National coach Terry Fenwick is manoeuvring the challenges of a less-than-ideal leadership, the selection of inexperienced players, to people who are not in favour of him being national coach, as well as little to no finances, to turn around the fortunes of T&T football.
Addressing the media soon after a training session at the Police training ground at the St James Barracks on Friday, the English-born coach said he wants not to be one of the top teams in the Caribbean but the best in the region, as well as one of the top 50 teams in the world.
To date, he has been mentoring the young players, some of whom have never played under a top-class coach, he told the audience and has been guiding them on the areas they need work.
"Some of the sessions that they've done are brand new, they don't know. I am engaging them on and off the field as to how they adapt mentally. Everything I tell them, I only tell them once to see who takes it on board because that's how the world is moving right now. I want us to get away from this 105th ranking in the world, or one of the teams from the Caribbean region. I want to be the top team in the region. I want to be down on the 50 ranked in the world which will move us in the right direction, and that will not happen until we have a development process from 15, 17, 20 and the senior national team."
He added: "We have done a good job so far. The intensity has been remarkable."
Courtesy the assistance of Robert Hadad, the chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee who has helped the team with his finances to get food and refreshment, and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, the team has been in training for just under a month now (the first session was on June 8) and has made tremendous strides despite the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, situation. The infiltration of the Saharan dust, and the uncertainty of who will lead local football after the pending July 29 court matter between the world governing body for football - FIFA, and the William Wallace-led United T&T Football Association.
He told the media he has been encouraged when he sees the work of coaches such as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, he knows we are in a good place. "When we have got the best coaches in the world such as Pep Guardiola, coaching teams with teenagers to win Championships, whether it be the Premier League or the Champions League, and that's with at whatever clubs he has been, that tells me that these youngsters have got something to offer."
Fenwick, 60, is hoping to follow up his team with a match between a Trinidad representative team versus a Tobago team in the sister-isle soon, as well as an international encounter with either Guyana or Barbados before the year ends.
He hopes to work on the many interested players internationally with T&T's parentage with the hope of selecting the best team.
At the last FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the T&T team was recorded as the oldest squad in world football, but the Englishman who took over from Dennis Lawrence on December 19, 2019, said he wants to change that. Fenwick's training squads yesterday comprised some 40 players such as Adrian Foncette, Andre Marchan, Aaron Enil, Christopher Biggette, Curtis Gonzales, Justin Garcia, Jesse Williams, Kadeem Riley, Jameel Neptune, Isaiah Garcia, Brandon Semper, Jelani Peters, Kedeem Hutchinson, Kevon Goddard, Xavier Rajpaul, Justin Sadoo, Rivaldo Coryat, Che Benny, Keron Cornwall, Matthew Wooling, Adrian Welch, Jabari Mitchell, Hashim Arcia, Keron Cummings, John-Paul Rochford, Molik Khan, Judah Garcia, Sean Bonval, Reon Moore, Tyrese Bailey, Brent Sam, Justin Araujo Wilson, Shaqkeem Joseph, Dwight Quintero, Nicholas Dillon, Kai Phillip, Tyrese Spicer.
Among those who assisted Fenwick during yesterday's session were Clayton Ince, Keith Jeffreys and Ross Russell.