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Fenwick snubs Rangers’ challenge, Warriors whip Police FC 4-1 with three late goals

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick has turned down the chance to play local Pro League club Terminix La Horquetta Rangers for a TT$100,000 bonus, according to Rangers managing director Richard Ferguson.

Team manager Adrian Romain told Wired868 last night that Fenwick’s position on the Rangers warm-up game was still ‘unconfirmed’. However, Ferguson said Fenwick vetoed the proposed match on Friday morning, during an online meeting with the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee and Rangers general manager, Kieron Edwards.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick (all-red top) has a 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)

Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad, according to Ferguson, said that, due to the financial aspect of the game, the committee would take charge of any purse—on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). And Fenwick subsequently said he had no time to face Rangers before the Soca Warriors depart next Thursday for their opening World Cup qualifier against Guyana on 25 March in the Dominican Republic.

The Warriors played Police FC in an exhibition match last night and won 4-1, while they face Defence Force on Monday.

“We are disappointed that we are not getting to play [the National Senior Team],” said Ferguson. “They said they didn’t have the time. But if you could play Police and Defence Force, then why not us?”

Ferguson denied he sought to embarrass the Warriors and said they first sent word to Fenwick, via Hadad, Romain and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, that they wanted a practice game in November 2020.

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 played Trinidad and Tobago three times under previous coach Dennis Lawrence and also had exhibition games against the Grenada and St Lucia national teams.

“We believe that playing teams that are better than us is a way to improve our performance,” said Ferguson. “Since November we have been seeking this game against the national team, but to no avail.”

The offer of a cash incentive, he said, was only made after Romain supposedly asked Ferguson for money to help fund the national team programme.

“What Adrian Romain was telling us is the national team is currently underfunded and getting problems with things like stipends for players and refreshments,” said Ferguson. “So what we said is we tried to mesh the two problems to come up with one solution. We normally offer our players a performance incentive, so we will do the same thing for the national team. 

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Molik Khan (right) turns away from Police FC midfielder Raheem Jawahir during a practice match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 12 March 2021.
Khan, 16, is the youngest member of the current Soca Warriors team.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

“Let’s play the practice game and should the national team win, they will get a performance bonus of TT$100,000. They could use this funding to pay their players and pay expenses and so on. 

“And if we are allowed to bring spectators into the ground we would expect to bring in 1,000 patrons at TT$100 a ticket and we would give that to the national team too [along with any advertising revenue we raise from showing the match on television].”

Ferguson estimated the potential bounty for the National Senior Team at TT$250,000. Fenwick apparently said no.

Notably, Romain denied making any request to Ferguson for funding.

“We are covered with meals, transportation, water, etc,” said the Warriors manager.

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)

Neither Fenwick nor Hadad responded to a request for comment on the proposed Rangers game.

Last night, the Warriors squared off against Police FC instead and it was not as straightforward as the final score might suggest.

The ‘Lawmen’ enjoyed more possession by the interval but trailed to a Duane Muckette penalty kick, after a rash challenge on Trinidad and Tobago flanker Jabari Mitchell.

Mitchell was one of two Police FC players in the Warriors team, along with goalkeeper Adrian Foncette.

The Warriors began in a 4-3-3 shape before switching to 3-4-2-1 in the second half, just as they did against the United States in January. Joevin Jones, who recently signed for MLS club InterMiami FC, started as an inverted winger on the right flank before moving to left wing back after the interval.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago flanker Joevin Jones crosses the ball during a practice match against Police FC at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 12 March 2021.
Jones had one assist as the Soca Warriors won 4-1.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

It was largely an underwhelming performance from Fenwick’s troops, who lacked fluidity and presence down the centre while their first choice method of attack seemed to be a long ball behind the opposing defence, which rarely troubled Police.

The Pro League team lacked the legs to match the Warriors though—Fenwick made 11 changes in the second half—with four goals coming in the closing 20 minutes.

Jones crossed from the left for substitute Brent Sam to double their lead from close range, after a lapse in the concentration of their opponents. Raheim Jawahir pulled a goal back for Police with a deflected drive from outside the Warriors’ penalty area.

But another substitute, Sean Bonval, struck twice to create a lopsided score summary, which did not reflect the balance of play for the first 70 minutes of the affair.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Sean Bonval (left) and Police FC defender Xavier Wheeler tussle for the ball during a practice match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 12 March 2021.
Bonval came off the bench to score a hattrick as T&T won 4-1.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

First, midfielder Justin Sadoo broke the Police offside trap with a 50 yard lofted pass that Sam teed up for Bonval to tap home. Then a raking cross-field ball from the left found wing back Jesse Williams in oceans of space on the opposite flank, and his squared pass was again tucked away by Bonval.

