Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic Men's team lost 5-3 to St Vincent/Grenadines in their opening 2016 Olympic Qualifier in Puerto Rico.
The result puts the team out of the Olympic qualifying race. T&T will now face Puerto Rico on Monday and will then look ahead to the Pan American Games in Canada next month.
Trinidad and Tobago Under-23: Aaron Enil (GK); Alvin Jones, Josiah Trimmingham, Jesus Perez, Jelani Felix; Aikim Andrews, Neveal Hackshaw, Jomal Williams (Akeem Roach 65th), Kadeem Corbin, Shackiel Henry (Ricardo John 31st), Rundell Winchester.
Unused substitutes: Montell Joseph (GK), Leland Archer, Martieon Watson, Xavier Rajpaul, Jabari Mitchell.
Ineligible: Adrian Welch, Keane McIvor.
Puerto Rico 2 v St Vincent 2
St Vincent 5 (Slater 17, 38, 85, Anderson 19, Miguel 42) v T&T 3 (Winchester 64, Roach 68, 75)
P W D L F A Pts
St Vincent 2 1 1 0 7 5 4
Puerto Rico 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
T&T 1 0 0 1 3 5 0
Suriname 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - Withdrew
U-23 ‘Soca Warriors’ dumped out Olympic qualifiers
T&T Newsday Reports.
TRINIDAD and Tobago Under-23 “Soca Warriors” were eliminated from the 2016 Olympic qualifying race when they suffered a 5-3 defeat to St Vincent/Grenadines in their opening Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Group Phase match at the Juan Ramon Louriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on Saturday night.
The team, coached by Zoran Vranes, went into the encounter needing at least a draw to maintain their chances of advancing to the CFU semi-final round, but suffered early setbacks, trailing 4-0 in the opening half.
US-based forward Rundell Winchester, who is expected to join the senior team for the Concacaf Gold Cup next month, pulled a goal back for TT in the 55th minute before Akeem Roach notched a double in the 68th and 79th minutes. But try as they did, the young warriors could not get the other two goals to draw level.
Coach Vranes was notably disappointed, saying his team was punished for inexcusable mistakes on all of the goals. “We made some huge mistakes and that cost us the match very early on,” said the team coach.
“They didn’t make any counters really, but they scored when we made mistakes. They punished us and I could say it was soft goals but it killed us in the first-half.
“Before they scored their goals we had chances to go ahead and it didn’t work out for us. I think maybe they have five good chances and they scored all five of them. What can you say about that?” he added.
“The ball was at our feet maybe 70 percent, but we could not capitalise. A lot of things did not go smoothly for us and we have one more game left here.
“Even though we had some problems with the team here before the game, I think we have more work ahead. We have to look at the future of our game. We have to come good again,” Vranes said.
TT will face Puerto Rico today with the home side, on one point, needing a convincing win to advance to the next stage ahead of the Vincentians who are now on four points. Only the group winners will advance to the next phase.
Humiliation! T&T U-23s eliminated after just one Olympic qualifying match.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).
The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-23 Team set a new low point for local football last night as the “Soca Warriors” were eliminated from their 2016 Olympic qualifying campaign after just one match.
Technically, it took just 45 minutes to end any realistic hope of success for coach Zoran Vranes and his troops as they trailed St Vincent and the Grenadines 4-0 by the halftime interval in Puerto Rico.
By the final whistle, the Warriors halved the deficit—the final score read: St Vincent and the Grenadines 5, Trinidad and Tobago 3—but it was not nearly enough to avoid a humiliating exit from the Olympic Games at the first competitive rung.
Trinidad and Tobago now face Puerto Rico from 8 pm on Monday with no chance of advancing. The host nation, who drew 2-2 with “Vincey Heat” on Thursday night, will aim to whip the Warriors by a larger margin to snatch the sole qualification berth at stake.
It is a humbling indictment on the state of the local game at present.
The young Warriors would bear the stigma of this defeat. And five squad members—Alvin Jones, Jomal Williams, Xavier Rajpaul, Duane Muckette and Shackiel Henry—were on the National Under-20 Team that was also eliminated in the Caribbean preliminary round, three years ago.
However, Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic qualifying campaign was always a disaster in the making, although probably more spectacularly than most may have envisaged.
On the day Vranes was unveiled as Under-23 coach, on 21 April 2015, he admitted he only learned of the team’s fixtures that very morning and was very unimpressed.
“If I knew (earlier) our qualifiers started in June, I would not have accepted,” Vranes told Wired868. “I had information that it was in August. I have a month to prepare the team but I will not say that we have no chance…
“We made plans for August and tomorrow is the first day of training. But I was told today that (the Olympic qualifiers will start in) June. Now, I have to sit down to make new plans.”
Vranes requested five different practice games against international opposition, including Panama. Every one was turned down for financial reasons.
Two weeks ago, the Warriors did snag a closed doors contest with Nicaragua at the Ato Boldon Stadium, which they lost 1-0. But by then the team was in disarray, as their failure to secure visas for an astonishing 15 members of their 20-man squad forced Vranes to recall players he had already let go.
Trinidad and Tobago only got 12 players to Puerto Rico in time for their first scheduled match against Suriname and just four of that number were in Vranes’ initial squad.
Suriname failed to show and was withdrawn from the competition. And Warriors manager David Muhammad cooed about the depth of his squad and the administrative effort of the support staff.
“The impression given is that the Trinidad and Tobago team was behind everyone else,” said Muhammad, on Wednesday, “but we are the only travelling team that is here and ready to play. So I am really proud of that…
“Now looking at how the other teams have fallen by the wayside thus far, it was a really impressive group effort by all of those persons and the staff out here.”
St Vincent had not arrived in Puerto Rico at the time. But they had little trouble in exposing the flaws in a Trinidad and Tobago team, which included players that Vranes deemed were not up to scratch over three weeks ago.
Within a 25-minute spell yesterday, the Vincentians scored four times in the first half. United States-based strikers Rundell Winchester pulled back one and Defence Force winger Akeem Roach grabbed a double. But it was not enough for the Warriors.
And Trinidad and Tobago was out.
(Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 Team in Puerto Rico)
Goalkeepers: Aaron Enill (San Juan Jabloteh), Montell Joseph (Unattached);
Defenders: Jesus Perez (North East Stars), Josiah Trimmingham (San Juan Jabloteh), Leland Archer (College of Charleston—USA), Alvin Jones, Martieon Watson (both W Connection);
Midfielders: Duane Muckette, Neveal Hackshaw (both North East Stars), Jelani Felix (Defence Force), Xavier Rajpaul (College of Charleston—USA), Jabari Mitchell, Jomal Williams, Aikim Andrews (both W Connection), Kadeem Corbin (St Ann’s Rangers), Akeem Roach (Defence Force);
Forwards: Rundell Winchester (Portland Timbers 2—USA), Ricardo John (Virginia Tech—USA), Adrian Welch (St John’s University—USA), Shackiel Henry (Point Fortin Civic).
Ineligible: Keane McIvor (Lindsey Wilson College—USA).
Staff: Zoran Vranes (coach), David Muhammad (manager), Gilbert Bateau (assistant coach/trainer), Michael Taylor (physio), Esmond O’ Brien (equipment manager), Nigel Neverson (goalkeeper coach).
2016 Olympic qualifying Results
(Thu Jun 25)
Puerto Rico 2, St Vincent and the Grenadines 2
(Sat Jun 27)
St Vincent and the Grenadines 5, Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Akeem Roach 2, Rundell Winchester)
(Mon Jun 29)
Puerto Rico v Trinidad and Tobago, 8 pm.