T&T Soca Warriors coach Angus Eve was very pleased with his team’s 1-0 win over host Jamaica in the first of two friendly internationals in Jamaica at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay on Saturday night.
T&T, Defence Force’s Reon Moore, 26, came off the bench to replace Jomoul Francois in the 63rd minute, and four minutes later he fired home the match-winner past goalkeeper Kemar Foster on his near post from just in the left side of the ‘Reggae Boyz’ 18-yard box for his fifth goal in 17 appearances for the national team since making his debut in 2018.
For T&T, French-born midfielder Kaile Auvray, 18, made his T&T debut wearing the red, white, and black along with Andre Raymond while El Salvador-based midfielder Jomal Williams was the other overseas-based player in the Soca Warriors starting line compared to Jamaican coach Heimir Hallgrimsson squad which featured United Kingdom-based Chelsea’s Omari Hutchinson, Wolves’ Dexter Lembikisa, as well as Tottenham Hotspur’s Dante Harvey along with veterans Adrian Mariappa and the embattled Ravel Morrison.
Speaking after the win, his team second on the trot after beating Saint Martin 2-0 at home in January Eve said he was delighted with his players for grinding out a brilliant result.
He said, “For us to come here and grind out a victory is tremendous. T&T football has been in the doldrums, and Jamaica is like 50 spots ahead of us. To get this victory against a good outfit with some experienced players, some in Europe and a world-class coach we are really happy to be able to compete with these types of guys.”
The T&T coach also took a swipe at some of the Jamaica media for underestimating his team before the match.
The 50-year-old Eve, the most capped T&T player ever with 117 appearances said, “Coming into the match we were not that worried about the playing surface, but we were more focus on some of the reporters in Jamaica who had my team talk for me and winded up my squad by saying we were coming here to get licks.”
“So, we were very happy for that type of motivation from the reporters because we know what we have in T&T, as we constantly develop players because we are not fortunate to have a number of players come from the big leagues abroad. So, we train the guys that we have at home, and you saw the evidence of it tonight (Saturday). In bits and pieces, it was really good, we were defensively strong, and we got the victory.”
Reflecting more on the match, Eve said, “We shut down Jamaica well, we did our research, and we could have only watched the two games that they played recently against Argentina and Cameroon. We saw what they were doing there, and we did videos and did our numbers, and we worked on that for the guys to take into the game.”
Eve noted that his team was also fully aware of speedy Kingston College Jamaica striker Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards, 17, who recently signed a pre-contract with top English Premier League club Chelsea.
The T&T coach boasted, “We have our own ‘Whisper’ up front as well and we know that we have some good pace in our team going forward and we also know how to nullify players as you saw tonight.”
“We have a number of weapons in our team, we started with a very young team, and I thought to a man, everybody who played and who went on showed that they can play at this level against what was a very good Jamaica team at their home.”
“Overall, I thought we were very sharp, and we moved the ball well and created more chances than them, but unfortunately we didn’t take them through a little bit of inexperience.
With regards to the clean sheet, the second in succession, Eve said, “One of the things we wanted to do is make the team defensively very strong because we know we have talented players going forward and once we give them the opportunity they will score as Reon Moore came on and did tonight.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s match Eve said he is going to play the entire squad as some of his players suffered injuries.
“A couple of the guys picked up injuries tonight (Saturday) hence the reason we had to send on some of the guys today, but the guys who came on today are the guys who are going to play the next game.”
The T&T coach said he also expects a response from the Jamaica team when they do battle at Independence Park (National Stadium) in Kingston on Tuesday night.
“We know they are going to come with a little bit more intensity because they are hurt after this loss, and now that they are going to play at the “Office” as their National Stadium is called, we know we will have to stand up and be counted, but these are the kind of challenges we want as the kind of matches we want to be playing in,” ended Eve.
Iceland-born Heimir Hallgrimsson, Jamaica’s coach believed his team played well for the most part but lack penetration.
“We didn’t deserve to lose it (first home game) if you look at the chances. We have to improve a lot of things,” said Hallgrimsson.
