In a not-so surprising turn of events, Trinidadian netball sensation Samantha Wallace-Joseph has been released by the New South Wales Swifts, by mutual agreement, mere months after returning from a two-year hiatus due to knee surgery. The Suncorp Super League franchise announced the departure on Thursday, citing issues related to her behavior within the team environment.

Wallace-Joseph, a pivotal player for the Swifts, had missed multiple games recently, contributing to the team’s three-game losing streak. The Swifts, last year’s grand finalists, now find themselves in a three-way tie for fifth place on the ladder, a position far below their usual standards.

The Swifts confirmed the split in a statement, explaining that it was a mutual decision made after weeks of discussions with Wallace-Joseph and her management.

 "For the past number of weeks, the club has been working with Samantha Wallace-Joseph and her management in relation to a matter which concerned her behaviour within the team environment,” the statement read. “For the wellbeing of all concerned the nature of the matter will remain confidential. However, it has been mutually agreed that parting ways is the best way forward for both Samantha and the club.”

This development comes after the Swifts had previously shown unwavering support for Wallace-Joseph during her recovery from a serious knee injury. Her comeback, however, was overshadowed by controversy following anti-transgender comments she made on social media, which stirred significant public backlash.

The Swifts emphasized the importance of maintaining high behavioral standards within their team, stating, “The behavioural standard expected of everyone in the Swifts environment – across players, coaches and staff – is team first and there are no exceptions to that.”

Wallace-Joseph, who joined the Swifts in 2017, has been a key figure in the team’s success, playing 84 games and securing Premierships in 2019 and 2021. Despite her departure under strained circumstances, the Swifts expressed their gratitude for her contributions, saying, “The Swifts thank Samantha for her service to the Club.”

As the netball community processes this shocking news, the Swifts have made it clear that they will not be making any further comments on the matter at this time.

Wallace-Joseph's departure marks a significant chapter in her career, and her next steps will be closely watched by fans and analysts alike. Meanwhile, the Swifts will need to regroup quickly as they aim to recover from their current slump and return to their winning ways.

 

 

After sitting out the past two Suncorp Super Netball League matches, Samantha Wallace-Joseph’s future with New South Wales Swifts seems up in the air, as the club remains evasive about her omission from the match-day squad.

Though speculations were rife that the Trinidad and Tobago stalwart’s cut was due to anti-transgender social media post earlier this year, the club –while distancing itself from the post –confirmed that the current issue was unrelated. Wallace-Joseph did apologise for the post which she said was taken out of context.

NSW Swifts, in a recent statement, confirmed that Wallace-Joseph “would be unavailable for selection,” as they dealt with a matter relating to behaviour within the team environment. The club also stated that it was working with Wallace-Joseph and her management team.

However, indications are that the negotiations could be headed towards Wallace-Joseph’s termination or a mutual parting of ways, which is unprecedented in netball.

Wallace-Joseph's role in the team has been a focal point of discussion given the fact that the now 30-year-old goal shooter has been a beloved member of the team since her signing in 2017. Since joining the club, the Trinidadian assisted the Swifts to two Super Netball titles, and was named club MVP on three occasions.

Wallace-Joseph, who only returned to action this season after recovering from a career-threatening anterior cruciate ligament injury that sidelined her for the past two seasons, tallied over 138 goals, 289 Nissan Net Points, four deflections, one intercept and seven rebounds in the seven games she played before being dropped.

Having secured two positive results to get the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers going, Trinidad and Tobago’s Head coach Angus Eve welcomed the solid platform on which he hopes to build when the Soca Warriors next take the field as part of the campaign.

Eve’s side registered one of the biggest winning margins of the opening round of matches, as they thumped Bahamas 7-1 in Basseterre, St Kitts, on Saturday. That dominance performance followed a shaky showing against Grenada in which the Soca Warriors had to come from two goals down to secure a point in a 2-2 stalemate.