Sadoo, incidentally, had replaced Michel Poon-Angeron at the base of the Warriors midfield after the latter player got a knock in the second half. Muckette faced some fierce tackles too and there may be some reason for concern among Fenwick’s medical staff this weekend.

Tactically, though, the Warriors seemed to lack the ingenuity in possession necessary to break down Police while their defensive press seemed aimless and rarely got results.

With barely two weeks left before the World Cup qualifiers start, it seems that the National Team’s hopes for success depend more on the quality of Fenwick’s overseas-based inclusions than in the cleverness of his own tactical manoeuvres.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Brent Sam in action during a practice match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 12 March 2021.
Sam came off the bench to set up one goal as T&T won 4-1.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

Police FC head coach Richard Hood, who also served as the Women’s National Under-20 and Under-17 head coach last year, gave the Soca Warriors a mixed review.

I thought that it was a competitive game played at a good intensity,” said Hood. “We caused the national team some problems early on and probably should have punished them, but we weren’t able to maintain the desired intensity due to low fitness levels and poor performances by substitutes.

“We allowed them three rather poor goals in the second half. Overall, I was happy with the first half performance given where we are in our training schedule. 

“I thought that they weren’t at their best in terms of fluency and giveaways. I am hopeful however, that the scrimmage would have assisted them and wish them all the best in their upcoming games.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Jesse Williams helped set up one goal as a substitute as T&T downed Police FC 4-1 in a practice game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 12 March 2021.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/Wired868)

On the same night, Rangers played two exhibition games at their Phase Two ground in La Horquetta, as their first team clobbered Malabar FC 11-0 while their second string team, according to Ferguson, lost 3-1 to a Maloney FC team that included former national flanker Nathan Lewis.

Rangers will have to satisfy themselves with club opposition for the foreseeable future.

Trinidad and Tobago team (4-1-2-3): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK) (21.Adrian Foncette (GK)); 16.Alvin Jones (19.Jesse Williams), 4.Leland Archer, 15.Justin Garcia, 5.Jelani Peters (15.Neveal Hackshaw); 14.Michel Poon-Angeron (6.Justin Sadoo); 10.Duane Muckette (12.Molik Khan), 8.Hashim Arcia (17.Sean Bonval); 3.Joevin Jones (7.Gary Griffith III), 9.Shackiel Henry (17.Brent Sam), 11.Jabari Mitchell (19.Marcus Joseph).

Unused substitutes: 12.Jamal Jack, 18.Reon Moore, 20.Joshua Alexander.

Technical staff: Terry Fenwick (head coach), Derek King (assistant coach), Keon Trim (assistant coach), Adrian Romain (team manager), Dr Akash Dhanai (team doctor), Captain Basil Thompson (logistics manager), Oswin Birchwood (trainer), Sion Cain (masseuse), Michael Williams (kit manager), Shaun Fuentes (media relations officer).

Editor’s Note: Several Trinidad and Tobago players used jerseys with the same numbers.

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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4 comments

  1. Who the firetruck is Richard Ferguson? Like who cares about that mouthful of dotishness about charging money and raising funds for the team… Big fat watery steups… This is what I just cyar stand with people in this country…. Yuh doh like Fenwick, and yuh find he shouldn’t be the national team coach jus say firetrucking so… All this posturing like likkle school gyul is soo uncalled for…
    Terry might be terrible but I find the likes of Ferguson downright sickening!
    On the game… Its a bit disturbing to hear of players needing medical attention after a friendly scrimmage with a local club..
    I liked the comments tho from the police head coach, it was focused on the game and it showed his genuine concern for the national team, and not the regular I hate Terry response you get from some of the football experts here.
    “It seems that the National Team’s hopes for success depend more on the quality of Fenwick’s overseas-based inclusions than in the cleverness of his own tactical manoeuvres.”
    I think a player of higher quality would always execute a tactical set of moves better than an ordinary player.. So your chance of success is beget with quality players.

    • … chance of success is better….

    • I dunno if Talldog bark worse than he bite but if I was Ferguson, after this I woulda put my tail between my legs and bow(-wow) out.

      It might have plenty more Talldog out there, some with rabies…

      And some ready to defend national football against ALL comers.

      • Trust me… I’m in a room with these clowns, jesters, and circus animals in local football, they would get bite too…. If you all not realising the level of kaka foolery going on dat is allyuh…. These idiots like Fergus on, eve, Sancho, awai are killing football, and they have no bloody respect for national institutions,. They are greedy selfish clowns, and all these young players that taking chain up from these idiots and disrespecting the national team structure by sending messages to they coach, and media people, they would reach nowhere!!!
        So rangers players be warned… Yuh managerr is a big clown..
        All who disagreed with Wallace, ah hope allyuh seeing now how important it is to reset this country’s football systems.
        This is the Absolute worst I’ve seen…. You trying to make a big issue about playing the national team a warm up game….. Its all about you ent??? Flicking clown