From Fyza-bad to worse! Fresh SSFL scandal as “Fyzo Tigers” register players with forged transcripts

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Fyzabad Secondary were docked nine of the ten points they have so far earned on the football field this season—and they might be thrilled if the punishment stops there, having accepted part-responsibility for registering two players on forged examination transcripts.

Fyzabad captain and utility player Dez Jones and key midfielder Maurice Dick were rvealed to have been registered as Lower Six students with two and one CXC passes respectively.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary midfielder Maurice Dick (centre) is surrounded by teammates [from left] Tyrese Reefer, Sharkeel Louison, Shamor Mahabir and Aaron Jordan during SSFL action against Trinity College East on 20 September at Trincity.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)
But, if that was not bad enough, the school registered both players for Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) action with transcripts that claimed they had four passes each.

Yesterday, after Fyzabad failed to produce original exam certificates for Jones and Dick, the SSFL ruled that the South Zone school will not be allowed to keep the points earned in any games involving the duo.

“[The SSFL] will deduct points from games that the boys played in and the table adjustment will go out [today],” SSFL president William Wallace told Wired868. “[Fyzabad] have accepted that and we will follow […] our guidelines.”

It means that, in the first instance, Fyzabad’s wins over Trinity College Moka, Fatima College and Trinity College East—which were completed within their four opening Premier Division fixtures—were all overturned.

Trinity Moka, who are believed to have initiated the probe, are the biggest beneficiaries of the decision as they will now move from 15th to 11th place in the 16-team table while Fatima and Trinity East climbed two and three places respectively to sixth and seventh spots.

Photo: Trinity College Moka midfielder Abdul Raheem Leezam (left) tries to get around QRC defender Darlon Guppy during SSFL action in St Clair on 13 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

In contrast, the “Fyzo Tigers” dropped to the foot of the table with just one point—six shy of second from bottom team, Speyside High.

The four school teams finishing at the bottom of the final table will be relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the league season, which has just four games to run—although Fyzabad have a game in hand against St Mary’s College.

There were two adjustments made to the standings. Initially, teams that lost to Fyzabad were awarded 3-0 wins but there were no changes to the goal differential for the schools which defeated the Fyzo Tigers.

It meant that Trinity Moka’s 3-1 defeat to Fyzabad became a 3-0 win for the former school. But teams which defeated Fyzabad narrowly on the field of play—Presentation College (San Fernando) beat them 3-2—were left with a one goal advantage.

Wallace subsequently assured Wired868 that this was changed after our enquiry, with all teams receiving a 3-0 win over Fyzabad for any much that involved Dick and Jones.

The SSFL president suggested that Fyzabad’s fate might not be entirely settled either.

Photo: Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president William Wallace (centre) greets players before kick off in a SSFL match up between Shiva Boys Hindu College and Naparima College at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 8 September 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Fyzo, represented at the session some two weeks ago by school vice-principal Suresh Roopnarine and team manager and school teacher Nigel Lakhan, told the SSFL that Dick and Jones brought false certificates to the school and did not present original copies when requested to do so.

However, the teenagers both denied this and insisted that they handed their original certificates to Lakhan during the pre-season and have not seen them since.

“I am having a meeting with my executive on Thursday and that is one of the matters on the agenda,” said Wallace, who spoke to Fyzabad players and administrators. “As far as Fyzabad is concerned, the boys brought a document to them and they used it. But the boys’ story is totally different.

“I am no judge of that but I will talk to my executive for their views on the matter.”

It is a case with obvious far-reaching implications. Who is responsible for forging the exam certificates of the two players?

For its “Chasing Goals” series, Wired868 interviewed principal Troy Jebodhsingh and Lakhan about the Fyzabad set-up and both men stressed their passion for developing young men for greater things.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary head coach Brian Williams gives instruction to his squad during SSFL action against Trinity College East on 20 September at Trincity.
Looking on are (from right to left) assistant coach Kerry Jamerson, team manager Nigel Lakhan and principal Troy Jebodhsingh.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“They must understand that, as a student athlete, they are representing the school, the community and, later on, maybe the country,” Jebodhsingh told the “Chasing Goals” interviewer. “[…] So we see ourselves as the embryonic stages […] to provide a pivot to let them excel in the future.”

