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Fenwick blames ‘squandered chances’ on W/Cup KO, can still net salary hike to US$25k per month

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick blamed poor finishing for his team’s elimination from the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign yesterday evening, after a goalless draw away to The Bahamas at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

The draw left the Soca Warriors with five points from three games—four points shy of St Kitts and Nevis, who they play in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick did not offer his resignation after the team’s shock elimination at the feet of the Bahamas on 5 June 2021.

The Bahamas have never qualified for a Caribbean Cup, let alone a senior Concacaf tournament, and they conceded 15 goals in their previous three matches without scoring once.

It was the first time that the Bahamas avoided defeat in a World Cup qualifier since 30 March 2008, when they drew 2-2 with the British Virgin Islands at the same venue. 

In the 13 years since, ‘The Baha Boyz’ were booted out of three consecutive Fifa qualifying campaigns in two-legged affairs: 13-0 aggregate to Jamaica (2010), 10-0 to Turks and Caicos (2014), and 8-0 to Bermuda (2018). They ended that barren run yesterday in their first ever meeting against the Soca Warriors.

Fenwick credited the tenacity of the Bahamian players, who are more renowned for beach soccer than the 11-a-side version—although even in that arena, they routinely finish behind the twin island republic.

“First and foremost, I’ve got to hand it to the Bahamas,” said Fenwick. “They had a game plan, they dug in deep. They wore their hearts on their sleeves, they fought for every ball, and they grinded [sic] out a result.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) takes on the Bahamas left back Lesly St Fleur during 2022 World Cup qualifying action in Nassau on 5 June 2021.
St Fleur is also the captain of the Bahamas Beach Soccer Team.
(via TTFA Media)

The English coach, a former England World Cup defender, said the ‘disappointing result’ was simply down to his players ‘squandering multiple chances’.

“[We] didn’t give any chances away ourselves, created possibly six, seven, eight chances and didn’t convert,” said Fenwick. “And if you don’t score at this level teams can come back and bite you, and I thought that’s what they did. Bahamas showed a lot of pride and passion, played for their country. The chances that we missed I think were glaring.”

Trinidad and Tobago have played three competitive games under Fenwick, with a 3-0 win over Guyana followed by a 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico and a goalless tie against the Bahamas. The trio are ranked 165, 178 and 201 in the world respectively by Fifa.

The Englishman suggested the Warriors will use a similar tactical approach against St Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, although he is likely to add some fresh faces to the squad.

“We will go into that [match against St Kitts and Nevis] with the same game plan,” said Fenwick. “We obviously thought we would have had a better result today than we’ve had. But we’ve got top class players, we have some good youngsters coming through—it’s time to see them. We will give some kids a good run for their money.”

Photo: Eighteen-year-old winger Gary Griffith III (right) has been the subject of much attention during Terry Fenwick’s tenure as head coach, although he has not played a minute to date.
(via TTFA Media)

Fenwick’s hint about using ‘youngsters’ would probably raise speculation of a debut senior run-out for 18-year-old Gary Griffith III, who is the son of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith but an unknown quantity in the local game—having failed to stand out at school or club level. Griffith III is the only player nurtured by Fenwick’s Football Factory academy to ever get a senior national team pick.

Otherwise, rookie defender Jesse Williams is 19 and left-sided attacker Nickel Orr is 20, along with midfielders Michel Poon-Angeron and Judah Garcia who have already featured in the competition.

Fenwick gave no indication that he is ready to walk away from his US$20,000 (TT$134,600) a month contract. And, remarkably, he can get a two-year extension with a pay raise to US$25,000 (TT$168,00) a month if he leads Trinidad and Tobago to wins over Montserrat and either Cuba or French Guiana in Concacaf Gold Cup qualifying games on 2 and 6 July respectively—based on a controversial contract that was not agreed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) board but signed off in secret by former president William Wallace and general secretary Ramesh Ramdhan.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Qatar 2022 World Cup dreams are over, but the Fenwick era could continue for some time yet.

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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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5 comments

  1. I have no idea how low T&T football is going to go but we’ve got at least another two years of the Fenwick reign to find out. As things stand we’ve hit rock bottom and have started digging! For those expecting Terry Fenwick to resign, think again!

    I would never accuse Fenwick of narrow self-interest but my reticence to do so, should not prevent anyone from coming to their own conclusions!

    Why walk away from a two extension and US$25,000 a month? That’s a cool US$600,000! There has been much fire and fury coming from the T&T coach but we’re pretty tame when confronting opponents, in fact the only evidence we’ve seen of this is in relation to Shaun Fuentes, a bit of an own goal that! Just goes to show that in addition to his elbow, Terry’s also pretty good with his head!

    This situation isn’t going to change, this saga will run its pitiful course, sadly there’s no vaccine for this UK variant!

    • C’mon Guys, this Englishman is not going to give up such a lucrative position, after all this is not really his fault, these were the lads he had to work with, and most of these players are professionals, better he build from now than become an embarrassment, fortunately not having moved on into the next round. I suppose the next headache he has to overcome can be another qualification test for the Gold Cup. Maybe he’ll prove what he is or is not?

      • “Not really his fault” you say, it’s the players, now that’s an interesting take on management! Just in case you’ve forgotten this is the worst performance by a T&T team, then again with Fenwick still in charge maybe I’m speaking too soon!

        ‘Better he build from now than become an embarrassment’, that horse has already bolted I’m afraid! Bahamas dumped us out of the World Cup! Have you any idea what that means? Do you understand the significance? I’m going to suggest that’s kinda embarrassing, yer think?

        Fenwick’s headache is nothing in comparison to our migraine and guess who’s fault that is?

  2. Trinidad and Tobago football needs a Phensic for that Fenwick headache

  3. Earl Best

    “Trinidad and Tobago’s Qatar 2022 World Cup dreams are over, but the Fenwick era could continue for some time yet.”

    Shudder, shudder!

    Puts the fear of God into discerning Trinis’ hearts.

    Would that it could do the same to resolute opponents!