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I can’t accept this performance! Hart glad for win but unhappy with Warriors’ show

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart credited his players for clawing back a 3-2 win over St Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday, in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier at Arnos Vale.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (left) prepares to glide past St Vincent and the Grenadines right back Akeem Williams en route to his opening goal in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (left) prepares to glide past St Vincent and the Grenadines right back Akeem Williams en route to his opening goal in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

However, he slammed his “Soca Warriors” for an unacceptable performance, although they sit atop Group 3 with seven points at present followed by Guatemala (6), the United States (4) and “Vincey Heat” (0).

“I can’t accept this performance but what I will say is we fought our way back (and) we got the three points,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “We can play much, much better. We have to look deep within ourselves and be more efficient without the ball and with the ball.”

The Warriors coach, who is in his third year at the helm, criticised his team’s defensive effort against the route one approach by the host team, which led to two goals and at least one other glorious scoring opportunity.

“We didn’t show our real purpose in closing down the ball (and) in pressing,” said Hart, “and our organisation between midfield and (the) back line was at times, for me, shocking. I didn’t recognise some of the things we were doing at all.

“There were too many gaps (and) too many spaces. And once you realise that a team is going to play direct balls, the objective is to stop (them from) playing that ball as early as possible.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago substitutes' bench looks on as right back Daneil Cyrus (left) prepares to take a throw during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago substitutes’ bench looks on as right back Daneil Cyrus (left) prepares to take a throw during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“Too many players didn’t show the sort of urgency to defend that they should have.”

Hart’s suggestion that he could barely recognise what some of his players were up to was, arguably, in itself shocking.

The least experienced player in the Trinidad and Tobago defence yesterday was 30-year-old Yohance Marshall, who made his ninth appearance for Hart but is a regular squad player and has played professionally in at least five different countries.

In the centre of the midfield, where Vincey Heat were able to engineer those problematic passes, Andre Boucaud and Khaleem Hyland have a combined 89 international caps between them and 51 of those appearances were made under the current coach.

Should Warriors fans be concerned that the message does not seem to be sinking in on such important occasions?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (centre) is surrounded by four St Vincent and the Grenadines players during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Andre Boucaud (centre) is surrounded by four St Vincent and the Grenadines players during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

There was, arguably, more room for sympathy in the offensive third where Kevin Molino was making his first outing since 27 March 2015, due to a lengthy injury-enforced layoff, and full back Justin Hoyte essentially wasted one attacking slot on the right flank.

Still, Hart conceded that his players were not good enough there either.

“On the first half, we had a lot of possession on the ball and we got into good, good positions all over the field,” said Hart. “And then we struggled to make the final pass or to cross the ball properly. Or just to have that little impetus to have shots on goal.

“(Then) a goal scores on you. And now you are away from home in a dogfight to try and get the goal back.”

Hart explained that Hoyte’s deployment as an attacking right-sided midfielder was meant to maximise his crossing ability and the timing of his runs. In the end, the England-based defender was overworked by having to offer constant support to right back Daneil Cyrus.

Photo: St Vincent and the Grenadines attacker David Pitt (left) holds off Trinidad and Tobago defender Daneil Cyrus (centre) while teammate Justin Hoyte looks on during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: St Vincent and the Grenadines attacker David Pitt (left) holds off Trinidad and Tobago defender Daneil Cyrus (centre) while teammate Justin Hoyte looks on during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“(Hoyte) has a good knack for knowing when to get forward and deliver crosses,” Hart told Wired868, “and we thought we would try it in the game and see how it works. (We felt) it would give us a balance when Cyrus was going forward…

“But I think he ended up doing too much work.”

The Warriors coach was relatively happy with Molino’s effort, though, and suggested that the Orlando City midfielder only needed to regain his confidence to return to his best.

