Sat, Jul

Brian WilliamsKenwyne Jones is not playing his part; Keon Daniel has to get serious and step up and do his defensive duties; and Trinidad and Tobago have to produce players to take the place of veterans Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy.
Those observations were made yesterday by former national player Brian Williams after watching the USA whip the Soca Warriors 3-0 in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday night.

"Recently I am seeing a different Kenwyne Jones. Kenwyne is looking like a very ordinary player. People are looking up to him to lead the team because of his profile as an international player who we see playing for Sunderland in the English Premier League. But it is just not there.

"There is a saying that class is permanent and form is temporary, so that if you are a class player and are out of form, you should still be able to control the ball properly and protect it."

Williams also touched on the apparent defensive weakness of midfielder Daniel, one of his former players at United Petrotrin.

The Americans exploited Daniel's deficiency, with dummy runs aimed at taking inexperienced T&T left back Aklie Edwards out of the picture and then exploring the space behind him. It was a deliberate plan.

Williams said when he first brought Daniel from Tobago to play for Petrotrin, he had discussions with former national coach Bertille St Clair aimed at strengthening the naturally-gifted midfielder, and also working on his defensive frailities.

He said if Daniel is to be played on the flank then special tactics have to be put in place to accommodate him.

"Keon has a kind of laid-back way about him. But now he is a key figure in the team and he must be more of a presence. Internationally, he has to work harder to improve the defensive aspects of the game. He also now has to work hard for the ball and not just wait for people to give it to him," said Williams.

"I played Keon in the middle of the field with two defensive midfielders behind him. I played him there because although he can do it, he barely wants to go down the field and cross the ball.

"Although he has had some success there with the national team, he would rather be used in the middle because he doesn't naturally want to do all that work. Keon has to be protected by two defensive midfielders, or else a holding midfielder who is a real pitbull to do all that work for him."

Williams also questioned the quality of the wing backs on the national team. He said that while Anthony Wolfe provides some cover, the former North East Stars man is still essentially a striker playing at the back.

Williams felt that Silvio Spann, the Wrexham utility player, still has a role to play in the position, despite an uninspired performance against El Salvador in T&T's first final round qualifier.

And Williams stressed it is imperative that T&T develop their young players.

"I want us to ease the pressure on Dwight (Yorke) and Russell (Latapy). People in Trinidad and Tobago believe that they are the saviours of our football and it is not so. These players have over 20 years of international football and there comes a time when even the best players have to hang up their boots.

"At this stage Russell cannot play 90 minutes...if we get 45 minutes we lucky. And with Dwight we also see him fading in the match."
It's not over yet but Warriors' latest loss raises cause for concern.

With seven matches still to be played, several football aficionados believe that Trinidad and Tobago's 2010 South Africa World Cup qualifying campaign is far from over.

But most think the Soca Warriors face a make-or-break situation in the next couple of qualifying matches.

Trinidad and Tobago will next be in action in June, with two qualifiers which will take them to the halfway stage of the CONCACAF qualifying competition. Bottom of the table with two points after draws against El Salvador (2-2) and Honduras (1-1), the Warriors will host Costa Rica on June 6, before playing away to Mexico on June 10.

However, after Wednesday night's diabolical performance in the 3-0 loss to the United States in Nashville, Tennessee, many believe there are indeed grounds for concern.

"The campaign is far from over," stated former national captain Clayton Morris. "We have seven games to play and 21 points up for grabs if we want them. Individually, our players are experienced, but as a team organisation is a problem."

Morris said he was not surprised at what he saw because basically what you put in is what you get. He added that if Trinidad and Tobago still had to depend so heavily on 40-year-old Russell Latapy and 37 year-old Dwight Yorke at this stage, then it was a sign of the lack of organisation within the team.

"It was glaring last night against the United States and will always show up against an organised team," Morris told the Express.

Stuart Charles-Fevrier, a former T&T national coach, thought the cohesiveness within the team was absent against the United States and that the different parts of the team were too disjointed.

He felt Trinidad and Tobago played too open, especially for an away game, and that the game plan, what ever plan there was, seemed to have disappeared. But, Fevrier does not believe that all is lost.

"With seven matches to play the campaign is not over, but we have to go back to the drawing board. The coaching staff has some work to do and all have to be on the same page. It is up to coach (Francisco) Maturana to be in charge...because the perception is that he is not in control."

Brian Williams, a former national defender and ex-coach of United Petrotrin, was disappointed with Trinidad and Tobago's approach to the USA match.

He felt T&T play better against Central American teams because those opponents take time to build their attack. But a direct team such as the United States often catch the Soca Warriors lazing around and are able to get behind them and score early goals.

Williams said there appears to be very little game plan by the T&T team on the field against the USA, but still thinks that the qualifying campaign can be salvaged.

"I don't know if the instructions of the coach are being carried out with confidence by the players," said Williams.

"It's getting tight now, but I don't think that the campaign is over. As we approach the half way stage we will be able to see one way or the next what our chances of qualifying are."