Sat, Dec

Alvin Jones of Trinidad and Tobago during the Group D 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup fixture between United States of America and Trinidad & Tobago at FirstEnergy Stadium on June 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

VICTORY FOR the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team against Montserrat in their opening Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier on Friday is the first step towards seeking redemption from a disappointing 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying exit.

Returning national defender Alvin Jones believes the men’s team must grind out a positive result to begin the healing process of the team’s failed World Cup qualifying bid.

Jones, who missed the Qatar qualifying campaign because of an injury, returned to the national set-up under recently-appointed coach Angus Eve. A win on Friday, he says, is integral to boost the team’s confidence and reignite the passion and support from concerned fans.

“A win, it’s very important," Jones said. "T&T fans are dying for greatness. We have an opportunity here to change it around. This is one of the biggest tournaments in our region. I think the guys should do their best and hope we can qualify.

“It’s good. It’s a task we have. We didn’t do so well in the World Cup qualifiers and we have a chance now to change it. I hope all the guys are focused and can take their task and do well,” he added from the team's Miami base on Friday.

The squad arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and did a light training session. According to a statement issued by the team’s media officer Shaun Fuentes, the unit trained twice on Friday at the South Regional County Park and Training Fields in Boca Raton. The remaining overseas players will continue to arrive in camp in Boca Raton over the weekend

Friday morning's session was curtailed due to a lightning warning which forced Angus Eve and the team to leave the training field after roughly 20 minutes.

Arriving to join the camp so far is assistant coach Reynold Carrington, Costa Rica-based Aubrey David and US-based Molik Khan.

Eve and his assistant coaches were due to attend Joevin Jones' (Alvin’s brother) Inter Miami FC MLS match with Orlando City on Friday night at the DRV PNK Stadium, the venue for T&T match against Montserrat.

On his return to the squad, Jones said, “It’s always a pleasure for me to represent my country and I’m very glad to be back. I think Joevin will play a big part for us. He’s home and his fans are here. I think he will give it his all.”

He also credited Eve on his appointment and is confident the coach has what it takes to lead the squad back to winning ways.

“I know him personally. Angus is a winner. He knows about winning. I just want him to put that spirit in us and hopefully we can,” he added.

With regards to T&T’s unsettling exit from the World Cup qualifiers, Jones was forced to watch his nation bow out of contention courtesy a shocking 0-0 draw against Bahamas.

“It was very disappointing moment for me just sitting home watching the game. I was injured but I just wanted to be out there to battle with the guys. It took a lot from me,” he said.

Jones used the loss as inspiration to hasten his recovery and return to national duty.

“It (Bahamas result) helped me along with my injury. After that day, I tried training three to four times harder and it helped me to get back faster. Physically I feel 100 per cent good,” he concluded.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday