Englishman Fenwick outlines plans to revive flagging Soca Warriors
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Newly appointed Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) football Head Coach Terry Fenwick has identified a number of initiatives aimed at halting the national team’s losing slide and restoring their “dignity” in the Caribbean.
The Englishman, who was named in the post after under-fire Dennis Lawrence was sacked last month, said there was a need for the ailing side to be invigorated with new blood, and as a result young domestic talent had to be found and experienced overseas-based players also drafted in.
Further, Fenwick said a collaborative approach involving “parents, families, communities” was required by football authorities in order to strengthen the fabric of the sport domestically.
“This is a team initiative. This is about parents, families, communities coming together to help,” Fenwick told media here Monday.
“We have got some terrific young talent out there [and] 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.”
He added: “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.”
T&T have experienced wretched form over the last year, winning just once in 15 outings while suffering 10 defeats — the worst-ever run of form in the side’s modern history. At one stage they went 14 matches without a single win.
Once Caribbean powerhouses, T&T were relegated to League B of the Concacaf Nations League after finishing bottom of Group C without a win, which also caused them to miss out on automatic qualification for the Gold Cup next year and the 2022 World Cup.
They were also dumped from last July’s Gold Cup in the first round after failing to win a single game.
While warning the situation would not be a quick fix, Fenwick said it was time to return T&T to its rightful place in football.
“I’ve got to get the national team winning again, I’ve got to get a bit of pride back into national football,” he stressed.
“This is not something that is going to be cured as quickly as we’d like, but if we work together — and this is everybody, Trinidad and Tobago — absolutely all pulling together. We are not winning on any level, we’re losing. We’ve 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, organisation — put these together so we can give these kids the best-possible opportunity.”
He added: “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.”
Fenwick is a former England defender who earned 20 national caps before turning his attention to management.