. Absolutely inept defending. TT simply too slow in closing space, intercepting passes and challenging for possession. Also too many unforced errors. Little creativity in midfield. This is not a new story. In match against Suriname count how many times our players were leaning back with head up in the air while kicking under the ball when shooting at goal. Where else will the ball go but sail harmlessly way over bars?! They are yet to master the art of drilling shots, ideally at below waistline trajectory(by angling body so head remains down while kicking through, not under ball) as well as placement.
    So there is still a lot of fundamental technical drills to be done with players until these basics become instinctive. And then the coach has to get the players to understand and execute tactical plans/plays.
    In my humble opinion, first and foremost now in prep for next two home hex matches in March is to create d right atmosphere (a sport psychologist is desperately needed); get a manager who can have a good rapport with players, coach and admin (in addition to competency in all other job functions/responsibilities); and organise regular training sessions to move players individually and collectively from an average current position of 4 to a desired mark of above 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 in relation to combined factors of attitude, commitment, conditioning (mental and physical), fitness, improving technique, tactical awareness, skills, plan execution etc.

  16. Now I am not jumping on his bandwagon because he scored but when players are giving an opportunity they must take it quickly,when I saw Levi play against I think St Vincent he came on and scored 2,I want more players to seize their opportunities as a National player and stop the foolishness because TNT always have skillful players

  17. our football is turning into the west indies cricket team. the players u need are being kept out. the coach is fired and the head stinks like rotten fish.

  18. Well that was the same thing when Lorne and Mervin Joseph brought their nephew Che Benny to play for our foreign base team versus wired 868 and he was only about 12 yrs old and scored a penalty the same on James Saunders eh hahaha, look at how he represented our sweet country on the U 17 team and also St Anthony’s college eh one of our future real playmaker/goal scorer the same like the Magician eh that we are missing badly on the Soca Worries team eh. Them really good yes.

  19. Earl Mango Pierre in my first year coaching Naparima College I brought Winchester in to play at 12 yrs old I was referred a mad man Haha,penalty kicks against Signal Hill I asked him to take the 3rd kick,I was told I would ruin his future because he is still young, He scored, I brought him off the bench in every game that year and he was my goal scoring machine at that age…

  20. Remove the Worrier’s and leave the soca , because all I hear about this sorry lot is who drunk who boastful ect ect and I also suggest to take that absurd amount of money going to that bunch of jokers and give it to charity

  21. Nah exclude Ballpest eh, because since he got shot in his leg that was it for him, he hasn’t been the same player eh Kurtwyn Baird.

  22. I find highlights never give a true indication of a game. Can we really judge 90 minutes based on a 3 minute clip??

    • Actually 120 minutes. But I concur!!

    • It all depends on what you are looking for Ian..to answer your question e.g. I am looking at Winchester body position and 1st touch in his finishing for his goals, I don’t need a 90mins clip,if I need to see his defensive movements in transition then Yes?

    • What about the other 87 minutes or however long he was on the pitch for? You mean all you’re interested in is what he looked like scoring goals? That doesn’t help him improve. If anything, all that does is reinforce any bad techniques he might have. What about build up play? Off the ball movement over the course of the game? There’s a whole lot that we haven’t seen and cannot glean from our 3 best minutes in a game.

    • Ian Fitzwilliam I get that but it’s all depending on what’s a person interest is, but some coaches may have players to do that but lack a finisher in front of the goal,it all depends! some players rearly touch the ball but in his 1st pass you could see that he could play

    • Furthermore Ian Fitzwilliam when sending a video of a player to an agent or a real professional team abroad, the whole game of that player doing his thing in the games isn’t what they want to see eh.and they always take care of the rest when he gets to their team eh

    • I remember Arsene Wenger saying when he scouting a player he puts as much emphasis on what he does off the ball than what he does when he gets it. At the highest level skill on the ball is not enough!!

    • Hey I’m no expert, nor am I scouting. Just stating that for us to make any assumptions about this game based on the highlights posted would be errant

    • ok then I understand and point well taken.

  23. I am away from Trinidad football 10 years now ? so I can’t talk about anyone player performances or lack thereof but Trevin Caesar,Ball pest,Levi Garcia,Jorsling and Winchester is definitely my choices in attack going forward from what I have seen..

