TRINIDAD and Tobago will be among 12 countries doing battle from tomorrow in Jamaica the opening leg of CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) women’s beach qualifying for the Olympic Games. Players from Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Suriname, United States Virgin Islands and host country will also be competing in the three-day tournament. Each country will be represented by two pairs and the top six countries will advance to the second of four rounds of NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) qualifying for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which will be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August next year. Apphia Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph will be flying the red, white and black in this competition, five days after reaching the quarter-finals of the opening leg of this year’s NORCECA Beach Tour in the Cayman Islands. This country’s other representatives are Elki Philip and Shenelle Gordon, who defeated Joseph and Glasgow all three times during the second leg of the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation’s (TTVF) Beach series last month. Glasgow, Gordon and Joseph are young and relatively inexperienced, but Philip is one of T&T’s most accomplished players on the sand. The highlights of the veteran’s career were just missing the podium with fourth-place finishes twice in NORCECA events, along with competing alongside Nancy Joseph in the Pan American Games in 2007. The format is the same for the men’s qualifying and the opening round will take place in Trinidad and Saith Park, Chaguanas, from next Friday until Sunday. The hosts will be represented by the Fabian Whitfield/Daneil Williams and Josiah Eccles/Tevin Joseph combinations. Williams and Whitfield won all ten TTVF tournaments at home this year, but finished third in their round-robin group and failed to reach the knockout phase of the NORCECA tournament in Cayman Islands last weekend.



CENTRAL FC really suck at football chants.
But they were the best professional football team in Trinidad and Tobago for the 2014-2015 football season.
The “Couva Sharks” won the Digicel Pro League title on Tuesday night after getting second half goals from Atualla Guerra (68th minute) and Willis Plaza (87th) near the very end, for a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over North East Stars at Ato Boldon Stadium.
They later celebrated with a season-ending after party at New Settlement ground in Chaguanas.
At the end, England-born Terry Fenwick, Central head coach paid tribute to Serbian Zoran Vranes who was in charge for all but the final three matches, when Fenwick was re-instated after his return from an unsuccessful coaching stint in Belgium. Fenwick was seen motioning for Vranes to join the celebrations.
“There been a great job done here and first and foremost I would like to thank Vranes for the terrific job all season,” stated former England defender Fenwick. “I brought him down out of the stands because he deserved it. He has been here for a long period of the season. I came in, and got them over the line at the end.
“It’s our first league championship and a huge thing for Central FC,”Fenwick added.
“The boys have been head and shoulders above the rest of the league all season and thoroughly deserved it. The rest just come second.”
Central ended the season with 17 victories from 23 matches played and 55 points, at least three more than second-placed W Connection can manage, even if they win their final match against San Juan Jabloteh tomorrow night.
Earlier, dethrone champions W Connection trailed Police in the seventh minute through Makesi Lewis, who shot low down the middle before Connection scored a late winner and a similar 2-1 victory over a highly-competitive Police team—who had both coach Richard Hood and trainer Brian Headley sent off by referee Rodfin Harris.
Hasim Arcia (44th & 90th) got both W Connection goals equalising at 1-1 before the half, scoring in an open goal and then got the winner near the very end, with a low shot to the far corner. Trailing Central by six points with a huge goal-difference, Connection need to win their final two matches of the season by huge margins and hope Stars also beat Central FC.
Connection did themselves no favours, hitting the woodwork three times through Jerrel Britto, Jomal Williams and Neil Benjamin—all of whom also had incredible misses on the night. Police, who fielded one of their best squads of the season, also hit the frame twice and could have won a fiercely contested match as well.
Likewise, when national Under-20 midfielder Neveal Hackshaw tricked T&T national goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams with a low shot to the near post, the Stars “Grande” led 1-0 after just four minutes.
Afterwards, Stars mainly fell back, apart from industrious work from lone striker Kennedy “Shortman” Hinkson up front and the ever-dangerous Keron Cummings in support. But Central mainly laboured to break the bunker, although having the lion’s share of possession. And Stars goalie Cleon John also came up with at least three saves, including a point-blank flying effort to stop a sure Sean De Silva goal.
Central only equalised in the 68th when Guerra guided the ball to the far corner, and Plaza got some help from his lazy marker who he turned easily and blasted the winner late in the match. Thus began the celebrations and the continuation of the mundane chant–the English influence of owner Kevin Harrison and coach Fenwick, both Britons—quite obvious.


