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Updated: 45 min 49 sec ago

T&T, Argentina clash for Worlds spot today

8 hours 57 min ago

T&T Calypso Stickmen will come up against Argentina from 7 pm tonight at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, Guyana for a spot at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, Germany next February.

This after the Solomon Eccle-led T&T squad stormed back from a 0-4 deficit to defeat defending champions Canada 7-5 in its final round-robin match at the Indoor Pan American Cup Men’s Tournament, yesterday.

Needing only a draw or avoid defeat by eight clear goals to get to the final, T&T, unbeaten in its four previous matches found itself down 0-3 at the half-time with Micah Teixeira scoring for the Canadians as early as the second minute through a penalty, followed by a double from Jonathan Roberts, in the 14th, another penalty and in the 19th minute.

Three minutes into the second-half, Canada needing to get five more goals without allowing T&T to get on the board went further ahead courtesy Lyle Fernandes for a 4-0 advantage.

However, the match then swung in T&T’s favour in the 27th minute when Jordan Reynos scored from the penalty-spot followed by two other quick strikes from Marcus James within seconds for a 4-3 deficit.

Eccles then drew T&T level in the 29th minute while Jordan Vieira completed the turn-around with a 31st minute field goal for the first lead at 5-4.

Devohn Teixeira responded for the now deflated Canadians in the 34th to level the match at 5-5, but T&T would finish the stronger of both teams with goals from Mickell Pierre in the 38th and Akim Toussaint, a minute later to pull off the unlikely win for a perfect 5-0 record and maximum 15 points, six ahead of Argentina and Canada.

Today’s meeting with Argentina will be the second of the competition for T&T, who won 5-2 on Monday’s opening night of competition.

However, the Argentines with a goal-difference of plus-17 were virtually assured of a spot in the final and they came up against Guyana in their final match last night and just needed a draw or to avoid a defeat by three goals to take second spot ahead of Canada which ended with nine points, and a goal-difference of plus-14.

In Thursday’s late matches, Canada out-gunned Guyana 8-5 and Argentina whipped Barbados 7-1 while Barbados and Mexico met in the other match last night.

Stickwomen spank Bajans 11-4

The trio of Krizia Layne, Brittney Hingh and Arielle Williams helped themselves to two goals each as T&T Calypso Stickwomen spanked Barbados 11-4 to end in fifth spot at the conclusion of the round-robin stage of the Women Indoor Pan American Cup seven-team series at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Guyana yesterday.

The winless Barbadians surprised T&T and took a second minute lead via a field goal from Ayanna Wilson, but it only seemed to sprung T&T into life with Kristin Thompson scoring the equaliser in the fourth minute followed by items from Krizia Layne (ninth), Savannah De Freitas (11th), Brittney Hingh (12th), Zene Henry (14th), Layne again in the 18th, and Arielle Williams on the stroke of half-time for a 7-1 advantage.

Within three minutes of the restart Hingh got her second of the match and the team’s eighth before the Barbadians mounted a fightback with three goals without reply courtesy Cher King (24th), Tammisha Small (28th) and Katrina Downes, also in the 28th trail 8-4. However, that was as close as the Bajans got as Williams netted her second of the match in he 30th to extend T&T’s lead to 9-1 followed by Shaniah De Freitas (34th) and Blair Wynne (37th) with their first strikes of the match to complete the 11-4 mauling.

It was the second win on the trot for the Jerazeno Bell-coached T&T women to end with a 2-4 record and six points in fifth spot for a place in today’s fifth placed playoff against the winners of last night’s sixth placed battle between winless Barbados and Guyana from 11.55 am.

Canada with a 4-2 record faces Uruguay (3-3) for bronze from 2.45 pm. This after USA swept aside Guyana 7-1 followed by a 4-1 defeat of 4-1 Canada yesterday to end with a perfect 6-0 round-robin record and maximum 18 points, three more than Argentina (5-1).

TODAY’S FIXTURES

Women
Fifth spot playoff: T&T vs Guyana/Barbados winner, 11.55 am
Third spot playoff: Canada vs Uruguay, 2.45 pm
Finals: USA vs Argentina, 5.35 pm
Men
Fifth spot playoff: Mexico vs Barbados, 1.20 pm
Third spot playoff: Guyana vs Canada, 4.10 pm
Finals: T&T vs Argentina, 7 pm

A ‘Thought’ to lift our spirit

9 hours 3 min ago

Yaafour attempts to recoup recent losses, and defy a penalty, in the thirteen-runner Novice Stakes over an extended mile of Wolverhampton tapeta tonight, which could represent a tough task for Richard Hannon’s multi-raced charge.

There are two significant boxes ticked, top-rated on my time-handicap* and Yaafour, mount of stable jockey, Tom Marquand, is trained by bang-in-form Richard Hannon; how many times have we mentioned just how prolific the Marlborough-based ‘winning machine’ is during every Autumn period?

It’s no fluke, moreso a product of routine; the racing family Hannon buys a specific type of thoroughbred, hundreds of them and, obviously, knows the modus operandi backwards. I’ve actually purchased horses from Hannon senior and they did very well, good, solid types.

Middleton Sam won twice and was second at group two level for yours truly, in Australia!

Dunstall Park is all about speed, positioning and jockeyship; Yaafour is advantaged on all counts but similarly rated to first-up, Richard Fahey-trained winner, Ocean Voyage, short-head winner on ‘soft’ Carllisle last month.

It is by no means a match, once-raced Wajaaha is expected to go close by Saeed bin Suroor and similarly-profiled, Craving, trained by Simon Crisford, is sure to be ‘on the premises’ but Yaafour justifies each-way support with three places on offer.

Earlier Biddy Brady should finally gain reward for consistency in a Novice Median Auction Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ ground Catterick under 2016 ‘computer champ’ David Allan; clear ‘best-in’ and drawn one, perfect. No excuses this time.

Joe Fanning, has an excellent record at this popular North Yorkshire left-hander and trainer supreme, William Haggas, has booked the indefatigable veteran for consistent, hitherto luckless, Perfect Thought, in the following Fillies’ Novice Stakes over seven furlongs; look no further for the winner, thrown-in!

Windies confident but cautious for Zimbabwe series

9 hours 5 min ago

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe—For the first time in some while, West Indies will enter a Test series with the title of firm favourites, when they take on minnows Zimbabwe in the opening Test of the two-match series today at Queens Sports Club.

Though the Caribbean side’s Test record in recent years has been dodgy at best, Zimbabwe’s has been even worse, without a Test win in nearly four years in nine outings.
In addition, they have failed to beat West Indies in eight previous meetings—losing six and drawing two—and were easily brushed side the last time the two teams met in the Caribbean in a two-match series five years ago.

Despite those damning statistics, however, West Indies captain Jason Holder said his side were anticipating a stiff challenge from the hosts and would be taking nothing for granted.