  24. And you know if Shahdon Winchester had started in the first game against Suriname he would have scored the goals to win the game eh because he is a real seasoned professional prolific goal scorer but they decided to start with a rookie Akeem Roach instead. Them really good yes. steeuuppss

  25. Judging from the highlights….Our players created multiple goal scoring opportunities and converted three,I could live with that…The chemistry that was there between the right winger and Winchester looked good from the highlights,have these guys played before at youth level are they friends?The TNT team stepped up offensively..Good Job….Defensively No Coach on this Forum or Internationally have been able to solve our players concentration problems thus far in conceding soft goals??

    • Be blessed that you only saw the highlights then. And if you want to keep that opinion, then stick to highlights.

    • Lasana Liburd as in Bad Boys this sh….t just got real….Being out the Gold Cup and possibly out of the World Cup God forbid,Mr Tom get the axe what is there for the new Coach and if so who?Terry/Jamal/StuartLasana Liburd

    • Good point Kurtwyn. I’m guessing the next Caribbean Cup is in 2019. So the next year and a half will be about rebuilding a team with lots of friendly matches.
      That will actually be a very important period for us to build a style of play and create a new player pool.
      From those three coaches: Jamaal already has a job with the TTFA and said he doesn’t want to be head coach, Stuart has a potential conflict on interest plus the issues with W Connection players of late do not reflect well on him.
      That leaves Terry who would probably deserve it regardless. Both Stuart and Shabazz had stints before too.
      Outside of those three, I would consider Hutson Charles or Angus Eve. Or go for a more exotic choice like Dwight Yorke or Dennis Lawrence.
      I think David Nakhid and Kelvin Jack are bright enough but need more experience. Same for Derek King. He did a good job with Under-20s and deserves another youth team at least.
      Or they can bring back Stephen Hart since they will still be paying him for another two years anyway.

    • Lasana also are we going to get recognized oppositions as our ranking may drop if we fail to make it out the Hex

    • We can still improve playing against teams like El Salvador, Venezuela, Jamaica, French Guiana, Panama, Peru or Ecuador while we get our rankings back up.
      We just won’t command much match fees i guess.

  26. Let’s be honest it’s not over. We have 8 more games to play and we are 5th. Alot can happen in 8 games. Everyone has to suck up their pride from the Ttfa to players and make this work. We need molino, Hyland, cyrus, Williams, Jones, and Jervaine along with Levi Garcia on the field. I am still confident that if we put out best players on the field anything could happen.Get the best players on the field with coach that has an idea and history about trinidad football or we are doomed. We are already doomed but we don’t stand a chance with these local pros. Still can’t understand how jan Michael Williams was not selected. Smh

  27. Thanks for the commentary. Can’t get out the picture of kids playing air hockey out my head! This is what the Soca “Worries” have come to.

  28. Lance you would agree that five world cup appearances, 3 of which we qualified for, that there is hope for some sort of progress as long as we get the administrative part right (which to me means ensuring players are available to give the team a good chance of a good result at all times)

  29. Well I think that was the fastest goal that our Soca Worries ever scored in a game eh, and it seemed that it was an exciting game to eh,and yes as usual the defensive mistakes always the reason why we loose the games eh, but my dictator president should just keep my foreign base Coach Tom to continue his journey eh now that he knows his players and also include some of our foreign base players to try and qualify for the World cup in Russia 2018 eh. Them really good yes,

    • Don’t make a judgement based on highlights. Every movie looks good when you watch the trailer. Is when you pay your money and watch the full movie you will know whether it good or bad.

    • hahahahaha I forget that for a moment eh Stephon Nicholas because I got caught up in the goals scoring eh because it is the same thing that I always say when I am watching our bootleg professional league highlights eh, and when I actually goes and watches the game eh, is ah set ah steeuuppssing eh, Them really good yes hahahahaha

  30. I watched the game yesterday at the Ato Stadium and I am not pleased with what I saw. T&T played very well in the first 20mins of the game when they held a 1-0 lead. After that they just got Burnt/Roasted and fell apart. We have natural skills and flair without fitness. I prefer we had the fitness without the flair. The Haitians were constantly breaking down our right side with their #9 & 22. Two of the goals scored were almost identical with our defense lacking concentration and with bad defense formation and man marking close to and inside our box.

