Sun, Jun

Trinidad and Tobago U-17 players and technical staff

HEAD coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s national Under-17 team Shawn Cooper said his team will leave Jamaica with their heads high despite losing 2-1 in the second of two friendly internationals against the young Reggae Boyz at the JFF Technical Centre on the UWI Mona campus, yesterday.

Having won the first game 1-0 last week, Cooper said his players had the same approach yesterday, however, the scoreline went in favour of the hosts.

T&T went ahead in the 15th minute through Salim Soanes before Orel Miller brought the scores level in the 38th. Jahmari Nolan hit the winning goal in the 61st for Jamaica. T&T won the first of the two friendly internationals 1-0 on Friday, with former St Benedict’s College flanker Akel Vesprey scoring in the 90th minute.

Both teams are preparing for their 2025 CONCACAF Men’s Under 17 World Cup qualifying matches. After the match, Cooper said: “Coming out here with a 1-1 in the series is very good for us. For this group to get this sort of wasn’t just a 2-1 victory, it was a hard-fought 2-1 result...We think we came out on top here today,” the T&T coach said.

Reflecting on the game, Cooper said two errors at the back cost his side. Cooper explained that they had to make do with a “makeshift” back-line and that “the communication wasn’t there.” “They went through with a run and this is what they were trying to do all game but when we had the first-choice back five, they dealt with it,” he said

“Most of our boys were playing on Astro Turf for the first time and playing at nine o’clock is difficult and telling on your legs and we picked up a couple of injuries but the game was played at a terrific pace, so it would have had a toll on the boys,” Cooper continued.

“They wanted to win to level the series. For me, leaving here one-all in the series, I think I am on top. We took the first rubber. They had to come hard to equalise, so we are leaving Jamaica with our heads held high,” the T&T coach said added.

In terms of the importance of the series, Cooper said: “It is always beneficial in playing Jamaica. “This game was played like a proper international game and not like a training game or a friendly. Some of our guys saw what it takes to play at the international level and it is all well for their development.”

The T&T coach added: “We are hoping to go foreign and see what guys we have that can fill in. We have a number of guys at Inter Miami who played against Olympic Lyon last night, so we have about three of them. We are looking to broaden our horizons so that when we go back to Trinidad, with the exposure these guys have, it will only do well for us in going forward.”

SOURCE: T&T Express