Warriors declare: The hunger is back

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Trinidad and Tobago national football defender Seon Power refused to celebrate second place after the “Soca Warriors” lost the 2012 Caribbean Cup final to Cuba yesterday evening after an extra time goal by Marcel Hernandez.

But Power had a word for football fans back home.

“The hunger is back and hopefully we can be the right example for everyone else who wears the national shirt and those who want to take our football back up the rankings,” Power told the TTFF media. “I can’t celebrate because this is my second loss in a Final but I feel good for the team and where we’ve reached. This is a step in the right direction for us.”

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team finished in second place at the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Photos868)

The athletic North East Stars defender was a fan favourite for his committed displays in Antigua and was unofficially named as one of the tournament’s “Most Valuable Players.”

Trinidad and Tobago captain Jan-Michael Williams, who was also a standout performer throughout the competition, is looking forward to recharging his batteries over the Christmas period.

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Williams believes the team proved itself worth of the title “Warriors” for its character despite the adversities in a rough year for the nation’s football fraternity.

“We are worthy of being champions because we got this far and we demonstrated the quality of Warriors and champions,” said the 28-year-old DIRECTV W Connection captain, “which is to fight and pick ourselves up when we were down and out.

“Let’s keep this bond that we started at the beginning of the tournament. Let’s keep our heads high and be proud of what we accomplished here.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Jan-Michael Williams (bottom) is congratulated by his teammates after a superb performance in the Caribbean Cup semifinals against Martinique.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Photos868)

Williams hopes that local football fans appreciate the team’s efforts and stands by the Warriors as they prepare for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“A lot of people will still say it wasn’t enough but we know to ourselves what we had to go through,” said Williams, “and the long way we’ve come when nobody cared about the team and just about everyone wrote us off. This can only auger well for the future of the national team and football on a whole in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Everybody loves winners and maybe we haven’t achieved the status of champions but this should be an example to us as to what we can achieve if we try to go the extra mile and who knows where we can end up if we get the right support.”

Veteran midfielder and 2006 World Cup survivor Densill Theobald, like Power and Williams, also ended with silver at the 2007 Caribbean Cup in Port of Spain. But he took a philosophical outlook.

“Of course I’m disappointed but I think once we get over this we can look back and feel proud of what we were able to achieve here in Antigua,” said Theobald. “This team can grow from strength if each of us can continue to believe and go forward through belief in God Almighty.”

Joint head coach and former national stand-out Hutson “Barber” Charles believes he is wiser for the experience and, like his charges, is developing rapidly in his post.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago co-head coach Hutson “Barber” Charles (right) and assistant Derek King lead their players out after their Caribbean Cup final defeat to Cuba in Antigua.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Photos868)

“It’s been a learning process for (not just) me as a coach but for the team on a whole,” Charles told the TTFF media. “We had our obstacles to face and we took them on one by one; from the issues with getting the team off and running, to dealing with the distractors.

“I’m a much wiser coach at the end of this tournament and I think everyone in the team can say the same as players and members of the staff. All we want now is some support.”

He urged supporters to see the positives of Trinidad and Tobago’s campaign as the Warriors look forward to a brighter 2013.

“I’m still a very proud coach at the end of this tournament,” said Charles. “I’m disappointed that we couldn’t put our hands on the trophy but I think this team deserves every bit of credit for getting this far.

“All I want to see now is the right support for this team from the stakeholders, the sponsors and the Federation going forward to the Gold Cup in 2013.”

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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