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Soca Warriors paid in full and ready to face Wales; but players urge DJW to raise match fees

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team players are finally paid in full and anxious to turn their attention to next month’s international friendly against Wales. However, there is still the matter of a match fee to be negotiated.

The Soca Warriors received a standard match fee of US$1,000 for friendly internationals since before the turn of the century. But Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams subsequently cut the players’ rate by more than 60 per cent, as he offered just US$300 for matches in 2018.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Alvin Jones (second from left) celebrates with teammates after his stunning goal against the United States during 2018 World Cup qualifying action in Couva on 10 October 2017.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Luis Acosta)

One international player, who spoke to Wired868 on condition of anonymity, said the Warriors were happy to represent their country and look forward to the challenge posed by Wales. But there is no consensus yet as to whether all the players are willing to play for US$300.

The player insisted that he and his colleagues showed good faith to the TTFA in the past but they now need John-Williams to reciprocate.

“It is a good game for us but I hope he doesn’t keep [our match fees] at US$300,” said the anonymous Warriors player. “I’m hoping he would at least try to meet the players halfway so we could have the best possible squad.

“As far as I know, the players are still waiting to negotiate; but I don’t think players will accept US$300 anymore, especially for such a big game.”

Wales are ranked 19th in the world by FIFA and boast of world class players like Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Juventus-bound midfielder Aaron Ramsey in their ranks, while they are coached by former Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.

Photo: Wales star Gareth Bale celebrates during international action.

In contrast, Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 93rd by FIFA and the Warriors head coach cannot be certain of having his top attacking player, Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, at the current US$300 rate. At least two international players suggested they would follow Molino’s example if John-Williams does not raise their match fees.

There is an element of uncertainty about which coach will be leading out the Warriors next month as well.

A TTFA media release suggested that incumbent Dennis Lawrence will lead the squad out at the Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground in Wales next month. Lawrence, a former World Cup 2006 stand-out, is a Hall of Fame inductee at Wrexham alongside compatriot Carlos Edwards.

However, Lawrence is out of contract since 31 January and, although John-Williams indicated that he wanted the lanky rookie to remain as head coach, the board is yet to make a determination.

The TTFA board meets next Wednesday and the question of the head coaching void is one of several points raised for discussion by Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president and TTFA board member Keith Look Loy.

One player who made no secret about his excitement over the upcoming friendly is defender Sheldon Bateau, who signed a one-year deal with Norway top flight club Sarpsborg 08 FF this week.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau celebrates after scoring against Cuba during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup at University of Phoenix Stadium on 12 July 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Copyright AFP2017/Christian Petersen/Getty Images/)

“This is a game that could change your life, it can change your career,” Bateau told the TTFA Media. “It’s a very good opportunity for us as players. We should set a goal to do well in this game and accept the challenge; and not only accept the challenge but compete and get a result.

“I think everyone should be really motivated for this game because I am and am sure the other players are as well.”

Bateau has not played competitive football since 2018 while the Norwegian professional season does not get underway until late March. But he says he will be ready for the Welsh test and believe his teammates will be as well.

Trinidad and Tobago are preparing for the June 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup while Wales play Slovakia in a Euro 2020 qualifier, four days after facing the Warriors.

“For me this game is […] the only thing on my mind right now, after having signed with a new team,” said Bateau. “[…] This is a huge challenge and is one we shall welcome as a country to play against a team that has world class players apart from Gareth Bale. It will be a good challenge to see where we are at and how much work we need to put in before the Gold Cup.

“[…] As players, you live for games like this. It will definitely be a tough game but I think we will be ready in time for it.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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. So wait my dictator President want to give our players $ 300 US monies a game when I was made to understand that the FIFA gives plenty monies to the corrupted TTFA in order for them to get the $1000 US monies per game eh so if my dictator President wanted them to chip in to finish his Home for Football for his professional team W Connection eh why he just didn’t tell them the plan eh and why our players and coaches always hyping up and always saying that our Soca Worries ready for the upcoming games and tournaments eh and they always failing and back to the drawing board making ah set ah excuses so Mr Bateau better hurry up and make certain that he gets another contract even in the India football league before the Gold Cup starts in my second sweetest country in June eh Them really good yes

  2. Brian that’s I don’t consider that out of the box… but thx lol common sense is like a flower but not all garden has the flower.. players are the most important commodities the ttfa has so doing what ever it takes to keep players at close to their physical playing activity should be planned…. 6-9MONTHS in advance example each player in the national team pool should have his own physical program based on his physical make up… this is done on his own time…

  3. We need some foresight people assisting the association if they would listen… MLS teams USL teams and the new CPL might enjoy coming to Trinidad for a game or 2 in preparations for their season 2019… a way our players might get close to match fitness.. but then again that should have been organised since July 2018

  4. Guess it is something. Will they pay in advance this time?

  5. We better have two in June before the Gold Cup starts!

  6. We really couldn’t land 2 games each international window? We up there already, play a club team and all na man. How Dennis or any coach supposed to use his squad in just one game? The man getting one game at a time isn’t going to help.

  7. Of the starting eleven that played against Iran, only Joevin Jones, Khaleem Hyland, Daneil Cyrus, and Lester Peltier are active. The rest are either in pre-season or inactive. From the bench, Aubrey David and Keston Julien are active.

  8. We don’t know who the coach is so who monitoring the players performances now ?

    How we go pick the squad ?

    Happy go lucky ?