“We expect a really good competition from these guys. They are obviously fresh now back onto the Test circuit …,” Holder told a media conference here Friday.

“Last year when we came here they looked a really good side, a very professional unit and we expect nothing different from them in this Test series. They would have boosted their side with Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis coming back, and they are two key guys for them going forward.

“So it should be a good contest. We expect a really good competition.”

Play bowls off at 10 am (4 am Eastern Caribbean time).

SQUADS

WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wicketkeeper), Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, Miguel Cummins, Shimron Hetmyer, Raymon Reifer, Devendra Bishoo.

ZIMBABWE – Graeme Cremer (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Regis Chakabva (wicketkeeper), Michael Chinouya, Chris Mpofu, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chisoro, Nyasha Mayavo.

Naps look to close in on SSFL title

9 hours 6 min ago

Naparima College will be confident of enhancing its claim for a third Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League Premier Division title in four years when it entertains Speyside at Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar from 3.40pm today.

The Angus Eve-coached Naparima, which had its bid for a third straight title halted by southern rivals, Shiva Boys Hindu College last year, currently lead the 15-team table with 26 points from 11 matches, two more than St Anthony’s College while Presentation College of San Fernando and Shiva Boys are next with 22 and 20 points respectively, both from ten matches.

At the other end of the table, Speyside is bottom of the table with seven points from 12 matches, the same as Trinity Moka, which has two matches in hand and a superior goal-difference in the battle for survival.

For today’s clash at Malabar, Naparima will be the fresher of both teams after its scheduled clash with Fyzabad Secondary was postponed on Wednesday after the latter was suspended from competition, while Speyside suffered a 3-0 home loss to Carapichaima East.

At Warren Street, St Augustine, red-hot St Anthony’s, coming off a narrow 3-2 away win at San Juan North will also hope to keep up the pressure with another win against an East Zone powerhouse, in St Augustine Secondary, which itself went under to Trinity East, 3-0.

Former table-toppers Presentation College will face a tricky test in Trinity East at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Training Field, Marabella as it seeks to stay in the title hunt while fellow challengers and defending champions Shiva Boys stays in the south for a clash with St Benedict’s College, with the latter coming off a 3-2 win at Trinity Moka to enhance its survival chances.

In other matches carded for today, Carapicahima East hosts Queen’s Royal College; Signal Hill is at home to Trinity Moka in a match with relegation implications; and St Mary’s and Fatima lock horns at St Mary’s Ground, Serpentine Road, St Clair.

Today’s Matches

St Augustine Sec vs St Anthony’s, Warren Street, St Augustine
Naparima vs Speyside, Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar
Presentation vs Trinity East, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
Carapichaima East vs QRC, Carapichaima East
St Mary’s vs Fatima, St Mary’s College Ground, Serpentine Rd, St Clair
Signal Hill vs Trinity Moka, Signal Hill
St Benedict’s vs Shiva Boys, Barrackpore
San Juan North - bye

Windies women whip Sri Lanka for series lead

9 hours 7 min ago

ST JOHN’S, Antigua—Player-of-the-Match Hayley Matthews and fast bowler Shakera Selman turned in handy performances, as West Indies Women trounced Sri Lanka Women by 71 runs in the opening Twenty20 International on Thursday night.

Matthews stroked a run-a-ball 37 to propel the hosts to 140 for four off their 20 overs before Selman snatched two for six from three overs, to limit the Sri Lankans to 69 for seven off their quota of overs.

The contest proved a stroll for the reigning World champions, extending their dominance from their clean sweep of the one-day series in Trinidad& Tobago last week.

Sent in at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Matthews spearheaded a 67-run, opening stand off 63 deliveries with captain Stafanie Taylor whose 31 came from 29 balls with three boundaries.

The right-handed Matthews had counted five fours when she was stumped in the 11th over off left-arm spinner Inoka Ranaweera who claimed two for 35.

Her dismissal sparked a slide which saw four wickets tumble for 39 runs in the space of 38 balls, as West Indies Women slipped to 106 for four in the 17th over.

Former captain Merissa Aguilleira then arrived to stroke a 19-ball unbeaten 22 while Britney Cooper struck a four and a six in 20 not out off 11 deliveries, as they provided a late flourish with an unbroken 34-run, fifth wicket stand.

Selman then shocked the Sri Lanka top order, removing openers Yasoda Mendis (0) and Chamari Atapattu (1) in successive overs, to reduce the tourists to nine for two in the third over.

Ama Kanchana tried to revive the innings with a top score of 17 off 21 balls but found little support, as no other batsman reached double figures.

Off-spinner Anisa Mohammed kept the pressure on with a pair of wickets from her four overs which cost 14 runs, while seamer Deandra Dottin stifled the middle order with a spell of one for six from three overs.

The second match is scheduled for the same venue at 6:30 pm today.

SCOREBOARD

WINDIES WOMEN
H Matthews st Vandort b Ranaweera 37
S Taylor lbw b Siriwardena 31
D Dottin c and b Ranaweera I15
K Knight b Atapattu 14
+M Aguilleira not out 22
B Cooper not out 20
Extras (w1) 1
TOTAL (4 wkts, 20 overs) 140
Did not bat: A Fletcher, K Knight, A Mohammed, A Peters, S Selman.
Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-73, 3-87, 4-106.
Bowling: Weerakkodi 3-0-25-0, Gunaratne 3-0-12-0, Kulasooriya 2-0-12-0, Kanchana 1-0-7-0, Ranaweera 4-0-35-2, Siriwardena 4-0-26-0, Atapattu 3-0-23-1.
SRI LANKA WOMEN
C Atapattu c wkp Aguilleira b Selman 1
Y Mendis lbw b Selman 0
A Kanchana c Cooper b Dottin 17
H Perera c Kycia Knight b Mohammed 9
D Manodara c Kyshona Knight b Mohammed 3
S Siriwardena c Kyshona Knight b Matthews 7
+R Vandort c Dottin b Peters 9
S Weerakkodi not out 9
I Ranaweera not out 2
Extras (b1, lb4, w7) 12
TOTAL (7 wkts, 20 overs) 69
Did not bat: C Gunaratne, A Kulasooriya.
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-9, 3-28, 4-31, 5-33, 6-51, 7-63.
Bowling: Selman 3-1-6-2, Matthews 4-0-13-1, Mohammed 4-0-14-2, Dottin 3-0-6-1, Fletcher 4-0-18-0, Peters 2-0-7-1.
Result: West Indies Women won by 71 runs.
Series: West Indies Women lead three-match series 1-0.
Player-of-the-Match: Hayley Matthews.
Toss: Sri Lanka Women.
Umpires: C Tuckett, J Williams.