Lakhan, an A’ Level PE teacher at Fyzabad, sang from the same hymn sheet as his principal.

“I am the one to send them forward in the future [and to] let them know that sport is not everything but they need to get academics also,” he said. “Young men in Fyzabad, there is a place for you in our school [and] in the national team and the international arena. You just have to take the step forward.

“We have an avenue for you to reach there.”

Wired868 tried unsuccessfully to reach Jebodhsingh and Lakhan to explain how two of their players were admitted to Form Six and registered to play school football with forged documents.

Dick and Jones, though, were easy to reach and eager to clear their names.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary midfielder Maurice Dick (left) and defender Aron Jordan (right) tackle Trinity College East attacker Kishon Hackshaw during SSFL action against Trinity College East on 20 September at Trincity.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“I don’t like how my name is all over and I had nothing to do with this,” Dick told Wired868. “It is not me that made that [exam] document. I just carried what the school asked for, [which was] my original document and birth paper. I don’t know what they did after that.

“It is not me. It is really the administration in the school and whoever had my certificate at the time.”

Neither Dick nor Jones attended Fyzabad before 2016. Both teenagers said their primary reason for switching schools was to play in the Premier Division, which comprises the top 16 schools in Trinidad and Tobago and is the best covered football league in the country with its games broadcast live—through the Caribbean and North America—on SportsMax.

Dick, who had previously attended Moruga Secondary, said he was approached by Fyzabad officials to transfer there since he was in Form Three but his mom initially resisted. After he sat CXC exams in 2016, he finally got his wish.

At the time, former Trinidad and Tobago international standout and Reading FC professional Anthony Rougier was the school’s head coach. Dick spent the pre-season with Fyzabad but, just as he prepared to make his debut, there was bad news.

Photo: Former Fyzabad Secondary coach Anthony Rougier (centre) gets behind his team during SSFL Premier Division action against St Anthony’s College on 24 September 2016 at Fyzabad.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

He had got only one pass, in Physical Education, but he needed two to be able to play as a transfer student.

The 18-year-old Dick, who made his senior debut for Club Sando Moruga in the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) at the age of just 16,  continued to play adult football while attending school. Academically, however, things got no better for him at Fyzabad.

“I was to write exams in January but I got a bruise under my foot that caused inflammation and I had to stay home from school and take medication,” said Dick. “That caused me to miss my exams in January and about two to three months of school…”

By the time the May exams came around, Dick didn’t see the point of even turning up for them.

“What can I say?” he said. “By the time I got my [CXC] timetable, I didn’t really have an idea about what was coming in the exam; I was way, way behind.”

Dick and his brother Sharkeel Louison, who captained Fyzabad last season, got an opportunity to play for TTSL bigwigs, Guaya United, in May and the team offered them a stipend for their services. According to Dick, a little way into the TTSL season, Lakhan turned up at one of Guaya’s matches.

Photo: Guaya United forward Carlon Hughes (left) is congratulated by his teammates after completing a beaver-trick against Cunupia FC at the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground on 9 July 2017.
Guaya won 6-2.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/CA Images/Wired868)

“Lakhan came up there and spoke to me and Sharkeel concerning school football,” Dick told Wired868. “Then he called me and said I could play for Fyzabad. I said ‘You sure?’ and he said yes. I asked him several times.

“Football is my everything, I love football. And I was getting the opportunity to play school football at the highest level so I took it.”

At Guaya, Dick and Louison would have to fight for their positions and would certainly be junior to star attacker Carlon “Judgement” Hughes. The commute was rough too.

