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Griffith: Soca Warriors more unified than ever—despite empty promises from normalisation committee

“[…] I have been closely involved in the national teams for several years, inclusive of this one, and this present team is as closely knit as one can get.

“[…] Now is not a time for division, finger-pointing, and disunity, and it is hoped that those in authority should in fact be dealing with the real issues facing this national team—inclusive of them continuing to complain about empty promises from the normalisation committee [and their] inability to secure friendly international games, and [the] lack of support in providing what is required in this campaign…”

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) has a word with Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick after training at the Police Barracks in St James on 3 July 2020.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

The following Letter to the Editor, which rebuts reports of disunity within the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team and doubts about the competence of head coach Terry Fenwick, was submitted to Wired868 by Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith:

In the last decade, I have worked closely with TTFA heads from Raymond Tim Kee, to David John-Williams to William Wallace to Robert Hadad in different roles—from being the security advisor to even dealing with conflict resolutions when the team did not want to travel to international tournaments due to off-the-field issues.

Differences in opinion and conflicts would always take place in sport, but in all my years in sports administration—even being a past sport vice-president, secretary, and manager of national teams—have I ever seen such sabotage, indiscipline, and ignorance by some inside and outside of a national team, as I have seen by a few responsible for the administration of this present National Senior football team.

The recent article by Walter Alibey in the Guardian reeks of a deliberate attempt by some to undermine the World Cup preparation by deliberately causing division and disunity.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team pose before kickoff against the United States in international friendly action on 31 January 2021.
T&T lost by a joint-record 7-0 margin.
(via TTFA Media)

To begin with, I strongly question the authenticity of this report, as I have been closely involved in the national teams for several years, inclusive of this one, and this present team is as closely knit as one can get. So the usual song and dance that some reporters would throw about having ‘an anonymous source’—but bringing no names, no quotes and no facts—is as shallow as one can get.

What this has done, however, is cause severe concerns by many players and technical staff, as they are wondering who is the ‘trojan horse’ that would be so irresponsible to air dirty linen of a national squad in training.

This does nothing other than to cause a breakdown in morale, teamwork and trust amongst players. Or was this the intention?

If it was, let it be known that this plot has failed miserably, as what it would do is further strengthen the bond and determination needed for this team to succeed.

The article reeks of loopholes, and [the issues] are as follows:

Photo: Soca Warriors coach Terry Fenwick (centre) demonstrates to his players during training at the Police Barracks, St James on 3 July 2020.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

No national player worth their salt would do this, because there is absolutely [nothing to] gain [and no way] to rectify the situation by running to the media like a spoilt brat to complain. The only value of doing this was to deliberately cause division and confusion; and if such individuals do exist in a national team to cause such negativity and bad publicity, then they should not even be on a fete match squad.

In fact, the senior players of the team, both at home and abroad, are livid as to the petty and immature behaviour of a few who may have done this—if any did in the first place, as this is still to be confirmed.

The accusation made about assistant coach Derek King being sidelined and bypassed also lacks merit. I have spoken to Mr King who likewise is very upset that his name has been mentioned in this clandestine plot to affect the team’s preparation, as he has stated that he never spoke to any player and has never seen himself being sidelined in any form or fashion.

Imagine a daily newspaper is taking a quote from an ‘alleged player’ stating that an assistant coach would be replaced by another. So, all of a sudden, a player has inside knowledge of technical staff selection, which by the way can only be done by the normalisation committee and not the technical staff.

Photo: Soca Warriors head coach Terry Fenwick (left) has a word with assistant Keon Trim (centre) and manager Adrian Romain during a training session at the St James Police Barracks on 13 November 2020.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

So is Walter Alibey claiming that players attend board room meetings with the normalisation committee to know this? Point being that this was false and deliberately misleading to cause division among the technical staff.

The ludicrous statement involves alleged players voicing their concern about the present coaching techniques. I cannot recall one local-based player on this national team with certified coaching training, yet the Guardian decides to quote a player voicing his concern about football coaching, with absolutely no coaching qualification.

Now is not a time for division, finger-pointing, and disunity, and it is hoped that those in authority should in fact be dealing with the real issues facing this national team—inclusive of them continuing to complain about empty promises from the normalisation committee [and their] inability to secure friendly international games, and [the] lack of support in providing what is required in this campaign.

There is even the growing perception by many players that Beach Football is now taking precedence in being given all that they require, including a foreign coach being reassigned to Trinidad and Tobago with their family, whilst every simple request made by the National Senior Football team is ignored.

Photo: Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (background) talks to players before a Men’s National Senior Team training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2020.
(via TTFA Media)

Could you imagine what the men on this national football team must feel like, being continually surrounded in drama, scandal, bacchanal—none of which is of their own making? 

All they want to do is play football and represent their country at the highest level. This team is quite rightfully demanded to excel and produce results. How on earth can this become a reality when they are not provided with the most basic requirements to do so; and, to make matters worse, have their chances scuttled at every turn by persons with ulterior motives?

These are the real concerns of the players and not the trumped-up wild accusations made by a media report via ‘anonymous sources’.

The media is invited to meet the National Team this afternoon to verify all that is stated above.

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Letters to the Editor
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2 comments

  1. Earl Best

    “The media is invited to meet the National Team this afternoon to verify all that is stated above.”

    You know that we are in good hands as a country when on Thursday morning the CoP is sitting in a media conference patting himself on the back and on Thursday evening he is on Wired868 as an official apologist/spokesperson for the national football team.

    Frankly, I was half-expecting him to be on i95.5fm’s Morning Show programme today proposing his own solution to the impasse in the Tobago House of Assembly.

    And I would not rule out an appearance on the same radio station’s Barbershop programme tomorrow morning to discuss a solution to the problem of PH cars.

    • Man, I scrolled back up to the introduction to see in what capacity he is arranging meetings with the national team. Not to mention how much of a farce it is to put players on the spot, in public, to say that all is well. How could they say otherwise?