FORMER NATIONAL football team central defender Marvin “Dog” Andrews was back in Trinidad a few weeks ago on personal business.
However, he featured in a few training sessions with the Trinidad and Tobago squad, ahead of their recent tours of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The 42-year-old took time recently to talk about his visit to Trinidad, his life as a religious minister in Scotland and the future of TT football.
JOEL BAILEY (JB): What was the purpose for your trip to Trinidad?
MARVIN ANDREWS (MA): Specifically, my reason for coming to Trinidad and Tobago was to wed (former TT striker) Jason Scotland.
That was my main purpose. Obviously, with Dennis (Lawrence) being my good friend, an ex-teammate, the national coach of Trinidad and Tobago, I like keeping myself fit, even though I’ve retired two years ago. So I asked him if I could come along and have a bit of a training session with the boys, and I can put in my two cents when I can. I’m a Trinidadian and it’s always good to come back to see the future of Trinidad and Tobago (football). Hopefully I can inspire them in some way or form, so they can take something from me.
JB: Where do you think TT needs to improve, to reach at a level like the 2006 World Cup team that you were a part of?
MA: Trinidad (and Tobago) football is not only on the field, with the players, it’s a collective thing. For this nation to move forward, everybody have to come together. One of the biggest problem in Trinidad and Tobago football today is finances. There are certain things Dennis Lawrence cannot do as a (coach) without finances. He can have all the knowledge he can, there are certain things he cannot progress with this team without finances. This is one of the things that Trinidad and Tobago needs. We have loads of different companies in this country, let’s put in an investment into football, into sports on a whole. We have shown so many times, in World Cups, in Championships, in Olympics, that we can compete with the best. But you need that support, when it comes to the finances. It’s not only when they come on the field, but off the field as well.
JB: TT players playing in Europe, but in the lower divisions, what do you think needs to be done for TT players to get contract for top division teams in Europe?
MA: It all starts with the grassroots. Football has changed now, the game is faster, more people are playing the game. We need to develop the grassroots football of Trinidad and Tobago. We have been saying this for years, Trinidad and Tobago have abundance of talented players. But the problem is when that talent comes up, the support is not there. Either they don’t have the (money) to come training every day or they’re struggling to eat or have food. We need to develop a structure where we can help our young players develop and grow into these world-class players. I think what we need to do is develop Trinidad and Tobago football, starting with the professional league here. Let’s support the boys, let’s put the monies in because we will reap the rewards later on, not only for the national teams but for the entire country. And this is what I think is needed to be done.
JB: How are you enjoying life as a pastor?
MA: I’m an assistant pastor in my church, Zion Praise Centre in Scotland. I assist my minister, he’s an evangelist so he travels a lot. I try to keep things going while he travels. I enjoy it a lot. It’s very important, we all need God in our lives. Everybody might not believe that but we all need God at some point in our lives. I am just here to try to spread the good news, to let people know that God is there for them, He loves and cares for them. If you give the Lord Jesus Christ a chance, He can make all things possible for you. This is my purpose, and I’m still trying to find my divine purpose and calling in the ministry. Football has been my vehicle to get me to where I am at this present time. It’s only a matter of time to see where God leads me in this new calling.
JB: Some of your TT teammates are involved in coaching, is this something you’re looking to get into?
MA: No, that’s not my calling, that’s not my desire. Dennis is one of my best friends and he has encouraged me so many times to get into coaching. But I don’t believe it’s for me. Even while in my playing days, I never desired to coach. I enjoy encouraging young people to go and fulfil their dreams in life, whatever (aspect) of sports. I do a lot of motivational speaking in Scotland at the moment, in schools, in universities and different arenas. So my desire is for youths. I want to see youths succeed, I want to let them know that they can fulfil their ultimate dreams and the purpose for why God has created them to be alive on this earth.
JB: What’s your take on the VAR system?
MA: Football is a spontaneous game. I think they’re trying to narrow it down to be too specific. Yes, I know a lot of money is in the game but football is made of human errors. Without human errors they wouldn’t be any goals, you wouldn’t have any mistakes. That is my take on it. Obviously it’s a new thing, hopefully it can help the game, but I think it should remain with the human standpoint.
JB: What is the highpoint of your career?
MA: My ultimate dream was to help Trinidad and Tobago qualify for their first-ever World Cup. And that dream (came) to past. I had that dream in 1989, we failed to qualify for the World Cup against America. I (sat) in my living room and I said ‘I want to be part of the team who will help take this country to its first-ever World Cup’. I happened 15-20 years later.
JB: For the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, what are your expectations?
MA: I’m supporting Argentina. I’m a (Lionel) Messi fan. I’m hoping Messi can do well, prove the world wrong and win a World Cup. I think there are a lot of good teams. The Germans can come really good this year (and) Spain. Hopefully it can be an exciting World Cup but I’m rooting for Argentina.