  31. By the way can somebody post the highlights of the game since I decided not to attend because my heart couldn’t handle anymore of our sweet country football tabanca eh, Them really good yes. hahahahaha

  32. Some of us are giving the impression that our football has just taken a downward slide.It’s almost two decades now that football in this country has been descending.One could argue that we qualified for the world cup in 2006 but that is another story by itself.

    • “Some of us are giving the impression that our football has just taken a downward slide…”
      Very apt Lance. I could point to several perimeters by which one could safely come to the same conclusion. But so much information is out there that it should not be hard to get it if you really want to.

  33. Hannibal Najjar

    I believe that when all the dust is settled and our hearts align with our heads, we will see better what we have in our calculations of our chances to go anywhere in the Hex. The chances are not promising and our next two oppositions, Panama and Mexico, are not Nicaragua, Suriname, or Haiti! Sadly, not for a very long time, have we shown to have an understanding of home field advantage. Point, for those who follow American Football, every one of the four home teams won this past weekend, Seattle, Houston, Greenbay, and Pittsburgh. And, when the best of the best meet, these four teams, now respective visitors to Atlanta, New England, Dallas, and Kansas City, there is every chance that the visitors can topple those home teams. We have not been very battle-hardened to command whichever situation – our phase of play and preparation need a greater concerted effort and we are just not where the other Hex teams are. Under Hart though, we had seen some solid signs of more professionally dealing with this but I contest that he mishandled the camps-breaking matters. Our downfall and slippery, almost certain unstoppable slide came at the hands of our two bouts of Molino camp-breaking subterfuges and, Tommy “Go-figure” Saintfeit is not going to put back together this, Humpty Dumpty again.

  34. even the nutsmen could not understand it

  35. so we finish 7th in the Caribbean.. 7th ??..7th ah say…7th …

  36. OK…I looked at the game last night…what another poor performance from our national team….the team looked like the coach only had pro league players to chose from….where was Highland and the others…maybe a financial issue
    ..not sure…the team looked tactically weak..in offence and defence…i cannot blame the coach…in these are the players that he has to work with then let’s forget the hex…start all over and prepare a plan for the next world Cup to come
    .

  37. ..Some people grabbing at straws in desperation..

  38. Are you commenting without reading Lasana Liburd’s article Reynold F. Ollivierre. Some folks just jump in the chat to try and ridicule others (not you by the way), others are critical, objective or in favor of the things Lasana proffers in his articles. It’s meant for discussion, some serious others comical. Should never be personal, as a previous writer stigmatizing others. I did not see the game but I can comment on it based on Lasana Liburd’s report. So I hear you but I don’t agree that we are just looking for scape goats.
    …The human within…

    • I am talking about most of the comments in respect of the gentleman’s article. How many of the above went to the game? One does not expect one to make a comment of any significance if one did not see the game. The gentleman watched the game and gave his conclusions. other may have seen something different.

    • I understand that but this article is not in isolation it is a continuation of previous articles involving our national team and it’s football of recent. If you have a different respective on the game/s please share it, I assure you we will respect it.

    • I would say that pointing out the problems is better than not being able to spot them too. Even if they might not have the solution.
      Everyone is entitled to a view in any case. Like Timothy says, it is best to share why your opinion is better rather than necessarily to criticise their own view.

  39. Many players and Coaches in our sweet country still doesn’t understand the beautiful game especially in the tactics department, they still depends on their individual skills and natural talent in order to win games eh. Them really good yes.

    • After the aggressive start could not be maintained. We start to play aimless long balls to Winchester. Let’s not even talk about the defending!!

    • And that madness has been taking place even a very long time ago, that European /English brand, there is a time and place for the long balls and as I always know the midfield is your engine room eh, it is really time since we like the South American brand of football, hire about 20 good South American Coaches to also be involve in the Elite Youth program eh, and make certain that they picked the best players from age 6 – 14 yrs eh and keep them together always so that they will know each other’s movement on the field even with their eyes closed and surely for future U 17 and up tournaments we will surely be ready to take on the World eh. Them really good yes.

