Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick brushed aside controversy surrounding his contract today and claimed that he was fully focused on the job, in his first press conference since taking up his duties.
The Soca Warriors trained at the Police Barracks in St James this morning with over 35 players—most under the age of 23.
At present, the TTFA is mired in controversy as president William Wallace resists the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, headed by businessman Robert Hadad, in court. And Fenwick’s contract, which was signed off by Wallace with terms not approved by the TTFA Board, has been a major talking point.
Fenwick, a former Pro League champion as San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC head coach, said he is unaffected by the scandal.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got 35 kids out there who need my organisation for the session,” said Fenwick. “[…] Listen guys it’s politics, politics around the world—it’s not nice. It gets bitter and twisted sometimes.
“[…] I’m leaving that alone. My intention as national coach is to develop the best kids we have available… For me as the national coach, it is about delivering the best I possibly can.”
There were plenty fresh faces on the training ground while the youngest player, Naparima College midfielder Molik Jesse Khan, only turned 16 in April.
Fenwick complimented the players in his squad and said he intends to improve them for their various national teams, even if it will be the junior ones. However, he insisted that they are not just making up numbers.
“We’ve got some great talent on the ground here in Trinidad and Tobago; and our football let’s them down because it’s not over a sustained period of time,” he said, “and the coaches are quite regularly changed over, so there is no development process in place.
“If the best coaches in the world—like Pep Guardiola, like Jurgen Klopp—if these guys are using teenagers and guys who are 21, 22, 23, it tells me that we’ve got a chance with the kids we have got on the ground here in Trinidad and Tobago.
“[…] Our last squad that competed for the World Cup qualifiers, two years ago, was the oldest squad in world football. I want to move it on from there because I see the talent that we have here on the ground.”
Fenwick said he is focusing on the mentality of his players and their speed and efficiency on the ball, while being mindful of the guys who pick up instructions fastest.
“I stated from day one to the players: look after number one, and number one will look after you,” he said. “Simple is genius. Do the simple things right and everything else falls into place.”
Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, who has 15 senior international caps, said the players are excited to be back on the training ground—despite being uncertain about the date of their next competitive match.
“It is just good to play some football,” said Foncette. “[…] It is good that [Fenwick] was proactive in his decision to get the national team back training and to get football back going. There are probably just two or three [Pro League] teams who only just started back training.
“It is a breath of fresh air.”
Fenwick commended Hadad for helping to provide refreshments for the team and thanked Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith for use of their renovated ground.
“The equipment that we are using is not the best but we are making do,” said Fenwick. “There is no finances so nobody is getting paid. But we are here, we are training. Players are turning up on time [and] there is a lovely passion around the squad, there is a nice feeling.
“We have got to deliver better for the footballing public—for the people who are out there behind us. And we recognise there are a lot of snipers out there, so we have got to be careful about what we do, what we say, how we behave in public places.”
Fenwick stressed that he intends to deliver results.
“I want us to get away from being 105th ranked in the world, [just] one of the teams from the Caribbean region,” he said. “I want to be the top team in the region. I want to be in the top 50 ranking in the world; and that will not happen unless we have a good development [structure] from the Under-15s straight into the Senior National Team.
“[…] All the public is looking at is results. I understand that. The Senior National Team is not the developmental team, the Senior National Team is here to win; and I recognise that…
“I’ve got my detractors in the background and that’s okay. I understand. We’ve had a shocking time over the last few years, it’s my job to turn it around.”