“(Molino) has been playing 77 minutes and 90 minutes for Orlando and he needs the games (to regain his sharpness),” said Hart. “He was busy all game (and) looked the part. He just needs to get his confidence in front of goal.”

There was no questioning the value of substitutes Levi Garcia and Neveal Hackshaw, though. Both were National Under-20 players just last year and they combined for the  81st minute winner, as Hackshaw launched the ball into space for the 18-year-old Garcia to collect and finish.

Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates his second goal with teammate Khaleem Hyland against St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates his second goal with teammate Khaleem Hyland against St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“It was a fantastic debut by young Levi Garcia,” said Hart. “And Hackshaw came on and it was a textbook sort of pass, run (and) finish. And, between the two of them, they got us back in the game.”

If Hart’s trusted older guard are not getting the message. Maybe Soca Warriors supporters will be treated to more youthful enthusiasm on Tuesday when Trinidad and Tobago host St Vincent and the Grenadines from 7 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Tickets are priced at TT$300 (covered section) and TT$150 (uncovered section) and are available at Sports and Games (nationwide), Kenny’s Sports (nationwide), Sportway (Ellerslie Plaza and Gulf City), Fan Zone (Centre City Mall, Chaguanas), Ramsingh’s Sportworld (Couva) and Heritage Sports (Scarborough, Tobago).

They can also be purchased online via the TTFA’s official website: www.TTFootball.Org.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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99 comments

  1. He’s is by far the best prospect I’ve seen in our colours for quite a while indeed even the great MVB has taken a keen interest in the young man I expect great things from this lad.

  2. Not even then! Dani Alves was woeful when they played higher up the field and Alba is a runner–no more, no less.

  3. Unless they played for Barca lol

  4. I can hardly think of a right back in the world who would make a good attacking right side midfielder.

  5. He dam right , that win was poor .. Unacceptable

  6. Boy,
    I don’t know where to start

  7. This team needs a me mum type of player in midfield. A disrupter, a player who will sacrifice his body for the team to prevent the ball being played forward, who is determined to win the ball,,,a Chris Birchall

  8. They all played us games,we fought for coaches in the schools up to national level to get proper contracts working conditions etc ,deaf ears

  9. The Coaches assocaitiom was defunct for more than ten years we tried tirelessly to reorganize revitalise ,but interest groups mainly the eat ah food gang ,and ah want me patnah from foriegn to come back ,but ah hadda. Give him the wok ,I went to one of those meeting and Coachman I could speak ..Cabal and self interest .We worked with Tim Kee and Phillips ,before that groden and we bankcrupt ex President …boy is

  10. Defense is suspect need to be more strong in the CB position and central midfield, they press a little better in 2nd half, but passes have to be more accurate

  11. This has to be articulated ..Our training facilities must be upgraded and maintained ,professionalism does not start at the pro levels it starts at the early childhood development programs..environmental factors are important.
    Coachman we both know that in majority some things that are supposed to be standard for a developing global or regional powerhouse is sometimes nonexistant

  12. I know Coachman ,The solution does not lye in the tangebles as much as it lies in the intangeables ..

    We have an unprofessional culture ,
    Let’s work on adjusting that intangeble
    Set higher standards for players from youth levels to professional levels

    Formulate a system of measurement and evaluation .What are we looking for ,What are our Technical expectations from our players
    What are out Technical expectations for f our Coaches
    What are our Administrative and professional standards for our administration ..The just must not be voted in on popularity
    National youth coaches must not just be selected cause it’s free seconded or voluntary .
    Raise the bar in Player and Coaching education .
    Revamp secondary school league ,it’s not internationally relevant for 19,and twenty year olds to be playing schoolboy football ,our country is small we must do keep our eyes on global compettveness and not Port of Spain South tradition

  13. Anton Corneal started a youth development program from U13 and that squad went on to qualify for the U17 and U20 Fifa Youth Championships. Some of those players in the senior team now.
    We had a Coach Education programme up and running certifying persons with the TTFF/Dutch C Licence.
    I think there needs to be a review and assessment of the positives and negatives in our effort to move forward. Not just the negatives

  14. But where the coaches association?

  15. We need tangible pathways for solutions not just identification of 1000 ills while forgetting whenever there was some good . And there has been some good.

