Fri, May

LENDING SUPPORT: Left to right, former players Leroy Spann, Glen Benjamin and Nicholas Benjamin in Dallas, Texas, USA, after visiting the Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s football team camp at the CONCACAF Gold Cup

HAS Angus Eve done enough to be installed permanently as Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men national football team coach?

Former national coach Jamaal Shabazz and former captain Densill Theobald both agreed that he has. They also similarly believed Eve should be given a two-year extension to his contract. Likewise, Eve has gotten endorsement abroad from 1991 World Cup winger Glen Benjamin and Leroy Spann, the former national captain and coach.

Shabazz, who has coached national teams in T&T, Guyana and St Lucia, believes that 49-year-old Club Sando coach Eve has done wonders in under a month after being installed interim national coach. Last month, Eve replaced former England defender Terry Fenwick, who was fired after unconvincing performances against Puerto Rico and Bahamas, when the Soca Warriors failed to progress past the opening round of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

The short stint has seen Eve and his assistants—former footballers Hutson Charles and Reynold Carrington—score victories over Montserrat and French Guyana to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. T&T also drew with champions Mexico and Guatemala at the actual competition and were defeated by El Salvador.

“I would give him (Eve) the job for the next two years,” stated Shabazz. ”I think Angus has shown the ability to motivate players at the national level. I think he has shown that he can think outside of the box strategically, and with some mentoring from experienced people here, I think we have a coach we can build with.”

Shabazz believed the work Eve had done in such short time was superior to his predecessor Fenwick. “It is incomparable, the work under almost two years under Fenwick, and the work with under one month under Angus,” added Shabazz. “You just have to see the body language and the effort of the players, and I would not even go into the shenanigans surrounding Mr Fenwick’s appointment and tenure.”

Likewise, Theobald felt Eve had brought about vast improvement in the national team. “I think he (Eve) is deserving of an extension to his interim post. I think the boys performed well, even though we didn’t get the results we desired,” Theobald stated.

“But you saw much difference in Angus’ team, as compared to that of the previous team in the World Cup qualifiers,” adding, “I think because of that, he is deserving of an extension for a year or two. That’s just my opinion.”

Eve has also gotten support from aboard. Former T&T national youth World Cup player Glen Benjamin and Leroy Spann have both also endorsed the work of Eve and his assistant coaches Hutson Charles and Reynold Carrington.

US-based, former Under-20 World Cup winger Benjamin is backing his former teammate to continue the progression with T&T’s senior men. Benjamin formed an attacking tandem which featured him at left wing, Eve on the right wing, and former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke at centre forward in Portugal at the 1991 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Benjamin also featured when T&T defeated Brazil 3-2 in a pre-Under-20 World Cup warm-up in Port of Spain. After going abroad on scholarship, Benjamin migrated to the US.

Prior to T&T playing to a 1-1 draw with Guatemala on Sunday at the Gold Cup, Benjamin, his brother Nicholas, a former St Benedict’s footballer, and former T&T captain Leroy Spann visited the national team in Dallas, Texas. The former players all liked the recent improvement they saw in the team under Eve.

“I like a lot what I’m seeing,” Benjamin said, “I think Angus is bringing (back) locker room camaraderie, that confidence. Especially going from the Mexico game to the second half of the El Salvador game; what I liked is the confidence of the players I saw in the El Salvador game. I think we have the ability to go at a team and go at players and build that momentum.”

After a draw against No.11-ranked Mexico, Spann is backing Eve to get results which will propel No.103-ranked T&T back up the world rankings.

“Looking at Trinidad play against Mexico, I think I see something positive,” Spann said. “At this stage in time what is important is the result. Regardless of how good or bad they play, what is most important is to get results so that our world ranking (can) go back up.”

SOURCE: T&T Express