Kieron Pollard will lead a powerful TT Red Force squad when the CG Insurance Super50 Cup bowls off in Antigua and Barbuda from February 7-27.

Pollard heads a seasoned squad of players that include the likes of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and the hard-hitting Nicholas Pooran. Darren Bravo, who will form part of the strong squad will also serve as vice-captain for the team that were semi-finalists last time out.

The T&T selectors have also picked the experienced Jason Mohammed, who is on West Indies duty in Bangladesh as well as former West Indies representatives Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul.

Imran Khan, Akeal Hosein, opener Kjorn Ottley, Khary Pierre, Anderson Phillip and Jayden Seales are also in line to represent the team from the twin-island republic that on paper should start as favourites to win the shortened version of the competition in 2021.

The full squad reads: Kieron Pollard (captain), Darren Bravo (vice-captain), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Imran Khan, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales, Kjorn Ottley, Anderson Phillip, Khary Pierre.

Trinidad and Tobago Kevin Molino says playing with better quality players at Columbus Crew will help him raise his level of play as he eyes a successful career and a championship title with the 2020 Major League Soccer champions.

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

CONCACAF has announced the cancellation of both its Under-17 and Under-20 youth championships in light of FIFA’s recent announcement to shutter the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Men’s World Cups, scheduled to take place in Peru and Indonesia later this year.

The U-20 tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Honduras between 20 June and 5 July 2020.  However, following the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was initially pushed forward to later this year.  The U-17 competition suffered a similar fate.

With the spread of the virus continuing to affect safety concerns and travelling ability, FIFA announced the decision to cancel both tournaments last week.  With the CONCACAF tournaments serving as qualifiers for the World Cups, the confederation decided to follow suit. As part of the decision, FIFA announced the next editions will be held in 2023 at the venues that were to host the 2021 editions of the tournaments.

 Jamaica (1999, 2011), Trinidad and Tobago (2001, 2007) and Haiti (2007, 2019), and Cuba (1989, 1991) are the Caribbean teams to have qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup editions.  At the Under-20 level Trinidad and Tobago (1991, 2009) Jamaica (2001), and Cuba (2013) have qualified to the finals.

Joshua Da Silva said he is humbled by the praise heaped upon him by West Indies great, Sir Vivian Richards.

Da Silva, 22, one of the shining lights for what was otherwise a disastrous tour of New Zealand earlier this month. He made a composed 57 in the second innings on his Test debut after being called up to replace injured wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich.

His performance already has tongues wagging across the Caribbean about the Trinidadian taking over from his Barbadian colleague behind the stumps for the West Indies.

However, while Sir Vivian, who has scored 8540 runs from 121 Test matches, did not opine on whether Da Silva was ready to be the West Indies number-one wicketkeeper-batsman, he definitely likes what he sees. He expressed his opinions to the Antigua Observer in a recent interview.

“I think some of these guys should have a look at him and see how simple he keeps his game because even for the period I saw him at the crease he was compact, not flashy and had the bat coming down with all kinds of flashiness,” Sir Vivian said.

“He looks very respectable to me like he knows his game.

“You see him when he is batting and when he is looking to defend, how straight his bat is. He looks organized to me and you’re not seeing that in all the other guys.”

After reading about the Master Blaster’s remarks, Da Silva told Sportsmax.TV he appreciated the observations from the all-time great.

“I am honoured to see what Sir Viv has said and complimenting about my batting,” he said.

“I am just playing a simple basic game. I am not trying to be too flashy, score when I can score and defend when I can defend so it’s a great honour to get some compliments from a great like Sir Viv and I will take that and keep working at my game and getting better.”

 

 

Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva said making a half century on his Test debut against New Zealand was surreal. However, having got a taste of Test cricket against one of the best teams in the world, he is now more aware of what it takes to be among the best.

The 22-year-old Da Silva’s performances in front of and behind the stumps were among the few positives from what was otherwise a disastrous tour in which the Caribbean side lost each of their two Test matches inside four day by an innings.

Da Silva had scores of 3 and 57 for an average of 30 in the second Test match at Wellington after he replaced Shane Dowrich, who left the tour for personal reasons. He was also quite competent behind the stumps having taken two catches in New Zealand's innings of 460.

