Thu, Oct

English-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop believes that the appointment of David Nakhid as senior team assistant coach has come at a most suitable time and he expects that his involvement will be a critical one in getting the “Soca Warriors” ready for the final round of the 2006 campaign.
Already one of the most experienced and respected players in the squad, Hislop said that having another experienced campaigner in the set up would undoubtedly be a plus to the team.

“David is a person who is well liked and well respected within the team by everyone, not just the players but management and staff members,” Hislop told TTFF Media on Wednesday.

“I think bringing him on as assistant coach is a positive step and one which will reap fine rewards.”

The Portsmouth goalkeeper has played alongside Nakhid, remembering his debut for T&T in a 2-0 win over Jamaica in 1999 when the former Greece-based professional was captain of the team. Almost five years later, Hislop sees Nakhid still being able to help in enhancing the team’s showing even though it will be from off the playing pitch this time around.
“His role is still very critical. He has played at the top level and has also picked up good coaching experience and of course is good leader. The players in the squad right now have played alongside him and think highly of him. This is why I believe he will fit in well within the current setup,” Hislop added.

With a spot in the final round booked, Hislop said while the last performance against St Vincent and the Grenadines was disappointing, it was not one he felt should be dwelled upon.

“It didn’t surprise me that we didn’t play well more so because of the fact that we were up against a team that came to meet us with nothing to really lose and as such were playing under no pressure. While we couldn’t have afforded to take any risks, they were able to explore us a bit more and open their game up. As a result they got on top of us. But we defended well, Clayton Ince had a great game and we came out on top. Getting into the final round was our aim and we did just that. I go back to the time when we went to Honduras in the final round of the 2002 campaign and a win would have pushed them through to the World Cup. We had nothing to gain from it but we instead got the win and threw them out. It could have been a similar turn for us this time but we pulled through.”

He also commented on the recent input of several top local coaches and officials in trying to get the remedy for the team’s success in the final round.

“I’ve always felt that for too long we had too many people pulling in different directions. There were those with their own agendas and ideas and the mood was mostly a negative one. But now we have a situation where everyone concerned seems to be pulling in the same direction and this is definitely a positive step which can only auger well for what’s to occur with this team and others in the future. We expected all along that the final six teams would make up a tough group but we will be positive and in good spirit because while we are aiming for at least a spot among the top four, we also feel at the same time that getting in the top three is not beyond us,” Hislop ended.