Youth team standout Anthony Sherwood wants this country’s current Under 20 footballers in Egypt to embrace every moment that they experience at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup and move forward with it as they set out on a journey to propel the country’s football.
Sherwood was reflecting on his moments wearing the national shirt at the 1991 FIFA Youth World Cup in Portugal with which he was one of the standouts in the qualifying phase alongside Dwight Yorke, Angus Eve, Clayton Ince, Dean Pacheco, Shawn Boney, Michael McComie, Richard Theodore, Gavin Moze, Kirk Trotman, Jerren Nixon, Dale Boucher and others. Sherwood played all of T&T’s first game 2-0 loss to Australia, second game to Egypt and 57 minutes of their final encounter with the Soviet Union.
“Playing in the U20 World Cup back then was a truly surreal experience. I remember the moment like it was yesterday quite honestly,” Sherwood told TTFF Media on the eve of T&T’s next assignment with Italy in Cairo.
He gave an idea of what the T&T players would have gone through before they took the field in Alexandria against the Egyptians, recounting his own experience in Portugal.
“There are so many emotions that you are experiencing- nervous tension, excitement, anticipation and pressure. But then I recall vividly the tremendous joy and pride I felt as I listened to the Trinidad and Tobago anthem playing before our first game against Australia. It was the biggest occasion for me and my teammates at that young age. “
And his advice to Leston Paul and company was to seize every moment in Egypt.
“The advice that I would offer to Leston Paul and his troops is that they need to seize the moment! Understand that every opportunity that they have worked for is now before them for the taking. They need to understand that they may never have another opportunity like this again to play on the world's stage - I can certainly attest to that! I think that the players have got to understand that this is the most defining moment of their lives, and in this short space of time, if they play to the best of their ability and beyond - they can go down in history as being a truly great Trinidad and Tobago football team, never to be forgotten! Added to that, every scout from the biggest teams in the world is present at this tournament, so there is so much to play for,” Sherwood added.
He confessed that he did not capitalize on the opportunities at stake in Portugal and wants the current crop of players to believe in themselves even after a bad result or less than impressive performance.
“It's not something that is easily forgotten! When I think about our World Cup in Portugal though, I feel a sense of regret. My agent at the time was constantly talking to me about the teams that were looking at my performances, hoping that with a great display - I would be signing and embarking on a career as a professional in Europe. Of course my performances were not at the levels I had hoped to achieve in that tournament. In fact, I just did not perform to expectation. Although I did not think that played badly - I simply was not able to be the catalyst that I was expected to be for my team in that World Cup.”
“More than anything else, I think the players need to talk about the importance of every man pulling their weight, giving their very best, because at the end of the day - at this level - everyone on this team has to do their part if they are to get a win in the next game. Additionally I would say this to the players - do not leave Egypt with any regrets!
Do not leave that football pitch knowing that there was something more that you could have given, because I assure them, that as a team - they will regret it for the rest of their lives! They need 100 percent focus from this point on! Most importantly, enjoy the experience, with the understanding that a footballer's joy comes from knowing he has done his job on the field of play,” added the ex-Presentation College San Fernando player.