Tue, Sep


Seon Power.A decent start.

That's what football pundits saw from the new-look, locally-based Trinidad and Tobago squad under coach Otto Pfister after their comfortable 3-0 win over India at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Sunday.

W Connection owner David John-Williams, Alvin Corneal—former national player and radio commentator for the match—and ex-"Strike Squad" defender Brian Williams all agree it was a fair performance for a team that has not played a friendly international since their failed Digicel Cup campaign last December.

The trio also concurred that T&T lacked intensity, particularly in the opening half, but the home team's performance was generally encouraging, as they tried to possess the ball and create openings.

John-Williams was not satisfied with Trinidad and Tobago's finishing, but saw positives in the match.

"I would give it a passing grade. The intensity was a bit low in the first half from both teams," he said, "but the second half was where the game picked up. I felt that certain players did well in the game, (midfielder) Hughton Hector and (goalkeeper) Marvin Phillips."

John-Williams felt the approach of either team was cautious in the opening half, and that T&T turned the ball over too many times under little pressure.

The dreadlocked Williams saw a "pretty decent start" for T&T's Soca Warriors given their previous inactivity for nearly a year and thought the match was a good step in their preparations for 2014 World Cup qualifying, which kicks off against Bermuda on September 2.

"Obviously most people thought the game was at pedestrian pace," the former United Petrotrin coach stated. "It should have carried a little more tempo, but from a coaching point of view you still have the opportunity to look at the players available and still see where their strengths and weaknesses lie."

Williams saw room for improvement, but felt the national senior squad can only get better.

"We definitely have to work on our intensity, speed of the game, be a little quicker… Every game is a different one, so (Sunday) the game was good. We can only build from there."

And Corneal thought T&T showed "too much respect" for the Indians, but was most impressed by striker Darryl Roberts, who netted twice in the second half to beef up the margin of victory.

"In terms of playing in the final third of the field, Darryl Roberts showed them the way. He has the experience and he certainly moved around enough to trouble the defence. He scored two beautiful goals."

Corneal, too, was not impressed with T&T's turnovers and the pace of the match, but was heartened by the Soca Warriors' first international outing of the year.

"It's not a step down," he said of the match, "but the point about it is a game that was very passive. They were not under any kind of pressure at all.

"A win, that's confidence, that's excellent, no goals conceded, so that's very good. It shows you are capable of keeping the opposing attackers at bay and that would be a plus for (coach Pfister)," Corneal ended.