In all my years of being part of our football development, I have found it very difficult to understand how or which route we took to bring our football to its present disarray.
I would have discarded the details of the past and looked forward to an improved state in the near future, especially as we are now geared with some truly talented players and a coach who seems to be very focused on taking our football to the next level and getting all our players, local and overseas-based, in readiness for the next week's CONCACAF Gold Cup kick-off.
The news which came out of the corridors of the TTFA regarding the decision to bypass the Olympic qualifying tournament, despite near qualification when we just missed entry to the final in England 2012, is disturbing.
This decision means that hundreds of teenage footballers and young men will have lost the opportunity to develop their game at the Olympic level. We must now replace that shortcoming with one of the organised competitions which are held in the USA, Brazil, France and England.
However, the Concacaf tournament which starts next Tuesday for our team against Panama in Minneapolis, USA, may well be a glorious step to bringing some respect for the countries in the region.
After the difficulties which the team faced with visa problems, the team can get still some encouragement after the goalless match against Japan and the 2-0 loss against Canada on Monday.
I have always felt that when playing away against teams with similar standards of play, the host country would be two goals better before the whistle blows, mainly through the atmosphere of huge crowd support, the inconvenience of flying across time zones, varying meal patterns and most of all long travelling, as was experienced en route to Japan last week and then back to North America.
As to the actual Gold Cup opening match, I expect that Panama is definitely within our victory radar. They have not demonstrated the strength of organisational play which could retain a clean sheet. The team has two central defenders who have been losing their competence over the past two years. Their recent friendlies have not said much, especially against Jamaica, whose physical and tactical game had brought some discomfort to Panama's “ageing” defence. I reckon that the speed and clinical accuracy of passing by the Japanese, plus the rigours of Canadian-type play, may have been the ideal preparation lesson for T&T. From what I saw of Canada, they are excellent supporters of ball winning. This means their opponents (T&T in this case) must utilise quick rotations among the midfielders and make use of the penetrative passes to our quick-footed forwards. A victory against Panama is vital because the USA, our next opponent, will probably defeat Guyana by a heavy margin. Readiness for any opponent is a priority for Dennis and his team. To my mind, there is a chance for our national team to step into the next round.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian