Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Former T&T football coach slams new appointment

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC:

Well-known former national coach Alvin Corneal has slammed the appointment of Belgian Tom Saintfiet, calling it "a disrespect" to domestic coaches.

The 43-year-old Saintfiet was unveiled as the new Soca Warriors head coach at a media conference on Wednesday, replacing Trinidad and Tobago-born Stephen Hart, who was sacked last month.

Though Saintfiet has had multiple coaching roles in the past - mainly in Africa - none of them have been high-profile, and the outspoken Corneal believes he will be a burden to the side.

"I am not in agreement with having a foreign coach at this time simply because it is an exercise in futility," Corneal told the Express newspaper.

"Foreign coaches can't walk in here and pick up national players and get them to gel as a team, especially when you don't have a lot of time.

"Why are you burdening us with him and you don't even know him [or] anything about [him]. It is unfair and a disrespect to our local coaches.

That is my biggest problem because I feel it for the young coaches who are aspiring to the national level; you not even recognising them, but bringing somebody who has no track record of note."

Saintfiet takes over a national side lying one from bottom of the six-team CONCACAF World Cup-qualifying final round following losses in their two opening games.

And Trinidad and Tobago FA chief, David John-Williams instantly placed Saintfiet under pressure by indicating that he needed to immediately revive the country's World Cup dream in the next two qualifiers next March, or also face the sack.

Corneal was critical of this approach, noting a more long-term view was needed.

"If we are realistic, we would get one or two good local coaches and get the training going. If it (World Cup campaign) doesn't succeed, at least we know we will have players mostly between the ages 23-27 trained properly," the former national player argued.