“There are positives to take from the game. We created a lot of chances. We also got into positions but overplayed instead of delivering it in the box or shoot. It was the first international match for a lot of them, so it’s a good experience for them,” he added.
Hallgrimsson believes that, unlike their opponents, they did not capitalise on their key moments in the game.
“It was their first attack in the second half. We had created a lot of chances both at the end of the first half and early in the second before they scored. It was just one moment, and they were up. From there, it was more panic than quality,” said Hallgrimsson.
“They have been training together, so you could see that they have a plan and stuck to it. They were more synchronised. In the end, they got cramps and fatigue because they don’t have playing rhythm of games,” he added.
Both teams are using the encounters as part of their preparations for the resumption of the Concacaf Nations League (CNL) fixtures away to the Bahamas on March 24, and three days later at home to Nicaragua at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, on March 27.
The Soca Warriors are second in Group C of the CONCACAF Nations League on nine points while Nicaragua is on top. The Nicaraguans defeated T&T 2-0 in Managua back in June, last year.
Jamaica will face Mexico in a must-win Concacaf Nations League A clash at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on March 26 with a win cementing a first-ever spot in the Nations League Pool A semifinals.
Eve proud of Trinidad and Tobago, warns of Reggae Boyz response.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).
HEAD coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team Angus Eve knows his players must bring their A-game in the second international friendly against Jamaica on Tuesday, after the Reggae Boyz fell 1-0 in the first match on Saturday night.
Substitute Reon Moore’s goal in the 67th minute was enough to give T&T a rare but deserved victory at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was T&T's first win against Jamaica in a decade.
“We know that they are going to come with a little bit more intensity because they are hurt and now they are going in the Office (National Stadium), as they affectionately call it,” Eve told TT Football Association media.
“We know we have to stand up, but these are the kind of challenges we want (and) these are the kind of games we want to be playing.” The teams will square off in Kingston at 8 pm TT time.
T&T fielded mainly home-based players in the match as Eve wanted to give younger players an opportunity to play against a quality opponent. T&T are ranked 104th in the FIFA rankings while Jamaica are 64th in the world.
Some of the experienced players missing for T&T were Sheldon Bateau, Duane Muckette and Levi Garcia. One of the players making their debut for T&T in the match was Kaile Auvray, who is born to a Trinidadian mother and a father from Guadeloupe. Other youngsters who started the match for T&T were goal-keeper Denzil Smith, Andre Raymond, John-Paul Rochford and Jesse Williams.
Eve was proud of his inexperienced squad. “We started with a very young team as you saw…a lot of guys got their debut tonight and they showed that they could play at this level against a very good Jamaican team at home.”
Jamaica also played with a young team including striker Dujuan “Whisper” Richards, 17, who just signed with Chelsea FC in the English Premiership. Richards has been making headlines playing for Kingston College in Jamaica’s school football league.
Eve said his staff did their homework in preparation for the match. “Credit to the rest of my staff because the guys really put the work in. We researched the team. We had videos of them playing Cameroon and Argentina and we know that coaches don’t normally change their pattern, don’t change their style. We saw what they were doing and we just countered what they were doing defensively, and offensively we had a number of weapons.”
The T&T coach was pleased with the effort of his players. “We have been training for the last couple of weeks. I know certain Jamaican reporters said we took a week off for Carnival, but that (performance) is a result of it. We know when to give our guys a little bit of a rest.
"When we came into the game today we were very sharp. We moved the ball well, as you saw, a lot of times. We created more chances than them and unfortunately we did not take them, but little experience (caused that). This experience will only augur well for them going into the future.”
The performance by the young T&T players may give Eve a selection headache moving forward. Asked about it, Eve said, “The guys today, each one of them stood up. The guys who went on did their job also and that is the mark of a strong team. I know the guys abroad are watching the game, so they would see what the guys put down today and know the standard we are setting for the squad.”
