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.
Stabroek WharfOver 500 vendors, minibus operators to be relocatedPlans are moving apace to determine the best strategy to have hundreds of vendors and minibus operators in the Stabroek Wharf area relocated to facilitate construction on the wharf.A section of the Stabroek WharfA meeting was held on Wednesday between Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) members and representatives from the Finance and Public Infrastructure Ministry. This is according to Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green.Commenting on the meeting, Mayor Chase Green stated that its purpose was to bring Councillors up to date with plans for the Stabroek Wharf, on which construction was expected to begin in early 2018.“We were written by the Ministry of Infrastructure, saying to us that they will be starting to do construction of the Stabroek Market wharf in the first quarter of 2018. And they’re asking us to relocate all of those vendors,” she said.She noted that there were 318 stalls on the wharf, while on the southern side of the Market 200 persons plied their trade. She stated that immediately outside the Stabroek Market, there were more vendors as well.“So, we have to start identifying areas that can house those people when construction on that wharf begins; because they are going to be using that entire area to store the material for heavy trucks to be going in there. So, you couldn’t have vending anywhere.”“We also have to look at the relocation of all those minibuses. And so they’re asking us to start now. And that’s what (Wednesday’s) meeting was about. Because our Councillors expressed concern about what is going to happen.”“While the consultations would have started, we would have heard that most likely the vendors would not go back there, but who made that decision?” Chase Green queried. “We didn’t make that decision. So, we have to consult more as to the way forward.”When contacted on Friday, a representative of the Public Infrastructure Ministry noted that while the Ministry would be doing infrastructural works, responsibility for the vendors rested with the Mayor and City Council.The Wharf has been in a state of deterioration for some time, with vendors expressing fear for their safety on several occasions.Sections of the Wharf caved in during September 2014 and March 2015. In June, Town Clerk Royston King had declared that the Mayor and City Council had solicited assistance from the Public Infrastructure Ministry.The modernised, new Wharf plans were designed by Civil Engineer Kabila Hollingsworth. The design includes a two-storey building with a terrace and stelling. Some $400 million is expected to be spent on the Wharf.
High-ranking Russian officials reacted cautiously to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to ban the country from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, while some sports bureaucrats expressed shock and dismay.The IOC said on Tuesday that Russia had been banned from the Olympics after evidence emerged of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia” as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.Russian authorities did not lash out as they sometimes have against international sports authorities who have alleged the existence of state-backed doping in the country.Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov and Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said the IOC decision was “contradictory”, with Zhukov saying it had “positive and negative sides”.Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was banned from the Olympics for life as part of the IOC decision, could not immediately be reached for comment.Most of the indignation in Russia came from the presidents of winter sports federations, who slammed a decision they said was unjustified and demeaning.”COMPLETELY UNJUSTIFIED” “The IOC decision is offensive and insulting. It is completely unjustified,” Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, told R-Sport agency.His counterpart at the Russian curling federation, lawmaker Dmitry Svishchev, accused the IOC of having succumbed to external pressure when making its decision.”I consider that the IOC’s decision is unprofessional,” Svishchev told Reuters. “I am profoundly convinced that it was made under pressure. Someone needed Russia not to participate in the Games.”advertisementBobsleigh federation president Alexander Zubkov, who was stripped of his two gold medals from the 2014 Sochi Games and banned for life from the Olympics last month, told Reuters he was shocked by the IOC decision.”I am simply shocked by what is happening and what happened and by (IOC President) Thomas Bach’s decision regarding our country and our athletes.”The Kremlin had said earlier this week that Russia had no plan to boycott the Olympics if the IOC imposed restrictions on the country’s participation.More than 20 Russian athletes have been banned for life from the Olympics in the past few weeks over doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games.The bans came as a result of an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Russians and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials at the Sochi Olympics.The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied state involvement in doping and pledged to work with international sports bodies to curb the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in the country.