The encouraging display by this country’s National Senior Team in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Chile came in for some credit from Harold Mayne Nicholls, President of the Chile Football Federation, so much so that there could be a return leg friendly in Port of Spain following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
This was the indication given by Nicholls in a post-game interview in Iquique prior to the departure of both teams back to Santiago in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“I think it was a very courageous performance by the team of Trinidad and Tobago especially because you could see that you had quite a few young players in the team and I was told that there were maybe eight players who never played at this level before,” Nicholls told TTFF Media.
“This is an encouraging sign for your team for 2014 in Brazil and well for us, the game served its purpose and I would say yes that coach (Marcello) Bielsa would be satisfied with what he got from it.
You never know what the coach is really looking for but we thought the game was very well played.
We wanted to play a team that would have players maybe taller and physically stronger than our players because that is the way we will play in the World Cup.
I think your team has that and even though they conceded very early, you could see that once they settled into the game they were able to make some good plays and when you consider that you are in a rebuilding stage from what I was told, then that is always a bonus for any team,” he added.
Nicolls said he was also anticipating Chile’s opening clash with T&T at the FIFA Under 17 Women’s Football Championship on September 5 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“Tonight we found out from the draw that Chile will play Trinidad and of course I am very anxious about that. And then we can improve the relations between the both countries.
We already have good relationship with Mr Jack Warner so of course we could also look into playing the Senior Team again, and of course if there is a chance to play in Port of Spain, we will be very happy about that.
We will be willing to help in the development of the football in any way possible,” said Nicholls.
Coach Bielsa said in the post game conference that the match allowed him to see a couple more potential players who could get into his final World Cup squad as already there were maybe five from the team on Wednesday night that will make his final cut including Dinamo Zagreb striker Pedro Morales who netted the opener and Gary Medel of Boca Juniors
Meantime, the T&T Senior Team will resume training on Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Over the next week, Latapy will reassess the team’s showing in Chile.
Already there has been credit on the performances on some of the younger players, particularly Under 23 defender Daneil Cyrus who made his senior international debut along with Ma Pau FC’s Devon Jamerson and W Connection duo Matthew Bartholomew and Keron Cummings.
Other first timers on the bench included Shahdon Winchester, Andre Marchand, Joevin Jones and Jesse Stewart.
Lone striker Devon Jorsling also has a couple good tries at goal in the second half and linked up well with Bartholomew when he entered the match.
Skipper Clyde Leon was the workhorse in the middle while Latapy pointed out that his back four of Kern Cupid, Keston Williams, Aklie Edwards and Cyrus stood up well to the vibrant attacking style of the Chile outfit which is currently ranked number 13 on the FIFA World rankings and finished second to Brazil in the qualification.
“There were a lot of aspects of the performance that I was pleased about. I’m proud of all the players and I’m delighted in the effort that they gave for me and the country. It gives me a good idea of exactly where we are and what we need to work now.
We could have been better at keeping the ball because we gave away cheaply a couple of times. But defensively we were solid and compact. We knew Chile would have a lot of possession but it was possession in areas that were not hurting us,” Latapy said.
“We need games like this to make a proper assessment. We had a lot of young players and everyone played their part and did well but there were a particular couple of young players that I gained a lot of respect for.
When you look at the circumstances, three planes to get to the match venue and three hotels in four nights, then of course there is some amount of credit that can go out for the way we handled the situation entirely.
But there are always areas to work on and we can now have a better idea of these areas based on what took place in a match like this one against Chile” Latapy added.