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Benedict’s shuffle staff; “Coachman” Leonson set to lose post after three straight defeats

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Elite Youth Development coach Leonson Lewis looks set to be the first Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division head coach to lose his job, just three games into the 2017 season, as St Benedict’s College try to recover from a woeful start to the new campaign.

Lewis, a former Strike Squad star and Portugal-based striker, was offered a three-year contract from St Benedict’s in 2016 only for the La Romaine-based school to spend much of the term flirting with relegation while the new boss raised eyebrows with a public warning against players calling him “Coachman”.

Photo: St Benedict’s College coach Leonson Lewis points the way forward for his team during SSFL Premier Division action against East Mucurapo at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Benedict’s avoided relegation with at least a game to spare in the end but a poor start to the 2017 season apparently further eroded confidence in Lewis’ ability to lead the proud southern institution towards the top end of the standings.

Benedict’s lost all three games in 2017 and trailed St Augustine Secondary 3-0 at halftime on the weekend before a late rally salvaged some pride—but no points—as they eventually succumbed 4-2.

St Benedict’s team manager Ravi Ramgoolam was tight-lipped as to who will run the school’s technical area on Wednesday evening, when they face St Mary’s College at Serpentine Road in St Clair. Assistant coach Nolan Bernard also refused to confirm or deny whether he is set take the reins on an interim basis.

However, Ramgoolam did admit that there will be a change.

“[Lewis] is still a part of the coaching staff,” Ramgoolam told Wired868, “[but] one of the assistant coaches will [run the bench].”

Photo: A St Benedict’s player (centre) tries to elude St Augustine midfielder Jeremiah Vidale during SSFL Premier Division action in St Augustine on 16 September 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Despite the impending technical staff shuffle, the St Benedict’s manager suggested that their poor returns this season—which sees the squad at the bottom of the standings—was down to bad luck.

“Pre-season didn’t go too badly and I think we just need a little luck this season,” said Ramgoolam. “The boys have showed the fighting spirit and the drive to do well. I know the team is willing to work and they are well meshed. But you have to have to a little bit of luck.”

Whether Benedict’s will find that good fortune against a St Mary’s team that is second from bottom in the standings but playing its first home game of the season is another story.

The “Saints” have played just twice so far this year—their first fixture against St Augustine was postponed due to bad weather—and managed a high scoring draw against San Juan North before being thumped 4-1 by Presentation College (San Fernando) last weekend.

If Benedict’s win tomorrow, they could potentially climb as high as 13th in the 16-team standings while St Mary’s would go dead last. And it might be CIC coach Ryan Shim who would end up looking over his shoulder.

Photo: St Mary’s College skipper Gabriel Nanton (right) smashes home a superb item to pull his team level with San Juan North during SSFL action at Bourg Mulatresse on 13 September 2017.
Both teams played to a 3-3 draw.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Upcoming fixtures

(Wednesday 20 September)

Trinity College East v Fyzabad Secondary, 3.40pm, Trincity;

St Mary’s College v St Benedict’s College, 3.40pm, St Mary’s;

Shiva Boys HC v QRC, 3.40pm, Penal;

Presentation College v Signal Hill, 3.40pm, Guaracara Park;

Fatima College v Speyside High, 3.40pm, Fatima;

St Augustine Secondary v Carapichaima East, 3.40pm, St Augustine;

St Anthony’s College v Naparima College, 3.40pm, St Anthony’s;

San Juan North v Trinity College Moka, 3.40pm, San Juan.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College winger Quinn Rodney (left) challenges Naparima College defender Shadeon Arthur for the ball during SSFL action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 8 September 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

SSFL Premier Division Standings

(Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

  1. Shiva Boys HC    3-3-0-0-91-9
  2. Presentation        3-2-1-0-8-3-7
  3. St Augustine        2-2-0-0-5-2-6
  4. St Anthony’s        3-2-0-1-6-4-6
  5. Carapichaima E  3-2-0-1-5-4-6
  6. Fyzabad Sec       3-2-0-1-4-3-6
  7. Trinity East          3-1-1-1-4-3-4
  8. QRC                     3-1-1-1-3-3-4
  9. San Juan N          3-0-3-0-5-5-3
  10. Naparima            3-1-0-2-4-4-3
  11. Fatima                 3-1-0-2-2-4-3
  12. Speyside High    3-1-0-2-3-7-3
  13. Trinity Moka       3-1-0-2-4-7-3
  14. Signal Hill           3-0-1-2-1-3-1
  15. St Mary’s            2-0-1-1-4-7-1
  16. St Benedict’s      3-0-0-3-3-10-0

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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  1. hmmm…. i have been labelled as “ghetto” for voicing my opinion….i finally went to game …that is my comment . In me saying anything more although i want to very badly i shall hold my tongue until the end of the season …..i apologize to Jomo, Anthony, Dwight and Lasana in advance for my lack of contributions this season…
    Mr. Pierre and Mr. Fenwick i applaud and am mostly humbly grateful for your contributions to local football!!!!

