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”.
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].”
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.
(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.
SSFL Premier Division Standings
(Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)
- Shiva Boys HC 3-3-0-0-9–1-9
- Presentation 3-2-1-0-8-3-7
- St Augustine 2-2-0-0-5-2-6
- St Anthony’s 3-2-0-1-6-4-6
- Carapichaima E 3-2-0-1-5-4-6
- Fyzabad Sec 3-2-0-1-4-3-6
- Trinity East 3-1-1-1-4-3-4
- QRC 3-1-1-1-3-3-4
- San Juan N 3-0-3-0-5-5-3
- Naparima 3-1-0-2-4-4-3
- Fatima 3-1-0-2-2-4-3
- Speyside High 3-1-0-2-3-7-3
- Trinity Moka 3-1-0-2-4-7-3
- Signal Hill 3-0-1-2-1-3-1
- St Mary’s 2-0-1-1-4-7-1
- St Benedict’s 3-0-0-3-3-10-0