It is with that in mind why Eve expressed pleasure with his team’s character, as the performances ensured the twin island republic sits second in Group B on four points, two behind leaders and group favourites Costa Rica on six points. Grenada (one point) is third, while St Kitts and Nevis and Bahamas, who meet on Tuesday, are yet to get off the mark.

“The result was the most important thing for us. We wanted to win the game. We wanted to get three points and we did,” Eve said.

“I thought we were a little bit flat in the first game against Grenada, and we never got going until the second half. We wanted to right that wrong, and I think we did it. The passing...the fluency of the team was much better,” he added.

Trinidad and Tobago players celebrate a goal against Bahamas.

While critics argued that the 7-1 scoreline was due to the fact that Bahamas was a perceived lesser opponent, Eve rubbished the thought, as he reminded football enthusiasts that the Bahamians were responsible for Trinidad and Tobago’s demise during the last qualifying cycle.

“It doesn’t matter who we played. This team [Bahamas] threw us out of the World Cup last time around. I don’t think we could have scored on them back then. So it shows improvement, for us beating them by seven,” Eve declared.

“As the game went along, we believed we could have gotten more, we pushed for more, and it has taken us up to four points, which is most important,” he noted.

Obviously disappointed by the Grenada performance, the tactician made seven changes to his starting team, and the likes of Malcolm Shaw, Duane Muckette, Andre Rampersad, Alvin Jones, Steffen Yeates, Triston Hodge and Josiah Trimmingham repaid Eve’s faith in them. Shaw and Muckette both scored braces.

“I just wanted to freshen up the team. I have confidence in all of the guys that we brought here, so we believe that we could kind of change up the squad somewhat and get the desired result,” Eve said.

“I thought they did very well and we believe in all the players that we bring here, and we have no fear to change up the team,” he shared.

Meanwhile, having missed out on a Copa America berth, Eve will have to possible find a few friendly encounters to engage in to keep his Soca Warriors sharp ahead of the Nations League, which gets under way in September.

The World Cup qualifying campaign will resume next June. At that time, Trinidad and Tobago will host St Kitts and Nevis, before a possible top-of-the-table clash away to Costa Rica.

Only the top two teams from each group will progress to the final stage of the qualifiers.

Suriname, Curacao, Nicaragua, and Guatemala opened their Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers account on a winning note, while Trinidad and Tobago had to come from behind to secure a point against Grenada in Second Round action across the region on Wednesday.

While the four winners pocketed three points to take pole positions in their respective groups, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada shared the spoils after a 2-2 stalemate, and so too did Antigua and Barbuda and Bermuda, who battled to a 1-1 scoreline.

Antigua and Barbuda vs Bermuda

Antigua and Barbuda and Bermuda locked horns in Group A at the ABFA Technical Centre in Piggotts.

Raheem Deterville sent the hosts in front with a 26th-minute strike from inside of the penalty arc. The assist came from a long pass over the top by D’Andre Bishop.

However, Bermuda rescued a point in the 90th through Sachiel Ming, who picked up a pass from Kane Crichlow and slotted home from close range.

Up next for Antigua and Barbuda is a trip to the Cayman Islands on Saturday, while Bermuda will host Honduras on Sunday at the Bermuda National Sports Centre.

Suriname vs Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Suriname registered a comfortable 4-1 victory over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to get their Group F campaign going at the Dr. Ir. Franklin Essed Stadium in Paramaribo.

Oalex Anderson gave St Vincent and Grenadines a dream start, when he pounced on a loose ball and converted in the 31st minute.

But Sheraldo Becker pulled Suriname level in the 39th from the penalty spot after Immanuel-Johannes Pherai was taken down inside the danger area.

Jeredy Hilterman then pushed Suriname ahead in the 45+3 minutes as he rose above defenders to head home from Pherai’s weighted cross.

From 2-1 at the break, Suriname wasted little time to press the ascendancy on the resumption, as Justin Lonwijk pushed them further ahead with a well-taken 46th-minute effort, to make it 3-1.

Jaden Montnor then capped the win in the 70th minute.

