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Mon, Sep

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Sir Lincoln PhillipsIt's time to look to the youth.

That's the general consensus from several former national players in the aftermath of Trinidad and Tobago's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Honduras in Saturday night's 2010 World Cup qualifier.

T&T were humbled by two goals in either half from the hosts, with Kerry Baptiste notching the consolation goal five minutes from the final whistle.

Former Trinidad and Tobago captain Clayton Morris feels T&T have to go back to the drawing board and start building a foundation with the national Under-20 team, who will be opening the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on September 24 against hosts Egypt.

"We're going right back to what I have been saying. We have to spend time developing the team," Morris told the Express yesterday.

He added: "We have to look at the reality of things. The reality is that for us to beat these teams, first we have to match them. How can I say we're going to qualify for a World Cup?"

Former national goalkeeper and current Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation technical director Lincoln "Tiger" Phillips agreed that emphasis now needs to be placed on T&T's young players to build a stronger, more competitive unit for the future.

"We have to prepare the Under-20 team (for the future) regardless of the result," Phillips advised. "Everything is planning and experience, and losing is part of (the learning) experience."

Former defender Morris, who led the Trinidad and Tobago Strike Squad to within one point of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup, described Saturday's loss as "disappointing", blaming the lack of "chemistry" of T&T's four defensive players--Jlloyd Samuel, Marvin Andrews, Radanfah Abu Bakr and Carlos Edwards-- for their poor performance.

"They may be four good payers, but you need to have a little chemistry, and that understanding between them, (or) you won't have communication."

Morris also felt that although Samuel, who plays in the English Premier League and only recently qualified to appear for T&T, is a quality player, it may have been the wrong time for him to make his national debut, without having the chance to gel with his teammates.

This lack of communication between defenders, he pointed out, may have led goalkeeper Clayton Ince to rush for the ball early and let in two first half goals.

"I think that is what forced Clayton Ince (in) doing what he did, at least for the two goals," Morris explained. "He wasn't getting that reaction from the defenders that it should be. It was a clear misunderstanding. That alone answered my concerns."

For the rest of T&T's matches (at home to USA on Wednesday, then away to Costa Rica and home to Mexico), Morris recommends using younger players like Hayden Tinto who need the experience and are hungry to make something happen.

"We have got to put players in there who are not afraid to fail, not afraid to get in there and battle," he said.

Phillips was also concerned about T&T's current attacking options.

"We get our chances to put people away and we just don't take them," he observed. "We don't follow up, we don't take those chances. Other teams put them away.

"In the middle of the field, that is the engine room of the team, and that's our weakest area. We have no one who is extremely dangerous in going forward and threading through-passes, we have no one who is good defensively (in midfield)."

Former T&T player and ex-national women's coach Marlon Charles, who is happy to see both Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke involved in coaching the national team, thinks youth focus is a good investment.

"It will always be difficult for us, because we're still trying to get players, example Marvin Andrews had good experience, but he doesn't have the legs again," Charles reasoned. "What we have to think about now is (the) future. We have the Under-20s who are out now going to compete in Egypt. That could be our base."


Hoping things improve.
By: Inshan "Flex" Mohammed.

You know what hurts the most. Is, almost, if not all of these teams we played in the HEX thus far are so beatable and not so far ahead of us in terms of ability and yet we continue to disappoint. We are on par with most of them if not all and we were capable of winning all of our home games. But yet failed.

If the right precautions, selection and preparation was done from the start no doubt T&T would have been in a better position. But that's a regular thing with us, same story, different page. So how can we really be disappointed when we really cannot expect or, deserve anything better.

You cannot continue to make the same mistakes and expect anything different.

Why do "some" of our players who play in a foreign league particularly the UK always come back to represent T&T a worst player than they were before they left. And don't get me wrong, they did become better players just not for the senior team.

From the beginning there was Yorke who became committed to T&T in the twilight of his career. In his Manchester United days he was another Bobby Zamora. Now there is Kenwyne Jones and Jason Scotland. I mean, these guys are playing in the best league in the world and yet they can't even get a shot off on goal while playing for T&T. And I am not talking about the game against Honduras alone but many others.

Look at Honduras for example, half of their team is based in a foreign league and yet when they return to represent their country they bring the passion and determination with them.

When I look at teams from Central America especially- I see a bunch of normal players (like us) but they always look so determined and proud when they play for their country it seems like it makes all the difference. They look like they will almost die (literally speaking that is) for their country. Unlike T&T who seems as though they are just running flat with no fight in them or love for their country. In-fact, just another payday mentality, maybe ?

What about our support as true fans. Look at Honduras and El Salvador for example and see they have such passionate crowds and how they go all out to support their teams. They will kill (literally speaking that is) for them, even at club level.

Take El Salvador for example, they are in the same position as T&T is right now and I am sure their next home game will be sold out, not to mention the fans make it difficult for visiting teams. Why can't we take pride in our team in good and bad, just hope for the best, but prepare for the worst and really get behind our team.

Everyone knows that our federation is a continued problem because of the politics that surrounds our football, but at the end of the day, our players represents us and like soldiers in a battle field we must support our troops.

Lord alone knows what goes on behind the scenes of T&T football and it's really hard to point fingers on anyone in particular. Though, I must admit that Latapy’s preparations has been sub-par but I am sure that there is more to that story than the regular supporter can see.

The longest rope has an end and one day things will change for the better (I pray). God knows best and as bad as it is now, I believe there is a lesson to be learnt here. But knowing the TTFF I doubt anyone could teach them anything. However, I must applaud them for going all out for our Under 20 team but I believe it has cost the senior one in some part ?

I hate to lose, but what makes it worst is the way we lost. I just hope to see a much better performance against USA on Wednesday. But what ever happens on Wednesday I am still a proud Trinbagonian and I hope we do much better next time around should we fail in our 2010 journey.

Lastly, as I told my dear friend Mr Lincoln Phillips, many people have a misconception that those who succeed in life do so because they face no challenges. The truth is just the opposite. Most people who succeed and experience a high quality in life do so by overcoming tremendous odds.

When I first started the socawarriors.net website I had two die-hard supporters (Sam & Tallman) but I never gave up and had a passion that no one could have competed with. Today, this site boast millions of visitors and thousands of members and it's continuing to grow everyday.

I had the strength of character that enabled me to keep believing, keep planning, keep thinking and keep working to experience my full potential in the face of less than optimal conditions. I never gave up and despite being ignored by the TTFF on many occasions I did what I had to do because I loved my team and moreso my country.

We must come together and unite for the betterment of T&T football. From the players, supporters and administrators. Its the only way we can move forward. Thanks for all the support guys, everyone of you, especially Tallman who is more than just a supporter but everything else.

Regards.
Flex.