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T&T U-17 coach disappointed despite progress; aims to improve squad

Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 coach Shawn Cooper expressed disappointment about his squad qualifying for the CONCACAF stage as the best third place team after being eliminated in the group stage of the Caribbean tournament in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The young “Soca Warriors” lost 2-0 to St Lucia in their group opener and then 3-0 to Haiti but still squeezed through by virtue of having a better goal difference than Guadeloupe, who finished third in another group.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team poses before kick off against Grenada during the Caribbean qualifying rounds. (Courtesy Devin Elcock/TTFA)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team poses before kick off against Grenada during the Caribbean qualifying rounds.
(Courtesy Devin Elcock/TTFA)

“I think the most important thing is that we are alive in the campaign still,” Cooper told the TTFA Media, “and we’ve got some work to do to get this team up to a level to be able to compete at the CONCACAF Finals next year.

“We are not happy with having to sneak in through the back door in this manner but being in it still is something which we are grateful for and it gives us an opportunity to come better for the next phase.”

For the final 20 minutes against Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago parked the bus to prevent a heavier lost to the host nation, which, in retrospect, might have been a key tactical decision. Cooper said his young players failed to handle the atmosphere in Port-au-Prince.

“I took a decision to play deep to ensure we didn’t concede more goals because Haiti were fully in charge of the game at that stage of the match,” he said. “Our boys were overwhelmed by a packed stadium with the hostile home fans who definitely had an impact as the twelfth man. It’s good experience for our boys who haven’t played in an atmosphere like this before but of course it worked in the home team’s favour.

“The early goals at the start of the second half killed the team spirit and threw us off.”

Cooper expects to have a stronger squad in place for the CONCACAF stage in Honduras next February.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 head coach Shawn Cooper.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 head coach Shawn Cooper.

“Now we will regroup,” said Cooper. “We have a few more players from the US and back home to get involved in the preparations and we’ll work towards fixing the areas that need addressing.

“We conceded several soft goals in this tournament and this is a concern which we will address.”

Apart from Trinidad and Tobago and hosts Honduras, Mexico, the United States, Canada, St Lucia, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba will participate in the CONCACAF tournament while another four teams will qualify from Central America.

The CONCACAF tournament will use a new format with the 12 qualifiers divided into two groups of six where they will play a round-robin format on the first five match days. The group winners will earn a direct berth to the Chile 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and a place in the final on the final day.

The second and third place teams from each group will be re-seeded into a four-team table, based on points obtained during group play. The top team from that table will play the fourth team while the second and third placed teams will face off with the winners grabbing the two remaining World Cup spots.

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20 comments

  1. I went by Ato Bolden stadium to watch some of these training sections, it does not look promising. There are quite a few new players, some foreign but the coaches not conducting sessions to evaluate technical and tactical ability. Sadly, the coaches running these boys like horses in December for a February tournament. These coaches have to change, there is a pool of talent locally and foreign based to build a strong team but the game has passed this coaching staff. Watching these sessions says to me that the coaches forgot how we played in Haiti, they doing nothing to fill the holes on the team or teach. They setting up a team with current team versus new players and not mixing the boys to see the true level of all boys. Unfortunately, the coaches dont seem to understand that all these players belong to them, they are part of our National pool so you have to treat all of them equally until you select the final team. We need coaches that understand development, know how to run proper training session and teach young players.

  2. Biasness must stop. Pick the correct players.

  3. Well, they got to Concacaf. We want better. But that is still something.
    Plus it is good that teams fight even when they lack quality. Because we are not seeing this team play then we are not sure what the issue is.
    But the U-17 players I saw in the ssfl didn’t look special to be honest.

  4. Me eh giving that team no credit because they haven’t accomplish one iota. But I hope that the team can do better at the CONCACAF level or they will get embarrassed

  5. Do not forget that many key players in the administrations are as straight as a corkscrew.

  6. Yep thats wat it is just as u said dats y we at that Place today wen it comes to our Football.

  7. That’s telling them Bruce. You know the old saying you” can’t fart against thunder”.

  8. No thank you. Tried both, an impossible task. I am very happily retired, can do without having to interface with dishonest and back stabbing self centered people.

  9. Good One Bruce Maybe u should give it ah Go cing u been around it all quite ah bit

  10. Revamping TTFF and doing same with WICB will happen as soon as ducks have lips.

  11. Untill T&T Get the Right People To Run football in The Country You guys will keep saying d Same ting u been saying for Yrs Get back into the Communities lobby the Govt to Inject Funds to Have Development Programs in the Communities. Thats where it must start to add to wat we av REVAMP TTFF

  12. Well said Bruce. Give the Boys some credit. They’ve accomplished much with so little just like our Soca Princesses.

  13. We must never give up on our young people. These guys may not have the skills of previous teams, but from my experiences they all play their heart out. The coaches obviously need to look at some additional players who may have developed in the last six months, analyse our opposition and get the necessary funds from the Sport company to properly prepare the youngsters. Good luck to them. You have our support. Remember that despite the disappointments you are the ones that got us this far. Go for it.

  14. Yes. We are still through. And even this team doesn’t go all the way, the experience will benefit the players and coaches later on.
    I wish I could say the administrators might be challenged to try something different too. But that is less likely.

  15. So are we saying it wouldn’t benefit the team to play in the tournament? I don’t disagree that the selection process is poor but it is imperative for the kids to get the experience.

  16. Let’s hope the coaches get it right this time

  17. Get Real this is not ah Now Problem. Get the football Back in the Communities change the people running TTFF

  18. Nah…. it’s important that we qualify and move forward. Hopefully the coaches will do their due diligence and select the right players. I would open up trials again and get prepared for next year. If we go with more than 8-10 players from this roster we have no shot

  19. Sad to say this is the weakest U17 team we’ve had in years. I my opinion we don’t deserve to even move on in this competition