Sidebar

22
Sun, Oct

Typography
#9 Khaleem Hyland being hug by teammates after scoring on Honduras.It is not like a teenager to stop a party. But then Khaleem Hyland is not your average 19-year-old.
To be fair, Hyland's 89th minute strike for Trinidad and Tobago in Saturday's World Cup qualifying fixture against Honduras hardly brought an end to the merriment from the near-capacity crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. But the Honduran horn section did not take it well.

Neither, one expects, would the visiting team who seemed to have just about done enough for the three points at stake before their 31-year-old goalkeeper Noel Valladares, a veteran of two previous World Cup qualifying campaigns, made a mess of Hyland's speculative attempt.

Inexplicably, Valladares allowed the ball to squirm under his body and across the goalline where his hurried dive backwards to stop the sphere fooled no one. There was enough egg on his face to make a dozen omelettes and Honduran star midfielder Wilson Palacios might gladly let his custodian have the breakfast tray and some cutlery too.

But Hyland contributed more than just his fortuitous goal.

Chest out and head up, he barged around the Hasely Crawford field as though the supposedly irreplaceable veteran pair of captain Dwight Yorke-who was suspended on Saturday-and player/assistant coach Russell Latapy had loaned him a key to the premises.

Unlike the majority who have tried to measure up to Yorke and Latapy, Hyland apparently doesn't need permission to do his thing. Cheeky bugger. When Hyland was born, he probably slapped the doctor and checked himself out.

His physical structure and confident strut give the impression of a "man before time" but Hyland still needs managing and perhaps it should not surprise that one of his best performances in recent times came after his introduction to European football.

While Hyland looked focused and driven under the tutoring of CLICO San Juan Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick, he seemed to have lost some of that tactical discipline under national head coach Francisco Maturana last year and was eventually dropped.

As with gifted but temperamental midfielder Aurtis Whitley, Trinidad and Tobago may not be able to afford too much leeway to Hyland on the training ground.

But, in the right frame of mind and physical condition, Hyland could become an awesome player. Fearless, with good distribution, a tidy touch and a mean streak to match his physique, he meant business on Saturday.

His senior teammates should have already done the job by then. Carlos Edwards was unplayable at times but never followed through on his threat to boss the game.

Jason Scotland looked menacing but was short of service while Kenwyne Jones and Stern John huffed and puffed without any hint of an end result.

Hyland did owe much to the 40-year-old Latapy, though, who distracted the Honduran midfield with his clever pivots and cute passes. As the "Little Magician" teased, Hyland snuck into the opposing penalty area and, naturally, Latapy found him with an incisive crossfield ball.

Valladares looked to have Hyland's shot covered but the teenaged tyke willed the ball into the back of the net for a late twist that might have resuscitated Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup aspirations. The Honduran horns hushed. Naturally, Hyland did not give a hoot.