Suriname will visit Anguilla on Saturday, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will remain in Suriname to play host to El Salvador, at the same venue, on Sunday.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Grenada

Trinidad and Tobago’s opener produced a less than desirable outcome, as they had to dig deep for the 2-2 stalemate with Grenada in Group B action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

The Soca Warriors found themselves on the backfoot when Myles Hippolyte converted a 24th-minute penalty to gift Grenada an early lead, after the ball was handled inside the red zone.

And before they could catch their breaths, Grenada doubled the lead four minutes later when Hippolyte rifled home off the volley, beating Trinidad and Tobago’s custodian Denzil Smith, all ends up in the 28th minute.

Needing to respond, Trinidad and Tobago did just that through Ryan Telfer, who got on the end of a through pass from Reon Moore and calmly slotted home in the 43rd to make it 2-1 at the break.

Moore later found the equalizer in the 74th from a well-worked counter attack to secure a share of the spoils.

Trinidad and Tobago will next be away to Bahamas on Saturday in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, with Grenada to host Costa Rica on Sunday in St. George's.

Curaçao vs. Barbados

Curaçao began their campaign with a tidy 4-1 victory over Barbados in Group C action at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad.

Rangelo Janga opened the scoring in the 25th with a close range effort.

Curacao had to wait until the 62nd to double their lead as Janga again found space inside the area to slot home. He completed his hat-trick in the 85th from the penalty spot.

Niall Reid-Stephen pulled one back for Barbados in the 90+2, also from the 12-yard spot. But Gervane Kastaneer found another for Curacao which served as icing on the cake.

Curaçao will visit Aruba in Oranjestad on Saturday, while Barbados will host Haiti in Bridgetown on Sunday.

Nicaragua vs. Montserrat

Nicaragua also completed a 4-1 win over Montserrat in Group D at the National Football Stadium in Managua.

It was a frantic start to the contest, as the host went ahead through Jaime Moreno, who expertly headed home in the fourth minute. But Brandon Barzey pulled Montserrat level in the 10th.

However, that was all the visitors would get as Junior Arteaga pushed Nicaragua back in front with a well-taken 23rd-minute freekick.

Jacob Montes fired home from the edge of the 18-yard box to extend the lead in the 70th, before Harold Medina capped the win in the 90+3.

Nicaragua will visit Belize on Saturday in Belmopan. Montserrat will remain in Managua to face Panama on Sunday.

Guatemala vs. Dominica

Guatemala registered the widest victory margin on the day, as they hammered Dominica 6-0 in Group E at the Doroteo Guamuch Flores Stadium in Guatemala City.

Alejandro Galindo started the rout in the third minute, before Allen Yanes headed in an Oscar Santis cross to make it 2-0 in the 28th.

Galindo completed his brace in the 49th when he converted off a follow-up attempt after Glenson Prince’s shot from a distance was kept out.

Rubio Rubin added his name to the scoresheet from a 59th-minute header, before Jose Martinez made it 5-0 in the 79th from a setplay.

Jose Morales capped the win in the 84th with a strike from distance.

Guatemala will play the British Virgin Islands on Saturday, while Dominica hosts Jamaica on Sunday.

Jereem Richards, the Trinidadian Olympian, continues to draw inspiration from his late teammate and friend, Deon Lendore, as he competes on the international stage. Following his recent victory in the 200m dash at the Racer's Grand Prix in Kingston, Richards spoke with Sportsmax.TV about Lendore's enduring impact on his career and his hopes for greater support for track and field athletes in Trinidad and Tobago.

Richards, who delivered a stellar performance in front of several thousand cheering Jamaican fans, emphasized the stark contrast between the enthusiastic support he witnessed in Kingston and the often lukewarm reception track and field athletes receive back home.

A two-time Commonwealth Games 200m gold medalist, Richards highlighted the significant contributions track and field athletes have made to Trinidad and Tobago, lamenting the lack of recognition and support they receive compared to other sports. "Being real, in Trinidad and Tobago, track and field has been the biggest sport to bring back all the medals, and we don’t get that kind of recognition,” he remarked. “When it comes to sport, Trinidadians like cricket, they like football and will come out and support those two sports. But when it comes to us at trials, only people that are into track and field and families of track and field athletes would come out, and the stadium is basically empty."

Comparing the support Jamaican athletes receive, Richards noted, "At least Jamaicans will come out and watch you all compete, they’ll come out and support you. Even though they might judge Jamaican athletes harshly, they still give you all the support. We don’t have support like this, and I think that is very important for us."

Richards, who won 4x400m relay gold and 200m bronze at the 2017 World Championships in London,  called on Trinidadians to rally behind their track and field athletes, especially in an Olympic year when the pressure to perform is immense. "Come out and support us. If you support us and we don’t do well and you judge us harshly, I will take that because you come out. But if you never come out, you can't judge us so harshly," he said.

Regarding his close friend who died tragically in a motor-vehicle crash in the USA in January 2022, Richards reveals that he thinks about his late friend constantly.

"All the time, boy. All the time," Richards said. "I want everybody to know how important he was. He led a strong generation of athletes from Trinidad and Tobago—myself, Machel Cedenio, Asa Guevara. A lot of us looked up to him."

Lendore, he said, remains a influential figure for him and his fellow athletes. "I feel like we only appreciate athletes when they’re gone, and I would not like that to happen to any other athletes again. I’m trying to push the narrative of appreciating the athletes now for when they do well so even when they’re done and even when they pass on, we still remember them and appreciate them for what they have done for the country," the 2022 World Indoor 400m champion concluded.

 

 

 

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Those famous words by American author Napoleon Hill, now serve as motivation for Trinidad and Tobago’s Head coach Angus Eve and his charges as they prepare to kick off their much-anticipated Concacaf World Cup qualifying campaign on Wednesday.

The Soca Warriors will go into their opening contest against Grenada with limited preparation as a collective unit, as the overseas-based members of Eve’s final 25-member squad had to fulfil club obligations upon until Sunday and only joined the camp on Monday. That somewhat hindered Eve’s plans where ironing out technical and tactical plans are concerned, but the tactician remains upbeat about the possibility of registering a win against the ‘Spice Isle’ at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“We had some challenges with players playing up to June 2, the day the (FIFA) window actually started, and then travel. But we have dealt with these adversities before, and I think we’re going into the campaign, all things equal, with a good squad of players, with a good mindset and trying to make the country proud again,” Eve declared.

“This is the beginning of something very big for us. In the last couple of World Cup campaigns, we didn’t do as well as we think we should have done. We’re looking to right some of those wrongs and the guys are well motivated to play,” he added.

Along with some of the usual suspects – Levi Garcia, captain Aubrey David, Andre Rampersad, Reon Moore, Malcolm Shaw and Ryan Telfer –Eve’s final squad also includes veteran Morvant Caledonia FC striker Kevon ‘Showtime’ Woodley, Netherlands-based midfielder Dantaye Gilbert and Canadian-based Steffen Yeates.

Woodley, 37, received his first senior team call-up for two recent friendly internationals against Guyana, and scored in both matches which Trinidad and Tobago won 2-1 and 2-0.

Meanwhile, midfielder Gilbert, 19, who plies his trade with Jong PSV, is expected to bring a different but welcome dynamic to the setup, while Yeates, 24, represented Canada at previous youth tournaments but has committed his senior career to the Soca Warriors.

“Age (Woodley) is not a factor. Sometimes we move players and they get upset and say different things. But I’ve always said age is not a factor. Kevon, in the last two seasons, came second behind Nathaniel James in goal-scoring. In this season, he’s the top scorer in the league. He deserved an opportunity, we gave him that chance and he scored two in both matches we had, and was one of the best performers in the two games against a decent Guyana team. It warranted his selection to the group,” Eve shared.

That said, Eve explained the absence of Toronto FC’s Tyrese Spicer, Mount Pleasant Academy’s (Jamaica) Kaile Auvray, and seasoned Belgian-based defender Sheldon Bateau, from the final cast.