The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team was plunged into further disarray this morning as Tom Saintfiet quit his post as head coach, just before lunch—barely one month into his tenure with the Soca Warriors.
And, almost in keeping with the farcical business of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), the announcement was made, not through a media release or press conference, but via a Facebook post.
“I resign as National Team Coach of T&T!” posted Saintfiet, on the wall of his social media account.
The Belgian coach confirmed that his stance was genuine and said he already shared his feelings with the foreign media. He said he no comment to make to the Trinidad and Tobago media or public at the moment.
Saintfiet’s last job was as coach of the Bangladesh football team, which is ranked 185th in the world by FIFA. His record as Warriors coach comprised of losses in both competitive matches against unheralded Suriname and Haiti, coupled with a win and a loss away to Central American minnows, Nicaragua.
Off the field, he fell out or omitted a remarkable number of senior players including: captain Kenwyne Jones, leading scorer Joevin Jones, goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, ace midfielder Kevin Molino, winger Cordell Cato and defenders Daneil Cyrus and Triston Hodge—not to mention management at Pro League and Caribbean champions, Central FC.
However in a statement relayed to Wired868, which Saintfiet presumably sent to the foreign media, he claimed that the TTFA did not provide him with the right environment for success.
“I would like to inform you all that I have decided to resign, today Tuesday 10 January 2017, as National Team coach of Trinidad and Tobago. Given the mandate to guide the team past Panama and Mexico in the coming World Cup qualifiers of March 2017, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t be successful in this environment.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Saintfiet revealed that he felt let down by TTFA president David John-Williams from his very unveiling on 7 December 2017.
John-Williams told the media that Saintfiet was not his first choice but was merely the most affordable person on the shortlist. And he promised to sack his new coach within three months if he did not deliver four points from two World Cup qualifying games against Panama and Mexico on 24 and 28 March 2017.
“[Saintfiet] was not our first choice—for sure,” said John-Williams. “Our first choice was way out of what we could have afforded. And I make no apologies for saying that. And I can tell you who our first choice was as well. Philippe Troussier. And Tom knows that.
“I will also tell you this… if he doesn’t get the job done on the 24 and 28 of March, he will be looking for a job. And I make no apologies for saying that. He is laughing but we’re very serious.
“Because if we don’t get the job done on the 24th and 28th of March, we might as well kiss our campaign goodbye.”
Saintfiet said his biggest regret was not leaving Trinidad there and then.
“From the first day of my unveiling, I did not get the support of the TTFA and its President,” stated Saintfiet, “support which is needed to be able to do my job in a professional and successful way. I never got the chance to work with the players nor staff requested.
“Perhaps I should have taken this decision right from day one of my appointment, after the President openly second guessed his own choice of employing me. But I gave him at the TTFA the benefit of the doubt.”
Wired868 asked John-Williams for comment on his sudden resignation, whether the football body now believes that it erred in hiring the obscure European in the first place and on his coach’s suggestion that he did not feel supported by the football body. He had not responded up to the time of publication.
However, in a media release after Saintfiet publicised his departure, the TTFA claimed he resigned formally to John-Williams last night.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association wishes to advise that Tom Saintfiet issued a letter of resignation as head coach of the National Men’s Senior Team to TTFA President David John-Williams on Tuesday night.
“The TTFA President then referred this letter to the Technical Committee of the TTFA and the Committee recommended that Saintfiet’s resignation be accepted and be ratified by the TTFA board.”
John-Williams appointed a stream of interim employees since he became president on 30 November 2015, which were perceived to be a means of creating instability for his employees so that he could dictate to them.
If so, it backfired spectacularly with Saintfiet, who publicly criticised players from John-Williams’ W Connection football club before his dramatic walk-out—just hours before the technical committee was due to meet to discuss his start as coach.
At his first meeting with the media, Saintfiet bragged that he had never been fired as a coach. It seemed a bizarre claim for a man who has rarely lasted more than nine months at any job—most of which were in second and third tiers teams in Africa.
Today, Saintfiet arguably gave a demonstration of his ability to dodge the axe and leave on his own terms, with a plausible reason for his failures to boot, as he waved goodbye to the two island republic.
