Thu, Jul

Lawrence very disappointed.

Dis­ap­point­ed is how na­tion­al foot­ball coach Den­nis Lawrence feels af­ter his team was beat­en 2-0 by Hon­duras in the CON­CA­CAF Na­tions League at the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um in Mu­cu­rapo on Thurs­day night.

Speak­ing dur­ing a post-match press con­fer­ence at the VIP Lounge of the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Lawrence said he felt that way not on­ly be­cause of the re­sult but be­cause he didn’t see a game that had any­thing in it to war­rant sev­en book­ings, in­clud­ing two red cards and a hurt­ful loss for his team.

He al­so de­fend­ed Levi Gar­cia, who was red-card­ed in the match for his sec­ond book­able of­fence, say­ing he didn’t think his chal­lenge on a play­er was de­serv­ing of a card. T&T’s Mekeil Williams, who came on as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute, was al­so shown a straight red card for a tack­le on a Hon­duran strik­er.

The re­sult now makes T&T’s chances of pro­gress­ing out of the group and qual­i­fy­ing for the Qatar World Cup in 2022 very slim, if not im­pos­si­ble.

The So­ca War­riors will next face the Hon­durans on No­vem­ber 17 in a re­turn match, but Lawrence could po­ten­tial­ly have to de­fend him­self and his team again, as he again lament­ed the chal­lenges he faces in pro­duc­ing a com­pet­i­tive team with­out a func­tion­ing T&T Pro­fes­sion­al Foot­ball League.

His trou­bles ap­pear to have been ex­ac­er­bat­ed by play­ers re­peat­ing mis­takes of the past. Lawrence said this means that play­ers are not learn­ing and called on them to start tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for their per­for­mances.

“When I look back at the game tonight, I thought we did very well. We com­pet­ed well, we man­aged the ball well," Lawrence said.

"And then the sec­ond half start­ed and there was noth­ing in the game and then one in­ci­dent where we gave away a very soft goal, from my opin­ion, a very poor de­fen­sive, in­di­vid­ual de­ci­sion and then we’re there, chas­ing the game.”

He added, “Then we get a red card and then an­oth­er red card as we were chas­ing the game. The sec­ond goal was ir­rel­e­vant be­cause we were try­ing to get back in­to the game.”

Lawrence, who has now gone some 13 match­es with­out a vic­to­ry as the coach, be­lieves the on­ly way to fix the prob­lems the team is plagued with is to work hard­er and bring in new and younger play­ers while the team shifts its fo­cus on the long term, with an en­counter with Venezuela on the ta­ble.

He said the tech­ni­cal staff will now have to take the risk of us­ing young play­ers in key match­es and this would have se­vere con­se­quences on the coun­try’s FI­FA/CON­CA­CAF rank­ings and World Cup qual­i­fy­ing chances.

“You’ve got short-term, medi­um-term and you’ve got long term goals, and the way I think we ought to look at now is long term," he said.

"Once the Na­tions League struc­ture came in­to play we were al­ways go­ing to face this chal­lenge be­cause every game now counts for some­thing. So the fact that there is no more in­ter­na­tion­al friend­ly match per se means giv­ing a young play­er an op­por­tu­ni­ty be­comes more dif­fi­cult.

“This is be­cause you need to put them in a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. Now you look at it and ask your­self is he ready or is he not?... So the on­ly way you’re go­ing to find out is by putting him in the sit­u­a­tion. So we have Venezuela now and the on­ly way you will know if some­body like Ke­ston Julien or An­dre For­tune is ready is by putting them in the sit­u­a­tion.”

Dennis Lawrence's Post-Match Comments after 2-0 loss to Honduras in #CNL