Tue, Jul


Latapy and JonesA win is a win. It was not pretty. It was not quality. It was not exciting. But in the end it was the result, this country wanted. T&T’s 1-0 defeat of El Salvador can only be described as necessary and timely, given the precarious position of the Soca Warriors before our sixth World Cup Qualifying encounter. While many have expressed dissatisfaction with the performance and the way our players collectively seemed to have fallen “asleep” in the second half, whether through a lack of fitness or a weakness in their mental attitude, in the end we won.

But is that good enough? Would it have been better for us to have lost that encounter in front of a sweltering (but timid) crowd of 19,000 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium? There is a school of thought, that this victory, has only prolonged the agony, and it is only a matter of time for these senior players, who are all nearing the end of their international careers. A loss would have meant investment in youth and a plan for the future.

In my opinion, T&T can still be represented in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but only if we make some strong decisions. It is clear that the following needs to be implemented.

1. Grant Russell Latapy full control of the team, in terms of selection, without any interference from anyone including Zoran Vranes.

2. Ensure that Latapy knows that he is guaranteed to remain coach and there are no underlying or hidden treats. This needs to be made openly and with a proper contract.

3. Dwight Yorke should only be utilise at the start of a match and never as a super substitute. His age and fitness dictate that his role in the team is now limited. To use him any other way is not fair on him or the team. If Yorke continues to find difficulty to play regularly, his appearance should be equally limited.

4. Dennis Lawrence and Marvin Andrews should never be used together in the centre of the defence as both of them are far too pedestrian.

5. Cornell Glen should automatically be first choice. He is a better choice than Kenwyne Jones or Jason Scotland.

6. Jason Scotland should not be used until he learns to play the role he was selected for against El Salvador. He appeared out of sync with the team policy and plan. Kerry Baptiste is a much better option.

7. Trent Noel and Clyde Leon are very similar in play and an option could be given to using Chris Birchall instead of one or the other. The problem with Birchall is that he takes a while to settle into the momentum of the team and therefore if he is not a starter, he should not be used as a substitute.

8. Keon Daniel needs to be sent to a psychologist as we all know he has the talent and the ability to play at this level, he is probably the best passer as we all witnessed on Wednesday albeit too briefly. But he is too lethargic and appears to be in his own world. He needs to toughen up a bit and plays too much like a “softie”.

9. Youngsters Radanfah Abu Bakr and Keston Williams both need to be encouraged. They have demonstrated they have the temperament and fighting spirits to become permanent fixtures.

10. Clayton Ince needs to be encouraged to talk more with the players in front of him he is by far Trinidad and Tobago’s best goalkeeper, and continues to demonstrate great agility and flexibility when called on. Ince has remained a tower of strength all during this campaign, and his leadership is important.

11. Kenwyne Jones looks like a player in need of confidence, let us hope that this season with Sunderland will ensure that he can finally acquire his touch and achieve his full potential. It will be difficult for him at Sunderland now, given the arrival of Darren Bent and Frazier Campbell, added to which new Manager Steve Bruce has a tendency to want to utilize mainly English born players.

12. Carlos Edwards is our most productive player. While there may be some who will prefer to see Carlos in a right back position, his best position remains in mid field as he has the ability to change a match with speed and running off the ball. Let us look for quality defenders instead of trying to make our best midfielder who can score goals into an able defender.

As we look ahead to our next match on September 5, against Honduras, we should not lose hope. We defeated Honduras in their back yard so this task is not impossible. A win would mean the world of difference for our qualification to South Africa. With two home games left against US and Mexico, we must use this success to propel us to greater heights. I know there are a lot of fans particularly those from the Warrior Nation, like Joanne and the Springer family who never lose hope. Let us try to follow that example. Go Warriors Go!