Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) championship captain, Michael Basdeo, of Naparima College, credited the wittiness and experience of team coach, Angus Eve, for their recent success on the local competitive circuit.
Speaking to the young footballer, Basdeo revealed that the former national striker has implemented several new techniques in and around the squad to ensure that his team has a slight advantage on game-day.
“We have a brilliant coach and he taught us that we must go in every game applying different strategies,” Basdeo explained. “We always had scouts observing the other teams while they played so we had an extra edge knowing how some of the teams (would) play and how to adjust to them. We always said that every game must be played like a final and we went out there and played our hearts out.”
Following their team’s 0-1 defeat to the ‘Tigers’ (St Anthony’s) during the middle of the season, Basdeo acknowledged that this was a blow to their highly motivated team. However, upon realising the slight negative impact that this result had on team members, managerial staff stepped in to limit the mental damage suffered.
“We had a meeting after the game (St Anthony’s) followed by a motivational session which was organised by the manager (Percy Samlalsingh). They told us that if we won the League, the team would visit the US, so that was a big motivator ahead of each match after that. We wanted that a lot so we had to play to the best of our abilities,” added Basdeo.
On his outfit’s successful trophy defence, the ‘Naps’ captain stated, “It’s a relief because every game was tough. All the teams wanted to say ‘we beat the champions’ so every game was hard-fought. There were some challenges, sometimes the games did not go as we wanted but we had to keep our heads up.
I also tried to lead the team and keep our confidence high in the tough games.” And with the 2015 Coca Cola Intercol scheduled to kick off from Monday, Naparima are intent on bagging top honours once more and completing a sweep of local titles. Basdeo however, hopes that his team can implement the same winning strategy to the Intercol in their effort to capture all national schools titles.
“We have to go into the Intercol with a similar mentality and intensity in every game because it’s a knockout tournament,” he continued.
“We did miss some players this year, but the ones we brought in did well to replace them so it was not much of a difference - they have been excellent. I think we only conceded six goals this season and our defence did a great job. We are going for everything this year,” he concluded.