Fri, May

Eve, Williams: Local players should feel hard done.

FORMER T&T midfielder Angus Eve and former Strike Squad defender Brian Williams said the foreign-based T&T footballers were not given a fair opportunity to showcase their potential as they came together just days before their international friendly against the US. Eve added that the local-based players may feel hard done by the decision to play the foreign-based players after training alongside coach Terry Fenwick for months.

T&T fell to a 7-0 defeat at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. T&T used the match as preparation for the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, which kick off on March 25.

Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola all scored two goals apiece to lead the way for the US. Trailing 7-0 T&T had an opportunity to score from the penalty spot, but Alvin Jones failed to convert in the 66th minute. It was the first time T&T played a competitive match in over a year since Fenwick took over in January 2020. The covid19 pandemic and the feud between the TT Football Association and FIFA led to no football for T&T in 2020.

T&T fielded mostly foreign-based players in the first half who were playing more consistently than the local-based players. T&T made six substitutions during the match as Noah Powder, Justin Garcia, Michel Poon-Angeron, Duane Muckette, Matthew Woo Ling and Neveal Hackshaw all made appearances. Some of those players were training locally alongside Fenwick leading up to the US match.

T&T had better exchanges in the second half as USA scored its final goal in the 62nd minute.

Eve said hoping for a favourable result would have been asking a lot.

“It was not a good performance. Unfortunately for the guys, they were just thrown together in two days, so those foreign-based guys who would have probably dreamt about playing for T&T for a while...I don’t think that they were given a fair opportunity to play in an environment like that. Also, the local guys who would have been training for more than four months not taken to play the game that they work so hard towards was also a travesty for them.”

Eve, a T&T youth coach, discussing Fenwick’s debut as coach, said.

“We as coaches live and die by our decisions. I am not in the job, but the coach would have selected the guys, he would have looked at the guys and he believed that this was the best group of guys to go and play the game so he has to live and die with his decisions.”

Eve said the local-based players may feel demotivated that they won’t given the nod over the foreign-based players. “If I was a player who was training for months when I look at the game I would feel hard done by (it) because the American team also had a locally-based team with a lot of debutants.”

Eve commended T&T goalkeeper Adrian Foncette for his effort as he made a few impressive saves. Eve also said the substitutes showed potential when they were introduced.Williams, who was disappointed following the performance, was also not too critical as the team did not train much as a squad.

“In all fairness to the players a team that just came together it was difficult for them to put up any type of meaningful performance,” Williams said.

Speaking more about the T&T squad, Williams said, “That performance last night (Sunday) gave you a reflection of the present situation of football in T&T at this point in time. A team that was in training, but most of the players not in competition (and) new to the coach...definitely it was difficult for that T&T team presently to give any type of resistance or put up a meaningful fight against United States because of our situation presently.”

Williams believes T&T need to start looking towards the 2026 World Cup as the 2022 World Cup is less than two years away.

Williams, a former T&T Under-20 coach, said when the second half changes were made T&T settled down and were more competitive.

“The first half was four-nil and by the 62nd minute we were seven-nil. When he introduced the players more or less that he was working with locally from 62 minutes to 90 minutes they did not score another goal.”

Williams added T&T had a “better gameplay” following the second-half substitutions.


Fenwick to cherry-pick players after USA drubbing.
By Walter Alibey (T&T Guardian).

National coach Terry Fenwick is set to begin selecting the players, who he believes will be of value to the construction of his team in the coming days and weeks.

His team will face Guyana in an opening World Cup qualifier on March 25 in T&T, but now he will relish the opportunity to make more informed decisions regarding team selection, following Sunday's 7-0 demolition by the United States at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, USA.

For the most part, Fenwick's side lacked structure and organisation in defence and attack, a combination that was coupled with inexperience, nervousness and the recognition of the USA unmatched power on the night.