    • The Haiti #10 put on a clinic last night

    • And of course that is very normal for my Haitian players, they are very creative, skillful, and devoted when representing their sweet country and when playing the beautiful game, hence the reason why back in the days I entered my team in their Haitian American Semi- pro soccer league in New Jersey to always compete against them and also because their people always use to come out in plenty numbers to support the football and they even fell in love with some of the talents on our Trini team like Marvin Oliver, Andre Legendre, Irasto Knights, Neil Williams and a few others and to this date whenever they see me they will always ask me about them, and even some of the managers from the other Haitain teams always was trying to buy them from me eh, Them was really good yes hahahaha

  40. Game was definitely exciting but tactically we were extremely poor.

  41. I actually think this performance was even more tactically inept than the Suriname game.

  42. Armchair football administrators. We lose, so we look for scape goats. Haven’t heard anyone talk about the performance of either team. Yet we all seem to have all the solutions to all the problems of our football.

  43. So why Shahdon Winchester didn’t start in the first game against Suriname eh. Them really good yes steeuuppss.

  44. Well as i said…The World Cup Campaign is over. Let the under-20 play in the qualifiers….Hart had a good thing going. He just needed to get rid those party goers and put his foot down but…….Trinidad football is ah set of Shittttttt shitttttttt shittttt shitttttt shittttttttt shittttttt shittttttttt shitttttttt !!!

  45. Soon we will be getting licks from teams from St Vincent, Barbados, Dominica.

  46. Well, Hart said consistently that we have a small player pool capable of playing at this level. Saintfiet clearly thought otherwise.

    • And he was very correct. There are very few players in the country capable of playing international football at a good level. By this i mean posess all attributes. We may have some good technical players but tactically and physically they are poor. (This is the case for many). We need to stop fooling ourself into thinking that we actually have a large pool

  47. New squad i dont care who score what new blood

  48. Never said the door is closed to them , just don’t think they good enough . It’s not just them , it’s a lot of the players . But I can’t even blame them . I can only blame the poor coaching they have received and the poor facilities . They are a product of their environment

  49. It is hard to blame players in a shambolic system, especially when they are newbies like those three.
    Now remember Nathan Lewis was shot in his shoulder in late September and had to take a few weeks off to recover. I’m not sure if he is in his best form now. But I’d admit that he is raw and still learning the game.
    I actually think Aikim is a talent and will definitely by a regular international sooner or later. I’ve never seen him play central midfield before last night either. He was actually a right back that was converted to an attacking winger.
    I would give them the benefit of the doubt that they had a bad night but should still be able to add something in the future.

  50. I think almost all of those would have helped. I do not rate Foncette, I thought he was very poor in the Suriname game and I think Jan would have saved at least one of those goals. He is also vocal and commanding and would have organized the defense better.

    Kevan George was very very disappointing, Leston brings alot of value on the ball and Hector looks done. Boucaud looks overweight and not fit. Our tempo from midfield was lacking.
    Molino and Joevin would have brought that extra quality and dynamism we lacked out there. The squad was thin of quality and their absence was felt .

    Tom has to take blame for his selection. Guys like Ford , Nathan Lewis and Akim are not up to scratch.

  51. Cheyenne, the players who were available but not picked are: Jan-Michael Williams, Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams, Nathaniel Garcia, Triston Hodge and Leston Paul.
    I’m not sure about the others. Now whether you agree or disagree with his decision to leave them out, they all said they were available.
    Saintfiet cannot have his cake and eat it too. He cannot drop them and then complain that they were not there.
    Now do you think any of those players might have helped?

    • Lasana – You need to clarify the above statement. Saying that these players were available is not entirely correct. You know there were extenuating circumstances with several of them – from club vs country issues, to players going back and forth about their availability.

    • Simple Carlos. They were available to join camp for the Gold Cup playoffs and compete. And every one of them would have been in the squad before Andre Boucaud. Some of them trained more than several starters in the squad.
      I don’t need to clarify anything. By any definition of the word “available” you can find, they were that.

  52. And a double act of Dwight and Latapy leading the team may actually get DJW his wish .. two sold out games . $$$$$$

    • Earl Best

      Speaking of sellouts, there’s a certain resemblance between JAW and DJW, merely one letter’s difference. Just saying…

      • Earl Best

        After all, now that the mould has been made and is available to all, DJW is in the BUSINESS of football, is he not? Now I don’t know what money is to be made from the national football team’s not progressing beyond the Hex.

        But what has been made clear by the DOJ’s action is that, if you are an official wielding CFU, CONCACAF or FIFA power, there is a lot of money to be made in ways that are not obvious even to the keen observer of international football.

        Let us not forget that DJW made an early play for regional power that raised many eyebrows.

        Just saying once more…r

  53. After thinking about it last night Tom should be sacked . It’s a no win situation for him right now , he’s lost 3 in 4 and the fans , media , TTFA and most importantly players are not on side with him . He’s burned a lot of bridges with players already and who knows if they would make themselves available for March .

    It’s funny how football works because if Hart hadn’t lost to Martinique we wouldn’t have had any of these games and it’s unfair on Tom that none of our better players were available where he’s been let down with their poor level of ability and now it may cost him his job . I’m sure he would have liked to have the two qualifiers with our full contingent of players to make his mark .

    At this point it seems a worse idea going into March with him in charge …. I guess Russel may get his wish after engineering himself into DJWs friend list .(it’s small)

    Hopefully he brings Yorke with him as assistant to at least have one person capable on the staff to be firm with these mentally weak players (most of them)

    I like Tom but long story short he has to go for the good of the team

    • I don’t like Tom but agree he should go… While he didn’t have the strongest team Cheyenne neither did Suriname or Haiti who were also without their European based players in fact WE had MORE foreign-based than any other team so he gets NO sympathy from me! He should be SACKED ASAP otherwise I foresee us getting HAMMERED in those two home games which would kill off our campaign and sink football into the abyss we were in when Stephen Hart took over.

    • Brian Springer stephen hart.left us in the abyss, you forgot ??? Loosing 8 out of 13 in 2016 and only winning 3 games which included SvG home and away

    • Rubbish Don! Stephen Hart had us COMPETING against the likes of Mexico 4-4 BEATING Guatemala away 2-1 AWAY from home PRIOR to his arrival under a GERMAN Coach we were knocked out of 2014 World Cup at the SEMI-FINAL stage after LOSING to GUYANA & BERMUDA…THAT is the ABYSS of which I spoke…Know you history Donnie come lately…You support the sacking of Hart who lost to COSTA RICA and HONDURAS but TRYING to justify the continued presence of a Coach who has lost to NICARAGUA SURINAME AND HAITI… and CANNOT keep a clean sheet even in the lone victory…And BEFORE you say oh gosh he only NOW reach…Well GUESS what? In Hart”s first games in charge he had no time but got thrown straight into the Gold Cup where he got us out of the group stage and we lost 1-0 to Mexico in the second round…Leo Beenhakker took over in 2005 and we won his first warm up game with mostly locals then went on to beat Guatemala and Panama at home in World Cup qualifiers.

    • Brian Springer i was simply correcting the misinformation you place out there, whatever he did in 2015, he got the opportunity to continue the task in 2016, however the results was terrible in 2016, with the players available to him

    • If the coaches changing and the results are basically the same maybe we really have to ask questions of the ability of the players selected .

    • The players lack of quality IS undoubtedly PART of the problem…When we qualified in 2005 we had players in the Premier League and Championship as well as Scotland NW our so-called top players are based in the MLS

    • You are correct Lyndon Pk Williams, the constant here is the players

    • With Hart in charge we were on our way out of the WC. So nothing has really changed .I don’t agree with firing TS now. Let’s see how things go in the two WC games then based on that take action. ..

    • The man Tom was being criticize before even a game played….

    • Trini Don that is where I have a problem. Without seeing him in action he was being lambasted.

    • And he”s being criticized NOW after 4 games with dubious RESULTS…He was hired to do a job… WIN games that it was felt Stephen Hart couldn’t not! If we are now saying that the PLAYERS aren’t good enough then is that an admission that we should not have fired Hart???

    • Brian what I can say is that hart record before coming tnt, is nothing to talk about….shit coach

    • I disagree…I think Hart’s record as Canada coach was a decent one…And he came highly recommended by Leo Beenhakker…But if Hart in your opinion is a shit coach then Tom DeFeat would be an even shittier one no?

    • I have never rated Tom, i just ask for him to get a fair chance

    • What is fair? I don’t need to TOUCH fire to know that it’s HOT and is going to BURN me…If a Coach doesn’t possess the necessary skills to do the job BASED ON HIS TRACK RECORD and I hire him and he FAILS… Yes the person who hired him should be held accountable BUT ALSO the Coach who took a job that he wasn’t qualified for must take the licks too.

    • Another thing Trini Don you do know that in firing Hart we have to PAY OFF HIS CONTRACT…So we are essentially paying TWO Coaches right now and RESULTS are WORSE…By NOT qualifying for the Gold Cup we LOST money… Wouldn’t you agree that taxpayers money is being wasted?

    • Why on earth are you wasting your time?

    • Just finished radio show having a late lunch…

    • Lunch in hyatt Brian Springer ?

    • Nah I’m NOT so fortunate…Lunch in my office

    • Send me your office address, i will fwd you a hyatt special

    • Thanks but no thanks Trini Don I am wary of buying cat in bag…Just as I am of hiring proven failures as Coaches

    • Brian Springer??????????????????????

    • If Hart was doing a good job we would have beaten Martinique and quality for the GC. Hart started we but lost the plot as evidenced by his prolonged selection of KJ…

    • Yorke is mentally capable?? Could you imagine the players having a coach who penned the book, born to score. Gosh no .. neither him nor latapy are disciplinarians Nobody takes them on

    • The results are basically the same Lyndon Pk Williams?! You should start following international football more.
      Martinique is a former Gold Cup quarterfinalist–and they have gotten to the Gold Cup as often as us in this millennium–and has about a dozen players with European football experience in their team including a guy who was a top West Ham player and was still fresh at 32.
      Apart from the fact that Martinique defeated T&T on more than one occasion in our heyday with guys like Hislop, Nakhid, Stern, etc on the field.
      You want to compare them with teams like Nicaragua and Suriname?
      You see comments like that make me feel you and Trini Don are not serious or don’t really know our history at all.
      I know Trini Don was happy to jump in bed with whichever coach dropped Kenwyne Jones. But what is your excuse?

    • Lasana Liburd any coach but Brian Springer???????

    • Lasana Liburd just for the record I was NEVER jumping into bed with Trini Don LMAO

    • Las with all due respects I have being following this game since the 74 WC. I have also played college and first division football . I even coached all be it for a short time. So I think I know a little bit about the game. I know Martinique is know walk over but given the level we are at i believe we should be a to get the better of them most times.

    • Well Lyndon, you will know that comparing Suriname–who never beat us in a competitive game since 1979–to Martinique who actually eliminated Rene Simoes’ squad from the 2001 Gold Cup with the likes of Stern, Shaka and Dwarika in the team, is just not a proper comparison.
      Martinique had more quality in their team than even Haiti did over the weekend.
      It is absolutely true that Hart’s team was in poor form. But they thrashed Dominican Republic. And they would not have lost to Suriname on their worst day.

    • Las you keep saying Suriname have not defeated us since 79 but have we played them much cause I can’t remember games with them over the last 25 years.How many times have we actually played them ?

    • Las but we trashed DR with our top players. It was a fifa date .

    • We played them last in 2012 Lyndon. Beat them 3-0. Also we play their club teams all the time and remember 99 percent of their national players are in Surinamese club teams.
      And W Connection, Central FC and Caledonia AIA beat them coming and going. I published the head to head recently. We have played them often enough.

    • Fair point Lyndon. But Haiti have more players in Europe than us, so their team was harder hit by playing on a FIFA date.
      Remember the only unavailable players were Sheldon Bateau, Khaleem Hyland and Levi Garcia. Just three. He dropped everyone else.
      For all you know, he might have dropped them too if they turned up.
      Haiti only had four players from the squad that edged us. So they might have been missing as many as 14 players. It was just four for us.

    • I am not surprised we lost to Haiti. They have always been formidable opponents. We lost to them in the Copa qualifier . We should have beaten Suriname, our finishing on set pieces was poor plus the luck was with Suriname. The first goal was a deflection plus we had shots on goal that the defenders cleared.

  54. Earl Best

    Mr Editor, you clearly had loads of fun writing this match report, which I find riveting but uncharacteristically ungenerous.

    Saintfiet is no less clearly on his way out and this piece tells me that if we look we’ll see both Wired868’s hands in the small of his back. What the man do you?

    Seriously, though, hard questions have to be asked, not about the new appointEE but about the appointER. Where was John-Williams’ head when he agreed to this appointment? In the TTFA’s coffers? In his wallet? Or in some other part of him which is not so far from his back pocket?

  55. Carlos Edwards’ injury and Cornell Glen’s introduction were two major turning points in the game

  56. We were high and might with the recent crop of players and staff but we have drop so hard and fast that I’m still rounding up what is going here

  57. 10.Hérold Charles has still not been marked by a T&T player. Did the coaching staff not realize that this man was unmarked all night. What was the coaching staff watching.

  58. I’m so sick of T&TFF…….killing our football, what the heck this coach did? Drop all our best players when we needed to qualify for the gold cup.
    I am cooking on to see what Mr. Williams and his new coach will do now.

  59. We must admit coach come coach go d team ain’t good

  60. time to give the new blood a chance these foolballers playing like they already lost no belly pride just going through the motions time to fire this bunch of crap

  61. We gone from coach Hart to this mess

  62. Brilliant match report, as usual, LL.

  63. My personal opinion is T & T coach should be Jamaal Shabazz Period .

  64. Why are people so quick to disrespect others who exercise their right to free speech? It also seems like a classist response to me, implying someone from the ghetto because they identify with a place called La Horquetta. But say what Trevor Baksh, you have a right to free speech too. On the football now, from the reports I’ve seen there seems to be a ‘Connection’ between the indisciplined players and the TTFF president.

  65. I must admit under hart we played much better football and the team was more in sync and had more discipline….yes we lost a couple games but there was improvement after every game in some form and he was a motivator….now we in shambles….We don’t have the talent we once had so it comes down to order and discipline which hart was trying to instill….Now we at our worst under this guy…he bad talks and insults his players how is that motivation…..

  66. La Horquetta XF, why bring Donald into this, he is going to the BigHouse and is a billionaire while you are still in the ghetto, so who is the fool. Now getting back to the beautiful game, it is too early to blame the coach, it’s just the players are not ready for this level of football.

  67. At his next job you will hear how he manage Molino and Joevin jones, who we hope will still become our next genuine stars

    • Earl Best

      Yes, Kion, you’re right. And his fellow janitors will all love to hear these tales as they mop the hospital floors somewhere in Belgium.

      Because surely you’re not suggesting that he can still get a job as a football coach?

      • Earl Best

        Not at any rate if football people read and understand what this match report is saying.

      • Lasana Liburd

        Lol. I am certain Saintfiet will get another job. His problem is keeping jobs not getting them. For every team he ever coached, he has a half dozen reasons as to why the poor results there were not his fault.
        I’m sure he has a dossier for Trinidad and Tobago already. He will find another gullible FA with self-esteem problems in quick time I am sure.

  68. TT football is in shambles…save Winchester there are no playmakers and finishers…failure to hold ball for four to five knocks, long ball play like dunce football and players tired in extra time… I was a Cornell Glen fan but he is washed up from injuries etc. I thought the extra time would give us a chance but too many weak areas. The older players aren’t able at all…countries ranked extremely lower than us are beating us any day…sad

    • Ronald we played like the English in the 70s with the long ball without purpose. Our team lack Fitness, Passion and Willingness to learn. I suggest we pull a 22 man team from the recently concluded SSFL and put them in a camp for the next couple months.

    • We must do something. In my lifetime I would like to see us excel at the game…there is no reason we shouldn’t be dominant for a start – in the region-given our history and our ‘rich’ economy. Another issue is our poor crowds. School league in Jamaica is a sell out event…you’re right SSFL with the attraction of Flow live coverage and business sponsorship is the future…

  69. Worse Administrator in the Universe DJW we have no chance of getting to the World Cup now and its not the players fault this fool worse than Donald swear to God

  70. is it the coach or the team that needs revamping?

  71. Congrats to Shahdon on the hattrick

  72. Congrats on the Hattrick Shahdon…One of the few positives in this fiasco of Coach DeFeat’s reign…And the man boldfaced enough to ask for more time??? NO! GO NOW already!!!

  73. It saddens me to see what is transpiring with the national team.