  2. Travis why don’t you point the the number of star players who made successful transitions to coaching. Because that is who the commenters were alluding to.
    I will give you a head start: Zidane. Can you name 10 or even 5 more?

    • Ronald Koeman
      Pep Guardiola
      Johan Cryuff
      Frank Rijkaard
      Jup Henckyes
      Mario Zagalo
      Franz Beckenbaur
      Mark Hughes
      Didier Deschamps

    • Dexter, the only name you called there who acheved superstar status as player and coach is Cryuff and maybe Rijkaard. I don’t think any of the other were A listers as either player or coach. Or both.
      Beckenbauer gets about as much praise in Germany for the 1990 World Cup as Klinsmann gets for 2006. Which is not so much.
      If you consider the likes of Deschamp a star, then you would have to consider Gary Neville a star too.
      Guardiola was a fine player in a great team. But he was not a star anymore than Sergio Busquets is. And Busquets won far more.
      Does anyone consider Mascherano a superstar?
      I’m talking about guys with the status of Hagi, Bobby Charlton, Pele, Weah, Hugo Sanchez, Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio, Ronaldo, Zico… Mark Hughes? Nah man. Lol.

    • Dexter, do you really think Zagalo is considered a star in Brazil? I’m not talking about someone who you respect for their contribution. I’m talking about an A lister. A player who was among the finest in his generation.
      I shocked you didn’t call Dunga yes.

    • We r now clearly of the impression that a STAR player is the man who scores….well that was when we were kid Lasana….
      Now that we are grown and understand the GAME…we know that we grew up watching many STAR PLAYERS….U however Lasana…are clearly making mention of the ELITE…..

    • And Zagalo contributed on a World Cup winning team…understanding the game in its entirety….a World Cup winning team is the best 11 players in that Country….and this that country has the best 11 players as a group in the world…..
      How cud Mario Zagalo not be a STAR….

    • Dexter, well substitute elite for star then. Every player on the 11 is important. Martial and Rashford are important to Man U and they don’t even have starting posts nailed down. But I’m talking upper tier players here.
      Xavi would be the example of an A lister who didn’t score much goals. I’d say Vieira and Pirlo too. Beckenbauer as well. Didi for Brazil is another.
      For T&T, I’d say David Nakhid was an A lister who was almost never on the score sheet. So I’m talking upper tier players–whatever you want to call them.

    • Note I’m not saying that Leonson isn’t a good coach because he was a “star”. I think being a good coach sometimes has to do with organisational skills and communication skills that not everyone has.
      So although not many upper tiers players cracked it, I wouldn’t say that elite skillful players won’t make good coaches. Probably isn’t that simple.

    • Dexter Cyrus the difference I believe between Leo and yourself is the understanding of players first and the ability to reach them within themselves to achieve their goals together without fear of failure

    • Kurtwyn Baird….i want u to know that Leonson Lewis is a FULLLLLL TIME COACH….thats what he does…he Coaches for a living…and walks around looking like a Victoria Secrets model….

    • After reading that….I honestly don’t know if to laugh or cry….?

    • Kurtwyn Baird…and u know me well also….i hav my own Academy…my own Club…i created my own Club and Academy so that i can invest in my 2 boys future…..i am not Coaching to “EAT AH FOOD” i am not Coaching to disrespect and undermine another Coach to get his jod…all i hav ever done and ever will do is FOOTBALLLLLLLLLL
      I do it because I Love itttttttttttt

    • I’m a St Benedicts Alumni and my mouth open and nothing coming out …..

    • Baird….Leo is very methodical in his underhandedness…. like we 4get he did the same thing at Naparima….he patiently waited until Dunstan Williams did alllllll the hard work…went to the Naparima management at the time..and convinced them that he cud do a better job….we all know how that ended……
      Fast 4ward to Benedicts….he actually came to Benedicts manager 2 years prior…claiming that he wanted to work with the Youth programme…
      Kurtwyn Baird…u will not believe the proposal that Benedicts manager brought forward in an official meeting….
      I want you allllllllll to hear the embarassment of a proposal “Mr Ramgoolam” Benedicts manager said he thought was a good proposal…….
      He said…Leo wants to take the Form ones….Coach them until they reach Form 5…and when they reach Form 5 he will become the Head Coach and I will go and Coach the Form 1’s…..
      I watching my assistant Brian Jordan and he watching me…in utter disbelief….and Ravi and the rest of his staff looking at us normal as ever….
      Ravi…will ups and say…”I think is a good proposal”….
      My question now is….Can anyone of you Coaches and Ex Benedicts boys…tell me if you all have ever heard anything like that b4…or ever hope to…What would have been alyuh reaction…..