“It was an honour and privilege to work for a beautiful nation like Trinidad and Tobago,” said Saintfiet, “and I wish the players, staff, TTFA, fans and the whole football family the very best.”
The TTFA promised to name Saintfiet’s replacement “in the shortest possible time.” Local coaches Russell Latapy and Jamaal Shabazz served as the Belgian’s assistants in the recently concluded 2017 Gold Cup playoffs, in which Trinidad and Tobago finished bottom of a three-nation group that included Suriname and Haiti.
“The Technical Committee has advised that a replacement for the post of Men’s Senior Team Head Coach will be found in the shortest possible time and the TTFA will make an announcement on this in due course.
“The TTFA wishes to thank Mr Saintfiet for his efforts over the period he served as head coach of our National Men’s Senior Team and takes this opportunity to wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Former Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 and England Premier League goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, now an analyst at ESPN, commented on Saintfiet’s resignation on his Twitter page:
“T&T football. I don’t know if to laugh or cry.”
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We can get Shaka Hislop to link us with Harry Rednap to save us from relegation
They only want coaches looking like them.
Yow our football in such a epic mess eh, lack of discipline from All levels.
Need to recruit players with Trinidad parentage and a foreign coach like a Brazilian or German . No local coaches please they just don’t have the grade. And for all them Party players who like to go on boat cruise please get rid of them and djw please spare your country the embarrassment and resign. Stephen hart or Ramesh Ramdhan for ttff president. Sam allardyce would of been a good English coach. Dunga or klinsman
That is very good TNT footballers don’t need a coach we TNT people feel we know every thing ha ha ha good for they ASS
I believe we have some of the best talent. Problem is our attitude. I’m certain the underdogs passing us today don’t have the best coaches. Their players however, probably have the passion, hunger and work ethic that we seem to lack.
That truth the Tom Sanfiet will take Barbados ,St Lucia and other small Caribbean islands and make wonders
What a joke this whole thing has been.
I am sorry for us at this stage..the talent just is not there…do not blame the coach. Coaching should start at 8 years of age at least.
Nothing can be done overnight wasn’t treated nicely he is no magician
What a loser go so dude
What again…… These Presidents only want puppets….
The coach is not the problem is the players time to get new players
Here we go again .. selecting another coach to take the team to World Cup .. it’s not going to happen overnight .. players have to be young, professional, disciplined, commited etc .. they can’t be depending on the past .. move forward .. a lot of the country’s money is spent here
Beyond embarrassing. DJW and technical committee should do the “right thing” and bid Sayonara as well after this latest fiasco.
I don’t take the TTFA’s word for anything. I know when Saintfiet went public. I don’t know when the football body received anything.
And I think Tom is right about everything except his statement about staff and players. That one needs more explanation because information available now doesn’t support him there.
Said before & I’ll say it again, DJW has removed all doubt that he is an utter CLOWN. Firing a coach that had us playing the best since Beenhakker, then undermining his already terrible hire on his first day. What did he expect shitting on Saintfiet from day 1 to do? Spur him & the team on? Is he literally retarded or just a petulant fool?
He handed his resignation to his employers first and it was accepted, what he does after is uo to him.
COMEDY OF ERRORS #whatsnext
which Hart yu referring to , he just followed instructions ,like good ceos and presidents
Now u people are seeing Hart was not the problem after all
no wonder there is no respect and so much indiscipline in sports, where these appointed senior people come from
He should have left after the first announcement by the chairperson, where in the world do yu threaten an employee before he starts.
We all know that he just wanted 2 bring in WConnection coach
more bacchanal. We don’t like we own, so we have to suck salt. How much did this charade cost the country?
I say he was damn right. I agree with everything he said in his resignation letter including what he said about the TTFA President’s berating of him at the introduction press conference. Remember I was first to mention that back then, going against the pack.
It was very unprofessional. I agree. Of course I think he made excuses for himself too with that bit about not getting the staff and players he wanted. But can’t argue with much of the other bits.
Sainfeit was part of the plan…. He is no victim, he got a month in the Caribbean, maybe a 10k-20k USD… A good month by his standard
He got US$7,000 per month
Lasana Liburd that we know of…….
