Fri, Mar

Trinidad and Tobago players watching the penalty kick shootout against French Guiana at DRV PNK Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Tuesday, July 6th 2021.

DEFENCE FORCE defender Curtis Gonzales believes that a true brotherhood is developing among the Soca Warriors.

Having seen one miss from 15 previous efforts, Gonzales volunteered to face the pressure of taking Trinidad and Tobago’s final spot kick, the one that qualified the team for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

There was never a danger, as Gonzales sent French Guiana’s custodian Simon Lugier the wrong way to give the Soca Warriors a spot in the Gold Cup group stage with a 8-7 penalty kicks victory against very competitive opponents, following a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes. Gonzales, a second half substitute, explained the inspiration that led to him taking the weight of a country on his shoulders for the vital spot kick.

“When I came onto the field, I saw the fight in my brothers’ eyes,” Gonzales said. “I felt it in my heart that I owed this penalty to my country.”

Gonzales, 32, has played for most of his career with Defence Force at right-back, centre-back and occasionally at defensive midfield.

Without cementing a regular place over the years, Gonzales still has 39 national caps, having made his debut in 2012 and has played World Cup qualifiers away to Mexico when Dennis Lawrence used him at defensive midfield and even as a centre back against Costa Rica. Known as “Boyo,” Gonzales believes there is a strong brotherhood growing among the Warriors.

“I must give kudos to the guys for the camaraderie we have right now,” he said. “And I think that brotherhood we have right now going forward can go us great.

“Each and every one of us were on the same (page),” Gonzales said of the fight shown by T&T in the face of adversity caused by key injuries and an increasingly emboldened French Guiana team filed with France-based professionals.

Like Gonzales, Alvin Jones contributed by scoring via the penalty spot and also had a shot which come off the post that led to the opener for Kevin Molino. He too appreciated the resilience of his team-mates.

“I think the guys played their heart out, their heart and soul,” said Jones, who could be seen urging on his teammates during in the game. He said that the Warriors were fatigued in the final 20 minutes having played just four days earlier, with most having played little or no football since March 2020.

“Trinidad football is dying for greatness,” said Jones. “We realised during the game that our legs are gone and we just went in a low block and defended our lives out.” 

SOURCE: T&T Express