Seattle's Joevin Jones has 'no interest to help his country' - T&T manager
Seattle Sounders left-back Joevin Jones has been dropped from the Trinidad and Tobago squad after new coach Tom Saintfiet accused him of having "no interest" in helping the national team.
The Belgian coach, hired in December after Stephen Hart was sacked, also criticized the commitment of other T&T players and accused at least one of showing up to training smelling of alcohol.
Saintfiet had originally named Jones to the squad that will face Suriname and Haiti this week in crucial playoff matches to qualify for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, but he said on Sunday that Jones did not appear at training as expected this weekend.
"I spoke with him individually and he did not show up at all for the camp," Saintfiet said, according to Wired 868. "So I think he has no interest to help his country to qualify."
Saintfiet said he had allowed Jones to skip the previous week's friendlies against Nicaragua after the 25-year-old had an extended Sounders season that ended with a win on penalties in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 10.
But the coach said he was then disappointed to learn that Jones had played in a friendly with his former club W Connection against the Haiti national team on Friday.
"Joevin is here on holiday and Joevin played, two days ago, a friendly with W Connection against Haiti," Saintfiet said. "So if his club had no problem with him playing a friendly match with a club where he is not registered, I see no problem why he cannot play for his national team...
"I had face-to-face communication with him. I said take a few days off and see you on Jan. 1. I told him where and when and which time [to enter] camp and he never called or informed us in any way that he would not show up."
Saintfiet said he also dropped Daneil Cyrus and Jomal Williams from the team after they arrived to camp late.
"Two of the players came one and a half hours too late in camp and had still decent smell of alcohol around," he said. "That was Daneil Cyrus and Jomal Williams. Both were immediately sent home back to party."
Cyrus denied smelling of alcohol and said the coach was referring only to Williams, Wired 868 reported.
Saintfiet also had harsh words for Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino, who he said asked not to be named to the team for this month's qualifiers.
"[Molino] said he was not available [to play] for his country at that point in time," Saintfiet said. "He told me he didn't feel motivated or ready for that. And later, I [heard] he played games at lower league or social level."
Trinidad and Tobago was required to play in the Gold Cup playoffs after a surprise loss to Martinique in October. It must top the three-team group this week to advance to a final playoff against a Central American team.
After Trinidad and Tobago lost its first two games in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, federation president David John Williams said that Saintfiet's appointment could be short-term if he does not earn results in March's games against Panama and Mexico.