“We live in Moruga and to get to Guaya is $35 to go and the same to come back,” said Dick. “You need a taxi from Moruga to Princes Town, then to Rio Claro, then to Mayaro, and then to Guaya. At the end of the month, you get some funds from Guaya but it is hard.”

In contrast, Fyzabad paid for a driver to take Dick, Louison and teammates Kaylon Padilla and Nicholas Blake from Moruga to school at no cost to the players.

Photo: The Fyzabad Secondary team pose before kick off against Trinity College East on 20 September at Trincity.
Maurice Dick (bottom row, far left) and Dez Jones (top row, far right) were both in the starting line-up.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Dick got a chance to continue his schooling, too, although he attended classes only on four days per week. On Wednesdays, when they usually had a SSFL match in the evening, the players had only to show up by noon to prepare for the match.

“When I started school [in September 2017], they told me I was in Lower Six,” he said. “I was doing business, accounts, physical education, entrepreneurship and communication. It was going good until now.

“I was really understanding the work although it was my first time doing those subjects.”

Dick said he got the first hint something was wrong on Wednesday 4 October when Wired868 first published that the SSFL was going to probe his credentials.

“My friend screenshot [the article] and sent it to me,” he said. “We were supposed to play St Mary’s that evening but when the manager reached he said ‘You will have to stop playing from now because this could be a big problem.’ But I didn’t know what they did for me to play. I just brought in what they wanted and went and played.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary team manager Nigel Lakhan.
(Courtesy Expression House Media/Wired868)

“I went to school for the rest of the week but when things started to raise up, I stopped because I wanted to hear what will take place and if I could finish school… I asked Mr Lakhan to get back my original certificate on [11 October] and he said he had it home and would bring it. But I ent get it up to now and I haven’t heard from anybody.”

Like Dick, Jones said he did nothing wrong but trusted the Fyzabad officials when they told him he could play in the 2017 season. He also joined the Tigers in 2016 although under somewhat different circumstances.

While Dick was head-hunted, Jones—a former Siparia Secondary student—showed up at a practice match and asked then coach, Rougier, to let him show what he could do. After a solid performance at centre-back, he was told that there would be a place at Fyzabad for him.

“I live down Erin and Fyzabad was the closest school to me that was playing that level of football,” said Jones, who spends $30 a day on transport to get to school and back home. “I wanted to play better football and to play in the Intercol and the Premiership…”

Jones got passes in POB and office administration, which meant he was allowed to represent Fyzabad last season as a Form Five repeater. He said he never realistically expected to go any further in school than that.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary captain Dez Jones talks to Wired868 on 2 October 2017.
(Courtesy Express House Media/Wired868)

He claimed that, although he did sit his CXC exams, he never bothered to even check his results.

He had already made the transition to adult football and was representing Erin FC in the Southern Football Association (SFA) when an unnamed Fyzabad official told him he could return to school.

“I can’t remember who called me but they asked if I want to come back and play school football,” said Jones. “And I said ‘Yeah, I want to come and play.’ And then I went training…”

Wired868 asked Jones what subjects he was doing in Lower Six and he seemed surprised by the question. He suggested that he was not sure whether or not he was enrolled in Lower Six—he only knew that he was team captain and central defender. And then the phone went dead. Repeatedly.

For first-time Fyzabad coach Brian Williams, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach, the past two weeks have been a nightmare.

“Everyone kept telling me that I should help out Fyzabad because I live close to that community,” said Williams, a former Strike Squad stand-out. “There were one or two teachers and people from the community and even people from my work asking me. So I said okay, let me go and help because I saw them play one or two games last year and I thought it was a nice bunch of boys to work with.

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary coach Brian Williams (left) instructs defender Gregory Charles during SSFL action against Trinity College East on 20 September at Trincity.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“When I came to Fyzabad, I made it clear to the teachers and the staff that I will not take any responsibility for the administrative side. The players I met there are the players I used…

“This [confusion] is interfering with my reputation.”

