Back in 2013, Tom Saintfiet was already using T&T as a reference to what so called smaller nations can achieve on the world football stage.
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De Gannes off to Den Bosch trials
Senior T&T men’s hockey player Aidan De Gannes left on Tuesday for Amsterdam, Holland, for a three-week trial stint at top Premier Hockey League (Hoofdklasse) club, Den Bosch which ended ninth in the 12-team competition last season.
According De Gannes who turned 23 on July 25, HC Den Bosch which is under the supervision of T&T coach, Dutchman Eric Verboom presents a great opportunity to further his development in the sport.
“I have been a member of the national senior team since 2007 and I think this is the right time for me to try and make a move abroad. I am anxiously looking towards the experience of training and playing with top quality international players from around the world and hopefully I will impress the coaching staff enough to get me a contract.”
A former Queen’s Royal College student, De Gannes, who has been a member of local club, Notre Dame ever since he picked up the sport in 2006 added: “I will be working as hard as possible to impress the coaches as a contract will not only be a positive for me, but enable me to bring back some knowledge to my local clubmate and national team-mates as well.|
Reflecting on his development as a player locally, De Gannes who was a member of the senior men’s team that lifted the Caribbean Cup and secured a historic bronze medal at the Pan American Cup in Canada last year said his parents have given him unconditional support since he picked up the hockey sticks.
“My two main coaches in Kwandwane Browne and Glen “Fido” Francis” have also played key roles in my development and I want to continue to do them proud.”
Commenting on the opportunity for De Gannes, who was part of his team at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, Francis, a former national goalkeeper admitted its a chance of a lifetime for his national player.
“In the past we have had players who secured professional contracts to play in Germany and England, but this is a first and at Den Bosch he (Aidan) will get the chance to play alongside some of the best players from South Africa and Holland who are at the club.”
“It doesn’t get much better than the Dutch Hockey League and I hope he grasps the chance with both hands, because he is one of the best young players that we have in T&T and deserves a chance to showcase his talent at a higher level,” added Francis.
Should, De Gannes managed to impress enough for a contract he will join an illustrious list of current and former national team-mates to ply their trade in Europe at some point in their career led by Browne, Brian Garcia, Ron Alexander, Nigel Providence, Darren Cowie, Solomon Eccles, Alan Henderson, Mickel Pierre, Evans Pierre Farrell, Akim Toussaint, Dwain Quan Chan and Wayne Legerton.
Aidan De Gannes, major tournaments for T&T and accomplishments:
2013: 3rd, Pan American Cup, Brampton, Toronto, Canada, August 10th – 17th
2nd rnd. two, FIH World League, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 27th to March 5th
2012: 5th,Junior Pan American Games, Guadalajara, Mexico, October 10th -23rd
1st rnd. one, FIH World League, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, November 13th – 17th
2011: 7th, Pan American Games, Guadalajara, Mexico, October 19-28
2010: 2nd, Central American & Caribbean Games, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, July 22-30
Preliminary Round, Commonwealth Games, New Delhi, India, October 4th – 14th
2009: 5th, Pan American Cup, Santiago, Chile, March 7th to 15th
2008: 7th, Pan American Junior Championships, Port-of-Spain, T&T, October 17th to 26th
5th, Olympic Qualifier, North Shore City, Auckland, New Zealand, February 2nd to 10th
2007: 1st, Pan America Hockey Federation, Caribbean Hockey Cup, Port-of-Spain, T&, November 7th to 11th