On Tuesday, the TTFA announced that Hart will take over as coach, from the interim joint pair of Hutson Charles and Jamaal Shabazz, while Beenhakker, who guided the national team to its historic participation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, has been appointed as the Director of Football.
La Forest, in an interview on Wednesday, stated, “for starters, honestly speaking, I think people like Bertille St Clair and Everald “Gally” Cummings, have a great part to play in our local football here. And I’m going down to my grave saying so.
The former Defence Force ace striker continued, “I worked with Bertille, I worked with Gally. What these foreign coaches going (to) bring here, trust me, Bertille and Everald Cummings will bring that and even more with our local game. They know the culture of our people.
“I’ve seen before St Clair with all the great professionals from England like Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop, Carlos Edwards, Kenwyne Jones, Stern John, I’ve seen with my own two eyes the manner in which they react to St Clair. And I’ll still say Bertille St Clair have a great part to play in our local football.”
As far as his view of Cummings was concerned, “I don’t know why they’re trying to blacklist somebody like Everald Cummings. In the past, they had some falling-out with him (but) that’s below the bridge. But no, you’ll let Everald Cummings die with that knowledge? All that football he gained as a player and as a coach, you’ll let that go down the drain just like that?”
He continued, “that’s unfair to us here. I’m not in agreement with that at all, having Bertille St Clair and ‘Gally’ Cummings here and (the TTFA) are running to bring foreigners here.”
With regards to Beenhakker, La Forest noted, “he was here before but what Beenhakker do for us? Get us to the World Cup and that was it. Beenhakker run out on us after that.”
The owner of the La Forest Soccer Academy continued, “it’s like you’re courting a girlfriend, you start something with me and all of a sudden, you get what you want, you leave and then you come back in the storm and you’re trying to make back. That relationship wouldn’t be good at all. You’ll always remember the sour parts.
“Beenhakker did what he had to do but you want a technical director? The same way you joined Jamaal Shabazz and Hutson Charles, stop disrespecting Bertille St Clair and ‘Gally’ Cummings, total disrespect.”
Commenting on the notion that the TT players may respond better to a foreign-born coach rather than a local-born coach, La Forest was in total disagreement.
“Better than what? I’m not going for that,” La Forest declared. “The gentleman named Mr Hart, he left here and went (to) Canada. Fortunately he got a break. Just because he’s a Trinidadian (living) overseas, you bring him back. If he didn’t leave to go overseas and he was here, he would have got that same break? No way!”
The former San Juan Jabloteh, Joe Public and Ma Pau coach added, “they disrespect local coaches too much. I’ll go down saying this, Bertille St Clair and Gally Cummings, you can join two of (their) heads, get the younger coaches that you have to groom, let them work under (St Clair and Cummings) guidance and we can reach exactly where we want to reach. “You don’t have to bring a set of foreign coaches here to take a whole heap of money and (leave) with it. This is exactly what’s going to happen here again.”
Charles and Shabazz have both complained about the non-payment of salaries and La Forest stated, “I was in that same shoes too you know, with Mr Lincoln Phillips. But they’re always taking you for granted, they always do take local coaches for granted.
“You want to take a bet where Hart and Beenhakker would not be paid?” he asked. “That will never happen to these foreigners. They’ll find money to take care of these foreign people. Not paying Jamaal Shabazz and Hutson Charles is total disrespect.”
Hart will take charge of the national team ahead of next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.
With the change at the helm, La Forest admitted, “it will take a miracle person to get that team so soon, ahead of the Gold Cup.”