Trinidad and Tobago men’s football coach Angus Eve does not believe the ongoing T&T Premier Football League will have a big impact on his team’s performance in the Concacaf Gold Cup campaign.
T&T will compete in the Gold Cup qualifiers, from June 16-20, at DRV PNK Stadium, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, US.
The Soca Warriors face Guadeloupe on June 16 and need a victory to set-up another do-or-die clash vs the winner of the Grenada-Guyana contest on June 20. The winner will advance to Group D of the Gold Cup (June 24-July 16) which includes Canada, Cuba and Guatemala.
In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, after round ten of the inaugural Premier League, Eve said he has been keenly following the action. However, he does not see the league making his life much easier when Gold Cup qualification begins.
He said, “These guys have not been playing competitively for a while, so you can see the rust in a lot of the guys and you can see that the teams that have been training and have players at the national level – they are at the top.
“It’s very difficult for the guys to get up to speed in such a short space of time. I think in the second phase of the league, which supposed to start in September, you’ll see the guys a bit more up to speed.
“The games are playing a little bit slow, not up to the tempo of international football. It’s no fault of the guys, as I said before. In the longer term it would help the national team but to say it would have a massive impact (now), the answer would be no. A little bit down the road, then yes.”
Eve said he is grateful for the additional coverage of the league, with matches being broadcast live on Sportsmax and on the FIFA+ app.
“I’ve been going to the games and watching some on the FIFA app and some on Sportsmax, because sometimes it’s not possible to be at all the games, because some of the games play at the same time. Me and the rest of the staff have been monitoring the players and the way the league has been going.”
However, he said making determinations while relying on video footage solely is not ideal.
“Be careful how you use YouTube, because it had a coach who went on YouTube and pick a squad, and you know how that turned out....It’s different than seeing it in real but it’s good to look at the tapes and see things, but sometimes the camera doesn’t pick up everything that happens on the field. You might expect a player to be in a particular position when the ball is at a particular position, but you may not see all of that. It has its pros and cons.”
Eve singled out La Horquetta Rangers’ Ataulla Guerra and Tyrone Charles, Tiger Tanks Club Sando’s Nathaniel James and Nicholas Dillon and AC Port of Spain’s John-Paul Rochford and Jameel Neptune for their league performances so far.
He said Defence Force forward Lashawn Roberts has done well off the bench but said coaches need to see him in a bigger role to properly assess his full potential.
The former national captain believes the Premier League has brought excitement back to local football with communities getting involved.
“The idea is taking back the game to the community pitches: Arima Velodrome, Mahaica (Complex). I would love to see Club Sando play in Guaracara (Park) because apparently Skinner Park wasn’t meant for football.
“The community fields pulling a lot of crowd. I know the Diego Martin Complex will come on stream once the cricket season is finished with Merry Boys on May 6.
“I’ve been at games and there is a lot of crowd support.”
Eve believes organisers should stick with the community grounds for the Premier League.
“I am one of those traditionalists who remember you had to work to play at the Hasely Crawford stadium – like Wembley (Stadium in England). You would have to make a final to play at the stadium. We need to get back to that, (use the community grounds) unless it’s a final or a national game.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday