T&T Manager Worried Over Pros Releases

Shaun Fuentes
Date Published: 
Trinidad Guardian

TRINIDAD and Tobago football teams general manager Richard Braithwaite is in a quandary as to why the clubs of some local overseas based professionals are thinking it difficult to release them for next year's Football Confederation Gold Cup and 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup qualifiers.

Braithwaite was responding to recent statements by Hibernian, Manchester United, West Ham United and Port Vale officials about the release of midfielder Russell Latapy, Dwight Yorke, goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and Anthony Rougier.

Local fans are also keenly awaiting to see if the same happens with striker Stern John and his new club Nottingham Forest.

"There is certainly too much hysteria concerning the release of players for the Gold Cup. I don't see why they are getting upset because T&T wants to field its best possible team for a major tournament in our part of the world," said Brathwaite.

"In the final analysis, once the players are willing to play, then they should be released as the Gold Cup is a FIFA tournament.

"But it seems that the clubs want to have their cake and eat it as well. They don't want to release players for friendlies during the year because they say such games are not important. Now we have a prestigious tournament and they are still reluctant to release them."

Braithwaite added that it was important to get the players for friendlies in order to avoid last minute rush to get players well blended.

He brushed aside talk of players having to miss more than two matches for their clubs.

"I maybe wrong but I don't think any player has had to miss more than one match for his club for the entire year. We have had 10 internationals for 1999 and some players have been available for only one match.

"The top countries play more friendlies than we do and don't ever seem to have problems in getting their players for tournaments like the European Cup.

"We have bent our backs to accommodate the clubs and the overseas players but yet we are hearing complaints ahead of the important tournaments" he said.

St Clair will hold discussions in England on December 12 with this country's European-based players, including Yorke and Latapy about plans for next year.