FORMER T&T defender Brian Williams is calling for greater pride and passion among the national players, following their two 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone Group F qualifiers, against Guyana last Thursday and Puerto Rico on Sunday.
T&T whipped Guyana 3-0 but were held to a 1-1 draw by Puerto Rico.
T&T are second in the five-team group with four points, trailing St Kitts/Nevis who have a maximum of six points.
Rounding off the group are Puerto Rico (one), Guyana and Bahamas (zero apiece). Only the group winners will advance to the Concacaf Zone second round.
“I wasn’t so much impressed with the game (on Sunday) night but, taking into consideration T&T football, I think there is a lot of work to be done still,” Williams said, during an interview on Monday. “I want to see a little more passion (regarding) playing for T&T from some of the guys. When I looked at the team, I want to see more intensity. They play a little too slow.
“I think there are some areas to work on, defensively we look a little too porous, especially balls coming through the spinal column of the defence. I find that was a concern. We need to play a little more collective up front. I think (Ryan) Telfer is sometimes too alone in attack.”
Guyana and Puerto Rico fielded starting line-ups which mainly comprised of players who were not born in the respective countries.
Williams said, “Most of the countries are having players who are playing abroad, who have some sort of family link and can play for the country. We have to now take that into consideration and don’t feel like teams like St Kitts/Nevis and Puerto Rico are weak teams.
“Looking at (Sunday’s) game, our players need to show a little more national pride. I understand the situation generally in T&T football. It’s not for me to say if the boys are not totally motivated but (what) I see lacking is a true patriotism, a drive to play for T&T.”
A bright spot for T&T in their two qualifying matches was the display from Denmark-born goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup.
According to the former Strike Squad right-back, “I was pretty satisfied with the goalkeeper. He’s doing a pretty good job. He’s shown some levels of maturity and professionalism. I think he is one of the players (who) the rest can tap a vibes off of, in terms of the spirit of playing the game.”
However, the former T&T youth team coach was quick to point out, “Regardless of the challenges that we face in our football, I want to see a little more urgency. Our intensity is too low. We have to play a little quicker. We have to show a little more pride in representing our country.
“It needs to be moved by the staff and the administrators, in making these players as comfortable as possible, to want and have the drive to play for T&T. I don’t want to sound knocking (anyone) but we’re looking at what is required to play international football. When we play for our country, we must work hard.”
Coach Terry Fenwick has come under fire from local football pundits and fans after the 7-0 humiliation against the United States on January 31, as well as his heated confrontation against TT Football Association (TTFA) media officer Shaun Fuentes during a training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on March 17.
Williams noted, “There is so much chat around Fenwick but he’s coaching the national team and we have to try to give (him) the best support.
“Like every coach, their responsibility is in motivating and keeping the team alive as best as possible, also seeking players’ welfare and interest. The coach is a reflection of his team. We want to see players playing for their coach, and who have that love and acceptance from the coach. It’s in his early stages. Let us see how it unfolds.”
PULL QUOTE: “ I don’t want to sound knocking (anyone) but we’re looking at what is required to play international football. When we play for our country, we must work hard.” former T&T defender Brian Williams.