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Warriors unable to train in Spain for two straight days; Lawrence disappointed in match agent

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team have been unable to conduct a single training session in Spain, despite being there for nearly two full days now.

The Soca Warriors are in Girona for a friendly international against the United Arab Emirates on Thursday evening. However, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) media officer Wayne Cunningham confirmed that the team remain in limbo, after the match agent allegedly failed to satisfy various aspects of their deal, particularly regarding scheduled training sessions.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago assistant coach Stuart Charles-Février (second from left) has a word with head coach Dennis Lawrence (centre) during training at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 15 April 2018.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The Warriors were supposed to train in Barcelona on Monday afternoon and then this evening in Girona. However, neither session materialised.

“At the moment, I have to say it has been very very disappointing for all the efforts we have made to come over here and be well prepared,” coach Dennis Lawrence told the TTFA Media. “We approached the TTFA to fund us being here an extra day just in terms of our preparation and at the moment it has just gone all to waste because of the representatives of the UAE.

“I am disappointed for the players, I [am] disappointed for football.”

TTFA president David John-Williams, according to Cunningham, is in constant contact with Lawrence and team manager Richard Piper but has been unable to find a solution so far.

“I am fully aware of the situation in Spain as I was updated by coach Dennis and manager Richard Piper,” John-Williams told Cunningham. “They have our full support from this end and we are confident they will make the right decisions to protect our integrity.

“The contract with the UAE catered to all the team’s training requirements and we will continue liaising with them to iron out these issues.”

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams enjoys himself at former head coach Tom Saintfiet’s maiden training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

John-Williams has not responded to questions from Wired868 on why the UAE match agent was allegedly instructed to provide airfare and accommodation for I95.5FM reporters Andre Baptiste, Wayne Lee and Tony Lee, who left Piarco today for Spain.

The contract between John-Williams and I95.5FM’s reporters has not been shared with the TTFA board and general secretary Justin Latapy-George admitted that he is also in the dark about the aforementioned relationship.

The Warriors are expected to follow Thursday’s international with a trip to Bangkok on 14 October to face Thailand in another friendly.

At present, Lawrence is a frustrated man, though.

“We were really excited to come over here and fulfil this fixture,” said Lawrence. “[The] players came over in good spirits; and now we get to this situation where things contractually agreed to were not provided by the representatives of the UAE.

“I don’t believe is the UAE Football Association itself, I believe it’s the representative of the match agent—those are the ones that got everything wrong in terms of no bus turning up for our training sessions and no pitches arranged.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago goalkeepers Andre Marchan (right) and Andre Fortune get ready for international action during training at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 15 April 2018.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago 20-man squad in Spain)

Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Marvin Phillip (Central FC);

Defenders: Sheldon Bateau (FC Kairat—Kazakhstan), Daneil Cyrus (Al-Orobah FC—Saudi Arabia), Aubrey David (Vaasan Palloseura FC—Finland), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Keston Julien (AS Trencin FC—Slovakia);

Midfielders: Kevan George (Charlotte Independence—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery—USA), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Khaleem Hyland (Al Faisaly FC—Saudi Arabia), Duane Muckette (Central FC);

Attacking midfielders: Ataulla Guerra (Charleston Battery—USA), Joevin Jones (Darmstadt 98—Germany), Nathan Lewis (Indy Eleven FC—USA), Kathon St Hillaire (SC Znojmo FK—Czech Republic), Jomal Williams (W Connection);

Forward: Shahdon Winchester (SJK Seinajoki—Finland), Marcus Joseph (W Connection).

(Staff)

Dennis Lawrence (head coach), Stuart Charles-Fevrier (assistant coach), Stern John (assistant coach), Ross Russell (goalkeeper coach), Israel Dowlat (doctor), Dave Isaac (medic), Saron Joseph (therapist), Sam Huggins (trainer), Michael Williams (equipment manager), Wayne Cunningham (media officer), Richard Piper (manager).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevan George (left) passes the ball under pressure from Honduras forward Anthony Lozano during World Cup 2018 qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 1 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Editor’s Note: TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George confirmed that the National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence and team manager Richard Piper have sorted out the training ground issues with the United Arab Emirates FA’s match agent.

The Soca Warriors are expected to have a double training session tomorrow in Girona, as preparation for their friendly international against the UAE on Thursday evening.

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  1. Is anyone really surprised by this?