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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

AboutLasana 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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166 comments

  1. Ok Lasana Liburd . Since you move the goal post ,lol

  2. There is more to coaching than adaptability first is the leadership quality the man himself his philosophy his coaching philosophy then the experience of system of play then the experience of the 4 major components then experience with managerial aspects dealing with players on an off the field dealing with staff dealing with club owners all these aspects comes into account as the saying goes having balls for these areas .

  3. Preach,preach, you is preaching very good eh Chabeth Haynes. Them really good yes.

  4. One of the most important factors in coaching is adaptability. And that is something that a lot of top athletes (and even coaches who have been coaching for decades) lack.
    And top athletes who transition to coaches lack it simply because they know what got them to the top and they have great belief in it.
    Athletes who didn’t get to the very top know what they would have done differently or wished their coach had done differently and so they’re usually less rigid in their approach.
    And adaptability is everything from coaching methodology to tone of communication. Talking to athlete A and B the same way most often doesn’t produce the same result.
    A person’s actual skill set in the sport minimally influences how successful they can be as a coach.

  5. Lol. Travis Mulraine right now Levi Garcia is 19 years old and play more top flight football than men like Klopp.
    You’re changing talk to significant level now.
    We are saying that stars don’t necessarily make top coaches. Nobody considers lower league men as stars hoss.
    Leonson played top flight football in Portugal. Latapy played European football.
    Benitez never even smelt that level. So we are going around in circles.
    We don’t consider lower league players as stars of the game. Furthermore since you played in Europe you full well know that there were guys in lower leagues there that couldn’t even make good Pro League clubs. They had the right passports. That’s all.
    But that’s besides the point. We are talking about star players. And lower league players aren’t stars.

  6. Ah just love the bacchanal yes, well waiting very patiently for Mr. Live Wire response eh hahahaha

  7. I will invite you Lasana Liburd to retract and re investigate because ONLY Mourinho and Clement haven’t played at a significant level. Rafa played but with minnows and reserve teams. You are supposed to be a pro ,you can’t be putting out inaccurate info ,not cause it’s your domain

  8. hope that the neo-jack warner really doesn’t go from being local dictator to regional dictator supreme otherwise we in a mess……. tell black Hitler i say watch he back it have snake in he balisier

  9. no lie i have something i want to say badly…….but it have some serious domesticated feline species commenting on this thread….. not to mention the lot that loves consuming fresh presidential fecal matter…… i might get ” reported” a third time for the truth…….. may Allah be with brother

  10. Take it a step further…check and see how many WORLD CUP WINNERS were COACHED by former players and how many never played pro ball… When something comes easy to you it might be harder for you to explain it to someone…I experienced this with a teacher at school he was an island-scol winner who did teaching for a few weeks before taking up his scol…he couldn’t simplify equations and was hopeless in explaining things because as he put it …it’s soooooo simple…I would have surely failed if he’d stayed any longer…like teachers, Coaches need to get their points across in order to be effective… COMMUNICATION is KEY!!!

  11. 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.

  12. Travis Mulraine, there are 20 football coaches/managers in the Premier League.
    From those 20, Pep Guardiola (Man City), Antonio Conte (Chelsea), Mauricio Pellegrino (Southampton), Chris Hughton (Brighton and Hove Albion), Slaven Bilic (West Ham) and Ronald Koeman (Everton) played top flight football. That is just six or practically 25 percent.
    All the others played almost exclusively lower league football and sometimes for just a short period of time.
    Paul Clement (Swansea)–a former assistant at Chelsea, PSG and Madrid–and Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) never paid professional football at all.
    I never knew that Hodgson never played pro football.
    So Dexter Cyrus, here are some more stats to play with. Having top flight football in your CV appears to count for little if you want to be a top football coach/manager.
    Who would have thought eh Cheyenne, Kendall, Brian, Gary, Colin, Roneil, Amiel, Brian, Kirwin, Brent, Ian, Carlos, Chabeth, Brian, Kelvin…

    • Looks like a stellar pro career is more likely to get you in a media studio than heading the technical staff of a top football club…

    • Lasana Liburd – thats a well know fact. Most of the top coaches were never top players. In fact I remember reading something in a magazine a few years ago that said that having been a top notch player might mitigate against being a good coach. Coaching afterall is about education (being a student of the game and then being able to impart that knowledge), leadership, strategy, tactics, all of which have humility and good communications skills as foundational requirements. We know the sizes of egos the higher a person ascends in most area. Big egos seem to affect effective communication

    • Lasana, yuh leave out yuh pardna Tom.

    • Nothing surprising about that. It’s right in line with the other false premise that your best player should always be your captain.

    • Ok. I tested it further by looking at La Liga’s 20 football coaches/managers. Whereas England only had six coaches who played top flight football exclusively, Spain had 12–more than 50 percent!
      They had three managers who never played professional football at all: Fran Escribá (Villaroel), Manuel Márquez Roca (Las Palmas), José Bordalás (Getafe)…
      And the other five were lower league players.

    • …..would be interesting to see a similar analysis for the Bundesliga.

  13. All I know is when I tried my hand at the coaching business eh, all I use to tell my players is that in order to get plenty monies Alyuh have to win and I dun talk, well of course I use to hire some top of the line players in order to win the trophies eh. Them really good yes hahahahaha

  14. There is fundamental differences between having the ability to play and having the ability to coach. A good player (or a bad one) has no guarantee of success …coaching is more psychological because you’re trying to get people to buy into your goal and you have to find a way to TEACH ….that ability to put across your ideas in a manner that they understand (particularly at youth level) is what is going to make you or break you in the coaching game.

  15. So how come Coach Dennis and his top of line coaching staff lost all the rest of the qualifying games in the Hex in order to qualify for another World Cup in Russia 2018 eh my real professional Coach Prof Jamaal Shabazz Them really god yes hahahaha

  16. So staffing is critical in the success of a coach.

  17. There is no law that says a good ex player cannot become a good coach. How he/she adapts to that re education as a coach….how we learn ….and how we implement ….what we learn from coach education courses….watching other coaches work….
    Then what we bring from our knowledge as a past player cannot be discounted. Look at the Staff of the Top Coaches who never played at a high level….You will see expert well educated coaches who can demonstrate etc.

  18. And actually many of our real professional older coaches were all black listed by the corrupted Jack Warner and the TTFA when they spoke out against the madness that was taking place with respect to our football starting with Everard Gally Cummings, Jan Steadman, Berthile St. Clair, Jap Brown R. I. P. Alvin Corneal, Edgar Vidale, Kenny Joseph, Roderick Warner R.I.P. just to name a few eh. Them really good yes.

  19. Good call Lassana and Earl. So Travis because ah man is 60 he passed the ability to coach? Because why …he senile and can’t teach ….. is coaching a physical thing or a mental thing ….Latas and Leonson could do all kinda thing physically but cannot TEACH …..So I disagree with you emphatically on that point ……