Thu, Jan

Clayton Morris: Former national player and coach

Despite a 1-1 tie with Guatemala in Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup that confirmed the Soca Warriors' exit from the tournament, the performance of the national men's football team said something different.

The tie means the Warriors finished the group stage with two points, which came courtesy of drawn results with Mexico 0-0 in its opening match, and against the Guatemalans in their last match on Sunday at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, USA.

But for those who saw the match with analytical eyes, it was a pleasant sight. Clayton Morris, a former captain and defender for the now-famous "Strike Squad" team which came within a point of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, said the team's performance against Guatemala showed that the players believed in themselves.

Morris, who is also the president of the T&T Super League (TTSL), in a release on Monday said: "T&T 1-1 draw vs Guatemala indicates clearly that this group has belief in themselves and their intention to achieve greatness.

"As mentioned previously, the commitment and willingness of the players individually to combine the three aspects of defence, creativity in midfield and attempts on goal, were executed much more and with purpose. Preparation or lack of preparation (what you put in that's what will come out), the intention to complete each task in each department/position during the game, came in bits and pieces, lacked energy and enthusiasm, and they were very sloppy at times. However, much more is expected at this level in order to get better results."

It was a pleasant show from a mixture of local and overseas players, compared to what was produced when the team was booted out of the World Cup Qualifiers, following wins against Guyana (3-0) and St Kitts and Nevis (2-0) and drawn results against Puerto Rico (1-1) and Bahamas (0-0).

National coach Angus Eve's sought to kill two birds with one stone, by attempting to play his strongest team while enabling all his charges to get playing time for the tournament. In the end, however, it was only a defensive blunder from a corner that deprived his team of maximum points.

Morris said: "To achieve success there is a process that must be followed and demonstrated regularly, which brings confidence. Confidence comes naturally with success but success comes only to those with confidence. The mentality to get the required physical fitness, technical and tactical attributes must be a priority and be consistent going forward.

"The fightback must continue to yet again raise T&T football. Most importantly, to develop a growth mindset in the young and upcoming players (boys and girls) for future Gold Cups and World Cups."

Morris said he is confident that together "we can make it happen".

SOURCE: T&T Guardian