TERRY Fenwick, coach of the TT men’s football team, has adopted a strict approach to get the players up to the required fitness standard for international football.
Fenwick held a training session with the men’s squad at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Monday.
“(Monday) morning, it was tough and hard work for them on the training field,” Fenwick said. “It’s me getting into their minds, recognising I’ve got a different mindset, different upbringing to them.
“It’s going to be very disciplined.
They’ve got to play the game how I want. Otherwise they’re out. I want them all to do well. We want to get TT football back on track. But we need some tough love to make sure they recognise we’re serious.”
The ex-San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC coach was pleased with the individual work the players have done since the first covid19 lockdown in March.
“In the early stages, we had them all on a Zoom fitness class,” Fenwick said. “We were watching them work as we had our trainer (doing) a session daily. Their fitness levels are not bad.”
However, Fenwick said, “Their game fitness is miles away. They’ve not played any football, so there is a big difference right there. That’s what we’ve got to shortcut.”
Training sessions will take place this week at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Fenwick said a few overseas-based players were involved in Monday’s session, including veteran goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, defenders Robert Primus and Jelani Peters.
“They’ve added their experience and knowledge. We’ve got a lot of young players that are just not playing football because football is stone-dead, as we speak, in TT. The younger players are getting good information from some of these kids coming in, and recognising that (Kevin) Molino and (Khaleem) Hyland will be back in the next (few) weeks. I want to get them out with the youngsters. That is invaluable to me as a coach, to get those guys blending with the youths.”
He’s eager to have the players involved in a few warm-up matches within the next few weeks.
“We’ve got to get games, against local competition. We are miles away from most of the Caribbean islands that have been playing domestic league games and international friendlies.
“For me, it’s fast-tracking to where we can. These guys need fitness first, structure and organisation before we go into games, because we’ve got to learn. They’ve got to go into every game with a game-plan, they’ve got to understand that we’re in this together.
“It’s not about individual stars. We need to be competing as a team, in a well-structured manner. Once we’ve had three to four games here in Trinidad, we’ll then start looking at the possibility of other Caribbean islands as early as December.”