Stokely Vale blanks FA champs Black Rock

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 21:59

Nigel Simon

Black Rock, the recent winners of the e 2017 Tobago Football Association FA trophy final was brought back down to earth with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Stokely Vale when matches in the Premier Division resumed on the weekend.

Stokely Vale went ahead as early as the second minute thanks to an own goal before adding late strikers through Krishown Joseph in the 85th and Jamaine Walters, two minutes into injury time.

With the win, Stokely Vale improved to 40 points from 15 matches, seven ahead of Sidey’s FC while Signal Hill is third with 31 after spanking Georgia FC 5-2 led by two goals each from Tyrone Manning and Devon Stewart.

In the Second Division, leaders, Moriah Youths battled back from a 3-1 deficit past Earlbrokes 4-3 thanks to a hat-trick from Kino Proctor in the 36th, 57th and 68th minutes.

Jase George added the decisive item for Moriah Youths, now with 45 points from 21 matches, while Henson Charles (34th & 50th), and Nolan Orr (44th) were on target for Georgia.

TFA results

Premier Division

Stokely Vale 3 (own goal 2nd, Krishown Joseph 85th, Jamaine Walters 92nd) vs Black Rock 0

Signal Hill 5 (Tyrone Manning 17th, 19th, Darryl Trim 64th, Devon Stewart 76th, 86th) vs Georgia FC 2 (Nicholas London 36th, Kerron Phillips 50th)

Roxborough Lakers 3 (Kirn Harris 9th, Keston Hamilton 45th, Sellon Gray 83rd) vs Bethel United 0

Leeds Utd 1 (Kernel Morris 37th) vs Golden Lane 1 (Aaron Clarke 90th)

Second Division

Moriah Youths 4 (Kino Proctor 36th, 57th, 68th, Jase George 89th) vs Earlbrokes 3 (Henson Charles 34th, 50th, Nolan Orr 44th)

Carnbee/Mt Pleasant 3 (Nathan Roach 67th, Dominique Roberts 75th, Nave Roach 90th) vs Belle Garden 2 (Renaldo Thomas 7th, 87th pen)

TFA standings

Premier Division

Teams*P*W*D*L*F*A*Pts

1. Stokely Vale*15*13*1*1*41*8*40

2. Sidey’s FC*15*10*3*2*35*14*33

3. Signal Hill*14*10*1*3*31*21*31

4. Goal City*14*8*2*4*30*21*26

5. Golden Lane*14*6*4*4*28*26*22

6. Roxborough*16*4*3*9*13*24*15

7. Black Rock*14*4*2*8*17*26*14

8. Georgia*15*3*3*9*16*31*12

9. Leeds*15*2*3*10*23*38*9

10. Bethel*14*2*0*12*10*35*6

Second Division

1. Moriah Youths*21*13*6*2*61*33*45

2. Goodwood*19*14*2*3*62*24*44

3. Carnbee/Mt Pleasant*21*14*1*6*55*31*43

4. Mason Hall PYC*20*11*5*4*64*41*38

5. Belle Garden*20*9*7*4*37*23*34

6. Mt Grace*20*9*5*6*28*29*32

7. Calder Hall*18*9*3*6*40*30*30

8. Lambeau*19*9*1*9*39*39*28

9. Hills United*21*8*2*11*33*45*26

10. Earlbrokes*19*6*4*9*35*48*22

11. St Clair CS*20*5*5*10*35*48*20

12. HV Milan*21*3*7*11*27*41*16

13. Northside*19*4*3*12*18*29*15

14. Youth Stars*22*0*1*21*7*80*1

South, ECFU advance to u-13 semis

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 21:59

WALTER ALIBEY

The Southern Football Association, Eastern FA, Central FA and the Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) have advanced to the semi-finals of the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) National Elite Youth Programme Boys Under 13 to be played at a date to be determined.

These matches have been set tentatively for the new home of football at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain Couva. The Regional associations were involved in tense action on Wednesday last, as the nation celebrated Divali. And at the end of it, the southern fa and eastern counties finished with unblemished records from their two games in their respective groups which took them to the top with six points each.

The southerners defeated both the eastern fa and the Tobago FA by similar 2-0 margins, first getting goals from Molik Khan and Isiah Thompson in the 21st and 28th minute to shot-out the easterners. Later in the day Khan again found the net in the 3rd minute to open the scoring against the team from the sister isle, before Kern Smart sealed the victory with his item in the 33rd minute. They were joined the in the semis by the eastern fa, whose 2-0 victory over the Tobagonians proved to be sufficient.

Their victory came courtesy a 20th minute strike from Nathaniel James as wel as goal on the half-hour mark from Terrell Gibson which earned them the runner-up position in the group. In the other group the eastern counties got a double strike from Omari Campbell in the 5th and 22nd, and another from Tristan Starford in the 17th to complete a 3-0 triumph over the Central FA in their first match. In their second game however they were made to work hard for a 3-2 victory over a battling northern fa.

They took a 2-0 advantage when Campbell found the nets twice in the space of three minutes in the 12th and 15th minute. The northerners pulled a goal back in the 18th from Josiah Wilson, but Terron Miller sealed the win for the ecfu youths in the 21st minute, despite another Wilson goal in the 24th minute.

The ecfu were joined in the semis from the group by central fa which earned the right to be among the top four teams in the tournament when they defeated northern fa 3-1, courtesy a hat-trick from Dantaye Gilbert in the 1st, 4th and 30th minutes.

Corneal apologises to coach Lawrence

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 21:59
NULL

Dear Editor,

My recent column published in T&T Guardian on Friday, October 20, 2017, which made reference to your qualification to coach our national team which was written in chapter six, was not meant to degrade your certification which you have earned during your stint in the coaching profession.

I will agree that, in hindsight, the comment may have challenged your ability to handle our national team, which was really intended to imply your inexperience to coach a national team before this assignment. The comment was NOT intended to degrade you or your professional qualification in any way whatsoever, therefore I apologise profusely to you and anyone who may have read the article.

As they may further have read in the same article, it was clear that I am completely in favour of you carrying on the job from the present position from which the national squad will approach the next major tournament. I also wish to extend my apologies to your employers.

Again, my sincerest apologies.

Regards

Alvin Corneal

Former National Coach

T&T to face Brazil, Serbia at Worlds

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 02:52

T&T’ senior women’s volleyballers will come up against two-time Olympic champions Brazil as well as European powerhouse Serbia in the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship which is scheduled for Japan from September 29 to October 20.

T&T is in Pool D of the 24-team and is the only team which will be making its debut in the event after qualifying as one of the seven teams from NORCECA on Sunday at the National Cycling Centre in Couva, as runners-up to Mexico.

The Krystle Esdelle-captained 34th ranked T&T will also meet Bulgaria (17th world ranked), Turkey (12th) and Azerbaijan (24th) in its round-robin pool play.

