Former T&T footballer and now analyst of the game Alvin Corneal has slammed the selfishness of some players on the national team following the latest 2-0 defeat at the hands of Venezuela on Monday night in Caracas, Venezuela.
“From my experiences, I get the distinct belief that some of them are not team players. They are playing abroad and think ‘we are back home, and we are superstars…’” Corneal said in an interview during CNC3’s The Morning Shot on Friday.
He went further in naming Seattle Sounders FC left-back, Joevin Jones, who plays for T&T in the same position as one of the culprits. He said, “Joevin Jones is one in point, wonderful and talented footballer, but he wants to play for himself and he wants to have his way, and because of this we are losing a player of immense talent and he’s on the sideline all the time.”
While Corneal was critical of some of the players, he defended Dennis Lawrence against growing criticism. The T&T head coach has not won a game in 14 matches which comprises 10 defeats and four draws, but Corneal said the issues go beyond the field of play.
Corneal, a former Maple stand out, and who also scored 69 goals in 119 appearances for the national team between 1955- 1969 said, “Yes, he has not had good results, but you got to look down the line because the opportunities have not been given to him to make him have all the tools to improve the quality of Trinidad and Tobago’s football. We must understand that football is not only on the field, but it’s also in the administrative offices as well. It is the planning that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort for teams to be very cohesive.”
Corneal, a former FIFA instructor and technical analyst, went further in stating that the foreign-based players have not properly gelled with the locals. He said, “Life, I know, is becoming very difficult for him because he’s got choices to make of players at home and players abroad. That’s very difficult because these players abroad are getting information differently. There are differences between coaches and systems.”
With five weeks left to the T&T Football Association’s (TTFA) election, Corneal, who coached a Caribbean team from 1982-1983 and 1993-1994, was stern in his analysis that it doesn’t matter if president David John-Williams is removed. He said, “If the constitution is not dealt with before the elections then as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who gets the presidency or anything else.”
In saying that community football has been neglected by the TTFA, Corneal stressed on the importance of constitutional change within the body. “If they go into the elections without looking at that constitution, they will be fighting a deadly battle. Simply because, the fact that the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago’s football has been prostituted in every single way and nobody seems to worry about what happens there and now we worry about what happens on the field,” Corneal said.