Grenadian national player Saydrel Lewis has expressed shock at the treatment meted out to him following an unsuccessful move to Lebanese football club Nejmeh SC.
The 21-year-old player recently recounted an environment of fear and trepidation at the Lebanon club, where he was expected to play for one year. According to Lewis, his journey began when he was noticed by scouts while playing for Morvant Caledonia in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League. It didn’t take long for things to begin going sour for the young footballer.
“I played four games and it was a one-year contract and I scored one goal and I scored three goals in a practice match. I started training with the club, the first four training sessions and the manager sent voice notes to my agent that Saydrel is not good,” Lewis told Grenadian Newspaper The New Today.
“So my manager told me, if I had a weak heart then I would have given up, but that pushed me. I went to training, prepared, good mentality, drinking water before training, I did so before each game. I prepared myself, I played a game versus SAFA, I didn’t start but I came on and scored the lone goal,” he added.
While scoring a goal from the bench has on occasion indicated a change in fortunes for an embattled player, it was never the case for Lewis.
“In the training after the SAFA game, I went there, he said he doesn’t want players running to the crowd on their own because I ran to the crowd and I celebrated. So, after that, he said he doesn’t want players running to the crowd on their own. So, I said, okay, this is the coach, I go by what he says,” he added.
Following the encounter, Lewis found game time hard to come by, but later started a match, which the team lost. According to the player, he shouldered most of the blame for the loss and the president insisted on getting rid of the forward’s contract. Additionally, the player said a set of threatening messages was shown to him by his manager, which came from the President, indicating that the Grenadian would be forced to quit the team. Shortly after, Lewis claims he was called into a meeting.
“I don’t know if you have been in the situation where you’ve been that scared but me seeing those messages, the manager was there and the President was there, the taxi driver and another guy (were) outside and they speaking Arabic and the President spoke English to me only,” Lewis said.
“He told me that only in the next two-three years, I will be good. I was listening to him and he pushed a paper in front of me and pushed a pen and said you have to sign. I was so scared, I don’t know what these people were thinking, and to be honest I signed,” he added.
“Up to now these guys haven’t paid me a cent. They wanted to move me out of Lebanon the next day but God ain’t sleeping. They tried getting a flight, so they were going to move me out without me receiving the cheque. The manager told me, I would change the cheque tomorrow morning before I fly out. I had the phone on speaker recording everything, so I have proof and everything to show that I am not lying,” he remarked.
The Grenada Football Association (GFA) who assisted the player in getting back to his homeland will also help him to retrieve his unpaid wages.