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Rangers challenge Soca Warriors: Beat us and we pay TT$100,000; Fenwick mum

Terminix La Horquetta Rangers managing director Richard Ferguson has put TT$100,000 on the table for Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick. All Fenwick has to do to cash in, is lead his Soca Warriors to victory against the Pro League outfit.

The Rangers offer follows a protracted stand-off between both camps, as Ferguson has consistently refused to release his players to the national team outside of the mandatory Fifa international match window. 

Photo: Terminix La Horquetta Rangers midfielder Aikim Andrews lines up a shot during FCB Cup action against W Connection on 2 November 2019.
Rangers won 2-0.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Rangers, coached by Dave ‘Hoghead’ Quamina, employ a star-studded roster with over a dozen players who have national youth or senior team experience including: Willis Plaza, Ataulla Guerra, Keron ‘Ballpest’ Cummings, Aikim Andrews, Isaiah Lee, Kadeem Corbin, Akeem Roach, Tyrone Charles, Jodel Brown, Yohannes Richardson, Kishun Seecharan and Nathaniel James.

Fenwick has boasted about results against makeshift local opposition, even as he pleaded with Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad for more testing warm-up matches.

On Saturday, the Soca Warriors pummelled a Tobago combined team, dubbed the Orange XI, by eight goals to nil. Orange XI had their first training session three days before facing the National Senior Team, which is preparing to face Guyana in its opening Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier on 25 March.

Ferguson suggested that Rangers can give Fenwick’s charges a much better workout and he wagered TT$100,000 on the outcome. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) does not have to spend a cent.

Photo: Terminix La Horquetta Rangers attacker Kadeem Corbin (right) tries to find a way past Defence Force defender Isaiah McIntyre during Ascensional Invitational All-Star action at Phase Two, La Horquetta on 13 October 2019.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

“Rangers want to assist the National Team in its preparations and we feel that we can best do this by playing the team a practice game,” Ferguson told Wired868, “so the National Team coach Terry Fenwick can see our players in action and he can select them to play in future games for Trinidad and Tobago.”

Ferguson, who unsuccessfully contested the post of TTFA president in 2019, said he has asked Fenwick for a game since last November. So far, the offer has not been accepted.

“We have spoken with Robert Hadad, Gary Griffith and Adrain Romain requesting the game,” said Ferguson, a chartered accountant and director at Terminix Trinidad. “We have also written them officially. Romain did mention that he wanted money, so we said we will put up $100,000 winner take all. 

“We still have not had any positive response from them. We played Police on Saturday and won 2-0, we have also played Central FC and won 7-1 and AC Port of Spain and won 5-0. 

“I have also heard that the National Team is trying to play Police FC and Defence Force but still no game for Rangers…”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick (centre) has his word with his players during their friendly match against Orange XI on 6 March 2021 in St James.
T&T won 8-0.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

Men’s National Senior team manager Adrian Romain confirmed that they have received Rangers’ offer but said it was still being ‘discussed’.

“There have been discussions around the game but the final decision lies with the head coach,” Romain told Wired868, “and he will also have to have it cleared with the TTFA authorities, which is the normalisation committee.”

Romain said the Warriors are in the process of ‘finalising the final leg of preparations ahead of the Guyana match, which may involve an overseas camp’.

Trinidad and Tobago lost their only international outing under Fenwick to date by a joint-national record scoreline of 7-0 to the United States in January. The normalisation committee has failed to arrange requested follow-up friendlies against Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Warriors have otherwise played more than a half dozen exhibition games against makeshift local opposition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Gary Griffith III (centre) runs at the Orange XI defence during a friendly match at the St James Police Barracks on 6 March 2021.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

Practice game or not, Ferguson stressed his ‘greatest commitment to the National Team of Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)’ and said he is ‘ready to assist them in any way possible’.

Ferguson’s commitment does not extend to allowing his players to train outside of the specified periods allowed by Fifa—a rule that is generally followed by foreign clubs but relaxed by local teams.

Ironically, Fenwick often forbade his players from attending national training sessions while he was head coach at San Juan Jabloteh.

