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Sat, Oct

Captain Jones: Patience was key.
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TRINIDAD AND Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones gave a thumbs up to all the members of the national men’s team on their opening 2-1 victory over Guatemala in Guatemala City on Friday night.

Jones and Khaleem Hyland were the goal-scorers for the Stephen Hart-coached squad, in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone Fourth Round Qualifier.

The forward said he was satisfied with the way in which the team held itself together and is anticipating better momentum as the campaign continues.

“First of all I have to give the entire team and staff credit. I think we have a task in mind (on Friday).

“Coming away to a place like Guatemala is always difficult for us.

“We know that we had to be patient and soak up a lot of pressure and if we got the first goal we would be able to score more because Guatemala would have to push and we could play them on the counter.

“We executed the perfect away performance,” said Jones.

He continued, “we had a little team meeting before and I expressed to the team that we are a different group.

“Of course there is a history of teams coming to Guatemala and not doing so well, but I do believe in the entire squad.

I believe that the work we’ve been doing for the last three years had all culminated to this point.

We had no reason to fear and not believe in the way we could play and not have confidence in our talent.

It was just about us going out and playing as a unit and making the game about us.” About his goal, Jones said, “the goal came at a great time after Khaleem’s effort went in so sweetly.

Funny enough as we broke, Joevin got the ball and two or three Guatemalan players went to him and I just peeled off the back and he lifted his head and gave me a beautiful ball.” Hyland was also ecstatic with the win but warned that the “Soca Warriors” would not get carried away.

“We want to thank the Lord for this day. I think it was a great fighting effort from the whole team. We knew we had to weather the storm and we did great to come away with the result.

“The coach changed around things a bit. We were losing the battle a bit and we wanted to go a bit more solid in midfield. It was a great pass and I took my opportunity.

I saw the far post so I just placed it. Before the game Sheldon (Bateau) told me don’t go for power, but just place it, “Hyland said.

“The win is very important.

The journey has just started and this just one hurdle we’ve passed and now we have to keep focused and go back home and give the public another good performance and something more to celebrate,” he added.

Goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams noted, “it was was unfortunate that we conceded that late.

“But overall I will take this result.

“We dug deep and I am really pleased to see how the boys pulled it off in extremely difficult conditions which is what we were prepared to face.”

Meanwhile, the final batch of tickets will be available at Sports and Games in San Fernando, Port of Spain and Trincity Mall, Fan Club in Movie Towne (Port of Spain), Ramsingh’s in Couva and Kenny’s Sport Centre.

RELATED NEWS

Hart calls on fans to make presence felt.
By JOEL BAILEY (T&T NEWSDAY).

TRINIDAD AND Tobago football team coach Stephen Hart is calling on the squad’s supporters to make their presence felt at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo tomorrow when the squad, known as the “Soca Warriors”, tackle the United States in a 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Zone Fourth Round qualifier. The game will begin at 7.36 pm.

On Friday, Trinidad and Tobago defeated Guatemala 2-1 at the Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City while the United States hammered St Vincent and the Grenadines 6-1 at Busch Stadium, St Louis.

Asked if he expected the fans, who lauded the team’s victory on Friday online, to turn out in their numbers tomorrow, Hart replied, “yea that’s a good point. Guatemala were only allowed to have (a percentage) of people at (their) Stadium because of a stampede they had. And that crowd was so loud and so supportive of their team.

“Even when they were 2-0 down, they sucked in that goal to make it 2-1. I think they played completely off the energy of the crowd and we will really need that (tomorrow).” Hart was speaking before last evening’s training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

With regards to the spirit in the camp, Hart said, “the mood has been very good. (We’re) a little bit tired because we were travelling since 3.45 am (on Saturday).

“We came out (yesterday) morning and did a little bit of light running. (Last evening was) the first sort of ball session we (were) going to have.”

There were problems with floodlights which affected the start of yesterday evening’s training but Hart stated, “we’re not in control of that so we’ll make do as we go ahead.” About his expectations of the Juergen Klinsmann-coached USA team, the TT coach said, “they came in the exact same time with us, on a private charter flight. They are a big team (physically).

“They scored four out of their goals on set plays so that’s a big part of their game now. We have to be aware of that. We have to match them physically in that department.”

Winger Lester Peltier returned to the team on Friday after recovering from a rib injury in October, and Hart stated, “he’s been good, he’s been fantastic. He’s trained well and he’s falling back in. He’s always a good member of the team. That’s important to me.” But Hart insisted that the team will not be resting on their laurels during their training sessions.

“It’s about being fresh but doing the things that make you a little more efficient, and cut down on the number of errors,” he said.