Given that former champions DIRECTV W Connection are still owed some $700,000 of last year’s prize money by the Digicel Pro League, Central FC would do well not to start spending newly-accumulated wealth as yet.
The “Couva Sharks”, Central FC, dethroned W Connection on Tuesday night to become 2014-2015 champions of the local professional football league.
New champions Central FC are due a $1,000,000 pay-out as league winners, former champs W Connection have secured the runners-up take of $300,000 and Defence Force, the third place team, $150,000. Every other team down the ladder gets $130,000.
Interviewed at Central’s Ato Boldon Stadium coronation on Tuesday, Dexter Skeene, the chief executive officer of the Pro League, admitted the former champions are still owed a significant part of last season’s winnings. Given that they have won another $300,000 this season, W Connection are now owed a total one million by the Pro League.
“W Connection have received a part of the million dollar prize,” Skeene said. “They would need to receive another 60 to 70 per cent. ”
W Connection owner and Pro League director David John Williams, was hesitant to respond when questioned.
“We are owed,”John Williams gingerly replied, but admitted that running an expensive pro club had been difficult without the funds.
Skeene said W Connection had gotten part payment from its other revenue sources, but credited Government red tape in releasing the Pro League’s promised subvention as the main reason for the payment delay. However, he said that as a limited liability company, all clubs agreed to do what was right for the overall benefit of the Pro League , including making sacrifices.
“Defence Force also had to wait a while to get their prize,” Skeene stated. “We are now awaiting the subvention for 2013-2014 from the Ministry (of Sport). We have gotten a small fraction of the 2013-2014 subvention, and we as well have an allocation for 2014-2015 approved as well by Cabinet.
“All together it is $6.5 million. We have been promised a certain amount for 2013-2014 which is in the sum of $3.25 million. They have told us soon,” Skeene said.
Skeene further pointed out that since the Pro League was a limited liability company, clubs are the owners, and make decision on revenue and expenditure.
“The clubs are owners of the (Pro) League. When the Board meets, which is a member from all the clubs, we sit down and decide how the finances and expenditure are handled,” Skeene said. “All the clubs understand that sacrifices will have to be made for the benefit of the Pro League, the players, and professional football in Trinidad and Tobago.”


AROUND ten players ranked in the top 100 in the world have entered the inaugural Trinidad and Tobago International Badminton Tournament next month.

Players from 22 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Cuba, Czech Republic, Israel, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Sweden, Turkey, United States and T&T will be doing battle from May 20-25 at Easter Regional Sports Arena, Tacarigua.

The tournament is sanctioned by the world’s governing body, Badminton World Federation and the players will be battling for US$5,000, sponsored by the Pan American Badminton Confederation.

Canadian Nickolas Bonkowsky, whose mother hails from Trinidad, and five-time national champion Anil Seepaul will be among those flying the red, white and black flag.

Bonkowsky defeated Seepaul in the final of the National Championships last month.

The women’s field is expected to include Solangel Guzman, who has been residing here for over four years and missed “Nationals” after capturing triple crowns in the three previous editions.

The Cuban struck gold for her country of birth in the 2006 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and for T&T last year in the Caribbean Championships.

The Mexican who won the women’s singles and doubles titles in last year’s CAC Games at home and the Cuban who struck gold in men’s singles in the Pan Am Games in Canada last year are also expected to be in the star-studded field.

The only previous international badminton tournament ever staged in this country took place over a decade ago at Jean Pierre Complex, Wrightson Road, Woodbrook.

All successful teachers of less than average students begin with a belief that the children can learn. Successful cricket coaches also believe that all players if properly taught can learn.

Teachers, coaches and cricket boards say they believe this and preach it, but when their students and players fail to reach expected standards they blame the students and label them as poor students or poor learners and hardly ever consider the possibility that they might be bad teachers. During the last two decades, West Indies cricket has been in a steady decline, a deterioration that multiple coaches, boards and board presidents have failed to arrest or reverse. Are our players the only poor learners?

Research has shown that teachers’ expectations of students have a dramatic effect not just on their grades but also on their IQ. It has also shown that if a manager’s expectations are high productivity is likely to be high, but if expectations are low productivity is likely to be low.

We are now preoccupied with management arrangements and reform of our boards. Though necessary, do they contain the answers to why our players are not learning to play better? During the successful Clive Lloyd era, the captain and the management team expected their players to learn and improve. And they repeatedly communicated that expectation to them, continually boosted their self-image and self-belief and gave them the necessary time and support to achieve those expectations.