With the West Indies battling to save the match, Da Silva put on 82 for the seventh wicket with his Captain Jason Holder, who made 61. However, once Holder was out early on the fourth day, Da Silva batted with authority. He held the New Zealand bowling at bay for two and a quarter hours hitting six fours along the way. His was the penultimate West Indies wicket to fall, trapped lbw by Neil Wagner, but not before the West Indies had cross the 300-run barrier en route to their highest score of the series.

He said he was especially proud of his Test 50.

“It was an unreal feeling, words can’t really describe the moment. I’m still trying to process it actually happened,” Da Silva told Newsday late last week, while revealing that getting to the milestone was tougher than it may have looked having to face New Zealand's battery of world-class bowlers.

"It was quite the challenge. They don’t let up, always coming for your wicket. Very rarely do you get a bad ball. They ask a lot of questions and always have a plan.”

Notwithstanding the good showing, Da Silva said he came to realize just what it takes to excel at Test level

“It just showed me how much harder I have to work if I want to be consistent at that level. It’s not easy, it takes a lot of physical and mental strength,” he said.

 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the clearance of Salwa Eid Naser to compete. The appeal was filed about a week after World Athletics filed a similar appeal before CAS in late November.

In October, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) disciplinary tribunal had ruled that Naser had not committed an anti-doping rule violation in relation to an alleged filing failure and missed tests. The tests were missed between March 12 and April 12, 2019.

In its appeal to the CAS, World Athletics requested that the AIU decision "be set aside and that it be replaced with a new decision in which the 2019 400m world champion is found to have committed an ADRV and sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility.

The athlete has retained the services of Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle and Kristie Irving of Trinidad-based New City Chambers, who confirmed that WADA had also appealed the ruling.

"I can confirm that WADA has launched a separate appeal against the decision of World Athletics' Disciplinary Tribunal in the Salwa Naser matter,” Dr Crowne told Sportsmax.TV.

“We will be asking that WADA's appeal be consolidated with World Athletics' appeal, and that the hearing be open to the public."

The Nigerian-born athlete who now competes for Bahrain ran the third fastest time in history while winning the 400m title in Doha. Only Marita Koch (47.60) and Jarmila Kratochvílová (47.99) have run faster than her 48.14. Naser also had a missed test against her name in January 2020, a strike that still stands.

Young rider Kimal Santo became the first apprentice to win Trinidad and Tobago’s Triple Crown, piloting the favourite Wise Guy to a fighting win Saturday as the gelding logged the first Derby Stakes triumph for a T&T-bred horse in a decade.

PT Racing’s Wise Guy accelerated in deep stretch and repelled challenges from his John O’Brien stablemates Apache and Bella Riva to win the TT$70,000 (US$10,500) Derby by a length and a quarter as the big 2-5 favourite.

“Emotions are running very high right now, I am too excited I can’t even explain how I am feeling,” the 20-year-old Santo told SportsMax.TV after a famous win that gave champion trainer O’Brien his eighth Derby victory and a second Triple Crown success after Momentum in 2014.

Coming off wins in the Guineas in late September and the Midsummer Classic five weeks later, Wise Guy clocked two minutes, 09.66 seconds for the 10-furlong trip. He became Santa Rosa Park’s fourth triple crown winner after the Glenn Mendez pair of Carnival Messiah (2001) and Top of the Class (2003) and O’Brien’s Momentum six years ago.

From the four-box, Santo, in only his second year race-riding, broke Wise Guy smartly and was satisfied to stalk the pacesetters as the 50-1 outsider Nuclear Fire set the early fractions ahead of top filly Bella Riva, the 7-1 third favourite.

The Jamaica-bred Nuclear Fire led by a length and a half down the backstretch tracked by Bella Riva and Wise Guy with American Traveller (50-1), Princess Steffani (35-1) and Apache (4-1) within striking distance.

The field was tightly bunched leaving the half-mile – five lengths separating the first nine horses – with Nuclear Fire about to surrender the lead, rapidly swallowed by 16-time champion O’Brien’s big three.

Coming off the final bend, Bella Riva, the 2019 champion two-year-old who was second to Wise Guy in the Guineas, quickened to lead but the new Triple Crown champion’s challenge was swift and he was at her girth in a flash. Santo swapped left-hand whipping for vigorous right-handed cracks early in the homestretch as Wise Guy struggled initially to shake the filly’s very stout challenge.

