New national football coach Terence “Terry” Fenwick has embarked on a total revamp of the T&T men’s senior football team in the wake of its dismal showing under former coach Dennis Lawrence, who was fired on December 16.
In his first official meeting with the media at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva on Monday, the former San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach called for a unified effort to take T&T football back to where it belongs, saying this would only work if we have the right programmes, structures and people in place.
“First and foremost, this is a team initiative. This is about parents, families, communities, coming together to help. We have got some terrific young talent out there. That talent has got to be uncovered and brought to the forefront. We have operated over the last years with one lead academy in Couva, and if you are Tobagonian, you’re from Toco, Blanchisseuse, you’re from Mayaro, you can’t get there, so we are missing out on a lot of talent,” Fenwick, a former defender said.
Fenwick, 60, who was overlooked for the coaching job four years ago, has already identified several overseas players with T&T parentage, which he promised to reveal to the public soon. This he believes will be part of picking the best players to restore dignity for T&T in the region and international football.
“First and foremost, we have got to change the balance of the flagship, the senior national side, which has had a very poor run over the last couple of years. I am trying to cut through things as quickly as I possibly can. I have got my initiatives, I have got my background checks on all of the players we have got, and some, who haven’t been invited to the squad,” Fenwick explained.
Fenwick, a former England international who was appointed national coach on December 19, made it clear, this cannot be done overnight, but promised, if we all work together, we can prevent the hurt we have caused too many of our young footballers for the past years. “We have let them down over the last year. We’re not winning at any level. We’re losing, we have lost our dignity within the Caribbean region. We’re not even in Division One in CONCACAF these days, so we need to put structures, plans, organization. Put these together so we can give these kids the best possible opportunity,” Fenwick explained.
Under Lawrence, the T&T team went some 14 games without a win, before they demolished 209th-ranked Anguilla 15-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium last year. After his appointement in 2016, Lawrence record reads 35 matches, six wins, 21 losses and eight drawn contests.
After being over-looked for the coaching job, Fenwick promised to make a statement by fixing the problems that affect the sport. However, he could not say whether he would lead the team to a winning result in their next CONCACAF match, only promising that he will do his best.
Fenwick noted, the Pro League, which runs for just two to three months a year, is not long enough, which is why our players are not fit. “We’re not competing because we’re not on the same levels. Teams like Panama, like Costa Rica, like Honduras, that have had four or five years of development, they have now got the mass of their players, playing overseas. So we’ve got to address our local game.”