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Sun, Jun

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FORMER national defender, Brent Sancho, believes the Soca Warriors need to improve significantly to stand any chance of beating Mexico in their Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal match on Saturday.

The Warriors earned a spot in the last eight for the first time since 2000 after finishing the group stage with a win, draw and a loss but facing the Concacaf giants is a different proposition.

“We’ve had some good results in the group stage but we haven’t played particularly well for stretches. In knockout football there’s always an opportunity to get a result but they will need to do better.

We need to be more compact, physical, aggressive and assert ourselves and not allow Mexico to play their game. We must also finish our chances when they present themselves. If we can get everything together and play the perfect game we stand a chance of getting a result,” Sancho declared.

The Central FC managing director, who earned 43 caps for TT and played in the 2006 World Cup, also believes the TT defenders need to be on the same page against Mexico to limit the amount of shots they will have on goal.

“Defensively we need to show cohesion and keep our shape better. Individually, I rate all our defenders highly but collectively we’ve not been great,” he explained.

Sancho also bemoaned the loss of Khaleem Hyland (returning to play for Genk in Belgium) and Kevin Molino (on a one game suspension) but urged the other players to step up in their absence.

“These are massive losses for us. With the addition of Andre Boucaud (in the middle) that freed up Hyland and Molino to be more effective offensively. We have people within the ranks that can come in and give creditable performances though. At this level you need to have depth,” he pointed out.

Sancho also called on the relevant authorities to use this good run in the Gold Cup as a platform to revive the interest in local football.

“It is a positive because for the last 12-13 years we haven’t come out of the group stage at the Gold Cup. What we need now is to ensure that we build on it. In the past we’ve done well at tournament (2006 World Cup) and did not build on it.

“The first thing we need to do is identify the lenght of time (technical director) Leo Beenhakker and (coach) Stephen Hart will be with us for because they will be key,” he added.