Some Sports Stories That Didn’t Make Newspapers

Telfer to Nea Samalis, Hamilton Highlights, Basketball in Spain and Texas, and Goals in Jerusalem. These are some sports stories that I wrote up about Trinidad and Tobago athletes around the world that weren’t put in print for the month of January:

Ryan Telfer Moving To Cyprus

Trinidad and Tobago winger Ryan Telfer is going across the pond to play football in Europe.

The 25 year old footballer will be applying his skills at Nea Salamis Famagusta FC, a First Division club in Cyprus.

He makes the move after spending two seasons in Canada: one with Toronto FC II and one on loan with Canadian Premier League club, York9 FC where he became the league’s first goal scorer. Toronto FC declined to pick up his option for the 2020 season.

“Fully excited to make this move to Nea Salamis. It’s always be on the books to make move across to Europe, to be able to play for a First Division club and experience European football. It just so happened that the opportunity has come at the right time after having a pretty good season with York 9 on loan from Toronto FC,” said Telfer while speaking to TTFA media on Wednesday.

Ryan Telfer had a lot of firsts in 2019, especially in the inaugural season of the Canadian Premier League with York9. Apart from scoring the league’s first ever goal, he was the first CPL footballer to score against a Major League Soccer side which came in a Canadian Championship Qualifying round against the Montreal Impact, and the first player to score a home goal for York9. He’d finish his loan spell  with 8 goals in 26 appearances for York9.

Telfer also told TTFA media that he had some suitors with clubs in Europe and is looking forward to see how he stacks up against European competition:

“Upon Toronto FC fully releasing me, it opened a bunch of options. It then became apparent that European clubs were interested. I’m really excited to see how well I can fare against top opposition in Europe. I’m very eager to play with this team.”

He also became the first CPL footballer to score an international goal when he scored against Martinique in a 2-2 draw in CONCACAF Nations League play. He scored 3 goals in 6 appearances for the National team.

Telfer also shared with TTFA media that he also hopes that the experience he hopes to gain with his new club would help him also while playing for the National team:

“Having this experience out here can possibly prepare me for bigger things with the national team. Seeing that we have a Gold Cup to qualify for and there is still some World Cup hopes, it’s a lot to look forward to this year and I’m definitely eager to come back and play for the national team.”

Nea Salamis is currently sixth of 12 clubs in the Cypriot First Division after 17 matches. Two spots above them are Champions League regulars APOEL. The club qualified for top division football with a sixth place finish and a 9-4-9 record.

Darussafaka Double-Double for Hamilton, No Win for Darussafaka

Johnny Hamilton followed up his double-double performance over the weekend with another strong outing in EuroCup play but the rest of the team didn’t show up as KK Partizan get revenge against Darussafaka at home, 69-57.

Hamilton was one of only two players that managed to score double digit points against Partizan. He had 17 points on 7 of 10 from the floor and 3 points coming from the free throw line. He had the team’s first 6 points to start the game. He was one rebound short of his fifth European double-double, 5 of them being offensive rebounds. He also tallied a steal and a block. The next highest Darussafaka scorer was forward Bonzie Colson II with 10 points, scoring two 3 pointers off 8 shots from the field.

T&T Big Men With Wins Abroad

Darussafaka center Johnny Hamilton sets his season high in rebounding as he was one of the top performers in a 87-79 victory over Frutti Extra Bursaspor in Basketball Super League play on Saturday morning.

Along with his 14 rebounds, 8 of which were on the offensive glass, he matched it with 14 points on 5 of 11 shooting, as well as two assists and two blocks to cap off his performance. 

His 14 rebounds are the highest since getting 13 boards against Joventut Badalona in November and his 14 points are his highest point total for him since moving to Europe since his 21 point outing against Gaziantep last October in domestic league play. It’s only his 2nd double-double in the BSL, his 4th since making the move to Europe. His 8 offensive rebounds are his highest total across the two competitions since grabbing 9 offensive rebounds in the same game against Joventut Badalona.

Before this game, Johnny Hamilton has been up and down in terms of his performances on the court in his first season playing in Europe. In a post game interview, Darussafaka head coach Selçuk Ernak has this to say about Hamilton’s performances:

“There are points we get very frustrated because we have expectations from Johnny and we think he can improve. The things we get frustrated at are usually the things we work on thousands of times. He’s an inexperienced player. He is playing for the first time in Europe. Therefore, there are a lot of inexperience mistakes, ups and downs in the match, and many places that are severed from the game. However, if he exceeds these, there is a chance to become a great basketball player. I hope we can help him in this way.”

Selçut Ernak, Darussafaka Tekfen head coach

Hamilton was also interviewed after the game and had this to say:

“The team trusted me. They created plays for me. They passed to me. I also scored some points. I don’t think coach is frustrated with me, he just believes in me and wants me to perform well. I want him to do that too. He does it not because he is frustrated, but because he cares.”

Johnathan Hamilton, Darussafaka Center

In Spain, CB Almansa Center Kyle Rowley up a double double of his own, putting up 16 points and 20 rebounds to go along with 4 assists to help his team in a 91-81 victory over Força Lleida on Sunday. He’s currently averaging 5.4 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game this season in Liga LEB Oro.

Over in Texas, University of Texas-Arlington senior Jabari Narcis had 9 points on 3 of 5 shooting (3 of 4 from the 3 point line), 5 rebounds and an assist to help his team over Texas State in a 64-62 win. The 6’9” 240 lb forward was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago and went to Chaguanas North Secondary School. He played at Jacksonville (Texas) College in his freshman and sophomore year before transferring to the University of Texas-Arlington as a junior in 2018. For the season he’s averaging 7 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 1.2 blocks per game.

Levi Garcia Brace The Difference in Israeli League Matchup

Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia scored brace for his club Beitar Jerusalem FC in a 3-1 win versus Maccabi Netaya in the Israeli Premier League on Monday.

His first goal came in the 40th minute. After receiving a pass from teammate Gaëtan Varenne, Garcia takes the ball to a few yards outside of the penalty area. When he realised the amount of real estate the Maccabi Netaya defenders were giving him ,he took his chance with a strike from about 25 yards out and put the ball in the bottom left hand corner. It would give Beiter Jerusalem the lead at that point. It was 1-1 at the half.

In the 2nd half, it would be Garcia again to break the deadlock in the 68th minute. Midfielder Ali Mohamed dribbles it to the edge of the penalty area before playing the ball to defender Maxim Grechkin on the overlapping run. Grechkin delivered a ground cross right to Garcia in strides he made his way into the box and puts it away with a left-footed strike that had the goalkeeper rooted to the goal-line. 

Garcia has scored 3 goals in his last two games, the third one coming in a 3-1 win over Maccabi Bnei Reina in the Israel State Cup Round of 16.