Wise Guy’s superiority showed nearing the finish as he moved clear and he already had the 10-furlong run sewn up when his other stablemate Apache closed rapidly to snatch second.

“All the hard work has paid off and I have now gone down in history,” said an ecstatic Santo, who rode three other winners on the afternoon and sported tears of joy as he returned with Wise Guy to the winners’ enclosure.

The victory was Wise Guy’s sixth in eight starts this year and trainer O’Brien’s fourth Derby triumph in the last seven years.

“It was a very proud moment for me, it seems he wanted to give us some heartache as he did not really quicken until late in the race but I am very happy,” said O’Brien after his sweep, identical to the finish of the October 31 Triple Crown second-leg Midsummer Classic.

“They ran the same 1-2-3 (as the Midsummer) so they obviously seem to be a cut above the rest,” O’Brien said.

Wise Guy’s weekend success snapped a nine-year streak of Jamaica-bred horses winning the T&T Derby. By J'ouvert of the Freshly Squeezed mare Maid Of Honour, the chestnut gelding is the first native-bred Trinidad Derby winner since Back on Top in 2010.

 

 

  There is one reliable rule when it comes to living well: eat healthily.  Schezelle Fleming, rugby coach at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in Trinidad and Tobago has ingested that lesson and now wants others to do the same.

In addition to teaching the basics of the fast-paced sport, Fleming enlightens the boys and girls of the benefits of healthy eating during rugby training. Giving health advise to children between the ages of 11 and 17 can promote lifelong healthy habits.

Talking about eating healthy is good but Fleming also wants to put it into practice and her food company 'Happy Oat' will make that possible after every training session.

"I plan on providing them with 'Happy Oat minis' when we start back training next year, as well as embark on some nutritional food projects with them," she said.

 Fleming started the 'Happy Oat' in 2017.  Happy Oat is a company that manufactures healthy treats.  However, in 2018, Fleming went on a hiatus and the business stalled.

"The load was too overwhelming. It was challenging to manage my job, my son, rugby, and a business in all aspects," she admitted.

With all the downtime provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, Fleming revisited the venture but "this time in a much more organised manner."

The oatmeal muffins offered by the Happy Oat have an impressive selection of flavours, namely Banana Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Walnut, Cranberry, Mixed Nuts (Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, and Almonds), Carrot Raisin and Coconut.

In addition, "Happy Oat muffins do not have any wheat, dairy, eggs or added refined sugar. They are also extremely moist and filling, but not heavy," said Fleming.

Recently, customers were given the option of adding agave, a plant-based sweetener, to their muffins for extra sweetness.

"As research shows, it [agave] is low on the glycemic index (which means it’s diabetic friendly)."

"I liked the agave because I didn’t have to use as much to sweeten unlike honey," she noted.

The general feedback from customers is positive.

Fleming says customers are blown away by how moist and tasty the muffins are for 'healthy food'.

She describes it as "the most precious feedback" because she loves being able to provide quality options, especially because she is the only person running the operation.

"Currently, the Happy Oat team is just me - the happy baker, social media marketing/content creator, manager etc," Fleming said.

Nevertheless, Happy Oat is growing. So much so that Fleming expects it to become one of the official sponsors of the South East Port of Spain Secondary School rugby team.

Happy Oat's delicious muffins are available at the recently opened Fitt Street Market.  The Fitt Street Market supports local food businesses and is located at the corner of Fitt Street and Ariapita Avenue in Port of Spain.

 Wanting more people to opt for healthy snacks is one thing but producing healthy snacks that put people in a good mood, rather than leaving a bad aftertaste is another and Fleming is glad she found the recipe.

 

 

 

FIFA has lifted its suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association thus clearing the way for the country to participate in international competition and participate in the draw for the  CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In a letter dated November 19, over the signature of FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura and addressed to Robert Hadad, Chairman of the Normalization Committee that was appointed in March, FIFA informed of the decision to lift the suspension that was imposed in September.

“We write to inform you that the situation of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has been referred to the Bureau of the Council on 17 November 2020,” said the letter that went on to rehash the situation that had unfolded over the last eight months and that concluded with the Court of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago ruling in favour of football’s world governing body.

“In addition, the Court of Appeal stressed that in accordance with art. 57 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes and art. 67 of the TTFA Statutes, CAS was the only recognized path to resolve such dispute. Additionally, the Bureau was informed that on 26 October 2020, the FIFA administration received the minutes of the TTFA members’ meeting.”

