Wed, Jun

Trinidad and Tobago's starting XI against Jamaica in an International Friendly at Catherine Hall Sports Complex, Montego Bay, Jamaica on Saturday, March 11th 2023.

TRINIDAD and Tobago men's senior football coach Angus Eve was impressed with the performance of his inexperienced team in a two-match series against Jamaica and said it may now be a difficult task to choose his best squad for future matches.

T&T won the first match 1-0 at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay on Saturday and the second contest ended in a 0-0 draw at the National Stadium in Kingston.

T&T fielded mostly local-based players with many of them making their debut over the two matches.

A number of experienced players were not in the squad for the Jamaica matches including Aubrey David, Sheldon Bateau, Duane Muckette, Neveal Hackshaw and Levi Garcia.

T&T used the matches as preparation for upcoming Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup qualifiers versus Bahamas in Nassau on March 24 and against Nicaragua on March 27 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.

“These guys made my job a little more difficult by the way they played over the two matches against a very competent strong international coach behind them,” Eve said in a media conference following Tuesday’s match,

“It augurs well for T&T football where the kind of expertise we played against tonight knowing that we could stand up to that and hold our own from a tactical standpoint and also from a match playing standpoint.”

Eve praised the T&T defenders and goalkeepers for not conceding any goals during the series, saying, “I thought we put down a good professional performance from a defensive standpoint.”

T&T made multiple changes in the second half on Tuesday with Joevin Jones, Michel Poon-Angeron, Kaile Auvray and Justin Sadoo among those being introduced. The attacking players who started the match showed their quality, especially Reon Moore, Jomal Williams and Matthew Woo Ling.

However, the fresh legs in the second half certainly helped as T&T looked more dangerous in the attacking third.

Eve said, “Until we made the changes in the midfield…who played the first game we really saw composure come into the team. We started to pass the ball and we started to create some chances and cause the Jamaican team some problems.”

The T&T coach felt his players coped with the Jamaican style of play which he described as a European style with long balls and playing the ball on the flanks.

Asked what was the most important takeaway from the two-match series, Eve said, “

“Jamaica league is going on (and) they had about seven or eight foreign-based players who in season…and we stood up to them in two matches. It showed that the staff did a fantastic job of preparing these players without any real match practice back home.”

Limited football has been played at the club level in T&T over the past three years because of the covid19 pandemic. Club football only resumed on Friday.

Eve did not want to pinpoint any player on his team, saying he was happy with the entire 24-man squad.

Auvray, 18, made his debut for T&T on Saturday and came off the bench in the second half of the second match.

Auvray played for St Martin against T&T earlier this year but has chosen to represent the Soca Warriors. He was born to a Trinidadian mother and a father from Guadeloupe.

The midfielder showed his quality during the matches. Auvray said, “I felt that it was a very good experience for the team and to be able to play against a strong Jamaican team twice and to show that we have the resilience to be able to get a win (was great). In the second game even though we suffered a little bit more we were still able to show that we are a strong side also and to come out on top over the two games.”

Despite being a teenager still, Auvray has also played football in France and in the US.

Comparing the styles of football, he said in the Caribbean it is physical and high intensity.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday