Trinidad and Tobago’s men’s football team assistant coaches Kelvin Jack and Derek King were yesterday served termination notices by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) FIFA-instituted normalisation committee.
The decision a direct consequence of Trinidad and Tobago’s failure to advance past the first round of CONCACAF Zone 2022 World Cup qualifying.
The normalisation committee had also scheduled a meeting with head coach Terry Fenwick, with the intention of issuing a resign or be dismissed ultimatum. However, Fenwick was said to reluctant to meet without his legal representative present, and since he is still in quarantine, the process may take some time.
Yesterday, among the local football fraternity, speculation ran rife that former youth coach Angus Eve would take over as caretaker coach for Gold Cup qualifiers in July, until the position is permanently filled.
Meanwhile, King and Jack, both former national players, have stepped down after mutual agreement and are working on settling their financial packages before departure. Yesterday, one of the assistant coaches confirmed his dismissal, to the Trinidad Express.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” the national assistant coach uttered, when asked if he had received a termination notice. “Something (news) will come out this evening. We came to an agreement with them to part ways. But we okay.”
T&T were knocked out of World Cup qualifying following a dismal showing against minnows Bahamas, who had conceded 15 goals and had not won a point in three qualifiers until drawing 0-0 with Fenwick’s team. Subsequently, Fenwick tore into the local football management when declaring that he had received no support from the normalisation committee during his 18 months in charge.
Sources indicate that the normalisation committee felt it had to act. Not just because of the failed World Cup campaign, but because the atmosphere around the team had become toxic, with players reluctant to work with Fenwick, and even messaging the normalisation committee, expressing their displeasure with the working environment.
Fenwick had always been a controversial figure and had been involved in past physical altercations with footballers from his and other clubs. He was also recently involved in a heated confrontation with TTFA media officer Sean Fuentes—a matter for which some former national players and coaches thought normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad had given Fenwick a pass.
Given the less-than-spectacular results in the preliminary round World Cup qualifiers, there had been many calls for Fenwick to resign or be fired.
In Jack’s case, the normalisation committee has promised to investigate a matter in which Jack was seen scolding fringe player Gary Griffith 111, who was reported to have refused to participate in a team building exercise.
Griffith was not selected on the team to play the Bahamas on June 5 and subsequently a social media post showed Jack telling Griffith that he had disrespected the national team and his teammates by refusing to participate in the exercise.
Of the trio, King’s dismissal was probably the most surprising. King also served as assistant to Stephen Hart during T&T’s most prolific period subsequent to T&T qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
King, alongside fellow assistant Hutson Charles and Hart, led T&T to successive CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-final appearances in 2013 & 2015. He also coached T&T’s Under-20 men to the 2014 Caribbean Championship. King was also Hart’s assistant at Canada Premier League club Halifax Wanderers, before taking up the job as Fenwick’s assistant.
A former national defender, King began coaching at a young age and led both Joe Public and Northeast Stars to T&T Pro League titles and also won the TT Super League title with FC Santa Rosa.