Wed, Sep

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 footballers continued their preparations for next week’s Caribbean Football Union leg of the World Youth Cup qualifying campaign with a slim 1-0 loss to Pro League leaders Joe Public at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
The team, coached by Brian Williams and assistant Hutson Charles, were by no means outplayed by the “Eastern Lions” as they held their own in the encounter which was played over three thirty-minute periods on a damp surface. A goal by Guyanese international Carey Harris in the 21st minute was all that separated the teams. Also playing for Joe Public was Silas Spann who had earlier been invited to try out with the national team. He went close to scoring in the first half after being well served from the left by Devon Mitchell but couldn’t get enough on his shot from just inside the penalty box.
The game didn’t provide much goalscoring opportunities for the Under 20s but Williams was able to use the encounter to try out different tactical approaches, switching a few of his players around and realizing too that defensively they proved relatively stable against the Pro League outfit coached by Michael McComie who used a few of his regulars including Lyndon Andrews and Dale Saunders but duo Gary Glasgow and Arnold Dwarika were left on the bench.
Williams who will name his final 20-man squad on Saturday, expressed some concern with finding the right balance in his line up but gave props to skipper Matthew Bartholomew and his teammates for their work ethic.
“It was a good performance this evening. The intensity was good but we are still looking at getting the right mix. We lost from a little scrimmage goal and it means we have to do better with our organizing at the back. We also created a couple scoring chances and generally we are working well towards getting ready for month end,” Williams told TTFF Media. His defense will be strengthened by the addition of UK and US based defenders Radanfah Abu Bakr and Stefan DeLas who have both trained with the team earlier this year.
The Team faces CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh on Saturday morning and Williams will be emphasizing on “getting the proper cohesiveness and maintaining a good fitness level. Our main objective is to get the right mix for the field of the play.”
Having campaigned through the ranks for T&T in the past, Williams says he is stressing the importance of discipline and pride on and off the pitch.
“Besides having that confidence, I am trying to stress on having that personal responsibility both on and off the field. Culturally we have a way of being lackluster at times. I am trying to get us disciplined in marking and playing when we don’t have the ball in the midfield during the game. I am trying to bring the responsibility of the player in representing the country in a meaningful way. That transition is a lot of work which we are working on,” Williams said. “What I like with this team is that the players are willing to work and it’s a plus for us as coaches. Having eight players from the professional league is a plus as well. The qualification of our team and performance at World Cup I felt also brought some sense of purpose to our young players and this is what we expect from qualifying for a World Cup…. the players seeing that they have something to work for and knowing that we can do it again. I want to maintain that momentum.”
Also attached to the United Petrotrin team as coach, Williams said his main priority is country at this time.
“The national team gets first priority at this time,” he ended.
The National Under 20s defeated Barbados 4-0 in a friendly earlier this month and they open their CFU campaign against Dominican Republic next Wednesday followed by clashes against St Kitts/Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines on October 27 and 29.