Bateau, Guerra out Gold Cup; TTFA considers withdrawing men and women’s Olympic Teams

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The financially beleaguered Trinidad and Tobago Football Association is considering withdrawing both their male and female teams from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games Qualifiers.

The Men’s National Under-23 Team were drawn in Group B of the qualifying series alongside Cuba, US Virgin Islands and Barbados, which is due to be held from 17-27 July 2019. However TTFA Board member Richard Quan Chan revealed that it looks increasingly likely that the local football body will opt out the tournament due to a lack of funding.

Photo: Teenaged Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Judah Garcia (centre) tries to keep hold of the ball during friendly senior team international action against Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 17 April 2018.
Garcia was expected to have been selected on the National Olympic Team.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The TTFA has set itself until the first week of June to make a final decision on their Olympic participation, with the Female National Senior team also on the chopping block.

“Our present position in relation to the Olympic Games is not a pleasant one,” said Quan Chan, at a press conference today. “We are not financially sound and it is difficult at this time to make a commitment to play in the Olympic Qualifiers.

“It will cost the Association approximately 165,000 US dollars to prepare a team for the preliminary phase. Our secretariat has been making efforts to get corporate Trinidad on board as to support our efforts to expose our young players.

KFC Munch Pack

“We are in financial problems and we have been trying to get sponsors and support on board is ongoing and it is not an easy process at this time.”


In April, Wired868 reported that Club Sando and Naparima College head coach Angus Eve and Police FC Head Coach Richard Hood were being considered for the head and assistant Olympic coaching posts respectively. However, the football body’s financial health has deteriorated further since then.

The local football body has been criticised for sending the Women’s Senior Team and Men’s National Under-20 Team and Under-17 teams into action with less than two months preparation time for their respective tournaments, over the past two years.

In each case, the tournament they are trying to get to would be known to all football fans years in advance. However, Quan Chan suggested that CONCACAF should bear the brunt of the blame for not providing qualifying fixtures earlier.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Mariah Shade reacts to a missed opportunity during 2019 World Cup qualifying action against St Kitts and Nevis at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 25 May 2018.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“We have complained that sometimes the release of dates from CONCACAF is not in keeping with good planning,” said Quan Chan. “One of the problems we are having is with CONCACAF and one we have raised with them on a few occasions—the timing that they release dates. You might know it might be coming but there isn’t clear cut dates.

“It would be more economical and a better financial decision at this time to focus on the other tournaments that are coming up than try and prepare an Olympic team in six weeks.”

The Men’s National Senior Team are in no such danger although head coach Dennis Lawrence will not have the services of overseas-based central defender Sheldon Bateau and maverick attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra for the 2019 Gold Cup.

The Soca Warriors start their Gold Cup campaign on 18 June against Panama at the Allianz Field in St Paul, Minnesota while they are also grouped with Guyana and the United States.

“Sheldon Bateau will not be available for selection for the Gold Cup for personal reasons in regards to commitments he had with his club,” said Lawrence. “We had long discussions about it and in the end we had to make a decision because we couldn’t leave anyone hanging.”

Bateau, who recently joined Norway’s Sarpsborg in February 2019, also issued a press statement on his decision.

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/)

“I’ve been looking forward to the Gold Cup like everyone else and I’ve been in constant contact with coach Dennis over the past few months and weeks about my current situation at Sarpsborg,” stated Bateau. “As much as I want to be side by side with the boys battling for my country, it saddens me to opt out of this year’s Gold Cup Campaign.

“As it stands, the Gold Cup dates are clashing with my club schedule. While, I have a great desire to battle for my country now, as I’ve done in the Gold Cup 2015 campaign, I am very aware of the effects not playing at club level can have on my ability to effectively represent my country in future tournaments and campaigns such as the World Cup 2022 Qualifying campaign.

“My decision will allow me to satisfy contractual obligations but also secure the possibility of honoring my commitment to the national team in the future.”

On the other end of the pitch, Guerra misses out due to ongoing visa issues, which leave him stranded in Trinidad while his employers, Charleston Battery, are well into their season in the US second tier.

There may be more absences in the offings too as Aubrey David (De­porti­vo Sapris­sa—Cos­ta Ri­ca), Jo­evin Jones (Seat­tle Sounders—USA), Willis Plaza (Churchill Broth­ers—In­dia), Mar­cus Joseph (W Con­nec­tion) and therapist Dave Isaac are still without visas at present. Lawrence pointed out that pacy forward Run­dell Win­ches­ter (Plas­tense FC—Guatemala) is also unavailable at present, after requesting time off to deal with a family-related matter.

Winchester (R) was not named in Lawrence’s 40-man shortlist.

Photo: Attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra tries a spectacular volley for Central FC during a 2014/15 Pro League encounter against Police FC.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Lawrence has until 3 June to submit his final squad and hopes to have much of his Gold Cup squad at hand when the Warriors travel to Japan for a friendly international on 5 June, although Jones and Joseph have already been ruled out of the trip.