At that meeting members of the TTFA voted overwhelmingly to “fully comply with its obligations as a member of FIFA, recognizing the legitimacy of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, and; bringing its own statutes in line with the FIFA statutes, and; to fully cooperate with the Normalisation Committee in the fulfilment of its mandate as stated in FIFA’s letter of March 17th, 2020; be it further resolved that all court matters existing between the TTFA and FIFA shall be immediately brought to a stop”.

The move ultimately ended the dispute and cleared the way for a return to normalcy.

“Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided on 19 November 2020 to lift the suspension of the TTFA with immediate effect. This means that all of the TTFA’s membership rights have been reinstated, as defined in art. 13 of the FIFA Statutes, with immediate effect,” the letter said.

“Consequently, TTFA’s representative and club teams are again entitled to take part in international competitions. This also means that the TTFA may benefit from development programmes, courses and training provided by FIFA and/or the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.

“Moreover, FIFA member associations may again enter into sporting contact with the TTFA and/or its teams.”

In March, the ousted William Wallace administration had taken FIFA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the decision to dissolve the administration that had only been in charge for four months. They subsequently withdrew the dispute from CAS and placed it before the TT High Court of Justice, who ruled that FIFA’s decision was illegal and therefore null and void.

However, the Court of Appeal overturned the ruling.


 

 Politeness and kindness are qualities that would typically be miles away from any association with the sport of rugby. But, Schezelle Fleming, a rugby coach at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, in Trinidad and Tobago, it seems would beg to differ.

Following the disruption of sports because of COVID-19, Fleming started writing children's books focusing on themes like behaviour.

 She wanted to share some important life lessons with young boys between the ages of three and seven and so, published her first book 'Like Big Boys Do' in June.

As the name suggests, the book 'Like Big Boys Do' acts as a guide for little boys becoming big boys, and the lessons are a far cry from what Fleming preaches on the pitch about tackling.

An excerpt from the book reads: "But of course there are times when I get quite upset. Like when a friend takes a toy I wasn't done with yet. Instead of kicking and screaming, I breathe and count - 1, 2 and I calmly use my words like big boys do."

Fleming admits the endeavor was inspired by her son.

"My son inspired me to write my book 'Like Big Boys Do'. He loves to read and is a stickler for 'Mummy, the book said...'," Fleming shared.

 The former rugby player is also in the midst of writing another book. This time about honesty “because let’s be honest, it’s very common for children to explore the world of lies when they get to a certain age. Even though it’s a natural part of their growth, it still helps to show them why it’s important, to tell the truth,” said Fleming.

Though the messages that are found in the books are seemingly different from the ones rugby sends, Fleming believes rugby does not necessarily have to be overly aggressive.

"I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,” she said.

 “It’s not about being excessive, it’s about being assertive and confident,” she noted in an article titled, 'Fleming: I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,' published by World Rugby.

One way rugby can encourage balance is by regulating training. As a rugby coach, it's Fleming's duty to ensure the environment is appropriate for building capable players.

Along with inadequate clubs and rugby tournaments for girls, the narrative that rugby has to be overly aggressive hinders female participation in the sport and, "convincing their parents that the game isn’t 'too rough' for them to play" is a conversation Fleming has often.

Fleming introduced rugby at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in 2018 and coaches both a girls’ team and a boys’ team. She also teaches Spanish there.

 

 

When the Mumbai Indians defeated the Delhi Capitals on Tuesday’s final of the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League, it also made Kieron Pollard the player with the most T20 titles in the history of the format.

The powerfully built Trinidadian allrounder was winning his 15th title and his fifth with Mumbai, also a record for the franchise.

It puts him above compatriot Dwayne Bravo, who has 14, Shoaib Malik with 12, Rohit Sharma, Mumbai’s captain Rohit Sharma with 10 and Lasith Malinga, who has nine titles.

Following Tuesday’s comfortable five-wicket victory over the Capitals, Pollard expressed his joy at winning yet another title but confesses that the path to winning the many trophies he has won has never been easy.

“It's a great feeling. I've been here 11 years, fifth trophy,” said Pollard who won a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title with the Trinbago Knight Riders in September.

“No one sees the planning and training, it's pressure playing for a franchise like this. The amount of trophies, the amount of work, the amount of players who go on to play for their countries, I think we'll have to say so [that this is the best T20 franchise].”