Commenting on the draw which was based on the teams FIVB World rankings as of August 7, 2017, Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA was quick to point out that T&T, the record seven-time Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) champions, inclusive of six-in-a-row will not have it easy.

He stated, “The Brazilians, ranked fourth in the world are former Olympic champions and also are coming off a recent victory at the World Grand Prix, while world third ranked Serbia was second at the last Olympics and third at the Grand Prix, as has been force in European volleyball for some time now. Turkey also placed 11th at the Grand Prix while Bulgaria and Azerbaijan are expected to be good playing teams as well.”

|“What is good for the T&T team is that they have played Brazil before at the Pan Am level, and while it may be a higher level of competition, some of the players may be familiar to them.
“So going into the competition we (CAZOVA) have to be realistic and cannot expect that T&T, the first ever English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify to the World Championship will top the group or win many matches.”

He added, “What we can hope for though, is for the team to get full support in its preparation for the elite competition and take as many points as it can from its opponents and embrace the experience.”

As a former President of the T&T Volleyball Federation, Mohammed said he was also proud to see the investment made in acquiring the services of Cuban-born coach Francisco “Panchee” Cruz is paying off.

“Under my presidency Cruz was introduced to the local programme close to over ten years ago, and since then the team has been able to make steady progress.”

“They are the dominant team in CAZOVA and have made great strides in being competitive at the NORCECA and Pan American levels and qualified last year to their first ever FIVB World Grand Prix competition,” stated Mohammed

Defending champions USA, which qualified automatically will compete in Pool C alongside rivals Russia, Argentina, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Kenya, Pool B comprises China, Italy, Korea Republic, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico while Japan, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Germany, Cameroon and Cuba will compete in Pool A.

Russia which will be competing in a record 17th World Championship of the 18 editions of the FIVB’s flagship competition, having only missed out in 1967 is the most accomplished team in the tournament’s history with seven gold medals, including as USSR.

FIVB WORLD RANKINGS

Pool A: #6Japan, #8Netherlands, #9Dominican Republic, #13 Germany, #18 Cameroon, #25 Cuba
Pool B: #1 China, #7Italy, #10 Korea Republic, #13 Puerto Rico, #19 Canada, #26 Mexico
Pool C: #2 USA, #5 Russia, #11 Argentina, #16 Thailand, #21 Kazakhstan, #33 Kenya
Pool D: #3 Serbia, #4 Brazil, #12 Turkey, #17 Bulgaria, #24 Azerbaijan, #34 T&T.

Soca Warriors debate next move

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 02:49

What’s next for the Soca Warriors?

I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.

Our current ranking position of 83 tells its own story and being last in the Hexagon could relate to the status of the game at this juncture.

This brings to the table the opportunity to view matters in hindsight from as long as the appointment of former national coach Stephen Hart through to the victory over the USA by Dennis Lawrence and his squad. Starting from the beginning would be the work of Hart for the period that he was employed until he was replaced.

Some stability was brought to the national programme vis a vis team preparation and to a certain extent, communication with the foreign-based players, which was actually the ideal way to jump start his programme.

Knowing Stephen for many years during his career as a coach attached in different capacities for the Canadian national teams, I understood the former national Midfielder’s approach which bears similarity to the Canadian Pattern regarding local and foreign-based players.

However, as we walked along the road of challengers, a number of unforeseen problems began to show themselves coming from unexpected directions.

Firstly, the improper communication which existed between the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and the coaching staff which appeared to divide the players into different directions started casually affecting the smooth running of sessions, even when the selection process was said to be complicated with issues that had nothing to do with the game itself.When things appeared to be corrected and the team began to appear to be heading in the right direction, coach Stephen worked hard at trying to find the players with the right attitude as opposed to be prima donnas, an issue which most coaches undergo from time to time.

The fans were becoming more interested as the team was appearing to be good competitors in the regional setting.

However, a terrible start to the Hex started to scare the TTFA and they went for a change in coach, without even reviewing the progress that the team had made prior to the sudden losses.

Enter a new coach Tom Saintfiet, a Belgian whose claim to fame had nothing in his portfolio. His accepted contract was the joke of the century when he admitted that if he failed to win the next two matches in the Hex, he will be fired. So said, so done.

The selection of Dennis brought satisfaction as the former national defender had been under coach Roberto Martinez with Everton FC. Although his coaching certification was short of what is expected for national teams, his player’s experience plus his learning from high profile club coaches, got him the job.

Honestly, success for Dennis was far-fetched, especially after he defeated Panama in the early stages and fought Mexico down to the wire of a tough defeat.

Naturally, despite some impressive portions of the matches, it was clear that Dennis was short of some tactical adjustments and he was fast beginning to learn about player behaviour.

It must be recorded that he had done well in his analyses of some of the players whose commitments were far from what was expected. He made what appeared to be drastic changes, but the transition from mediocre turned into progressive and a route to better results. USA was his huge payday and that was enough to give him the chance to continue the job and prove his real test between now and the next Gold Cup.

A one year match schedule programme will be a key factor, even before Dennis documents his principled choice regarding the process for selecting our national teams. On completion of the above we shall wish to see the trail in search of success, the improved choice of his coaching assistants and most of all, his constant search of players from every part of the country.

Finally, it is necessary for coach Dennis to prove his worth by the quality of his team’s preparation, his analyses of previous matches by showing deficiencies using videos of each match and methods of improvement.

The onus of a coach is to show that his methodology, organisation and creation of major features for success within his teams. That is crucial for the longevity of his profession.

QRC’s Bedassie is Cricketer of the Year

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 02:47

Batsman Narvin Bedassie grabbed much of the attention this North Zone season and for that he was named the Cricketer of the Year at the league’s glitzy awards ceremony on Sunday at City Hall in Port-of-Spain.

In front of a large and appreciative audience with the Mayor of Port-of-Spain, Alderman Joel Martinez in attendance, along with Cheryl-Ann Wilkinson, advisor to the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia and Agnes Lara-Cyrus, sister of Cricket legend Brian Lara, Bedassie along with the leading players of this year’s competition were honoured.

The prolific Under-19 Queen’s Royal College (QRC) student stated that he was very humbled to be selected but he was even happier that his school Queen’s Royal College has returned to the highest level of Cricket at Secondary School level.

He said, “I am very proud to have been able to be an asset to my school and to ensure that we returned to the Championship Division, after a year in the Senior Division.”

Bedassie, the captain, led by example and marshalled his team to ensured that QRC returned to the top in Secondary School Cricket League. He scored some 500 runs for the season which included two centuries.

Martinez in his address commended all in attendance for being supportive of cricket and their children’s development.

He said, “This competition is the nurturing ground for our future and from what I see here today, cricket is in good hands.”