So I was told anyway
You expected him to get more Che? Nah. They won’t throw money at him. What would be the point? They never respected him.
Lasana Liburd I think he was part of a plan…. Which will be unravelled shortly… He was not even worth 1000k, but he played a part on their plan…. At least I believe so… Lol….. They needed someone to make their eventual decision look good…. He fit bill perfectly….
This entire thing is a show, a staged show…..
So we await the appointment? Was it here that someone said that the TTFA President deliberately brought Saintfield and berated him in the presence of the media so that when he leaves the WConnection coach will be appointed. Waiting…….waiting
What a thing….. Was expected, Sainfiet was all part of plan for the eventual….
I am glad Saintfiet has resigned.He was a waste of time! Hope the TTFA employes a proper European coach or a good T&T coach like Angus Eve..St Lucian Stuart Charles Feveir isn’T bad either
Didn’t approve of coach but I agreed with him on position with players. I say play the u20s.
hence reason football in T&T where it is. Trina culture.
The TTFA statement came after the resignation. The TTFA claimed they received his resignation earlier. But Saintfiet was first to go public and many within the football body were surprised at his facebook post.
wait wait wait!!!! ah minute!! you mean to tell me when i eh come on Wired today all this Baccanal happen where me World Crass Footyball coach quit because Rampelpullskin eh support him…..!! oh gad oh.Trinibago sweet to bad oui……..man take front one time an leave cause he know he ah failure so he quit in smart……..lmao meh belly hutting meh oui!!! i cyah laugh na.!!! lmaooooooooooooo!! John WIllams you are a Total Failure !! period.!FAILUREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
The Honourable Minister of Sports needs to speak to the nation about recent developments within the football fraternity. Why has Tom Saintfeit resigned as coach after less than one month in the job? Why was former coach Stephen Hart treated so shabbily and deliberately undermined and deprived of essential resources?
Why does TTFA president David John Williams seem to be a law unto himself?
Maybe the Honourable Minister could address the nation this evening, after the Prime Minister?!
Always the government must do something. Pan, football, calypso.etc. Stand on your own or dissolve.
That’s why we have governments. Good governance provides sound decison-making for systems and institutions for the benefit of all stakeholders. Are you suggesting anarchy?
You have a better idea?? The man avoids the press like the plague and is currently f****** up the ttfa ….stand on your own or dissolve my ass !!
Wow! The man make an OJT stint yes! Bye!!!!
It was all a setup john Williams is going to b the coach now
If I don’t laugh, I would cry so here goes …?????????????????????
Travers Pierre I get that
…Nobody’s actually. How could anybody’s morale improve in the face of beating after beating? Conundrum. Vicious cycle. Abandon all hope.
Nothing to do with morale. It’s about leadership or the lack thereof. We get the right person to lead the federation and a coach who the players trust and believe in and we can go places.
..LOL Is just kicks man..
Don’t matter who you bring it’s up to ttfa and the players
Camara Mackenson David ur boy leave us high n dry…..send in ur resume now now now!
.NOW WATCH DE BACK DOOR!..
hahahahah yuh like real shit talk/satire eh Nigel Myers. Them really good yes.
I don’t know why my dictator president didn’t just let my foreign base Coach Hart finish what he had started nah, all now so my bags wudda be done packed long time already to return to my second sweetest country to support our Soca Worries in the 2017 Gold Cup steeuuppss. Them really good yes.
Earl Mango Pierre ……Mr Bacchanal…lol
Ah guess Saintfiet eh like de vibes in Ruby Tuesday.
..THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES!..
Whose morale, the players?
Rehire Coach Hart ??? T&TFA do not have the $$ to pay a good coach, and they still have to pay coach Hart. So let him finish his contract.
Business doh really work like that doh eh. To rehire him would require new salary negotiations. Hart would have leverage and if the terms don’t suit him can refuse while they still owe him on the currently existing contact.
Fenwick eh taking DJW bullshyte so notgonnahappen.com
Just another sad day in Trinidad and Tobago football, when will we learn that shortcuts don’t work in sports . It time to put a development program in place if we really wants success . 2022
Eureka!!! Santokie, that’s what I missed ….