The three players who broke camp before the World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala on September 2, received hefty fines, national coach Stephen Hart said yesterday.
The players–midfielders Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones, who play for Orlando City and the Seattle Sounders in America's Major League Soccer (MLS) respectively–and defender Mekeil Williams of the Colorado Rapids that also campaigns in the MLS, broke the team's curfew on Independence night (August 31st) to attend a boat cruise, without the knowledge of Hart and his technical staff.
Hart explained yesterday that the matter was dealt with as a team the morning after by handing the players heavy fines, saying it is the way matters like those are normally handled.
Hart said he wanted to get on with the matter at heart which was qualifying for the World Cup. "I can assure you the fines were hefty, after that we just got on with game. It was actually the first time it has happened under my reign and not like it happens all the time. However, I can assure you that if it happens again, more drastic actions will be taken against the players" Hart explained.
The issue has since gained the attention of the media and the public, with concerns being raised about appropriate action for the players.
Contacted, president of the T&T Football Association David John-Williams said he was expected to receive a report on the matter this evening (yesterday ). He told the Trinidad Guardian that while he did not want to comment on the issue until he receives the report, he felt very disappointed by what had happened. And when quizzed on whether he felt it may have had an effect on the performance of the team, John-Williams said: "It may have. You can never know if that may have affected the way the team played that night. It was very possible"
The T&T team came from a goal down to draw with Guatemala 2-2 in front a sold-out crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, with the left footed Jones (Joevin) getting the double strike to earn his team the vital point to advance to the Final Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Concacaf Zone.
It is understood the players are likely to be sent to the football association's Disciplinary Committee upon investigation. But Hart, when quizzed on whether the players should receive additional punishment, said "That is entirely up to the FA to decide. We have dealt with it as a team but I cannot say what the FA should or should not do."