Trinidad and Tobago Under 20 head coach Derek King expects this country’s under 20 footballers to pick up more momentum as they look ahead to three of what may be their toughest challenges at the CONCACAF Under 20 Championship in Jamaica.
Currently second place on the table behind leaders Panama (six points), level with Guatemala and ahead of United States (1) and Jamaica (1), T&T will face of with Guatemala on Wednesday in a match which the result will be crucial towards both team’s chances of advancing.
T&T took care of business with a 5-1 victory over Aruba on Sunday evening as Panama stopped United States 1-0 and Guatemala also defeated hosts Jamaica 1-0. But King is well aware that his team has three difficult matches remaining in the group phase. (Photo shows T&T celebrating a goal vs Aruba/Concacaf)
“The important thing for us now is to stay focused, be disciplined and more mature in our defending, especially in the late stages of the game,” King told TTFA Media.
“We conceded another late goal on Sunday and it’s something we’ll work on. I was happy with the way the guys conducted themselves especially early in the match when we took our chances,” he added.
“Aikim has been really good for us with two goals in the two games so far. There was a bit of a worry because he came off with a knock but he should be okay. Jabari also came in and did well and Muckette gave another good showing and took his goal very well. I was pleased with the effort overall especially with the boys that came in and did their part.”
“The tournament itself is still very wide opened with the results up to now. We will review our performances so far and address the areas that need to be worked on. And we will also ensure the players are in good health and remain focused for the games to come. Guatemala on Wednesday will not be easy by any means but I think once we put our heads down and we play to our ability and no make too many unforced errors or mistakes then there is every reason to believe we can get the results,” King added.
Mitchell of W Connection and Naparima College, is also banking on his team to push on in this tournament.
“We’re feeling really good at the moment. We’re confident but not complacent. The most important thing is for us to keep concentrating and take one game at a time,” Mitchell told TTFA Media.
“We knew that we had to get into a good rhythm because the opponents are getting harder with each, especially from here. So the game against Aruba was good for us because we took our chances and we now have two games in the competition under our belts.
“We knew we had to score as many goals because it could come down to goal difference. Scoring our chances is vital if we want to progress. I think we have held our own so far but we ‘ll be aiming to polish up and get it even better for the games to come,” Mitchell added.
T&T will face Guatemala from 3pm (4pm TT time) at the National Stadium in Kingston.
The Junior “Soca Warriors” are in Group A along with Jamaica, Aruba, Panama, the United States and Guatemala. Group B includes Haiti, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras and El Salvador, in order of position drawn. The tournament will crown the Confederation champion at this age level, and qualify four teams to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.
The top team from each group after round-robin play advances to the World Cup, and the second and third place nations from each group advance to the final day knockout phase, with the chance to dispute one of a pair of play-in matches which will determine CONCACAF's other two World Cup spots, as stated by CONCACAF.