Amir Jangoo, a former student of Fatima College, was named the boys’ Sports Personality of the Year along with Holy Name Convent’s Georgia Lee Gill, getting the award for the girls.

However, the T&T player Jangoo, had the honour of being inducted into the North Zone Cricket Hall of Fame.

The Chairman’s award for the Most Destructive Player of The Year went to Leon Bassano of St Mary’s College (CIC). His school emerged the champion of the Under-13 and U-14 Divisions.

Last year’s champion Fatima repeated in the U-16 Division while QRC claimed the senior boys’ title. St Francois Girls won the girls’ title with Holy Name Convent as runner-up.

Fatima and CIC were joint winners of the U-17 Knock-out title with Tranquility Government and Diego Martin North being joint winners of the U-19 competition.

In the Girls U-15 Knock-out, Holy Name Convent stopped St Francois while Success Laventille edged Tranquility in the Flow U-19 competition.

In the Powergen Knock-out competition, CIC continued its great form with wins in the U-14 and U-15 divisions.

Chairman Kelvin Nancoo lauded brothers Dwayne and Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard for making the awards ceremony a success.

Nancoo said, “Our former players, national and international has shown that they will always assist cricket and youth development and I thank them sincerely.”

He also lauded Paul Clarke for another superb ceremony before warning that “those who want to be serve must be selfless and always put the students and the sport first”.

North Zone development team to tour USA

Sixteen U-15 cricketers of the Zone have been selected to tour the United States next year as part of a North Zone development team as guest of the Atlantic Regional Cricket Board.

The group of players making the trip in next August include Jeremie Cruickshank (Fatima), Zachary Siewah (Fatima), Joshua James (Success), Suraj Rampersad (CIC), Requelme Harewood (Diego North), CIC vice captain Mathew Gittens, QRC captain Sachin Emrit, Jemel Perez (Diego North), Johnathon Ward (QRC), Rashawn Rampersad (Woodbrook Secondary), Gerald Chin (CIC), Mahendra Harryman (Trinity), Rene Lucio (Diego North), Chaedon Ramond (Fatima), Jahrud Nedd (CIC) and Jesse Butts (Fatima).

Aaron Kirbanali will coach the unit with Dwayne Davis operating as his assistant coach and trainer. Other officials are Kashif Sandy (manager/Tour umpire), Allan Neptune (assistant manager/Tour liaison) and Randy Baliram (security/photograher).

All players and their parents and officials are asked to attend a meeting on Saturday in the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) office at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain from 9 am.

Nicklaus for a birdie and another success

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 02:42

Nicklaus, named after the greatest Major championship golfer of all time, has an excellent opportunity of outplaying inferior rivals in a Novice Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ ground Redcar today; names like this should be encouraged.

Everyone was inferior to Jack during his fabulous career which one lived through and enjoyed immensely. Stories abound about Nicklaus, one stems from an afternoon at Newbury races, long ago.

While standing in the betting ring, with the late professional backer, Alex Bird, another shrewd investor, Leslie Woods, came and mentioned that Nicklaus, after a tardy start in the final round, was making inroads on the leaders in the English Open; ‘is he odds against?’ asked Alex.

‘Odds against, you can get 7/2’ to which I blurted out (without thinking, as usual!) ‘put me £200 on please!’

Less than a minute later Leslie said ‘you’re on’ and we further discussed the race in hand.

An hour or so later Jack had gone right through with his effort and was long odds-on to win, he did.

In my lifetime I’ve never had such confidence in another human being; that was a tremendous sum of money then but Nicklaus was just unbelievably consistent and reliable, especially when putting within nine feet, crouched right over the ball as if his life depended on it.

William Haggas hasn’t named this Exceed And Excel colt Nicklaus without good reason and, judged on his second effort over seven furlongs of Kempton polytrack three weeks ago, it’s unlikely he will be 7/2!

Haggas is a real ‘favourite’ but others are trainer, Ed Walker, and jockey, Pat Cosgrave, who again team up with Stephensons Rocket, one of ten ‘decs’ for the Novice Stakes over a straight mile; this is a potential ‘beaut’ judged on his close second, over a similar distance at Sandown five weeks ago.

The diabolical, bookmaker-inspired, practice of late withdrawals now smacks of endemism and is desperately unfair to punters; no wonder ‘real’ professionally-minded bettors hate bookmakers.

Mametz Wood has a similar profile, second first-up three weeks back and fancied by in-form Karl Burke to go one better in a Novice Auction Stakes over seven furlongs of Newcastle tapeta, under talented 3lbs apprentice, Clifford Lee.

They all look solid for our daily patent, famous last words, eh?

‘Tigers’ jump to 2nd spot

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00
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Nigel Simon

St Anthony’s College climbed to the second place on the Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League 16-team Premier Division standings after a feisty 3-2 win over San Juan North Secondary at San Juan North Ground, Bourg Mulatresse, San Juan yesterday.

With leaders Naparima College (26 points) on a bye and second placed Presentation College of San Fernando (22) and fourth placed defending champions Shiva Boys Hindu College (20), having their matches postponed due to unplayable conditions at Fatima and Morne Diablo grounds respectively, the ‘Westmooring Tigers’ were gifted a chance to move up the table.

At the end of the 90-minute contest at San Juan North, they did just that in a very physical contest which saw the expulsion of three players in the dying seconds of the clash.

Jesse Williams of St Anthony’s, Kyle Thomas of San Juan and Kareem John were all given their marching orders for off the ball incidents. Referee Hasely Colette gave John his marching orders after a straight red card in the 90th minute, while Thomas and Williams were sent off after their second bookings each, which were recorded in the 90th-minute of the contest.

Earlier in the match, former national youth player Jaydon Powell converted a penalty to put St Anthony’s ahead, but within four minutes Tyrell Cameron replied for the host, only for N’Kosi Salandy to restore the visitors lead, seven minutes later.

Che Benny, another national youth team member on the ‘Tigers” roster then extended his team’s advantage in the 63rd minute, but San Juan North quickly claw its back into the contest with a Ronaldo Boyce goal in the 66th minute.

The visitors then held on to the narrow lead, with the match ending on sour note for both teams with the dismissals.

With the win, St Anthony’s moved to 24 points from 11 matches and three left to play, two behind Naparima followed by Presentation (22) and Shiva Boys (20), with the latter two having a match in hand each.

Prior to the kick off of matches yesterday, the standings was re-adjusted after the SSFL Executive met and decided to suspend Fyzabad Secondary due to the wrongful use of players Dez Jones and Maurice Dick.

At the bottom end of the standings, Queen’s Royal College and St Benedict’s College picked up crucial wins over fellow strugglers Signal Hill 4-2 and Trinity College Moka 3-2 respectively, to enhance their chances of surviving the relegation drop.

