National coach Terry Fenwick is promising to have a lot more top quality players in the T&T team ahead of the crucial St Kitts & Nevis match on June 8 in T&T.
Fenwick's side played to a 1-1 tie with Puerto Rico on Sunday, courtesy of a 55th-minute goal by midfielder Joevin Jones that pushed the Soca Warriors ahead 1-0, before Ricardo Rivera equalised in the 72nd minute for a share of the points. Fenwick in the post-match press conference that followed said they knew it was always going to be a difficult match against the Puerto Ricans who has really done well under their new coach.
"We all knew this was going to be a difficult game against Puerto Rico. Dave Sarachan has done a terrific job with the team, very well organized, very structured. Several top players playing very well together, stretching us on numerous occasions. And I thought it was a game where once get a lead we would have gone from strength to strength, which to be fair to Puerto Rico, they played very well so I think a draw was a fair result."
Fenwick's team will now face the Bahamas on June 5 before taking on the Kittitians, either at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo or back in the Dominican Republic. Despite starting with an all-overseas-based team for the country's matches against Guyana on March 25 and Puerto Rico on Sunday, Fenwick admitted his team will be joined by several top quality from the United Kingdom and the United States for the next FIFA window.
"Recognise we're in a transition in T&T where we came through. We have the oldest squad in world football and we are slowly but surely bringing younger guys in, better quality players, and between now and the next FIFA window, we hope to have several more top quality players joining the squad from the UK and the US. that's how the game is moving at the moment. We have within our region, Jamaica with top quality Premier League players joining their camp," Fenwick explained.
The TTFA has also extended heartfelt gratitude to Trinidad and Tobago Honorary Consul Steve Jaipersad for his support on the ground in Puerto Rico during the team's stay for Sunday's World Cup Qualifier. He provided support to the team up to its departure from San Juan, yesterday for Piarco.
Fenwick eager for more foreign-born players to boost Trinidad and Tobago team
By Joel Bailey (T&T Newsday).
TERRY Fenwick is keen to have more foreign-born players in the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, before their 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone Group F fixture away to the Bahamas on June 5.
Trinidad and Tobago are in second spot in the five-team standings with four points from two games – a 3-0 win against Guyana on Thursday and a 1-1 draw against Puerto Rico on Sunday.
St Kitts/Nevis lead the standings with six points from two games, with Puerto Rico (one point), Guyana and the Bahamas (zero each) completing the group. Only the top team in each of the six groups will progress to the second round.
During the post-game media conference after Sunday’s match against Puerto Rico, Fenwick said, “We recognise we’re in a transition in T&T. We’ve had the oldest squad in world football. We’re slowly but surely bringing younger guys in, better quality players in.
"Between now and the next (FIFA) window, we’re hoping to have several more top-quality players joining us from the UK and the US. That’s how the game is moving at the moment.”
Fenwick mentioned Jamaica, which has been adding some English-born players to its team over the past few months, including Adrian Mariappa and Kasey Palmer (both with Bristol City), Michael Hector (Fulham), Amari’I Bell (Blackburn Rovers), Liam Moore (Reading), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) and Andre Gray (Watford).
Another Watford player, English-born midfielder Daniel Phillips, made his T&T debut against Guyana.
“We look within our region: Jamaica now have multiple Premier League players joining their camp,” said Fenwick.
Reflecting on Sunday’s result, he said, “It’s a point away from home against a very good side. We’ve got our next home game against St Kitts (on June 8.), so that’s what we’re focusing on.”
With regard to the Puerto Rico team, Fenwick pointed out, “(They are) very well-organised, very well-structured (with) several top players playing very well together, stretching us on numerous occasions.”
Joevin Jones put Trinidad and Tobago ahead in the 54th minute but substitute Ricardo Rivera equalised for the hosts in the 72nd, at the Mayaguez Athletics Stadium, Mayaguez.
“I thought it was a game where once we got a lead, we would have grown from strength to strength, but, to be fair to Puerto Rico, I thought they dug in deep, played very well and, in the end, the draw was a fair result.”
Fenwick, a former England defender, mentioned, “Puerto Rico is no pushover any more because they’ve got multiple players who are playing in the USL (United Soccer League), and that is the core of (their) team. They have lots of good players, very young who bring lots of energy, which we expected. Their passing and movement (were) very good.”
On the other side of the coin, Fenwick said, “We always knew it was going to be tough and tight for us, but I thought we also had our chances in the game. I was a bit disappointed in one or two finishes.”