It took a couple days but Joevin Jones’ side of the story has finally come out on being sent home from T&T’s camp by manager Tom Saintfiet. After initially being left out of friendlies for rest, Jones was due to report on New Year’s Day. According to Saintfiet Jones did not show on time and was told to not report to camp after all.
According to Joevin, this isn’t exactly how it happened. In a letter to the editor published on Wired868 (where the initial Saintfiet article was published), Jones explained his version of the events leading up to his dismissal.
Leading up to training, Jones did request time off after a grueling MLS cup campaign which he played with a broken bone in his foot. In a meeting with Saintfiet, they agreed he could skip training and the friendlies in Nicaragua and report on the 1st. Leading up to the 1st, Jones was not released by the Sounders for National Team duty. Jones’ brother, Alvin, brought a message to him from T&T saying he needed to report at noon on New Year’s Day.
It was not until Sunday morning, the 1st, that Jones was cleared by the Sounders to play for his national side and upon approval sent a message through Alvin to the team that he would arrive that afternoon/evening for training. While on his way, Jones was told via his brother, that he was no longer wanted by the team for training and to not report.
Joevin also explained that he played a friendly with W-Connection to stay fit and that W-Connection worked with Saintfiet to see if he could play while the national side was in Nicaragua. Jones claims he risked his contract with Seattle by doing so and likely would’ve had problems had he been injured.
Saintfiet and Jones’ stories line up pretty well and it clarifies why Jones missed reporting but doesn’t explain why the manager stirred such controversy saying “I think he has no interest to help his country to qualify.” With all the problems involved in this set of call-ups, from other MLS players rejecting the call or being dismissed before arriving to players reportedly showing up drunk, this is just one of many story lines causing headaches for Trinidad & Tobago.