Wed, Jun


The score is 1-2, it’s your service Tom.

I wonder if the pain of defeat was a lesson to the new coach Tom Saintfiet.

Did he measure the importance of accepting the job when he had so little knowledge of players with whom he had to work with?

With one foot out of the Gold Cup, the high profile Belgian is now faced with having to swallow his words about players being “drunk” and “not interested” in representing their country.

Surely, these incidents which preceded our Suriname encounter, must have done something to the mindset of the players. The psychological mental patterns which reflect the mood of athletes when all is not well, are not easily recognised by just watching them prepare prior to the start of the event.

With approximately ten to 15 minutes into the match between the Soca Warriors and Suriname, the picture of lethargy and number of inaccurate passing sent the wrong message to the fans.

Despite the fact that there was sufficient quality in a number of our players, the absence of collective thinking was obvious almost at every turn of the encounter.

Suriname’s approach to the game was based upon the disciplined commitment to the instructions which were provided by their coaching staff. Their players do not have the ability of the majority of the Warriors.

The difference is that the Dutch were diligent in their planned passing game, and patience was their greatest virtue. They kept shape in their defensive ploy and offered little opportunity for penetrative passing lanes.

The Warriors helped their opponents by unforced errors through some inaccurate passing at a ratio of three in every seven. The effectiveness of attacking from the flanks came through the guile and speed of Tyrone Charles and Nathan Lewis. The exquisite passes which they created, failed to finish the sharp crosses, giving Suriname little trouble to avert danger.

Our midfield did not show up in attack, especially Kevan George and Hughton Hector, who left the job of turning the crossed balls into goals to Caesar and Arcia into the penalty area, which could have changed the game.

Attitudinally, the pace of the game was abysmally slow by both teams, not comparable to teams in this category of international football.

Suriname saw the need to shoot more frequently at goal and could have scored three times. However, their opening goal demonstrated that Guno Kwasi found space into a good shooting distance, before Carlyle Mitchell made a late tackle and deflected the shot past keeper Adrian Foncette.

The T&T wake up call saw a Suriname defender committing a foul on substitute Winchester. Tyrone Charles utilised clinical accuracy with a dipping swerver which landed in the right upper 90, giving the goalkeeper Claidel Kohinor no chance.

A drawn result at full time saw the teams going for glory in extra time, maybe with a bit more effort than the regular time. However, Ivanildo Rozenblad (substitute) surprised the Warriors midfield, rushed through the open space and rifled a powerful shot past the hapless keeper Foncette for the goal which subsequently was the winning goal.

It was difficult to understand any organised form of play, as players were operating instinctively and without good reason most times. Even the coach will agree that his charges were helter skelter in a game which all the players had previously claimed to understand the instructions of the new coach and the system of play which he requested. My! My!

The next game is clearly one which is victory for Warriors or exit the Gold Cup.

The first thought for coach Saintfiet is whether or not he will recall the players who have not been included for one reason or another.

Was the displayed sense of discipline practiced by the Belgian a short term decision? If so, then the recall of Joevin Jones, Kevin Molino, Daneil Cyrus, Jomal Williams, Jan-Michael Williams, and maybe the holiday maker Sheldon Bateau, could make a difference against Haiti.

My answer lies in the attitude of the players, the experience which many of them could portray in this crucial game and of course, a true picture of the talents of Jones and Molino returning to the team with the national flag in mind.

Oh what a painful situation to the fans, many of whom have given up the ghost by walking out of the stands earlier than they should.

There needs to be a complete turnaround in temperament and intensity in the Warriors, plus that collective process which good teams display when in search of a great result.