Local coaches are calling on national coach Stephen Hart to introduce a plan ‘B’ in the wake of the team’s disappointing 1-3 loss to Honduras on Tuesday night in the Final Round of the World Cup Qualifiers in San Pedro Sula.
Coaches Angus Eve and Ron La Forest, both pointed to Hart’s achievements in guiding the ‘Soca Warriors’ to the final round, said yesterday that his style of play has become too predictable to opposing teams and he must now introduce another attacking strategy as soon as possible, if T&T is to have any chance of playing in a World Cup for a second time.
Under Hart, the team has lost its opening two matches of the round, going down 2-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium to Costa Rica last Friday, and Tuesday’s humiliating defeat to the Hondurans away from home, which has effectively placed T&T out of the automatic qualifying zone which is for the top three teams. T&T is ahead of United States which lies last on the six-team table without a point.
Yesterday, Eve, who coach Club Sando and two-time Secondary Schools’ champion team Naparima College, in his assessment of the game, explained that Hart’s use of two strikers- Kenwyne Jones and Trevin Caesar, was evident of his desire to attack his opponents, when he should have opted to play a counter-attacking game. “When you’re in a tournament of this magnitude, you have to decide how you want to play at home and away. In my humble view, we should play more attacking football at home, which means using more attacking players because of the advantage, but use a counter-attacking strategy when we are on the road” Eve explained.
In his comment, the former national midfield stand-out who is now being recognized for his achievement as a coach, pointed out that the team’s defeat on Tuesday night was due largely to the lack of marking and tracking by the players.
Hart’s use of the same backline that consisted Sheldon Bateau and Carlyle Mitchell- both occupying the central positions and Daneil Cyrus and Aubrey David on the flanks, did meet Eve’s approval, but he said Cyrus looked particularly unaware of who to pick up when they are in defence mood.
Eve pointed out that while he still believes Hart is the man to take the country to the World Cup, it is imperative that he introduces a plan ‘B’ to effectively get us there. “We have been doing the same thing over and over and teams have worked out now” Eve added. He is calling on the team’s technical committee to sit with Hart and guide him accordingly, saying he hopes his comments are taken as constructive criticism and nothing else.
Meanwhile, La Forrest, a fan of Hart and his football, has also called for him to introduce a plan ‘B’ which will improve the team’s attacking power. He believes the team has been playing too defensive, particularly with the use of captain and striker Kenwyne Jones up front.
The former national standout said: “We need to use the talent that we have available to us that is certain to produce goals — Joevin Jones and Levi Garcia need to be on the field at all times, as well as the proper use of strikers Willis Plaza and Trevin Caesar and midfielders Cordell Cato, Andre Boucaud and Ataulla Guerra.
He noted that while he supports Hart to take the team to the World Cup, the T&T Football Association being headed by David John-Williams, should surround him with a number of knowledgeable coaches that will provide much needed assistance for the rest of the qualifiers and beyond.