Ferguson said his club’s board of directors felt ‘it was not prudent’ to release players outside of the mandated Fifa match window because:

‘We expect to be playing in a league in April 2021 with significant prize money and it is very important that we prepare for this league vigorously. Therefore, we need to have full access to all of our players to compete effectively.’

Photo: La Horquetta Rangers forward Isaiah Lee (centre) tries to turn away from Police FC defender Kemron Purcell (right) during the First Citizens Cup final at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex on 6 December 2019.
(Copyright Sean Morrison/Wired868)

‘Our coaches have developed an extensive training, nutrition and fitness programme for our players for the upcoming competitions and, as a result, the absence of key players for such a long time would affect the plans of the club adversely. In addition, our players have been training together for over two years and they are very fit.’

Fenwick has been offered the chance to test the fitness and abilities of the Rangers employees in a practice game, which is exactly what he claimed to be doing with Tobago’s players on the weekend.

The Warriors head coach admitted to selecting several foreign-based players based on YouTube footage for his last friendly against the United States, while his player pool to face Guyana includes young men who he has not seen in the flesh and are receiving little to no senior team playing time with their respective clubs.

Whether Fenwick believes Rangers deserve parity with overseas clubs is another question.

Ferguson asked the Warriors head coach not to blacklist his players.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Keron “Ballpest” Cummings (centre) tries to find space between the lines against Nicaragua in Port of Spain on 26 October 2015.
Cummings is employed by Terminix La Horquetta Rangers at present.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“We are also certain that this decision by the club [not to release players outside the Fifa match window] will not prejudice the selection of Rangers players on the national team in the future,” stated Ferguson, in a letter to TTFA national teams director Richard Piper on 24 February 2021, “and should any of the club’s players be selected for the future games, they would be released as per Fifa regulations. And we consider it an honour for our players to represent the country.”

Romain said he could not say whether any Rangers players are in Fenwick’s player pool to face Guyana on 25 March and Puerto Rico on 28 March.

(Terminix La Horquetta Rangers with national senior team caps)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza (right) runs at Mexico winger Miguel Layun Mexico forward Javier Hernandez (right) during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 28 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Ataulla Guerra (Midfielder, 46 caps, 9 goals),

Willis Plaza (Forward, 29 caps, 7 goals),

Keron Cummings (Midfielder, 16 caps, 3 goals),

Tyrone Charles (Forward/winger, 8 caps, 1 goal),

Aikim Andrews (Winger, 7 caps, 1 goal),

Ross Russell Jr (Full back, 5 caps, 0 goals),

Akeem Roach (Winger/forward, 4 caps, 1 goal),

Isaiah Lee (Forward/winger, 2 caps, 0 goals),

Kadeem Corbin (Winger/forward, 1 cap, 0 goals),

Jesus Perez (Central defender, 1 cap, 0 goals).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ataulla Guerra (left) takes on Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano during an international friendly in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Daniel Garcia)

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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7 comments

  1. I had to be dreaming… Well I know one of my grand mothers from St. Vincent, so that is my new home team yes….
    I just want to remind Mr Liburd about our spirited debate on the counter productive narrative that came out after the USA loss . I hope you are seeing now how ridiculous we are behaving…
    Seriously I think Mr Fenwick should resign his post as national team coach… Just to stop the dotishness. It have way too much clowns in this circus, and he seems to aggravate them to act the fool.

    • Talldog, I half-agree with you. I too think Terrible Terry should take a side. Not, however, because that would stop the dotishness but because it would certainly reduce the numbers of clowns involved.

      By at least one!

      • Ah hear dat!
        Not wanting to be accused of behaving like Dr Winford James, let me say I don’t know Fenwick, nor about his character traits as a coach, so I don’t know! I’m going with this… If what you are saying is so Messrs Liburd and Best, then it’s even more important for Fenwick to resign sooner than later. However, I believe we would then be thrust into a position that we are incapable of extricating ourselves. It would be impossible for us to find a coach that would be respected by all, given our operating environment – a circus!