“I had a good stint.” So said former senior men’s hockey coach Glen “Fido” Francis as his 11-year tenure at the helm of that programme came to a conclusion earlier this week.
The former national goalkeeper is being replaced by former junior men’s coach Darren Cowie. “I had little ups and downs but generally, I was proud of my performance,” said Francis.
Francis was in charge when the national men’s hockey team placed fourth at the last edition of the Pan American Cup in Lancaster, USA, in 2017 after a 3-0 loss to hosts USA in the bronze medal match. That performance assured them an automatic spot in the January 12-23 edition next year by virtue of a top-six finish.
Francis was also at the helm of the men’s team when it claimed its best-ever finish in the tournament, a bronze medal in Brampton, Canada, in 2013, a 3-1 victory over the Americans in the semi-finals.
In 2014, TTO became the first English-speaking country to win a game at the Commonwealth Games, earning a victory over the top-ten ranked Malaysian outfit. He also oversaw the team’s preparation when they placed fifth at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
“So it was really a good run. It could always have been better. But I really hope the team really carries on, and keeps improving going forward,” said ‘Fido’.
Francis wished Cowie all the best, expects him to do a good job and added he is always there if Cowie wants his advice or needs his assistance in any fashion.
“I really wish Darren the best moving forward in his coaching, I really hope he embraces it. He has to take the criticism and in the decision-making; you have to be strong because you will never be able to please everybody and try to always be fair and honest with everybody and he will reach far as a coach,” said Francis.
The TTHB has asked Francis to stay on in a consultancy role to assist and develop the youth programme. But those youth teams are only expected to resume training towards the end of the year. Francis said he is ready to serve
“Any time I am asked to assist—I have been in the military for 23 years and am now in the Police Service—I am always there to help when it comes to my country. (I’ll) Never turn my back on my country ever. I have accomplished a lot from hockey, I have seen the world. I really appreciate what I got from hockey…so I think I still have a lot to give back. I will try to pass it onto the younger players,” said Francis.
One of the few coaches who can actually train goalkeepers and outfield players with experience at all age levels, Francis plans to travel to the UK to do a coaching stint with his friend and retired TTO international Kwandwane Browne at his Hampstead Hockey club.
“He (Kwan) is doing a magnificent job outside and is one of the top coaches in the world. So I just want to go out there and pick his brain a little more, learn a little more and get some info to pass to the younger players when I get back,” Francis said.