Fenwick, a former coach of local pro clubs San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC in his post-match interview on Sunday night told the media his players did not show the attitude needed: "We knew this was going to be a very tough game. They've got a terrific side across the board. Their development plan for the past five to seven years is producing top-class players. Having said that, I am really disappointed by the result, the scoreline. We went into the game with a game plan, and I can only think that some of the senior players, it was too much for them, the occasion, the USA which is a big team."

He noted further: "We did not have the big attitude, the big strength, the big ask and we were very poor in the opening stages, and it set the tone for the game."

The English-born coach has, for the past few months, made his concerns of a non-functional football league, and the difficulty to scout new overseas players, known to the national community, both of which, were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several months leading up to the USA versus T&T international friendly match, Fenwick had a squad of players training of which he reduced to a 23-man squad two weeks before the contest. Last Wednesday he announced a squad that comprised just seven local players and 17 foreign-base players to face the USA.

Fenwick, a former England World Cup player, said he took a gamble by using the overseas players from the MLS/USL, thus getting to see them for the first time against the USA. He felt they would have been more prepared for such a match. However, he said he will have to cherry-pick his players before he moves on.

"If there was an up-side, it was in the second half. I think Neveal Hackshaw came on and made a big difference. A good defender who played it well from the back, and the local guys in the middle of the park, well, they started playing a little bit of football. They pressed forward, got the penalty which was squandered. I saw that as a positive. It's up to me now to cherry-pick the ones that are going to be of value and move on to the next stage."

Fenwick let down by overseas players in 7-0 loss.
T&T Express Reports.

Gamble fails

Terry Fenwick handed seven players their international debuts against the United States in Orlando on Sunday evening, but the Trinidad and Tobago coach has admitted that the plan backfired. T&T were outclassed 7-0 by an under-strength USA team in their first warm-up match ahead of a March 25 opening World Cup qualifier against Guyana, and Fenwick was let down by some of the overseas-based players he called up for his first official match since taking over from Dennis Lawrence over a year ago.

“I took the gamble because they play in the USA — MLS and USL players.” Fenwick said in an interview with TTFA Media, but added, “I didn’t see that experience coming through.”

The former England defender noted: “We crumbled very early. We had a gameplan how we were starting the game, first 15 minutes and senior players within the team mechanism switched off, and we gave the ball away cheaply in areas we discussed we wouldn’t do so and that started us off all wrong and I thought that, throughout the first half was very poor. Our performance was terrible in the first half.”

T&T went into the interval down 4-0, having conceded goals to Jonathan Lewis and Jesus Ferreira inside the first ten minutes. Both men went on to get doubles, as did Paul Arriola. Miles Robinson got the other goal for the home side. The “Soca Warriors” also had a chance to get on the scoresheet but Alvin Jones missed a 65th minute penalty.

“I thought second half when the younger players came on, the younger guys that have been training for a while...they actually stuck to it (team game plan) and we started to play a bit of football, we made one or two little chances, got the penalty and I got to take a bit of positive out of that.

“I liked some of what I saw, but obviously there is a great deal of work to be done,” Fenwick said. The coach made direct mention of defender Neveal Hackshaw who was a second half substitute for Ajani Fortune. “I thought Hackshaw came on and made a difference, good defender, played it well from the back,” Fenwick said.

But of the debutants, Fenwick said specifically: “They are playing in decent leagues. I expected more, I expected better and we just didn’t perform.”

Fortune, Federico Pena, Sean Bonval, Jabari Mitchell and Leland Archer got their first caps in the starting lineup, while Noah Powder and Michel Poon Angeron made their first appearances in the second half.

The coach added of his side: “I can only think that some of the senior players, it was too much, the occasion, USA, big team, we didn’t have the big attitude, the big strong hearts and we were very poor in the opening stages and it set the tone for the game.”

Yesterday, Fenwick conducted a post mortem with his players where some frank talking was to take place.

“There’s going to be a lot of disappointment tomorrow morning (Monday),” Fenwick said. “We’ll have a chat, we we’ll get some points of view with the players, how they felt and then what I saw in the game....But we’ve got to be better than that. We had a game plan that we didn’t speak to, we didn’t start with, and that is nothing more than mentality, tough mentality.”