Also, Trinity East got a double from Romario Williams and one from Jarved Elcock in a 3-0 blanking of St Augustine Secondary a at Trincity while Carapichaima East also won 3-0 at Speyside.

Yesterday’s Results

St Benedict’s 3 (Zion Broadbelt, Reuel Tyson, Jabari Jones) vs Trinity Moka 2 (Joshua Fraser, Saleem Henry)

Trinity East 3 (Romaro Williams 2, Jarved Elcock) vs St Augustine 0

Carapichaima East 3 (Mecaheil Alexander, Theophilus Bourne, Elijah King) vs Speyside 0

QRC 4 (Kalev Keil 2, Miguel Williams, Randy Harris) vs Signal Hill 2 (Jabari Mc Millian, own goal)

St Anthony’s 3 (Jaydon Powell 30th pen, N’Kosi Salandy 41st, Che Benny 63rd) vs San Juan North 2 (Tyrell Cameron 34th, Ronaldo Boyce 66th)

Yesterday’s postponed matches

Fatima vs Presentation @ Fatima Ground, Mucurapo Road

Shiva Boys vs St Mary’s @ Morne Diablo

Latest Premier Division standings

Teams*P*W*D*L*F*A*Pts

1. Naparima*11*8*2*1*23*11*26

2. St Anthony’s*11*7*3*1*36*18*24

3. Presentation*10*7*1*2*22*11*22

4. Shiva Boys*10*6*2*2*26*13*20

5. San Juan North*12*4*6*2*25*13*18

6. Trinity East*10*5*1*4*19*11*16

7. St Mary’s*10*4*3*3*25*20*15

8. Fatima*9*5*0*4*9*12*15

9. Carapichaima East*11*4*2*5*17*18*14

10. St Augustine*10*4*1*5*20*20*13

11. QRC*12*3*2*7*19*27*11

12. St Benedict’s*11*2*3*6*16*25*9

13. Signal Hill*11*2*2*7*11*21*8

14. Trinity Moka*10*2*1*10*13*30*7

15. Speyside*12*2*1*9*7*38*7

SOS bball tourney jumps off at Maloney

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

Young basketballers will bring the court at the Maloney Indoor Sport Arena alive when competition in the second annual Stories of Success (SOS) Basketball Academy’s Clutch Invitational Tournament jumps off this weekend.

Players from five clubs including Brian Chase Basketball Academy, Maloney Pacers, Spartans, 500 Hawks and the hosts SOS will battle for the titles in two divisions - Under-21 and U-17. Spartans will only compete in the lower division while the other clubs will have team in both groups.

The tournament serves as a condensed high-level competitive showcase for young athletes to display their ability to local and international high school and College/University coaches and scouts.

On Saturday, teams are expected to arrive at 10 am and will compete in the group stages from noon after the opening ceremony at 11 am. The following day will be the semifinals from noon with the first place team in the standings meeting the fourth-place team and second plays third, with the finals in both divisions unfolding soon after.

The two-day event, sanctioned by the National Basketball Federation of T&T (NBFTT), will also feature divisional skills contests on Sunday including three-point shootouts at 2 pm, a women’s exhibition match featuring teams competing in the upcoming Female Basketball Action (FEM.BA) Tournament at 3 pm, and special cheerleading displays performed by T&T Cheer Federation (TTCF) teams from 3.30 pm.

The prize giving ceremony will be held at 5 pm after the finals, the U-17s will play at 4 pm and the U-21s at 4.30 pm.

SSFL suspends Fyzabad, Coach Williams resigns

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00

WALTER ALIBEY

Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School was yesterday suspended from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) with immediate effect for its use of utility player Dez Jones and key midfielder Maurice Dick, both of whom it alleged submitted false documents to gain entry in schools' Sixth Form.

Jones received two CSEC passes from the June/July exam in 2016, while Dick got just one pass from the same examination. Both required a further two and three passes respectively to earn entry at sixth form level, which were said to have been achieved at the CSEC exam in January 2017.

Speaking to Guardian Media Sports, SSFL president Williams Wallace said yesterday his league deliberated on the matter before making a decision that was based purely on the original CSEC certificates that showed the students/players had received. The players, however still maintained they submitted their original certificates showing two and one passes respectively, which in any event, would have prevented them from gaining places in the school's sixth form programme.

Wallace said apart from suspending the school from the league for the rest of the season, his league will also put the matter into the hands of the Ministry of Education for further investigation.

The SSFL will also sit in the near future to determine if the school will be debarred from participation in the Championship Division of the SSFL next year.

A release from the SSFL yesterday stated the league position was based on a "bogus certificate" the league received from the school over the past few days. Secretary Azaad Khan said,"It was clear to me that while the players' certificate for the 2016 CSEC exam was authentic, they were able to determine that the students did not sit exams in January of this year due to inconsistencies with the school centre number."

Khan also said, "That to earn entry at sixth form required a signature from a Supervisor from the Ministry of Education which would have seen the certificates of the young players. He is expected to deliver a report to the Ministry of Education this morning."

When Guardian Media Sports contacted Dick he said, "I was invited to play for the school by a school official while playing with Guaya United in the T&T Super League and I accepted the offer as I never played at the top flight league before. I was given the assurance that I would get in the school with just one pass. I don't know where that certificate with four passes came from, I don't know anything about that."

He continued, " I know people will not believe me, but I don't know what they did to get me in school. I don't know what is happening in the administration of the school but there is something wrong there."

Fyzabad coach Brian Williams submitted his resignation on Tuesday in the wake of the controversy, saying he does not condone such behaviour and he did not want to be in an institution where it is taking place. The former Strike Squad defender said he took up the job at Fyzabad some two months ago after being bombarded by teachers from the school and community members. He said because he has observed certain types of behaviours at the nation's schools, he made it clear that he did not want to have any part to play in the administration of the team.

Vieira nets beaver in 13-2 Mexico drubbing

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 22:00
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Nigel Simon

Jordan Vieira scored a beaver-trick to lead T&T ‘Calypso Stickmen’ to another come-from-behind victory, 13-2 against Mexico for a fourth straight win at the Indoor Pan American Cup Men’s Tournament at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, Guyana, yesterday.

Bottom of the table Mexico, without a point after three matches, stunned unbeaten T&T by taking a second minute lead through Luis Solorzano, however it was all one-way traffic after that as T&T then scored six goals without reply to lead 6-1 at half-time.

First, Mickell Pierre tied up the score at 1-1 for T&T in the third minute followed by items from captain Solomon Eccles (fifth), Aidan De Gannes (ninth), Vieira (tenth), and a double from Australian-based Akim Toussaint.

Two minutes into the second-half, Vieira got his second to extend T&T’s advantage to 7-1quickly followed by Pierre’s second in the 24th before Luis Aguilar, netted Mexico’s second in the 27th minute for the North Americans to trail 8-2.

