Has Angus Eve done enough to remain as Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s national team head coach when his current contract ends in March, and FIFA World Cup qualifying begins?
Guyana head coach Jamaal Shabazz and former national captain Densill “Bleeder” Theobald both believe that 51-year-old Eve has done enough to retain his place for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Since replacing Englishman Terry Fenwick in June 2021, under Eve’s guidance the Soca Warriors qualified for back-to-back CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments and for the Nations League quarter-finals for the first time.
T&T was promoted and will also remain in CONCACAF Nations League A in 2024 and also still has a chance to qualify for the 2024 CONMEBOL.
“I feel they can keep Angus and continue to upgrade the staff around him,” stated Shabazz, a former T&T men’s and women’s national team coach. “Of course there are areas he can develop, but I believe Angus has given a good account of himself.”
Likewise, Theobald also feels his former teammate had proven himself. “I would love for him to extend his contract leading into the World cup qualifiers, given the opportunity of course,” stated Theobald.
“I think Angus deserved the right to prove himself in the international arena as a national coach,” he continued.
“More so for the last couple of games, barring the game that we played in Curacao. Not only the results, but the performances as well.”
He added: “Being able to beat Curacao 1-0 with a late goal. Being able to go away to El Salvador, a difficult place, and get that result there. And then being able to come back home and beat Guatemala and the USA.”
Trinidad and Tobago has just a meagre five wins, and only three in official competitive matches, against the USA, in their 23-match history.
However, the last two visits by the American team to the Caribbean nation have resulted in 2-1 defeats-- both occasions managed by local coaches, Dennis Lawrence in 2017, and Angus Eve 2023.
Even the highly-regarded Dutchman Leo Benhakker, who coached T&T to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, failed to beat the United States during his tenure as head coach.
A member of T&T 2006 World Cup team in Germany, Theobald says victories over the Americans are not easily won. He was ecstatic about Monday night’s victory-- against a country with over 330 million more people than the twin-island Republic.
“Oh my God, I was so happy and pleased,” Theobald exclaimed. “Not only the result in our favour, but the performances of the team in the last two games especially.”
He went on: “During my time of playing, I never had the opportunity to beat the USA or even hold on to a draw with them. That’s why I’m so pleased for the boys. You are able to see now that the landscape of football, that gap, is getting closer and closer. So, that any given day in football, anyone can beat anyone.”
Meanwhile, Shabazz rated highly T&T’s victory over the USA.
“I am so proud of Angus Eve and his staff. Not just because of this game, but for the rest of results he has gotten. Results matter,” Shabazz stated.
“His detractors have literally wanted him to turn water into wine,” Shabazz continued, “What he has shown as a young coach, at different times with the senior team, is an ability to grind out big results.”
Eve’s current staff, mostly locally-based, consist of former national players such as Derek King, Reynold Carrington, Anton Pierre, Clayton Ince, manager Richard Piper, along with other support staff.
Shabazz believes Eve should remain head-coach, while at the same time continuing to improve his backroom staff.
“Trinidadians feel that our programme is of the magnitude where we could hire and fire coaches. But just as we want a coach to build a team, the Association must help to build the staff,” added Shabazz.
As head-coach of Guyana, Shabazz has recently been afforded privileges which he did not have, when taking a chance with the Golden Jaguars many years ago, when they were among the poorest of South American and Caricom countries.
Shabazz now functions like a traditional English Premier League manager, with specific coaches to implement his strategies. He has a first-rate match analyst, travels with two physios, two equipment managers.
“I have a backroom staff second to none. In little Guyana,” Shabazz revealed.
“It is their expertise and work ethic that has contributed to the resurgence of Guyana football.”
SOURCE: T&T Express