Pollard praised the owners and management of the franchise and aimed a friendly dig at his fellow Trinidadian, who plays for the Chennai Super Kings.

“Dwayne Bravo you're behind now and I'm in front of you, just had to say it on camera.”

From all indications, he seems to relish the pressure that comes with a final. He made reference to this prior to Tuesday's final in a video on Mumbai's Twitter page.

“The name of the game is pressure, in a final. Everyone takes that pressure. You want to win and not commit a mistake, but at the end of the day, you have to try to take the finals as a normal game. Just go out there, enjoy yourself and the atmosphere,” Pollard said.

“Obviously, no crowds in this final, but enjoy the magnitude of it. It is an IPL final, it’s the biggest thing after the World Cup final,. 

Pollard will now head to New Zealand where he will represent the West Indies in their three-match T20 season set to begin on November 27.

Cricket commentator Michael Holding believes Nicholas Pooran should be playing Test cricket despite the fact that he has not played much first-class cricket.

Trinidad and Tobago’s champion racehorse trainer John O’Brien logged his 1200th career win with a Midsummer Classic triumph for Wise Guy at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday that kept the chestnut gelding on the path to the Triple Crown.

Ridden by the 20-year-old apprentice Kimal Santo, Wise Guy captured the TT$55,000 (US$8,000) National Lotteries Control Board (NCLB) Midsummer Classic by 1-1/4 lengths over his 22-1 stablemate Apache. Wise Guy clocked two minutes 02.31 seconds as the 2-5 favourite for the 9-1/2 furlong run on a sloppy track to complete the second leg of the Triple Crown, having won the Guineas last month.

After leading early and then stalking the front-running 90-1 bet Spring Valley, Santo challenged for the lead mid-race with Wise Guy while Princess Steffani (40-1) surged forward to tackle the pacesetters.

Approaching the final bend, Wise Guy and Princess Steffani had a near three-length advantage on the rest of the field but Wise Guy quickly gained control as they entered the homestretch.

The Jamaica-bred Apache presented a brief threat inside the last furlong but Santo’s right-hand whipping kept Wise Guy safely in front to the finish, becoming the first T&T-bred winner of the Triple Crown “Middle Jewel” since Onetokeep in 2012.

“He kept going when the horse (Apache) got to his withers which is commendable but he does idle a bit when he is in front for too long,” said O’Brien about Wise Guy’s seeming moment of vulnerability inside the last furlong.

The 5-2 bet Bella Riva, the 2019 champion two-year-old, was a further 5-1/2 lengths away in third in a top-three Classic sweep for O’Brien achieving the 1200-win milestone he was not even aware of. “I didn’t have any idea at all. I remember the thousand and the 11 hundred but I didn’t realize I had got there,” said O’Brien.

In a race dominated in the past seven years by Jamaica-bred horses, including 2014 Triple Crown winner Momentum and the Jamaican Anthony Nunes-trained 2016 winner, The Gatsby, Wise Guy scored one of three wins O’Brien had on the afternoon.  The 16-time champion trainer also scored with Lady Bird in the first and News Flash in the second.

The PT Racing-owned Wise Guy had won the September 24 Guineas by 4-1/2 lengths snapping Bella Riva’s six-race winning streak. The improving gelding now has four wins in six starts this year and will target the November 28 T&T Derby, bidding to become Santa Rosa Park’s fourth Triple Crown winner after the Glenn Mendez pair of Carnival Messiah (2001) and Top of the Class (2003) and O’Brien’s Momentum six years ago.

 

 

Attorneys representing the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association today filed a termination order before the Court of Arbitration for Sport effectively ending their appeal of the suspension imposed on the association by FIFA last month.

The termination order is in keeping with the resolutions arrived at on Sunday by the delegates of the association who voted en masse to end their seven-month dispute with the world governing body over a March 18 decision to appoint a normalization committee to manage the affairs of the debt-ridden association until the next Annual General Meeting scheduled for some time within the next three years.

The delegates also voted to end all legal action against FIFA, which resulted in the termination order being filed today.

The TTFA is hoping their actions along with others will see FIFA lifting their suspension before December 18. This will allow Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the draw for the 2020 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The TTFA was represented by Dr Emir Crowne, Mr Matthew Gayle, Ms Crystal Paul and Mr Jason Jones.

 

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