FORMER Strike Squad defender, Brian Williams, believes a good performance from the Soca Warriors in the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals will go a long way in restoring pride and hope in local football.
The sport has been in the doldrums since its pinnacle in 2006 when the national team qualified for the very first time for the FIFA World Cup.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and players have failed to build on that achievement, however, failing to come close to qualifying for a next World Cup while also being embarrassed in the last two editions of the Caribbean Cup.
Williams, still madly passionate about TT football, is confident though that the sport will regain its rightful place if the “Warriors” can do well at the Caribbean Cup which kicks off tomorrow in Antigua.
“Playing well and qualifying for the Gold Cup will bring some hope back. TT football has been struggling but if we do well you will see that national support return,” he declared.
The Presentation College Technical Director noted that the team must not just be satisfied with putting in a good performance at the Caribbean Cup but show continuity and build on that effort.
“We must not rest on achieving that alone, there must be continuity. We’ve been missing (games during the) international windows. We must get as much practice games as we can,” he explained.
Commenting on the composition of the squad, Williams revealed that he likes the balance but feels foreign-based Mekeil Williams should have been added to the team.
“It’s a pretty young squad but they have a little experience too. I’m very optimistic of our chances once we apply ourselves properly. Players must understand the state our football is in. It is a pretty decent squad but I feel Mekheil Williams could have added some value to the team — that is a player that needs to be looked at seriously,” he remarked.
The 51-year-old has also urged the national team to not underestimate Haiti in their opening match tomorrow as they are usually no pushovers.
“Haiti have always been a tough opponent for Trinidad. There is no team, in the position we are in right now, that we should be taking for granted.
Our concentration when we lost the ball must be at its peak and the players must apply themselves for 90 minutes because we in the Caribbean — more so TT — when we are in a comfortable position, we tend to relax and let our guard down. We must put ourselves back on the map because there is only so much a coach can do,” he pointed out.
The ex-national player also weighed on the interesting scenario of Jamaal Shabazz and Hutson Charles sharing the duties of head coach of the national team.
“Having co-coaches at the national level is quite rare because somebody has to take the responsibility. I don’t think it will be difficult to work though. Jamaal brings his wealth of experience and while working with Charles they will move the team in a positive direction.
The knowledge Jamaal has will be valuable to the national team and knowing the individuals, I don’t think it will be problem for them to get along, they are co-coaches but they must have one voice,’ he concluded.