TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s senior footballers were back on the pitch at the Hasley Crawford Stadium on Saturday evening, less than twenty four hours after returning home following their 2-1 victory over Panama on Thursday night.
Skipper Kenwyne Jones and his teammates arrived in Port-of- Spain shortly before midnight on Friday prior to checking into the Carlton Savannah Hotel, where they will be based for the duration of the training camp leading into their international friendly with Nicaragua on Tuesday in Port-of-Spain.
English-based defender Gavin Hoyte, who started against Panama, was only called up for that encounter based on an arrangement between the club and Hart no choice but to have the player return to English club Barnet FC on the weekend.
Following the win in Panama City, Jones expressed satisfaction with the team’s showing, saying they had proven to themselves that overcoming opponents such as Panama and other potent CONCACAF rivals away from home is not beyond the team.
“It was a perfect indication of what we are going to face away from home, especially in the Central American countries. We went out and tried a few things to see how it would work in the game, and under the pressure and the environment we did very well,” Jones told TTFA Media.
Commenting on his strike which was his 21st goal for Trinidad and Tobago, Jones added, “Coming to places like this you have to try and strike the first blow, and I saw the opportunity to take the shot early after having a chance before to have a shot. I just went with it. I went with instinct and thankfully it went into the net.” He was particularly pleased about the team showing mettle to grind out a result away from home after Panama began piling on the pressure in the second half.
“That just shows the strength, character and depth in the team.
Even though after making changes, the players that came in did pretty well in soaking up the pressure.
“Of course Panama would have some dominance because they were at home, but for our team I think over these two years we have grown quite a lot and you can see by the way that we play and the togetherness of the group that we have been getting better and stronger. It’s no surprise that we can go to places and hold out on pressure and especially where we are on top it gives us confidence to hold for the result.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s encounter with Nicaragua, the Cardiff City man stated, “For us we are just going to go forward positively. It’s good preparation for us. We are looking forward to playing in front home fans since the Gold Cup. Hopefully the masses will come out and support the team because it’s important that we have this support especially going into the qualifiers that we can feel because home advantage does count,” Jones added.
Defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, who scored the 52nd minute winner with his headed goal, said it was important for T&T to get into the habit of bringing home positive results.
“We are very pleased with the away result. Wins away from CONCACAF are not easy to come by. We know the quality we have from set pieces from Cummings and the other guys. And we have some big guys in our squad. The service was there so it was just to get on the end of it. It was important to go 2-0 up at that stage of the game. Unfortunately we let them back in it, but we did well to hold on for the win,” Abu Bakr said.
“But it’s a testament to the unity in the group and how we stick together on the pitch when things get difficult and we don’t have the ball for long periods and it was good to see we were willing and able to buckle down and defend,” the Denmark-based player added.
The match kicks off at 7pm on Tuesday at the Hasley Crawford Stadium.