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Maylee explains what Warriors need: fitness, firepower and ruthlessness from the bench

Costa Rica didn’t do anything spectacular against Trinidad and Tobago but they were very patient. Costa Rica played close to a walking pace in the first half, and defended with five players at the back. They were playing dead to catch corbeau alive.

Trinidad and Tobago did a relatively decent job in the first half and created the better chances between the both teams. The most important thing going into the game for T&T was limiting their mistakes and errant passes. And they did that for the first 45 minutes, which in turn limited Costa Rica’s goal scoring chances and potential counter attacks.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Then came the second half where the opponents took advantage of Trinidad and Tobago’s lack of fitness, compactness and pressuring of the ball on defence.

Just after the half, Costa Rica inserted their strong and versatile forward Joel Campbell, who made all the difference for them. T&T were no longer capable of pressuring the ball and closing off the passing lanes by then. The first goal came from Trinidad and Tobago players being out of position due to weary legs and a total lapse in concentration.

And that all boils down to the team’s collective lack of fitness. We can kiss the 2018 World Cup goodbye if we don’t raise our level of fitness to an international standard.

As I told one of the players, as a professional you need to always maintain at least 70% fitness throughout the year because you never know when your number will be called.

Some of the players do not understand the importance of being fit. Football is a running game and, if you can’t do it at a high intensity for 90 minutes—no matter how talented your team—you will come out on the wrong side of the result every time at this level.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Jomal Williams (centre) tries hold off Costa Rica defenders Johnny Acosta (left) and Francisco Calvo during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Jomal Williams (centre) tries hold off Costa Rica defenders Johnny Acosta (left) and Francisco Calvo during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

I think we gave our opponents too much respect. The Costa Ricans came here to play on the counter with a mindset to take a point but hope for a win. We gave them the game. We allowed the game to come to us rather than us taking the game to them.

Being at home, we lacked aggression and assertiveness. We lacked offensive fire power and a true finisher up top, as well we lacked movement and finesse in the midfield—a player who can create magic would make a difference for this team.

There are so many adjustments that are needed going forward in order for us to have a chance at qualifying.

We were very much disjointed at times last night and that’s because we lacked movement on and off the ball, especially in the midfield. When the ball was passed to the wingers, sometimes the only option they had was to run with the ball because the midfielders were not showing for it and there was no outlet on top since our target forward wasn’t moving much or running into spaces effectively.

The system we have in place at the moment makes it highly unlikely that we will score goals on the run of play. At this moment, we play with Kenwyne Jones as the lone striker and with two wingers playing extremely wide and far from him.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (top) climbs to head the ball during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (top) climbs to head the ball during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

If we are going with Jones as the number one striker, he needs some sort of support because he is very effective at flicking on balls for others to run on to and needs someone on top to compliment him. So our wingers and the attacking midfielder have to play a bit closer to him.

We have to be much more aggressive on offence. Apparently we don’t have the fitness to play higher up the field so, if the ball is lost, we can clamp our opponents in their half of the field and when we win the ball we’re closer to their goal which will enable us to have much more bodies in attack.

Again, goals win matches and we don’t have a lethal finisher. The one player that comes to mind is Cornell Glen. He’s the only true experienced and lethal finisher we have—even at his age.

Glen gives you speed—although not as fast as he once was—he can create his own shot, he can play with his back against defenders, he can run off the ball, and he can be a nightmare for defenders in 1v1 situations. I think he can bring that leadership that is glaringly lacking at this moment.

I admire head coach Stephen Hart but I believe he takes way too long to make changes. I don’t understand why our coaches, at most times, are opposed to making a substitution on the half.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) dashes past Costa Rica right wing back Christian Gamboa during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) dashes past Costa Rica right wing back Christian Gamboa during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

We needed some fire power and a boost of energy entering the second half. Speed kills and we have a couple shockingly fast players with the likes of Trevin Caesar and, as we have seen, Willis Plaza.

I thought the substitutions made against Costa Rica were relatively good. The only issue I had was the length of time it took for coach Hart to make them.

I think coach Hart has done a tremendous job since taking over. I have seen when T&T were losing to the likes of Guyana and St Lucia. No disrespect to to any of those teams, but we are Trinidad and Tobago and I believe we have to always set the standard when it comes to Caribbean football.

I followed the team when he first took over and, in every tournament, they improved drastically. I have seen changes in the mindset of some players and he created a team that the powerhouses were nervous to play.

