31 Jul 2012
- Written by Kern De Freitas (T&T Express)
- Hits: 1299
Trinidad and Tobago may have swept their way through their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-17 World Cup qualifying group at home, but again financial support is the biggest challenge these youngsters face.
After their final match, which T&T won 2-0 over Guyana at a canter, coach Shawn Cooper made a call for Government to step in and assist the team ahead of their 2013 Under-17 CONCACAF championship, which serves as a qualifier for the World Cup.
T&T are set to battle 11 other CONCACAF teams--including Jamaica, Haiti, Costa Rica, USA, Mexico and Canada--for one of four World Cup spots.
"We have to prepare the guys physically, some of them, you saw they lack a bit of strength and speed," Cooper told the Express on Saturday night, "which we need when we go against the powerhouses in CONCACAF, where the Americans and the Costa Ricans are physically bigger and plus their game understanding is right on par with senior players."
Cooper added: "Holistically we have a lot to do, and I hope the Government lends support to the team financially, so we can get a lot more tours and exposure for the guys. This is the only way we'll make it. If we stay in Trinidad and try to prepare, then we'll just be spinning top in mud."
Overall, Cooper was pleased with the team's performances, as they comfortably won their matches which also included a 23-0 victory over British Virgin Islands and a 3-1 whipping of Suriname.
"I asked [the players] for a little more composure, a little more patience in the attacking third. We saw it, but then again we had to finish," Cooper explained.
"This is something we need to work on; we need to be sharper in and around the box. But at the end of the day, what I wanted was total control of the game, keep the opponents running side to side, and I think we achieved that."
Cooper felt his team "grew stronger" with each match, and was happy they were able to execute the tactics as planned. He acknowledged that things will only get tougher when qualifying resumes next April.
"We know we have a hard task in preparing them for the CONCACAF finals when we meet the giants (like USA and Mexico). But at the end of the tunnel we know there is a bright side, and we are looking for that bright side."
The T&T under-17 coach also said he was encouraged by the team performance and believes that if the team get the required support, and are able to tour and get international match experience, they can put up a good showing at the CONCACAF qualifiers in Panama next year.
"Anybody who saw this team when we started will know these boys have achieved a lot," Cooper said.
"We did not think we would have reached at this short space of time. They did so, and now we're looking for them to progress even more in the future."