Williams said the mood around the team has soured drastically since the furore involving Dick and Jones, who both have brothers on the team—Louison and Natinni Jones respectively. Louison and Jones are also key members of the Fyzo squad but both have grown despondent and need to be coaxed to even take the field. One or two other squad members, Williams said, have disappeared altogether.

“We are just trying to save [ourselves from] relegation now,” said Williams. “This has affected the whole school and I really have to make a decision if I can continue in such an environment…

“The allegation is not just about a player who had an extra year in school like [former Presentation College (San Fernando) student] Kori Cupid or [Shiva Boys High School midfielder] Kierron Mason, who played [24 hours] before time. It is the school or boys being accused of interfering with certificates.

“If the investigation goes further, you know how nasty it could get? It would be worse than relegation.”

Photo: Fyzabad Secondary principal Troy Jebodhsingh.
(Courtesy Expression House Media/Wired868)

Dick’s entire SSFL Premier Division career spanned just six games. During that time, he was on the winning side on three occasions and, in the final outing against Presentation College, scored his first goal before picking up a red card.

“The experience as a player was good,” said Dick. “It would have been much better if I got to finish the season but the boys have my support all the way although the standings aren’t looking too good right now.

“Hopefully things will get better.”

It is quite likely, though, that, for Fyzabad Secondary, things will get much worse.

Photo: St Anthony’s College playmaker Che Benny (right) controls the ball while Fyzabad Secondary player Shamor Mahabir (centre) looks on during SSFL action at Westmoorings on 2 October 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

SSFL Standings (Before Fyzabad decision)

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

  1. Naparima             11-8-2-1-23-11-26
  2. Presentation        11-8-1-2-25-13-25
  3. St Anthony’s        11-7-3-1-36-17-24
  4. Shiva Boys HC    11-7-2-2-28-13-23
  5. San Juan N          11-4-6-1-23-1018
  6. St Augustine        10-5-1-4-23-18-16
  7. St Mary’s             10-4-3-3-25-20-15
  8. Fatima                 10-5-0-5-9-13-15
  9. Carapichaima E  11-4-2-5-17-19-14
  10. Trinity East          10-4-1-5-17-13-13
  11. Fyzabad Sec        10-3-1-6-11-18-10
  12. St Benedict’s       11-2-3-6-15-23-9
  13. Signal Hill            11-2-3-6-9-17-9
  14. QRC                     11-2-2-7-15-25-8
  15. Trinity Moka        10-2-1-7-12-30-7
  16. Speyside High     11-2-1-8-7357
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College playmaker Judah Garcia (right) attempts a pass while Fatima College midfielder Zach Welch (centre) stays close during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on 30 September 2017.
(Courtesy Annalisa Caruth/Wired868)

New SSFL Standings (After Fyzabad decision)

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

  1. Naparima             11-8-2-1-23-11-26
  2. Presentation        11-8-1-2-25-11-25
  3. St Anthony’s        11-7-3-1-35-16-24
  4. Shiva Boys HC    11-7-2-2-29-13-23
  5. San Juan N          11-4-6-1-23-1018
  6. Fatima                 10-6-0-4-12-12-18
  7. Trinity East          10-5-1-4-19-11-16
  8. St Augustine        10-5-1-4-23-17-16
  9. St Mary’s             10-4-3-3-25-20-15
  10. Carapichaima E  11-4-2-5-17-19-14
  11. Trinity Moka        10-3-1-6-14-27-10
  12. St Benedict’s       11-2-3-6-16-23-9
  13. Signal Hill            11-2-3-6-9-17-9
  14. QRC                     11-2-2-7-15-25-8
  15. Speyside High     11-2-1-8-7357
  16. Fyzabad Sec        10-0-1-9-1-28-1

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at 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. Ah see Maurice Dick now playing in de Super League with Club Sando Moruga. Does the league have a transfer window, or can clubs add players at any point in time?

  2. Two additional points:
    One, Fyzabad Secondary often had training sessions during school hours at say 9 am. I feel Brian Williams should have objected to that.
    Two, Fyzabad Secondary arranged for a maxi to take its Moruga-based footballers to school and back home. According to one player, this arrangement lasted only until the end of the football season. For the other two terms, those players had to fend for themselves.

  3. Ms Taylor please get your facts straight not Vess in under Mr Spencer and my watch

  4. I don’t think Fyzabad should be able to compete at all for the rest of the season and all points gained or deducted from their matches be nulled. It is setting the precedent that you may cheat up to the point when you are caught then you can go on to normal proceedings. If they let them continue in the league with these changes it places the teams who have faced Fyzabad already at an advantage and the ones who have yet to face them at a disadvantage because now Fyzabad will be putting every effort in to stay up. The players will try even harder than they did against the teams they faced before. This is a mental disadvantage that teams gifted 3 points and 3 goals did not have to face.

  5. I wonder who’s culpable. Cheaters!!.There must be consequences for this

  6. How difficult can it be to check the with the Min. Of Education on the validity of certificates presented?

  7. Let it first be proven that the players or the administrators hav broken the law…and then point fingers at the guilty party or parties….and deal with them accordingly

  8. they should be automatically demoted to the 2nd division. Teach the students that dishonesty has its price.

  9. But I know big man repeat vessigny for 3 yrs in form 5 to play. Lmao.

  10. “The allegation is not just about a player who had an extra year in school like [former Presentation College (San Fernando) student] Kori Cupid or [Shiva Boys High School midfielder] Kierron Mason, who played [24 hours] before time. It is the school or boys being accused of interfering with certificates.

    “If the investigation goes further, you know how nasty it could get? It would be worse than relegation.”

    …and that is that…

  11. Waiting to hear the response from the principal of the school at least this affects his school so he should make a statement will love to hear what he has to say, Its been days now and he remains silent.

  12. Goodwood and Bishops here in Tobago same nonsense. They are now stripping Good wood because of a player who apparently played against them with roxborough secondary. No hearing was done and no investigation yet the zone made a decision to award Bishops High the points even after the standings show up to game time that this game was the deciding factor. Very unfair

  13. Appolgies type o’s.
    just saying ?

  14. I. H. Y. there’s much I’m saying by suggesting You Look further than just the footballers or the issues connected. I wanna use words lukę sponsors, finances, tampering, S.B.A. etc. Perhaps the adults have no court clothes ?
    Top much corruption at every level of society. No Wonder out Young people behave the way they do, there’s no accountability, and when they complain, no satisfaction

  15. Now we can see one of d reasons for d breakdown in discipline in skls. Wen d adults seem nt to b interested in d welfare of students. Instead d concern is d rep of d skl and chest thumping of d coach etc. Sad day 4 tchrs n administrators.

  16. Nice quote but reality check is how much right end up in laws, The world system is orchestrated that the majority wins (politically correct) and wrong doing. The citizens aimlessly follow because they refuse to do the right thing themselves. After some times the ramifications becomes evident, but by that time the horse has bolted out of the barn and will not return, So who feels the impact, not the minority but the majority. Trinis stand for nothing , so they are led astray for their ignorance

  17. You feel those in authority don’t know what has been happening for years, they are the ones who ensure nepotism reigns . these are cliques , Until everyone unites against such behaviour in ALL our institutions, this will continue. More importantly the society is so corrupt that one lone voice who cries in the wilderness for change is shut down by bandwaggonists. Successive governments enter office with their own agendas thinking they have the answers and listen to no one. CONSULTATIONS are a farce, nothing changes, because often times they do as they please, knowing fully well Trinis are passive. This begs the question, “Who is listening?

  18. Wrong will always be wrong if everyone is doing it but right will always be right even if you alone are doing it….

  19. Lasana, the police can’t handle their own responsibilities. I think the kind of screening that political candidates have to endure before elections may be the oily way. And even that process is fraught with bias and skullduggery.

  20. With some of the non-realistic comments, why can’t we stop looking what everyone else is doing, and look what we can change! So this wheel will continue to spin without a chain?

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