      • i would love too……but honestly don’t think airing it here would help us move forward …..as is they are looking at our responses and calling us tribal…ghetto… indisciplined…and that our contributions are read by the “Team” who are young boys and is hurts them to read this…..lol

    • Well karma is a bitch as they say Dexter Cyrus, I could tell that ALL the people that have done injustice to me as a player or coach from referees to coaches to administrators I’ve seen their demise, that s how the world works some people believe they can do wickedness and escape judgement ,good for them . There are a lot of snakes in the coaching fraternity that s why our football is in decline no cooperation to establish a singular vision . I remember in my time in the MLS All the teams were playing 4-4-2 or a variation there of and the national team did too . Not saying we should all do that but it’s just an example.
      Concerning Lasana Liburd , the argument was players who played pro and ended up a top coach and the ratio is 9:1 in favour .If y’all wanna fight the figures be my guest .

    • Travis I wasn’t having that debate at all. So we were discussing two different things.
      But if you want we can look at the EPL to see.

    • Kelvin not real talk at all. Travis is wrong.

    • Man call Mark Hughes yes. ?????

    • How am I wrong ? How many of the EPL coaches have never played pro football , bro in your attempt to discredit ex players for whatever reason ,you alone would know , you are not looking at the figures . As they say don’t watch face ,look at the figures. Thats the good thing with quantitative research there is NO room for feelings or bias, likes and dislikes. Eg, As much as I despise Fenwick his nos show he’s a top coach in the pro league era, same can be said for Sancho and his achievements at Central. I challenge you guys to let’s switch jobs for a month ,just 1 month and you’ll see the reality of what we are faced with. I’ll run wired 868 ,you’ll run Arima North one of your ex schools, 500 Spartans and the U 14s at Trendsetter Hawks academy. Step up

    • I am presently looking at EPL Lasana Liburd with Pochetino and Bilic on the touchlines.

    • Of the 20 prem teams only 2 coaches haven’t played pro . That according to my maths is 90% Lasana Liburd; correct me if I wrong I failed math a couple times

    • Travis, only six played top level football. So it is according to how you want to make your argument I guess.
      If people are saying that star players don’t necessarily make good coaches then obviously they wouldn’t have lower league players in mind would they?
      I think we are just discussing different points yes. Bilic and Pochettino are one third of the 25 percent of EPL coaches who played top class football. And none were star players by any stretch of the imagination.
      Carlos Edwards played more top flight football than 75 percent of the EPL’s coaches.

    • This is such a senseless discussion. Pros in the sport of soccer natural progression is either into coaching or management because they’re already in that arena …they network in there, they play there ….that is the only reason. The argument is that being a great player or professional does NOT automatically set you up to be a GREAT coach. Coaching is about TEACHING…. mental and physical….MOTIVATING …getting players to push harder and play out their comfort zone. You think because you play some ball at that level you’re automatically prepared to walk on the field and coach a team to a title? If you wanna be a lawyer just because you win a few arguments amongst friends or you’ve bailed a few friends out of jail or been in jail you’re ready to go in a courtroom and fight a case. This is what Nigel Myers say and it’s gospel “All this setta long talk eh settling nothing. De fact is being very good at something doh mean dat yuh would be very good at passing on de requisite knowledge. De key is making de complex simple, or de simple simpler. Most of de brightest minds in de world cyar teach one ass. Is ah different set of skills dat is required. Teaching is an art!”. Why has Maradona been shit at coaching, or Pele …. or Latapy …. or Leonson yet Bertil has had success Mourinho ….? Why isn’t Ronaldinho in coaching or Ronaldo, Rivaldo, yet Dunga has coached ….Wenger ….Ferguson….unheralded players from unheralded teams. it’s a mindset …. Cruyff and Pep jas an extraordinary mindset on their games …pep wasn’t a great player he was good but not great but he knew from a young age what he wanted to do …Cruyff to me is the anomaly as a top player …reading about him his mindset is amazing … he is next level. Last but not least coaching adults who already understand the game and their ability is hella different from coaching youth teams with developmental deficiencies, it’s a totally different skill set …….. hence why Latas and Leo are shit coaches at Youth Level ……. and probably senior as well

  3. I wonder how old was the Don when he coached our Soca Worries eh, and took us to our first and last World Cup from a very long time from now if the corrupted TTFA doesn’t get their acts together eh, the way things are going with plenty of the nowadays bootleg younger coaches in our sweet country eh, some of our older coaches really needs to be recycled eh. Them really good yes.

  4. Men in their 60s still wanna coach in Trinidad , they in my humble opinion should transition into administration .

  5. When schools/ teams start hiring on merit football results would fall in line until then , who like who , who the principal know , who from South , who play pro( yes that doesn’t mean you’ll be a success as a coach ). Then you have up and coming talented coaches I have one at Arima 20 yrs old no longer interested in playing, good footballing brain , needs a platform to grow . I am happy to provide that for him.

