Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team returned from San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Thursday night minus some of its overseas-based members who returned to their respective destinations following Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying loss in Honduras.
Head Coach Stephen Hart led the local contingent accompanied by head of delegation, TTFA Vice President Ewing Davis and team captain Kenwyne Jones.
Among those returning was goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams who suffered a concussion in the first half of Tuesday’s match and had to be rushed to the Cemena Hospital in San Pedro Sula. He underwent an emergency CT scan of the head and neck which showed no evidence of fracture or brain bleeding.
Williams was evaluated by consultant neurosurgeon Dr Chang who diagnosed a moderate concussion. Williams was reevaluated 24 hours later after the incident and cleared to fly to Port of Spain. He has been advised to avoid all sporting activities for two weeks after being symptom free. This could lead to a total of 3-4 weeks away off before restarting any form of training.
Skipper Jones, fully aware of the level of criticism being aimed at him in recent times, vowed that the T&T team will pull its way of the current slump.
“It is disappointing but I am optimistic as in reference to the 2006 campaign, we are in a similar position to what we were back then before we qualified. Knowing the way the games have gone so far and how the teams are standing, it’s far from over. We have eight games to go and I believe for a lot of the players, getting the experience so far is a good one which will serve them well for the upcoming games. There is still time to fix the situation,” Jones told TTFA Media.
“At the end of the day there is no substitute for experience. This final round of qualifying takes something different. If you look at all the games played in the group I don’t think we have been seeing much football but more about scrapping for victories and points. It’s something we have to get to.
“We have had so many instances where we played football to get out of trouble either winning or coming back to draw. We didn’t have too much games to scrap to save or get a victory. We need to fight to get those points on board. It is something we will have to get to quickly,” added the former Stoke City forward.
During a similar period in 2015, T&T, following their quarter-final finish at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, went onto defeat Panama 2-1 in Panama City, draw 3-3 with Mexico in Salt Lake City and defeat Guatemala 2-1 in the first match of the semi-final round of qualification in Guatemala, also holding the US 0-0 in Port of Spain. Jones spoke about the change in the way the team has handled its assignments over the past few months.
“Maybe a place of complacency for some of us. This is not a one-day thing. It’s been happening for quite a few games now but it serves as a good example for us to look back on to try and see what we need to do to get out of the situation,” Jones said.
“The public is going to have their issues and rightly so but at the same time as a team we need to look within ourselves and try to fix the problem because we are the only ones that are going to fix the problems. We have two home games in March so hopefully we can get to the drawing board and get this done. We need to start mending the wounds that we are carrying.”
Regardless, the Atlanta FC player is backing his troops to rebound.
“I have a hundred percent confidence in the team. I have no doubt the we can do it. The only one that will stop us from doing this is ourselves. We can’t look to blame anyone or say we are not being supported by anyone for the issues going on the field. We have to come together and working to fix our problems and the only way will be doing the nitty gritty and pulling ourselves out of it.”
T&T will face Suriname on January 4th followed by a clash between Haiti and Suriname on January 6th to be played in T&T in the CONCACAF Gold Cup playoffs. T&T will play the final match of the playoffs against Haiti on January 8th. Season Pass holders will have free access to these matches. Get your TTFA/NLCB Season Pass at all First Citizen’s Bank branches today.