  16. Some people think the game belong to them ,it’s in their pocket ,it’s the truth.Why is their not a coaches association to vet but the nal appointments ..in the last election ,coaches were not represented because they never accepted our membership request .As for the players association ,request frustrated ,so who represented the interest of those two key make it happen stakeholders .it’s a big boy ting Coachman ,I’ll challenge anyone on this

  17. How do you get the collective effort then ?

  18. When Otto Pfister was hired and when Even Pellerud was hired both posts were advertised and persons shortlisted and interviewed before a final selection.

  19. I am not aware of any ,but is this the process that continued for decades ,Once attended a TTFA meeting ,Financial ruin to the tune of about 30 million ,Coaches at all levels ,not just national and Pro league but schools grassroots etc frustrated ,lack of streamlined coaching development programmes ,secret courses by friend ting ,blacklist if u don’t kisscheeks ,regional associations run by Cabal ,constitutional issues ,opportunist ,I seen it all Coachman ,not go mention the national youth schedule ,with school football and Pro league youth football ,I could challenge anybody on this …A new president ,general Secretary etc is not the answer ,pipe dreaming ,Football needs a collective effort at all levels to move forward ,Finally while the world of football is evolving and becoming more scientific. We shouting at our televisions to win ..

  20. If so I challenge that statement because I have seen processes in the past.

  21. Are yu saying that the TTFF/ FA never had a process ?

  22. The Federation is a political animal,croniesm ,friend ting ,power brokers,kisscheeks ..As far as technicians ,we have some folks who can meet the criteria ,the question is are the professional skills be compensated .We are still in an era ,just. As in politics so to in football ,friend ting and eat ah food .There is much to wonder ..1How is a national coach selected .How is a technical staff selected to me we are stuck in a rotation is f same ole faces on different day ,Cabal

  23. Agreed. Defense was suspect yesterday

  24. We must relate preparation to the reality today which is during the club season Fifa only allows you maximum 5 days with the national team on for games on the Official Fifa match dates. The biggest challenge we face as technicians in this era is planning, scouting and team management.
    It helps a great deal if the Federation, the staff and the team is singing from the same hymm book.

  25. That’s football for you, brilliant final 20 minutes though….imagine how dangerous this team can be when all guns are firing….St.Vincent good for 6 in the Hasely Crawford

  26. Carlos yuh missed out preparation to eh, the corrupted TTFA is always complaining about being broke eh, hence the reason why they cannot play against better competition for the warm up games eh, compared to my USA team, Mexico, Costa Rica, eh, and hence the reason why they are always qualifying eh. Them really good yes.

  27. Kenwyne’s work rate and leadership on the pitch yesterday was pathetic. In a WCQ away from home in difficult conditions the captain and our most experienced player had to lead by example and set the tone and he did the complete opposite ..do your job skipper

  28. Well, USA would love to be in our shoes right now Carlos. And that is the irony here.
    Look at the results alone and the team is doing a brilliant job.

  29. At the international level you have to understand the required performance levels to be successful at every stage of the campaign .it’s either you perform consistently at a high level inspite of opponent ,pitch and home away .benchmark the performances based on those who have been consistently making the world cup .Mexico USA Costa Rica et al and you know the requirements

  30. We need about four points again to get to the next round. I agree Jamaal.
    I haven’t been consistently pleased with our performances. I mostly appreciate the effort but not so much the fluidity.
    Still, if they would like to eke out results all the way to Russia then I would applaud them for it.
    I would like them to be more emphatic. But I cannot knock us being unbeaten in four WCQ games and with three wins to boot.