Eve said captain Joevin Jones led from the front. “I thought he was excellent tonight. He was getting in behind (defenders), he was dropping in the pocket (and) he was holding up the ball for the team and I thought he led the team as the captain very well tonight.”
Moore, 26, is continuing to show he belongs in national colours. The Defence Force player from Sangre Grande only needed a few minutes after coming off the bench to make his mark. After collecting a pass from Jones, Moore’s left-footed shot beat goal-keeper Kemar Foster at the near post.
Speaking about Moore after the match, Eve said, “There is a meme going around that I have been asking Reon for more and this is a result of pushing him and pushing him to his full potential.”
Moore had a short stint with Guatemalan club CSD Municipal last year.
'We should not have lost' — Hallgrimsson.
By Paul Reid (Jamaica Observer).
CATHERINE HALL, St James — After losing 0-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday in his first home game as head coach of the Reggae Boyz, Heimir Hallgrimsson says he expects the Jamaica team to be better in Tuesday's second friendly international.
Hallgrimsson said while there were many positives from the game at Montego Bay Sports Complex where a number of players got their first chance to play for the national senior team, there were things they can improve for the next game set for the National Stadium. There, he said, those who did not play on Saturday will get the chance to show their worth.
A second-half goal from substitute Reon Moore was the difference between the teams, tilting the overall head-to-head record in Trinidad and Tobago's favour — 26 wins to 25 for Jamaica, while 10 matches have been drawn.
"You never want to lose a game, you always feel sad losing," Hallgrimsson said.
"All coaches like to win matches, but to play the first game here, I thought we did not deserve to lose it, if you look at the chances, but we can improve a lot of things.
Angus Eve, the Trinidad and Tobago coach, was happy with the win by his home-based team.
"For us to come and grind out a win I think is a fantastic for this young team," he told the Jamaica Observer.
After a cautious first half during which there were few chances to score, the game opened up in the second period with Jamaica's 19-year-old Chelsea FC player Omari Hutchinson taking on more responsibility to push the team forward as the hosts had Trinidad penned down for long periods.
Jamaica's goalkeeper Kemar Foster helped his cause with a good shift and could not be blamed for the goal. He made two good saves, one in the first half when he reacted well to keep out a ball that deflected off a defender, and was off his line early in the second half to stop a Trinidad attack.
"We created a lot of chances, we created a lot of positions where we should have created better, but we [overplayed] the chances too much. We played too much instead of delivering it in the box, or shoot or cross, we were just always passing at times," Hallgrimsson said.
"Another positive was a lot of players were playing their first national team match and so that goes into their experience bank, and we played 17 players. We made all the subs available, but as I said there are a lot of things we can improve from this game," he told journalists.
Hallgrimsson said Trinidad's goal came from one of the few chances in the second half.
"We had created both late in the first half and early in the second half, we created a lot of chances and in just one moment they are one up and from then it was more panic than maybe quality."
The Reggae Boyz boss said part of their game plan was to "play from the wings and use crosses".
He added: "But we should give credit to Trinidad as well, they played a tactical game and we knew they would kick the long ball and we conceded from the long ball, we did not cope with the long ball in the first half. If we play similar to today with just a few corrections, we will play a better game."
Eve, the former Trinidad international, was happy with the result, especially because he said they missed an entire week of preparation during the Trinidad carnival as stadia were used for fetes and concerts.
"We really showed some mettle away from home, it's a difficult place for Trinidad to play, we have not won since 2013, I think and for us to come and grind out a win, I think is fantastic for this young team."
Eve said some media reports coming out of Jamaica had made his "team talk easier".
He added: "They said we coming here to get licks, we were happy for that type of motivation for our players as we know what we have in Trinidad, we constantly develop players. We are not fortunate to have a number of players to come from big leagues abroad, so we train the boys that we have and you saw the evidence and in bits and pieces it was really good and we got the victory and defensively we were very strong."
"I think we shut them down well, we did our research, we were only able to get two [Jamaica] games, against Argentina and Cameroon, but we saw what they were doing there and we worked on that and we know that we have good pace."