National coach Terry Fenwick is praising his players after Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Group F winners St Kitts & Nevis in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.
Fenwick and his players were the subjects of brutal criticisms following a goalless draw with regional football minnows Bahamas last Saturday which eventually put T&T out of the qualifiers in only the first round. There have since been calls for Fenwick, a former England national player to be fired and some of the players to be replaced moving ahead in the game.
But on Tuesday the Soca Warriors produced a commanding performance that really should have resulted in more than two goals on the night, from midfielder Duane Muckette in the 35th minute and captain Khaleem Hyland in the 74th at the Estadio Alterno del Centro Juan Pablo Duarte in the Dominica Republic, accepting the fact that the Kittitians dubbed the Sugar Boyz have advanced out of the group with nine points from four matches and just one loss.
The win for T&T confined St Kitts & Nevis team to its first loss of the qualifiers and assured T&T secured the runner-up spot on eight points, with two wins and as many drawn games.
Fenwick, a former central defender, who has, in earnest, began his preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup which starts on July 2 against Montserrat in the USA, said his players produced a gritty, yet classy display which tells of the quality that exists in the team: “Yes well obviously I am very pleased with the result, that’s four games away from home, two victories, two draws. We obviously are very disappointed we’re not advancing to the next round of the World Cup Qualifiers, but I am proud of my players tonight, the performance, the professionalism, despite all the divisions we’ve got in T&T football. Lack of financing, lack of support, the boys have dug deep and you can’t argue being away from home for four games and playing without a defeat.”
The 61-year-old who was appointed national coach in January 2020 said: “I thought we dominated the game, particularly the first half, everything was coming through us. I felt we should have scored more goals. We had good opportunities, we had a penalty appeal that was turned down by VAR, although we haven’t got VAR at the stadium, but again the players were magnificent. They stuck to the task, they kept their professionalism, we moved the ball quickly, we created good chances, the game should have had a more comfortable result.”
Fenwick reminded the media that his team is far from where it should be because of the troubles taking place in local football.
He pointed out: “What you’ve got to recognize is that we’ve got terrible challenges back in T&T. The Normalisation Committee is dealing with debts around the T&T Football Association. That means we’ve had very little if any support for the past 18 months. We’ve had no friendly games, we’ve had no preparation for these World Cup qualifiers, and it has been very difficult for the players.
You look at the performance of Khaleem Hyland, the team captain, he was outstanding in the middle of the park. That’s the sort of quality we’ve got in the team and they’re missing out on opportunities because the association is in such a mess.”
Meanwhile, the T&T Football Association in a release yesterday stated that FIFA has informed it that all possible disciplinary action related to a protest lodged by the Guyana Football Federation over the eligibility of player Andre Boucaud in Group F World Cup qualifying matches in March have been dismissed.
The Guyana Football Federation (TTFA) had stated that following an extensive investigation with its legal team that it had written FIFA, urging the global governing body for football to consider its case. “We have taken this matter very seriously and have presented our findings to FIFA– that Boucaud was ineligible to play for Trinidad and Tobago as a registered intermediary with the English Football Association.
The GFF also pointed out that it believed that Boucaud was ineligible for selection as a registered intermediary and, as such, that any points secured by Trinidad and Tobago during any related FIFA World Cup qualification matches should be forfeited.
As it is now, neither Boucaud nor the T&TFA will face any disciplinary action by FIFA.