Soca Warriors coach Wim Rijsbergen and TTFF Special Advisor
Jack Warner in happier times.
The story may have appeared to be one which Wim Rijsbergen
wanted to leave an awful picture of our Footballers and
by extension, the people of this country.
Having read the article which was published in the local
Newspaper, after it was given to the Dutch leading newspaper,
I was only half surprised.
Here was a man who was invited to reside in this country
as an assistant to one of his countrymen Leo Beenhaker.
It was not a decision which the local Federation had to
make, because they gave Don Leo the right to bring along
his own coaching staff.
Those who followed the proceedings of WC Germany 2006 team
preparation would have known that Beenhaker did not really
want any assistants, other than to make take minor roles
in viewing local players and maybe doing some scouting.
Wim would be the first to comment that he hardly ever agreed
with his boss, but had to refrain from too much crosstalk
against Leos philosophy.
In the middle of all this preparation, there were times
when Wim may have rubbed some people in the wrong direction,
with a special head on clash with David Nakhid who was also
part of the coaching staff before he was fired.
We all knew the history of our trek to Germany and satisfactory
performances by the team. We also are aware of Don Leos
decision to move on and leave his friend and countryman
with the job.
Whether or not Wim canvassed for the job, it will never
be known, but if one was following the reports from him
on the newspapers and TV, he seemed never satisfied with
what was transpiring.
He groused consistently about the absence of the blacklisted
players, to a point where one could have gotten the impression
that there was a special list of names of the players which
he agreed to coach at the national level.
He immediately claimed that the local players were not of
the standard he wanted and the existing dilemma was not
allowing him to do his work.
Certainly, that would have been an extraordinary arrangement.
My impression is that a national coach is employed to prepare
a national team with the players available in the country
and wherever else our qualified citizens lived or worked.
He reluctantly worked with the local players in the Digicel
tournament and gained good results, much to his surprise.
He qualified for the Gold Cup in June of 2007 and failed
only by a one goal difference to enter the quarter final
stage, all WITHOUT the foreign based players.
Then the much needed mediation took place and happily, the
players became available for the national team.
But just when we were waiting to see the former World Cup
playing Dutchman marshall his forces towards South Africa
2010, he decided to enter some form of confrontation with
the countrys Technical director, where his aggravating
behavior provoked an unwarranted level of behavior.
The TTFF dealt with the matter in the way that they should
and Wims acceptance of the suspension left us all
with the belief that he knew he had done the wrong thing
and would stay out his term.
At that point, it would seem to me that the federation should
have had a look at his contract to determine whether or
not he had contravened any clause in his contract.
This may have left them with a legitimate option to end
his contract and get on with the job.
Clearly, the TTFF was unable to wait through the period
and decided to look elsewhere for his replacement.
But instead of filing the lawsuit which he had claimed he
would, he decided to explain to his colleagues in Holland
and other parts of the world that he was working with a
society where everyone tended to thrive on liming, drinking,
eating themselves to obesity and sit under coconut trees.
My attention was drawn to this, not because I am unaware
that these issues actually exist in many of our players,
but I wanted to know how long ago, did the Dutchman have
that impression of our people. Two and a half years is quite
a long time, and I believe that it takes only about two
holiday weekends to understand the mentality of our people.
If he did not like the lifestyle, why then did he accept
the job? if he had a problem with Jack Warner making all
decisions regarding his job, why did he accept it?
Wim was a very disgruntled man and never actually said good
things about our Football and the local players.
Maybe the break in relationship between Wim and the TTFF
was timely in favor of both parties.
In the middle of this confusion, do not ignore the comments
made by Wim about the attitude of our players. We all have
stories which will endorse this type of behavior by some
of the players, so maybe this is an area which we must follow
the message and not the messenger.
I hope that there were many lessons which are there to be
learnt from the association with Wim. I have always been
of the belief that many of the professional coaches who
accept employment in lesser developed countries, must make
careful assessment before jumping at the big payday.
Francisco Maturana is the most qualified coach which we
have ever employed and his personality and lifestyle would
probably be closer to our own. His English is not great,
but he has been doing well to cope with it.
I wish Wim Rijsbergen well and hope that his coaching position
in Holland will bring him to work with all quality players.
That was his wish here.