DEFENDER Sheldon Bateau was Trinidad and Tobago’s most outstanding player and fellow defender Radanfah Abu Bakr excelled according to he technical report on the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup which was held in the United States in July.
T&T topped their group, beating Guatemala (3-1), Cuba (2-0) and holding Mexico to a thrilling 4-4 draw, described as the best game ever in Gold Cup history.
The technical committee, which included Oscar Benitez of El Salvador, Carl Brown (Jamaica), Luis Miguel Hernandez of Honduras, Wilmer Cabrera (USA), Ramon Maradiaga (Honduras), Keith Look Loy (Trinidad and Tobago) and Eduardo Rergis of Mexico, felt that Trinidad and Tobago played very well, even surpassing Mexico, the eventual tournament winners, at the group stage.
T&T footballers won Man-of-the-Match awards in three of four matches played—Joevin Jones against Guatemala, Andre Boucaud against Cuba and Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings against Mexico.
Panama goalie Jaime Pinedo was Match-of-the-Match in their quarter-final when he made saves twice when T&T were in a position to win via a shootout. After a 120 minute 1-1 draw, Panama won the quarter-final 6-5 on spot-kicks.
“It was disappointing having the team (Trinidad and Tobago) leave the tournament losing on penalty kicks against Panama, but the team should be proud of the way it played at the Gold Cup 2015,” the report said. “They displayed solid physical strength, as well as drive and will, becoming the example of courage in the match against the powerful Mexicans (4-4).”
Trinidad and Tobago’s best players were described as defenders Bateau and Abu-Bakr; midfielders Andre Boucard and Kevan George; and striker and captain Kenwyne Jones. Bateau was credited for his aerial strength and Bakr for strong defence.
“The team had good collective and individual play, particularly the #6 Abu-Bakr, who was one of the tournament’s most consistent players, and No.4 Sheldon Bateau. Both players were good at ball interceptions and very good aerial play.”
George, was described as team leader, “a team organiser”, with very good technique and Boucaud as another team leader. Jones was termed a dangerous player with his physical strength and power, but was said to be immobile and apathetic at times. CONCACAF found that all the Caribbean teams had improved significantly and that Trinidad and Tobago was great defensively.
“They kept consistent pressure on opponents, individually and collectively,” the report said.“Mainly big, strong, fast players with good physical fitness in the matches and compact in the defence, but not in the attacking lines.”
With a stingy defence that conceded two goals in three matches; except for the thrilling 4-4 draw with champions Mexico, T&T also finished the tournament as third highest scorers (10 goals), behind Mexico (16) and the USA (12).
But attack was said to be the Soca Warriors’ downfall. They were criticised for not having enough players in attack, and the otherwise solid central midfield not being close enough to supporting the attack. Most goals were said to be scored from individual effort rather than good team play.
“A structure in attack was not evident,” the report stated.”
Wide midfielders Joevin Jones, Cordell Cato and Cummings were described as quick, skilful, and dangerous in the wide positions, but inconsistent, while the wide defenders (Daneil Cyrus and Mekeil Williams) were said to be solid defensively, but not very good going forward.
The report said further improvement will come from Trinidad and Tobago putting more bodies into the attack; attacking as a compact group; and taking more shot at goals from close and mid-range.
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