Fenwick hoping on January friendlies after ‘depressing’ 2020

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - JUNE 26: Leston Paul #23 of Trinidad and Tobago controls the ball as Keanu Marsh-Brown #7 of Guyana slides during the CONCACAF Gold Cup match at Children's Mercy Park on June 26, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Trinidad and Tobago head coach, Terry Fenwick, said plans were in the pipeline to host international friendlies against fellow Caribbean Football Union nations later this month, as the national side seeks to turn the page on a “depressing” 2020.

The local reported that discussions were ongoing between T&T and Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines, with the hope of ensuring match preparation ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in March.

“We’ve got Dominica, St Vincent, and Grenada that we’ve reached out to, to try and bring them to Trinidad in January for this local squad of players,” Fenwick said.

“We are trying to be proactive; we are trying to get out there, we are trying to make things happen … I [have] 45 years plus [experience] with clubs in the UK. I know how it works, how it operates [and] I am trying to move it on.”

The COVID-19 pandemic last year halted competitive football across the region, with most sports also suffering due to the widespread lockdown in Caribbean countries to mitigate against the virus’s spread.

T&T, in particular, found itself engulfed in controversy, however, with football’s world governing body, FIFA, abruptly replacing the then recently elected executive of the T&T Football Association in March with a normalization committee.

That action triggered a series of legal battles between the executive and FIFA, resulting in an international ban for the country.

Fenwick said in the wake of the challenges with COVID, coupled with the off-the-field politics, he was hoping 2021 brought better fortunes for T&T.

“I am trying to sidestep the politicking that is going on in the background that is holding things up because at the end of the day for my staff and me, it is about the kids,” Fenwick stressed.

“No games in 2020, no matches, no nothing – it is depressing.

“If we can change that around and have a real positive start to the new year, that is how we’ve got to lead ourselves into World Cup qualification games.”

Fenwick said if the initiative to host the friendly internationals were successful, all stakeholders’ full support would be required.

“We, of course, need the support of the normalization committee and committee chairman Mr. Robert Hadad. We want Government’s support because this is the biggest sport on the planet,” he explained.

“We’ve got loads of players that are Trinidadian playing around the world, and more than anything, I want the people of TT that love their football, that support their Premier League teams or whoever they support, to come out and support their national teams.”

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