Belgium-based Midfielder Khaleem Hyland is anticipating his return to the National Men’s Senior team under the new period of guidance of head coach Tom Saintfiet.
The two men have football whereabouts in common as Hyland currently plays for KVC Westerlo, the same club that Saintfiet represented as a player between 1990-1992. Saintfitet also underwent his UEFA Pro Licence at the club of which he lives less than 15 minutes away from.
Speaking on Saturday, Hyland, age 27, said it was important that he and the rest of the selected players adapt quickly to Saintfiet as the man in charge of the team ahead of the upcoming matches. He also mentioned that Westerlo Technical Director Wim Van Hove had already spoken to him about Saintfiet as the two are well acquainted.
“The manager Wim said to me a couple days ago that he knows coach Saintfiet well and that he was here at Westerlo and they are good friends. I had a conversation with coach Saintfiet today and he spoke well of Wim whom he said was one of the first persons that sent him a note of congratulations when he got the job,” Hyland told TTFA Media.
“We have our task ahead with our new coach. We have a job to do which is the same job we had from the start of the campaign which is to go to the World Cup and we as players really want to go to a World Cup. We as players have the job to do. The coach is only there to guide the players. We have to perform on the field and it doesn’t matter what the situation is, the coach cannot come out on the field and he can only guide us from the sidelines.
“The player has to make the final decision when he is on the field and give his one hundred. I as a player always give my full hundred and will continue to do so once I have on the Red,White and Black.
“It has always been my dream to represent my country and I will always give my best because I am not playing for myself only but also the entire country. We want to put back Trinidad and Tobago football on the map and by trying to do so we have to qualify for the World Cup and this means we have to play and give the support to whoever the coach is and right now Tom is the man in that position,” added the former Jabloteh player.
“I know a lot of people expressed their disappointment with the situation over the last few days but that is part of life. We wish coach Hart the best of luck. I personally sent him a message. We know what he wanted to achieve and what he gave for T&T football and the mindset he instilled in us. I know he wants the best for us which means we have to overlook all the negatives right now and focus on the bigger picture which is the success of the national team and our football in general,” Hyland said.
Hyland suffered a hamstring injury in the Honduras game and felt a slight tinge after 40 minutes in his return game for Westerlo last month. He has since undergone further rehab and is back in the Westerlo squad for Sunday’s encounter with Standard Liege in which he will be hoping to make his full return to play.
T&T faces Nicaragua in two international friendlies in Nicaragua on December 27th and 30th before returning home to square off with Suriname on January 4th and Haiti on January 8th in CFU Gold Cup playoff matches at the Ato Boldon Stadium. The next two CONCACAF Final Round qualifiers are against Panama and Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on March 24th and 28th.