It is amazing what can happen when teachers and coaches really do believe – and make their students/players believe – that they can learn what they put their minds to learning. But are they telling the students what they should put their minds to learning? Students who are taught Spanish should not be expected to master French. Are our coaches and boards teaching their players the right priorities, values and standards and are they doing so in the best learning environment?

In sport, statistics and records only show what players have learned and done not what they can learn and do. The importance of the learning environment cannot be overstated. I am told that goldfish will grow larger or stay smaller according to the size of the fish tank. If the tank is large the fish will get bigger but if the tank is small the fish will stay small.

So too, players will grow larger or stay smaller according to the type of environment (physical, emotional, mental, strategic and leadership) the boards and coaches create for them. By expanding and improving the quality of the players’ environment and teaching them self-reliance and self-leadership, the boards and coaches will help them to grow and become better players and better people. But before this can happen, the boards and coaches should start with themselves and set the right example by expanding and improving the quality of their own environment and self-leadership.

Our boards and coaches believe, and try to convince us, that they are doing the right things. But do we believe them? It depends on whether you listen to what they say or watch what they do. They will tell you with the straightest faces that they believe that all players are valuable and can learn to do the right things and play better. But watch the boards and coaches and see what they do. They profess a faith that they refuse to practise. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone associated with West Indies cricket would pledge for the next three years to act as if they really do believe all their players can learn? It might mark the beginning of our cricket revival.

When patients go into hospital they often leave their commonsense on the hospital steps in the same way that West Indies’ players left their commonsense in the pavilion on the last day of the Grenada Test.

Of the mind and commonsense, Sir Garfield Sobers once told me, “The proper use of the mind is the one thing that separates champions from the merely good players. No matter how good a player you are, you won’t make it to the top unless you develop your mind. The top players know how to think, how to concentrate and what to do in tough situations.”

As I have mentioned many times before, Sir Garfield also stressed: “If I had a free hand in coaching I would initially spend most of my time teaching the basics of the game. I would then spend an equal amount of time teaching the players how to identify and deal with the many different situations they will face during the game. I feel that this combination gives the player the best preparation and the best chance to do well.”

West Indies players don’t choose or execute the basics consistently well and often misread the situations and challenges that they face.

To Sir Garfield’s combination I would add the improvement of self-belief, self-discipline and self-motivation and the enhancement of the players’ capacity to handle the pressures of the day; the ability to gauge when pressure is being applied to them and when and how it must be applied to others.

At the highest levels of sport, performance revolves around mastery of the basics and the power of expectation, self-belief, self-motivation and self-discipline. The depth of your motivation and discipline determines the level of your success. Experts now claim that the correlation between self-discipline and success is greater than the correlation between ability and success.

If these things are true, are we teaching our players the right things? Perhaps the players are not all bad learners; the boards and coaches might be bad teachers.

Dr Rudi Webster is a former West Indies cricket manager and performance enhancer.

TRINIDAD AND Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis emphasised that constitutional reform to reflect good governance principles, like one member one vote, would assist a long way in bringing sport in this country to a commercially viable sport industry.

Lewis said while the potential is huge, “a critical success factor is strong sport governance systems and procedures.”

He stated, “many of the existing Constitutions under which national sport organisations and national governing bodies operate need to be modernised and amended to include basic universal principles of good governance.”

Lewis added the Ministry of Sport, Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee( TTOC) must cooperate and work together to foster, facilitate and enable the necessary changes and reform.

“We can’t sweep the issue of poor sports governance under the carpet. It’s not about making cosmetic changes. There is need for reform.

“Some sports are operating in an undemocratic manner and aren’t conducting their affairs in a transparent and accountable manner.”

Lewis reminded that at their 67th AGM last April, the TTOC ushered in constitutional changes when they successfully moved a motion to stop outgoing executive members from having an automatic right to vote.

That motion received the unanimous support of the national sport organisations and the TTOC executive committee members in attendance back then.

To be eligible to vote at the TTOC AGM, starting from the 2017 term, outgoing elected executive committee members must now be a duly accredited delegate representing a financial and voting member affiliate.

“The change removing the automatic right to vote is a significant one with respect to sport governance and the notion of free and fair election of sport leaders,” said Lewis.

The TTOC boss said. “the ultimate victims of bad governance and badly structured sport bodies are the athletes, children, youth and young people and the best interest and sustainable development of sport.

“Constitutional reform is a priority in Trinidad and Tobago sport,” he concluded.