Trinidad and Tobago suffered its first defeat to Curaçao in 68 years yesterday as the “Soca Warriors”, who were staffed primarily with Pro League players, lost 1-0 to the Dutch islanders at Sentro Deportivo Korsou in Willemstad, Curaçao.
It was Trinidad and Tobago’s first loss to Curaçao since a 3-0 defeat away to the Dutchmen in 1947. The result was Warriors coach Stephen Hart’s fourth successive outing without a win—the worst run of his two-year spell in charge—after a Caribbean Cup group draw with Cuba and successes losses to Jamaica, Panama and now Curaçao.
In mitigation, the Warriors lost on penalties to Jamaica in the Caribbean Cup final on hostile territory while their past two defeats were by solitary goals and with largely experimental local squads.
Curaçao, who were coached by former Netherlands and Barcelona star Patrick Kluivert, had four Eredivisie players in their squad and were stuffed with Europe-based players.
Kluivert, whose mother was born in Curaçao, is unbeaten in four games since he took over in March.
His men face a do-or-die two legged 2018 World Cup qualifying clash with Cuba later this month.
“The days for Trinidad and Tobago just showing up in CONCACAF or the Caribbean and expecting the result to go in its favour because of history or name are over,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “We need to play with a desire and a will to dominate, control the tempo of the game, defend intelligently and win.
“Having said that, we had three days together and as I said, this game will serve as a lesson as to what each international game demands of us as individuals and as a unit.”
Hart, who was without injured Central FC playmaker Ataulla Guerra, gave Central fullback Kaydion Gabriel and Police FC defender Elijah Belgrave their international debuts last night while North East Stars playmaker Keron Cummings made his first appearance in five years and W Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester got his second start under the current coach.
Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling came on in the second half for his first appearance under Hart while St Ann’s Rangers attacker Kadeem Corbin also made his international senior debut off the bench.
But the night belonged to Curaçao substitute Charlton Vicento, an Eredivisie player with Willem II, who came off the bench to bag the winner in the 85th minute.
Kluivert will hope their morale boosting win over the Warriors serves them well when they kick off against Cuba on Monday.
While Hart will decide which players to retain to his first team squad as he welcomes back his full overseas-based contingent for an international friendly away to Jordan on June 6.
“This game will serve us well,” said Hart. “We had some good moments but concentration needs to be better defensively, especially in the midfield, over ninety minutes.
“Curacao deserve credit. They played the game with a passion and desire worthy of a World Cup qualifier which they play on Wednesday against Cuba.”
Trinidad and Tobago: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 6. Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams, 18.Elijah Belgrave (2.Shannon Gomez 83), 23.Kaydion Gabriel, 8.Khaleem Hyland (5.Leston Paul 60), 14.Andre Boucaud (15.Dwane James 60), 20.Keron Cummings, 12.Willis Plaza, 13.Shahdon Winchester (19.Kadeem Corbin 64) 9.Kenwyne Jones (captain) (16.Devorn Jorsling 64).
Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 7.Sean De Silva, 11.Ataulla Guerra.
Coach: Stephen Hart