Former Trinidad and Tobago internationals Stern John, Brent Sancho and Ian Cox have been able to unearth a couple of good England-born players to help boost the Anguillan national team.
Former professional footballer, politician and businessman Sancho is serving in an unofficial capacity as adviser to his former T&T teammate and Anguilla men’s national coach, Trinidadian Stern John.
“It’s not an official position. Am just assisting him,” told Sunday Express. “What we are trying to do is tap into the (people) resources that we have.”
John has already been able to improve the fortunes of Anguilla, a small island with only amateur players. Typically beaten by heavy margins in the past by T&T (15-0), Guatemala (10-0) and Guyana (7-0), John has already improved Anguilla’s performances. In the March 2021 World Cup qualifiers they lost 6-0 to the Dominican Republic but only 1-0 on a late goal to a Barbados team trained by Russell Latapy. John hopes to improve Anguilla further with the addition of England-born recruits of Anguillan ancestry.
Sancho told the Sunday Express that both he and former England Premiership striker John were tapping into the contacts made during their playing days in the United Kingdom. Having played for Dundee (Scotland), Gillingham and Ross County, Sancho and John were able to link up with an England-born former member of T&T’s 2006 World Cup squad, to host an April 25 tryout in England for prospective Anguillan footballers.
“We had a trial in the UK which former player Ian Cox (ex-T&T and Gillingham defender) ran and there were 32 participants,” stated Sancho. “For a country (Anguilla) of 15,000 people, that is remarkable.”
Of the players found, two were potentially high-class, including one who will likely be in the English Premier League next season, with promoted Norwich City, 2021 Championship Division winners.
“We unearthed a kid that plays for Norwich ,” stated Sancho. “It was a well-organised trial and it had some benefits. The plan is to continue on that trajectory to try and improve Anguilla for the national league and other competitions. Sancho also reckoned that his work with John in no way hinders him in his capacity as acting Pro League chairman or a TTFA Board member.
“First and foremost, Stern is a very, very dear friend of mine and so I will always do the best I can to assist him. I have been asked to help other countries in terms of organising things and I have done that. I am also currently serving on the CONCACAF Caribbean League task force where my expertise has also been called upon,” he said.
Further, Sancho said his services had always been made available in his native T&T but have never been used.
“I’ve always offered those services to Trinidad and Tobago. I have offered my services to every president of the Association that has been in power.” stated Sancho.
“More importantly, we have a president in Anguilla who is very open-minded and forward-thinking and is making things go in the right way,” he added.
“At the end of the day I am a huge fan of my country and football has given me everything that I have and every opportunity I have,” Sancho added. ”But like everything else in life, when you offer your services, people have to also want it.”