Soca Warriors Gold Cup shortlist

Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Central FC), Gregory Ranjitsingh (Orlando City—USA), Nicklas Frenderup (HB Koge—Denmark), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Jan-Michael Williams (FC Halifax Town—Canada);

Defenders: Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica), Alvin Jones (OKC Energy FC—USA), Daneil Cyrus (Al Orobah—Saudi Arabia), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Leland Archer (Charleston Battery—USA), Carlyle Mitchell (La Horquetta Rangers), Kareem Moses (FC Edmonton—Canada), Justin Garcia (Unattached), Triston Hodge (Memphis 901 FC—USA), Mekeil Williams (Oklahoma City Energy FC—USA), Keston Julien (AS Trencin—Slovakia), Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers);

Midfielders: Kevan George (Charlotte Independence—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (Indy Eleven—USA), Leston Paul (Memphis 901 FC—USA), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Khaleem Hyland (Al Faisaly FC—Saudi Arabia), Judah Garcia (Defence Force), Duane Muckette (Memphis 901 FC—USA);

Attacking midfielders: Cordell Cato (Oklahoma City Energy FC—USA), Reon Moore (Defence Force), Nathan Lewis (Lansing Ignite—USA), Lester Peltier (Al Orobah—Saudi Arabia), Kathon St Hillaire (SKF Iclinic Sered—Slovakia), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United—USA), Levi Garcia (Kiryat Shmona—Israel), Jomal Williams (W Connection), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA);

Forwards: Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers—India), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection), Marcus Joseph (W Connection), Dylon King (Defence Force), Akeem Roach (Mosta FC—Malta).

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About Amiel Mohammed

Amiel Mohammed
Amiel Mohammed is a sports enthusiast and has worked in communications for Central FC and the Women's Premier League TT. He has also pioneered numerous projects geared towards creating opportunities for the differently abled such as the Differently-Abled Football Camp 2015 and Focus Football Coaching Academy.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114
  2. Countless court judgements going against DISASTROUS JW because the court the judge take the information available and not the BS DJW wants us all to believe. Wake up? Smell the coffee? This is not an out of the blue shock, it’s been going on for his entire term.
    Football booming!!! Not here, usual suspects mashing it for the kids, the fans and this country

  3. Clearly shows u the mindset of d guy who is in charge of T&T football..
    Im not hearing d “fairless one” talkin about this…Like he fraid to touch dis one???

  4. What happened to Akeem Garcia….why do they keep overlooking him. This guy is ripping up in Canada as we speak

  5. A lil birdie told me there are members outside of TT willing to sponsor portions of the women preparation but are unwilling to pass finances through David John Williams and his cronies which it would seem is a sticking point. People on the outside think much lower of him than even Jack Warner…just a lil birdie

  6. Did we not have us visa problems before?like nobody eh learn from d last time.

    • Colin it’s not rocket science when we needed to get a Schengen visa to go to Europe I went mainly to the Dutch embassy who fostered a relationship with me that I did not have to line up and the people there dealt with me privately so much that I referred to him on a first name basis never had a player refused either

  7. What allyuh worrying about? And we have the monument in Couva for cyclists and water polo players to use? Doh worry if national FOOTBALL teams can’t use it man. Let the horse starve while the grass grows.

  8. I don’t think the TTFA are sincere about not sending teams to The Olympics. Just more DJW bullshit to guilt people into feeling sorry for the athletes and cause people who oppose his way of operating to be judged in a bad light. DJW why not change to a transparent, accountable way of operating and let’s move on. Next we will see the MOS dusting off her best frock and novelty cheque and some alcoholic beverage company swooping in like heroes to send an unprepared team on their way. Same crap different day.

  9. WTAMC!!!!! We need a whole reset

  10. Appears to me that the TTFA has prioritized poor governance and corruption. Meanwhile ……… go Reggae Girls!

  11. Lawrence, an ex-na­tion­al de­fend­er turn coach, said he was al­so dis­ap­point­ed with the at­ti­tude of some of the play­ers in the TT camp, for which he has had to be stern. All this he said leads to a weak­ened TT team ahead of the Gold Cup.

  12. man say blame CONCACAF yes,…mama…

  13. what changes if the men sit this one out? How does that change the financials Lasana?

  14. We now know the reason for the urgent meeting with MOS causing DJW to be absent from the press conference headed by Gillette. On second thought DJW was probably at a WConnection meeting

  15. Yall ever saw the show “Bad News Bears?”… the plot of the show nothing to do with this post… but I just find Lasana Liburd aligns with the title

  16. Discouragement is the new name of the game!!! How long again before i can go to a match in a full stadium in this country?? Or see my country play in T.V.?? And the same names in charge of football for years with only Bacchanal after bacchanal to show for their respective tenures!! Help!!!!

  17. I’m still fuming you know.. what is really DjW agenda? His cohorts.. how can you possibly support such horrific ineptness? Are you that desperate for a “position”? Are your wives not telling you off for being stupid? These young footballers are suffering.. they don’t deserve this. It’s already incredibly difficult to make it as a footballer and this federation is making it even harder.. God please help us..

  18. What’s even worse is how unprepared our teams are.. even if the necessary funds are sourced, what type of team would we have? This dysfunction is staggering

  19. It’s incredible to think that this latest development haven’t convinced DJW to resign. What’s wrong with the guy? What will it take for him to leave? This is bewildering to put it mildly. To pull out our olympic teams is a grave and incomprehensible injustice to our players.,

  20. So many times we vote officials out of office without a proper plan to better the organization. Everyone has the freedom of choice, my main concern will be TTFA progress.

  21. There are people in the regional associations and leagues who will vote to return DJW and his band of clowns to office without thinking twice. In particular, SFA, EFA, TFA, ECFU, TT Pro League, VFOTT. The challenge is to remove these hangers on in order to remove DJW. That is not easy without the support of clubs. And too many clubs prefer to just grumble.

  22. At what point do we press the reset button?

  23. We keep hitting new lows and folks are sitting in chairs occupying spaces without shame or resignation. Waiting for an election to return and do more of the same? Why? Just why? Let someone else give it a shot to do better.

  24. Disgraceful! Have people no pride in their football or country, how on earth can we sit back and allow this incompetence to prevail over the development of young hopefuls trying to make a living in football?

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