  6. Guys you could call 5 for the most , top coaches who never played pro , then call a thousand who did what’s the point? To discredit Leonson, Latas, Lawrence ? The numbers never lie.

  7. Nobody will get it not until everyone is serious about sports and not just money

  8. All unfair games must be dealt with. Coach Caesar is the man

  9. Aaron pollard do you consider Santa Claus real

  10. I believe we were focusing on never played at a “significant professional level” … not never touched a ball in their life …

  11. Do you consider the present coach of rangers as a top coach? He never played any football

  12. Arrigo Sacchi, NEVER played football? Mourinho NEVER PLAYED football ,Villas Boas NEVER played football?

  13. Ok , I’ll call 20 who were players . Sir Alex, Ancelloti, Zidane, Pep, Mancini, Del Bosque, Conte, Rijkaard, Wenger, Simeone, Van Gaal, and I can go on and on so that means that you have a 90 % chance of being a top coach when you have playing experience

  14. Which top coach ” Never” played football at some level ???? Name 2

  15. Trini Martin allya on the man case again smh

  16. Fire the whole team get some youths who actually know the game and could play not just talk football this is the worst selection

  17. Question to you Titans:

    What do you think a daily practice football session looks like? How long? Of what activities? In what order?

    I would love you all to answer

    • It varies alot of times it could depend on the skill set of your players etc and just the preference of the coach himself …a dynamic warm up …. involving lots of plyometrics and lots of ball work … some skill work …touches ..passing..shooting depending on what you’re doing that day. …then a functional drill on the skill you previously worked on then a chance to play …pushing the focus on practicing in the game what you worked on in the previous drills ….preseason and inseason gets different focus…because you have to manage your players smarter …save their legs etc focus more on tactics less on preseason training etc. Some coaches split into circuits and run it like that …it’s really not a fixed template just a matter of you understanding how to best implement knowledge so that they are understand and utilize it efficiently……

    • It depends on the time of the season,
      The player quality..
      What is lacking…and needs to be accomplished

  18. I don’t know who are these new ppl managing the team and still don’t understand how they could sleep good knowing you masterminded the sacking of a coach (Dexter Cyrus) who took the school’s football team back competing and winning at the top. #LewisOUT #ManagementOUT

  19. Question I saw that they said….somebody else would run the bench but he is a part of the coaching staff…what does that mean?

  20. Flashback : This was put together in 2010 and some of the bootleg coaches are still not getting the message in our sweet country. Them really good yes.

  21. Wait wait wait somebody else going to run the team but he is still part of the coaching staff? Lasana Liburd an explanation please

  22. Finally thank the Most High….should have been fired since last year

  23. I say the same thing to yes Dwight Austin. Them really good yes.

  24. I am not sure of this is his new job at the school. Yesterday morning he was standing at the front gate waiting for students who came late to sign the late book and I am not joking

  25. Doesn’t he coach one of the junior national teams also ?

  26. Maybe it’s not the coach ? But the quality of people handed to him?

  27. PS: I laugh at myself coming into you big boys talk, eh. But it not empty

  28. Lasana your ain’t learn from.the last time

  29. They have some good young players Ruel Tyson Caleb gasper jevon humphry

  30. Bring Back Dexter Cyrus………!!!

  31. Well Done! !….fire his Ass. ….this was supposed too be done since Last year. ..!!

  32. Time to press coachman…thanks for nothing…Ravi out here talking bout luck inno…steups

  33. Ah Coachman ….smh …have my team dead last …steups …cyah coach

  34. Whenever you hear the terms “Luck” and “Bad luck” being bandied about at this level, the insightful will have a very good idea about what is taking place, or better yet what is NOT taking place.

  35. I don’t know why the coachman, Stern John, Clint Marcelle, and Russel Laterpy doesn’t come together and open a goal scoring and finishing academy nah because that is a serious problem in these times with these nowadays players eh . Them really good yes.

  36. These old, old, dis-proven theories that ex player makes a coach…One more time proven wrong.

    • I suspect because we are not thinkers, critical, processing, application in this country.

      I ran track. In NYC
      A very competitive track state
      Maybe cause I had a good coach. I can coach a track team
      But it requires a whole lot beyond track skill: caring, vision, connection

      What I am saying is the failure of translation from player to trainer coach relates to the larger problem of us being spiritually, mentally, emotionally dead, which we see in all areas of society

  37. I don’t know who told some of these ex- professional players that they wudda be winning coaches eh. Them really good yes.

  38. So who dey go bring in, Saintfiet?

  39. Thank God. Just to fire the team manager now

  40. Lasana, you is ah bacchanalist. Yuh gone calling him Coachman again. Dem relly good yes.