I think he does a very good job breaking down the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and coming up with a formidable plan to counteract. Sometimes we as players don’t always execute the game plan but I think Hart is one of the main reasons the program is where it is at.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Senior National Team coach Stephen Hart (right) gestures during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. Looking on is Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Senior National Team coach Stephen Hart (right) gestures during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
Looking on is Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

They are going through a spell at the moment and sometimes familiarity breathes contempt. So he may need to change the way he does things and he may need to change the way he deals with the players and be more forceful in his convictions.

Because the players aren’t playing for him the way they used to in his first year and a half.

About Maylee Attin-Johnson

Maylee Attin-Johnson
Maylee Attin-Johnson is the Trinidad and Tobago Women's Senior National Team captain and has represented her country at senior international level since the age of 15. She has a bachelor's degree in Sports Management from the Kennesaw State University in Georgia, USA.

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298 comments

  1. Lol shutdown before we even start

  2. Maylee thanks for saying it loud and clear. Nobody has the guts to admit shortcomings of this squad although there is plenty potential

  3. we need to drop K. Jones he is slowing down the football, not turning on defenders and taking shot we can’t even play a ball over the top for him to chase…….K.Jones is simply keeping us back

  4. Everyone seeing the reason for warriors failure except hart
    What convinced hart that kenwyn is a striker

  5. Costa Rica did not need play anything

  6. Anyone observed wen d #12 for Costa Rica i believed to be J Campbell came in how he was playing, had our defender busy, not waiting around, hussling d ball linking with his midfield

  7. But he have some young talent people on his bench he have to start them

  8. Get kenwyne Jones away from the team start the younger players

  9. Y’all need a versatile striker this Jones dude is a lazy MF ,need a striker who could take on the defense, whose hungry for goal

  10. Get a new player’s is the same thing over And over

  11. It’s so much simpler than all this analysis…we need a new Captain !

  12. What i cant understand is every time we go blame fitness these guys play professionally every single one of them and they all come on national duties during their season which means they are suppose to be fit coming into camp,no grit there is no fight in them hats off to Cyrus and bateau on top of they both need to be our starting centre backs.

  13. Marlee apparently saw the same game I looked at.

  14. This coach prefer tuh make changes all around d team,leaves our best central midfielder on the bench Bocaud,leaves Guerra on the bench the only player we may be able tuh get some kinda creativity from but when it comes to the strikers position insanity kicks in, trying the same lazy,bad attitude,poor first touch,poor finishing player an expecting a different result then goes in the postmatch interview an say he worked hard. Clearly coach Hart an the country were viewing different games

  15. U see the short ball knock knock in the back we not ready for that get the ball in the midfield and attack… They tend to always go back and loose the ball to easily… The striker is a joke he doesn’t even help the midfield in no way possible doesn’t apply any pressure to the opposing team’s defense… To much TV football they want to play and they not ready for that standard the key of the game is goals and we not scoring… This current team structure will NOT MAKE IT FAR

  16. Since Germany. I see Trinidad. Playing. Football. For fun

  17. Jamal Gay …… that is all

  18. It have so many good players in the pro league and the super league who are very great players and there are not on the nation side we have so many great talents in this country but there are left in the shawdow. The nation coach need to do more scouting

  19. We may need all of that ..what we don’t need though, is Kenwyne as our striker …

  20. How could they be fit and they partying all the time .no discipline!

  21. Since you pushed me, keep one of Kevan George or Neveal Hackshaw. Maybe a good place to start.

    • I don’t think we have another player who can come close to Kevan in terms of breaking up play. So I will take him out of the picture.
      Neveal is a box to box player, just 21 years old, on an upward curve and he has more international experience than Nathaniel.
      I like Nathaniel and I think he can be a top player eventually. But I don’t think dropping Hackshaw for him helps us in the short term and might not be progressive.

    • Hackshaw doesn’t even get playing time. How is replacing one unused substitute with another unused substitute who is older than him help?
      I think people getting a little too excitable about this loss.

  22. They fit enough for boat ride though.

  23. We can only pick 23 players Brian Jordan. If you bring someone in, you have to take someone out. I just don’t think we have left out players who can make a difference apart from maybe Bostock, Molino and Glen.
    So I’m curious as to why you would include those two. They must come in for someone.

  24. Why? Because the team lacks creativity and could use higher workrate in midfield

  25. T&T need to get rid of Hart if he can’t do something simple like dropping Kenwyne…

    Jones is the only captain in world football that gets subbed every game…

  26. Lasana. the coach would have to decide based on practice, especially since he seems to not play many of his subs..

  27. Why them? We have 23 players on the squad right now. Which players would they replace then?