T&T captain and striker Kenwyne Jones appealed to the country to get back in support of football, both on a national and club level.
He made the appeal following the Soca Warriors final match in the first round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifying campaign on Tuesday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Although winning the return leg 2-0 on Tuesday, T&T failed to advance to the next CONCACAF qualifying round after being beaten 2-1 by Guyana on Friday night in Georgetown. Jones, who scored three times in his last four appearances for T&T, found the opening goal in the second half of Tuesday’s match.
He, however, did not seem satisfied, due to T&T elimination from the qualifiers five days prior. “The roles of the fans in Trinidad and Tobago need to change,” said Jones. “We have never-dying talent.
With the amount of talent that we have, we as footballers in the Caribbean and in Trinidad and Tobago especially, I think we as players need to study the game and work a lot harder.
“T&T football can only go up from here. From now until the next qualifying campaign, we need to prepare properly. Maybe, we need to give ourselves more time to prepare,” he continued.
Jones implied that the TTFF requires changes in order for football in T&T to advance. “I think some of the people in the Federation have been in football for 40-50 years, and the same things have been happening but now we have an opportunity to change things and start afresh.” He said that the problems are not only that of the federation, but the country as a whole needs to have a different mindset in its support of sport.
“I always believed that if we had the support of 5,000-10,000 watching Pro League games, the standard would always be high,” Right now, the players don’t have the motivation to come out to play,” Jones said. He said, in terms of support, T&T would be unable to stand up to any other country in the Caribbean, far less for the rest of the world.
Despite the disappointing qualifying exit last Friday, Jones offered support of the younger players on the team.
“The game in Guyana, we were unlucky not to take the chances that we had to win the game. Kevin Molino in particular had a few, (but) at the end of the day, he has probably a good 15 years ahead of him. He’s very talented and if he can work hard and master his skills, then he can do very well,” he said.