FA appoints former defender Lawrence as new head coach

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jan 21, CMC – Former national defender, Dennis Lawrence, has been appointed the new Trinidad and Tobago men’s senior coach, a day after media reports here said he had snubbed the offer.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association confirmed the move on Saturday and said the 42-year-old would arrive here next week to begin his new role with the embattled national side.
Lawrence replaces Belgian Tom Saintfiet who resigned after five weeks in the post, and takes over a struggling T&T side who are one from bottom of the CONCACAF final round of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
“I feel very honoured and humbled by this opportunity and the confidence placed in me by the Association,” Lawrence said in a release.
“I have given my all for Trinidad and Tobago as a player and now relish this moment to contribute as head coach of the national team.”
He continued: “Of course I am coming into a difficult situation and we have to take each game seriously and out our best foot forward. The experience I gained working under different coaches during my 89 international caps for T&T and my exposure in coaching has all helped to shape me.
“I intend to give my very best towards this national effort.”
The news comes after it emerged Friday that Lawrence backed out of a verbal agreement to fill the post, after untenable changes were made to his contract at the last moment.
His agent, Mike Berry, said basic terms had been agreed at mid-week but subsequent changes to the contract made Lawrence walk away from the offer.
Among the changes were two clauses that stated that Lawrence could be sacked if he did not have a 40 per cent success rate on an annual basis or if T&T suffered a six-point drop in the FIFA rankings.
“Those clauses were unacceptable,” Berry was quoted as saying.
But the local FA, who had earlier indicated that they would name the new head coach Monday, said Saturday’s announcement was an attempt to “quell further speculation and keep stakeholders informed.”
Lawrence was a member of the historic T&T side that qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and is best remembered for scoring the goal in the 1-0 victory over Bahrain in the qualifier for that showpiece.
He spent his professional playing career in the United Kingdom, making 198 appearances for Wrexham, another 84 for Swansea City before also turning out for Crewe Alexandra.
Lawrence, who holds a UEFA Pro License coaching badge, served as a member of Roberto Martinez’s coaching staff at Wigan Athletic and Everton. He took up a position as a scout with the Belgium national side after Martinez took over there last year.
According to the FA, Lawrence will meet with members of the local football fraternity and “determine the rest of his support staff” when he arrives next week.

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