With assistant coach Darren Cowie belting out instructions to go for more goals in the absence of head coach Raphael Govia, who returned home on Wednesday morning due to family reasons, the ‘Calypso Stickmen’ piled on the pressure with Marcus James making it 9-2 in the 28th before Vieira added items in the 29th and 32nd minutes to complete his beaver-trick and an 11-2 cushion.

Toussaint then completed in the 33rd minute, and De Gannes grabbed another in the 37th as T&T completed the resounding win to move to maximum 12 points from four matches and a healthy goal-difference of plus-24 ahead of its final round-robin clash with defending champions, Canada from 3.45pm today, with a win or draw securing a spot in tomorrow’s final from 7pm at stake.

In yesterday’s other matches, Guyana and Canada, both with six points from three matches faced off while Argentina, also with six points tackled Barbados.

On Wednesday night, Guyana stayed in contention for a top three finish with a 12-0 mauling of Mexico, while Argentina toppled Canada 5-3 to move into a three-way tie for second.

Today, Barbados and Mexico meet from 5pm followed by Argentina and Guyana to conclude the six-team round-robin series, at the end of which, the top two teams will contest the final on Saturday, from which the winner will qualify to the Indoor World Cup in Berlin, Germany, next February.

Krizia Layne and Blair Wynne scored two goals each to lead T&T ‘Calypso Stickwomen’ to a first win in five matches, 6-3 over host Guyana at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in Georgetown, yesterday.

Beaten in their previous matches against USA (7-2), Uruguay (4-0), Argentina (4-0) and Canada (3-0), the ‘Calypso Stickmen’ were eager for a better outcome against the Guyanese, who entered the match on the back of a first win, 5-1 over Barbados.

Arielle Williams handed T&T the perfect start when she opened the scoring from a penalty-corner play in the second minute and three minutes later, Layne silenced the home crowd with the ‘Calypso Stickwomen’ second, from open play.

However, spurred on by the home crowd, the Guyanese fought their way back into the contest with Nicole Eastman, cutting the deficit in half, a minute later before Marzana Fiedtkou scored in the 18th and on the stroke of half-time, to give the host a 3-2 lead.

The T&T women coached by former Guyana international Jerazeno Bell, came out firing on the resumption and drew level within two minutes thanks to Blair Wynne.

Both teams then struggled to find the go-ahead goal until four minutes from full-time when Layne got her second to put T&T ahead 4-3, then captain Alanna Lewis made it 5-3 from the penalty-spot, a minute later followed by Wynne’s second item on the match on the stroke of full-time to seal a 6-3 triumph.

With the win, T&T moved to three points in sixth spot, level with fifth placed Guyana, which has a better goal-difference.

Today’s Matches

Women

Argentina vs Uruguay, 12noon

T&T vs Barbados, 1.15pm

Canada vs USA, 2.30pm

Sixth Place playoff, 7.30pm

Men

Canada vs T&T, 3.45pm

Barbados vs Mexico, 5pm

Argentina vs Guyana, 6.15pm

Series win vital says Law

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59
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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – Though winning the upcoming two-Test series against Zimbabwe will be vital, head coach Stuart Law said yesterday continuing to make key improvements as a Test unit would be the overall objective.

The Australian said he had been impressed with the strides made on the recent tour of England – even though the Caribbean side lost the series 2-1 – and was hoping to see the squad display more of those qualities on the current tour.

West Indies have been installed as heavy favourites to sweep the series, having never lost a Test to the African nation in eight previous meetings.

“You can’t focus on the end result. You’ve got to focus on the little steps you’ve got to make to get through [the game],” Law cautioned ahead of Saturday’s start of the opening Test at Queens Sports Club.

“We have targets, we have goals. I am sure the boys they want to make sure they’re giving themselves every opportunity to win every contest we go into.

“We just had a reasonable result in the UK – the second Test was outstanding. We lost the other two Tests but we started to show some fight. After that first Test, to come back the way we did was an outstanding effort.”

West Indies capitulated in the opening Test at Edgbaston by an innings inside three days but against all the odds, rebounded to win the second Test at Headingley by five wickets.

Law said both the heavy defeat and the stunning win had been important to the team’s development

“Now, it’s just a matter of the boys putting what they learnt over there [in practice again],” he stressed.

“What happened over there at Edgbaston really creates a bit of mental toughness and I think we need to be that tough from ball one on Saturday. We need to … hang in the contest for as long as we can and push towards what we need.”

Based on the decent progress shown on the England tour, selectors opted to retain the entire squad for the Zimbabwe series, giving players yet another chance to make their mark.

Batsmen like Kyle Hope, who mustered just 41 runs from six innings in the three-Test England series and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, who scraped 24 runs also from six innings while struggling with the gloves, have been given chances to redeem themselves.

Law said it was important selection was not based purely on immediate returns but instead, allowing players the chance to find their touch without the burden of selection pressure.

“We’re not about picking players and discarding them after only a couple games. We are trying to give everyone a fair shake at putting something up on the board – something to really look at, something substantial,” he explained.

“We’re trying to get away from the fact you pick someone, they don’t score runs immediately or take wickets immediately, you send them back and bring someone else in. That just creates an atmopshere in the dressing room where you are always looking over your shoulder.

“We want to get away from that, we want to make sure we are consistent with our selections but there comes a time when players are responsible for their performances out in the middle.”

He continued: “If there are no performances coming forward, they have to make sure they know and they do everything possible to get it right out there. They’ve got to perform, that’s the number one thing … but we’d like to give everyone a fair chance to stake their claim.”

(CMC)

Soca Warriors debate next move

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 21:59
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Alvin Corneal

What next for the Soca Warriors?

I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.

Our current ranking position of 83 tells its own story and being last in the Hexagon could relate to the status of the game at this juncture.

This brings to the table the opportunity to view matters in hindsight from as long as the appointment of former national coach Stephen Hart through to the victory over the USA by Dennis Lawrence and his squad. Starting from the beginning would be the work of Hart for the period that he was employed until he was replaced.

Some stability was brought to the national programme vis a vis team preparation and to a certain extent, communication with the foreign based players, which was actually the ideal way to jump start his programme.

Knowing Stephen for many years during his career as a coach attached in different capacities for the Canadian national teams, I understood the former national Midfielder’s approach which bears similarity to the Canadian Pattern regarding local and foreign based players.

However, as we walked along the road of challengers, a number of unforeseen problems began to show themselves coming from unexpected directions.

Firstly, the improper communication which existed between the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and the coaching staff which appeared to divide the players into different directions started casually affecting the smooth running of sessions, even when the selection process was said to be complicated with issues that had nothing to do with the game itself.

When things appeared to be corrected and the team began to appear to be heading in the right direction, coach Stephen worked hard at trying to find the players with the right attitude as opposed to be prima donnas, an issue which most coaches undergo from time to time.

The fans were becoming more interested as the team was appearing to be good competitors in the regional setting.

However, a terrible start to the Hex started to scare the TTFA and they went for a change in coach, without even reviewing the progress that the team had made prior to the sudden losses.

Enter a new coach Tom Saintfiet, a Belgian whose claim to fame had nothing in his portfolio. His accepted contract was the joke of the century when he admitted that if he failed to win the next two matches in the Hex, he will be fired. So said, so done.

The selection of Dennis brought satisfaction as the former national defender had been under coach Roberto Martinez with Everton FC. Although his coaching certification was short of what is expected for national teams, his player’s experience plus his learning from high profile club coaches, got him the job.

Honestly, success for Dennis was far-fetched, especially after he defeated Panama in the early stages and fought Mexico down to the wire of a tough defeat.

Naturally, despite some impressive portions of the matches, it was clear that Dennis was short of some tactical adjustments and he was fast beginning to learn about player behaviour.

It must be recorded that he had done well in his analyses of some of the players whose commitments were far from what was expected. He made what appeared to be drastic changes, but the transition from mediocre turned into progressive and a route to better results. USA was his huge payday and that was enough to give him the chance to continue the job and prove his real test between now and the next Gold Cup.

A one year match schedule programme will be a key factor, even before Dennis documents his principled choice regarding the process for selecting our national teams. On completion of the above we shall wish to see the trail in search of success, the improved choice of his coaching assistants and most of all, his constant search of players from every part of the country.

Finally, it is necessary for coach Dennis to prove his worth by the quality of his team's preparation, his analyses of previous matches by showing deficiencies using videos of each match and methods of improvement. The onus of a coach is to show that his methodology, organisation and creation of major features for success within his teams. That is crucial for the longevity of his profession.

Shayne Cooper — shining in the shadows

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 22:16

Athletes are undoubtedly the star attraction of every sporting event, but behind every elite athlete is a team of people that mould them into who they become. Shayne Cooper is one of those persons, who works behind the scenes with several of the region’s elite athletes as a Sports Performance Specialist.

At almost every major sporting event we attend, he’s there, though discreet. Cooper has worked with both the men’s and women’s T&T hockey team, while also plying his trade with the Under-19 cricket team. He’s was with the West Indies Women during their series against Sri Lanka which ended on Sunday and the he completed his CPL stint with the Barbados Tridents last month.

The teams and athletes may change, as well as his assignments, but Cooper’s mission remains the same. “I think I see my job as helping sport development in Trinidad and Tobago. I like to see myself as a stepping stone where these athletes could come and get to that higher level,” he told us.

But while Cooper knows all about the muscles, metatarsals, and other complexed parts of the body, this is a journey of learning for him too. He said, “Working alongside a Kieron Pollard or Dwayne Smith, I continue to take advice from these guys, like what works for them, because what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other, so I use that as a big learning curve for me throughout my career.”

With his work at the international level, Cooper now uses his experiences to help upcoming coaches. His advice for them is an eye opener. “Any young coach I work with, I try to get them to understand, know that you don’t know. It’s an ever-learning, ever-growing profession that we are in, as technology changes and new scientific methods come out. You have to mix the traditional with the future of the sport,” he said.

Now at 32 years, in the same way athletes seek to give back, Cooper also wants to give back, by bringing out the ‘athlete’ in all of T&T. “My motto is ‘I am here to train athletes’ but I’m all about finding that inner athlete in everybody. You may not go to the Olympics but you could become a better individual and have a longer life,” he said.

In an industry filled with stars, sometimes those in the shadow, are the reason others can shine.

RYAN BACHOO

Wallace: SSFL is combating all issues head-on

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 22:10

Throughout its 50-plus years of existence, the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) has been no stranger to controversies. Though the league is evolving and has enjoyed substantial commercial support, player eligibility disputes have hindered the league’s development.

A select few SSFL Premier Division teams continually disregard the player eligibility legislation imposed by the league, which has damaged the league’s image.

The SSFL Disciplinary Committee tries its best to discourage schools from engaging in the illegal practice but it is a combined lack of effort from all parties involved, which ensures player eligibility remains an issue.

SSFL president William Wallace believes the league is doing its best to combat the issue but he pointed out that league administrators rely on the principals to inform them about any irregularity that is taking place so that they can act upon them.

“We are grateful to have been able to get more people on the Credentials and Disciplinary Committees to come out so far, and they have taken time off to examine the documents that come to them,” he said.

“This year protests are being brought to the attention of the league quicker and the league can only respond to them depending on how timely we get the information.”

According to Wallace, “So far this season the SSFL has had to address one protest from Naparima about a player’s eligibility.”

Asked about the Trinity College, Moka and Fyzabad issue he explained: “The SSFL received information and we acted on that information and we continue to urge the principals to bring to our attention any concerns that they have on any issue because at the end of the day this is their league.”

Wallace revealed that on following up on Fyzabad’s use of player Maurice Dick, the SSFL Credentials Committee unearthed that both Dick and team-mate Dez Jones, were registered with the wrong documentation.

The school registered both players for the SSFL with transcripts that claimed they had four passes each which is needed to qualify to be Lower Sixth Form students at the school, when in actuality Jones and Dick were enrolled with two and one CXC passes, respectively.

As a result, nine points were taken away from Fyzabad after all the matches in which the players’ participated in were forfeited.
According to a school representative who spoke to Guardian Media Sports on the condition of anonymity said, “The league is trying its best to improve the Credentials process by implementing an online Credentials registration process and creating a Player’s pass that will be scanned by match commissioners in order to verify a player’s eligibility for a match. But the online registration process is a tedious one.”

However, the source believes that SSFL dealt with protests quicker last season than it is doing this season, which is a cause for concern.

In response, Wallace said, “The SSFL can only address concerns that are brought to it, but it is for the principals to lodge complaints. The SSFL beg its members to keep it informed about any situation or development.”

Last season, two ineligible players, Abdus Ramcharan and Kori Cupid of East Mucurapo Secondary and Presentation College (San Fernando), respectively, were fielded in a combined nine Premier Division games. The SSFL failed to recognise these infringements at the early stages of the competition and only addressed it after matter after protests were lodged by St Benedict’s and Naparima Colleges. St Benedict’s protested the use of Ramcharan and Naparima, the use of Cupid.

All of the matches that the players had participated in resulted in forfeited games for their respective schools.

It led to a radical change to the league final standings. The teams that were initially facing relegation, Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and Fatima College, ascended out of the demotion zone and were replaced with East Mucurapo and San Juan North.

The San Juan team eventually won an appeal before a general council committee to keep them in the league under the belief that the SSFL Credentials and Disciplinary committee failed to spot the wrong doing and act in an appropriate time.

JONATHON MATOUK
 

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