TERRY FENWICK saw the cup half full rather than half empty and concentrated not on the fact that Trinidad and Tobago were for the first time knocked out of World Cup qualifying, in the opening round, but that his bunch were unbeaten after four matches.
With many calling for the locally based Englishman’s resignation or dismissal, Fenwick has given no indication that he will be voluntarily stepping down any time soon .
The former England defender appeared quite bullish - probably buoyed by his team’s improved performance in their final qualifier, a comfortable 2-0 win over St Kitts and Nevis (SKN), when already eliminated on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed we are not advancing to the next round of World Cup qualifiers,” said Fenwick. “The performance, despite all the divisions we have in Trinidad; lack of financial, lack of support, the boys have dug in deep, and you can’t argue, away from home, playing four games without defeat.”
While Fenwick blew his own horn a bit, also seeing the silver lining through the gloom, was T&T’s Saudi Arabia-based captain Khaleem Hyland, who set up Duane Muckette’s first half opening goal, before getting the second himself when tucking in Levi Garcia’s pass.
“It’s difficult for us to come out of the group like this. We wanted to top the group. Unfortunately, we got a draw against Bahamas which put us in a hole,” Hyland said. “But tonight victory was great.”
Meanwhile, Fenwick took a jab at the football leadership in T&T, painting a picture of his team being unsupported back at home. FIFA appointed a normalisation committee chaired by local businessman Robert Hadad to run the game in the twin-island republic and fix the finances of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
“We got terrible challenges back in Trinidad and Tobago. The normalisation committee is dealing with debts around the Association. That means that we have had very little, if any support, for the last 18 months,” said Fenwick.
When relaying his team’s lack of preparation, the Englishman completely ignored the January 2021 friendly international in which T&T suffered their highest-ever defeat, a 7-0 loss against 2021 CONCACAF Nations Cup champions USA.
“We have had no friendly games. We got no preparation for these World Cup qualifiers, and it’s been very difficult for the players,” Fenwick said, “They are missing out on opportunities because the Association is in such a mess.” On the field, Fenwick had fewer complaints following the match against SKN. “I thought we dominated the game, especially first half,” he said.
“I felt we could have scored more goals. We had opportunities. But again, the players were magnificent. They kept to the task. They kept their professionalism. We moved the ball quickly. We created five or six good chances and the game could have been a much more confident result in the end.”
Fenwick also paid tribute to two mainly locally-based players. “I thought Jesse Williams done terrific at right back and also Justin Garcia at left side. Both of these guys have been with me for over 18 months, and they are learning as they go along, and you saw their appetite for the game. They want to do well for their national team and we are just in hope that the national body can get behind us in the future.”
FINAL GROUP F STANDINGS:
P W D L GD PTS
SKN 4 3 0 1 6 9
T&T 4 2 2 0 5 8
P/Rico 4 2 1 1 8 7
Guy 4 1 0 3 -4 3
Baha 4 0 1 3 -15 1