Sat, Sep


After a tumultuous 2011 for Trinidad and Tobago football, interim senior national coaches Hutson Charles and Angus Eve are hoping to bring back the old time days.

T&T are looking to get the national football programme re-started after a two-month lay-off—having crashed out of 2014 World Cup qualifying in the first round—with new coaches, technical staff and a different squad.

With his first outing as coach against Finland on Sunday coming fast and furious, little more than a week since he was confirmed to the position at a T&T Football Federation (TTFF) executive meeting, Charles insists he and Eve will be taking things slowly, trying to build a competitive team.

"(We're just) taking it one step at a time," Hutson told the media at yesterday morning's training session at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

"Some of the bigger (international) teams (don't) want to play against us. But whoever we get, that's who we've got to work (with). The most important thing is trying to mould this young bunch into a unit that can go out there and express themselves the way we used to in the years gone by."

Charles's philosophy will be to focus on "discipline" and a different brand of football, something the public "can identify with".

Said Charles: "We have some young, exciting players and we want to showcase their talent against the Finland team. What we try to do is install a lot of discipline in our football and hopefully we can put on a big show, but we still have a ways to go."

The former national midfielder is excited with the potential of his squad. Many of them are young players earning a call-up after notable performances in the Digicel Pro League, such as San Juan Jabloteh striker Willis Plaza and Defence Force forward Richard Roy.

Others, like midfielders Shane De Silva and Kevin Molino and left-back Akeem Adams, are members of the Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 team, but Molino and Adams have senior team experience as well.

The elder statesmen include Caledonia AIA striker Devon Jorsling, T&TEC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and W Connection midfielder Clyde Leon, a likely candidate for captain.

"So far the combination that we have, I'm quite satisfied with it," said Charles.

"(They're) a young bunch, but (with) a lot of experience," he added. "The younger players, they've been part of two World Cups, they have a lot of international caps under their belts. With that, together with the seasoned players, I think we have a nice group, a nice combination there."

Charles considers it an "honour" to assist the team in their rebuilding period and hopes the players will give a good showing. They were encouraging  in an intense training session yesterday in the blazing Couva sun, with both Charles and Eve guiding the players from the middle.

The players were  high-energy and enthusiastic in the session, a fact that was not lost on Charles.

"They are here now and they are hungry and I think they will do good, because the desire and hunger is there. They will do well," he assured.

The Finland match is just the start of T&T's preparation for the Caribbean Football Union Digicel Cup later this year, after twice successively failing to reach the latter stages of the tournament and qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

And Charles is pleading to the Trinidad and Tobago public for "patience" as they try to rebuild.

"This is a new group, a young group that we're trying to mould to something," he reasoned. "It won't be just this will take some time to come.

"What we're asking the fans to be is a little patient as we try to mould this team to take us into the future."