The fate of Soca Warriors coach, Colombian Francisco Maturana and his technical staff which includes assistant coach/player Russell Latapy, is to be the main topic of discussion at a T&T Football Federation (TTFF) emergency technical meeting on April 9.
Those expected to be in attendance are members of the Soca Warriors technical staff and other executive members of the local Federation, as Maturana’s tenure as coach comes under scrutiny.
This has been occasioned by the Warriors’ embarrassing 3-0 defeat by the United States of America in their Concacaf Final Round Qualifier in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday night, leaving this country at the bottom of the six-team group on two points, the same as El Salvador. The USA tops the table with seven points followed by Costa Rica (6) Honduras (4) and Mexico (3) with seven matches still to be played by each team.
The Special Adviser when asked to comment on Wednesday night display replied : “I think it was way below expectations of a team that is aspiring to be among the qualifiers for the World Cup Finals in South Africa next year.” “My concern is that we are not getting the required results. Results are all that matter at the moment and we have to start getting the right ones from the next match”, he said.
Maturana, who has come in for earlier criticism from the local media and coaches alike, has twice taken his homeland to the World Cup Finals and will be buoyed by the fact that T&T also had one point after three matches in 2005 when Dutchman Leo Beenhakker took over the reigns from Bertille St Clair and led T&T to Germany in 2006.One local club manager who prefers to remain anonymous said that the only good thing with the team’s situation is that there are two full months before the next match against Costa Rica at home June 6. T&T is also ‘away’ to Mexico on June 10.
“Whether it’s a coaching change or wholesale changes in the team, it’s clear that something has to be done.” The local club manager who has led his club to a host of local and regional triumphs was adamant that the national coach had no idea which was his best team. He added : “I can’t imagine we are three matches into the final phase of qualification and our coaching staff still does not know their best squad yet.”
Asked to comment on the performance against the Americans, the well respected manager and freelance commentator said : “It was pathetic and more than that, there are still more questions than answers in terms of our team selection.” “The funny thing is that we were playing poorly but up until the USA scored its second goal midway into the second-half, we were just a goal away from being level in the match.”
Questions must also be raised in terms of how we used our substitutes as I saw no problems why Russell Latapy did not introduce himself just as he did against Honduras.” “The introduction of striker Jason Scotland for Keon Daniel also meant we had three similar players up front with Stern John and Kenwyne Jones up front. “Our three strikers were all playing the same way, with their backs to the goal.”
“Christopher Birchall and Clyde Leon were the two defensive midfielders used, but when Birchall was replaced by Hyland, it left Leon with a lot more responsibility and that’s when the Americans scored their other goals.” “The three goals we conceded against USA all came via our wingbacks. I can’t understand why we have a guy who went to the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Anthony Wolfe playing as a right back and then you replace him during the match with a guy (Makan Hislop) who has played as a central defender for all his life.”
With regards to the coach he said, “All I could tell you is that I feel coach Maturana has been given many chances while some players like Trent Noel have not got a chance at all.” “This is the final round of qualification. Everything counts here and now is decision time, whether its with the staff or players. Terry Fenwick, a former England international and coach of T&T Pro League club, Clico San Juan Jabloteh was also of the opinion that Maturana still does not know his best team.
“Whether the coach remains in the job or not is not my decision, but what I can say is that as a team I have seen much better organisation and discipline by some teams in the Pro League than what was offered by the Warriors on Wednesday night. “We were very, very. poor in too many areas, added Fenwick who has led Jabloteh to back-to-back Pro League club titles. “I think our team selection on the night left a lot of people, including myself. flabbergasted.”