  31. Well our Soca Worries better make it good on Tuesday because they will be playing on a much better field in our sweet country and my foreign base Coach Hart better be very careful eh, because our Soca Worries have a tendency of destroying very good foreign base coaches coaching career eh. Them really good yes.

  32. KJ attracts a lot of attention every time we play. He doesn’t score as much as we may like but he opens up space for the others. We go see. I don’t like the style of play we play at times but in Harts business it’s about string results. Get results or get fired. So once we advance he has don’t the job

  33. Yup – agree. KJ is definitely on the decline, but still has something to offer to the squad. Nevertheless, he’s got to give his all once he’s on the pitch – even if it’s for 45 minutes.

  34. I warned on this same Wired chat StVincent would not be an easy opponent on that windy dry bumpy cricket ground. No coach could be satisfied with a close score against what we perceive as a lesser opponent.
    The ground conditions the speed of the opponents front 6 and their confidence were factors as well.
    Still a good result.

  35. Kenwyne is about 31. Just accept what he gives now yes.
    Physical power particularly from set pieces, good leadership off the field, unselfish and he worries opposing defences.
    We just have to largely put up with the weaknesses while he beg him to work as hard as he can on top.
    Now if Cornell Glen can have a heart to Hart chat with the boss, we can get some added firepower that might make a difference when things get sticky.

  36. an Away win in in WC is hard…. US loss 2/0 GUA who we beat…. they getting roasted up here…. We played absolute garbage for 70 min and looked ok OFFENSIVELY for 20…. we were suspect all day in the back,… SVG never stopped running but what was disappointing is that at no point did we really boss the game with our talent and force SVG to back down…. And team can take all the blame… poor coaching instructions caused the 2nd goal… you can’t fight back in a WCQ to lead 2/1 and still play as if you are chasing a game…. THAT is how you get beat…… the real test is the return leg on a bigger and better pitch… let’s see what team shows up ….

  37. Sometimes you get a poor performance but a good result. I agree with the coach, but as he said, this team is far better than the way they played. A very good performance and a big win is now required on Tuesday. Was the Guatemala result good or bad for us?? I think we need to see the result of the return game on Tuesday to get the answer. A win for Guatemala or a draw may make yesterday’s result good for us. However a USA win will make it bad. Whichever way we need to win big on Tuesday.

  38. I was not impressed by the performance but given the fact they have been performing well recently ,I would just take the 3 points and move on…..BTW ground conditions were not up to standards…

  39. KJ is not the problem, but he does need to up his game and intensity a notch. He’s been a bit too casual on offense. But sometimes you win and don’t play well. I’ll take the 3 points and continue to work on our deficiencies. That’s why we’re paying Hart the big bucks???

  40. And this is why I like Steven Hart …straight shooter

  41. Locating the problem is step one…

  42. Hart needs to send this message, that the performance is not acceptable. They players need to hear and understand that they did not perform at the required level though we won. On two many occasions the middle field did not pressure the Vincy passer. We should beat this team at 3-0 not a last minute victory.

  43. Earl Best

    The story does not tell us whether Hart accepts any responsibility for the poor showing nor does the story itself offer any explanation. Maybe it’s not information that Coach Hart wants out there before Tuesday but I sure would like to find out where, in his opinion or, alternatively, in the opinion of the writer, the blame for the crap lies.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Well, I’m not sure what else I can say. In the match report, I said it was a stodgy performance rescued by Levi Garcia’s vibrant performance.
      I did not travel to St Vincent and it is harder to make a definitive assessment when I was not on live. But I would say Hart’s own analysis is spot on.
      The question is why is there still a problem in his getting players to respond to his instructions after over two years.
      I’m hoping for a better performance in Port of Spain on Tuesday and I can’t see why there wouldn’t be one.
      The irony is, whether we play well or not, if we win then we are on top of the group and just one point away from qualifying for the final round with a game to spare.
      Coaches live or die on their results. And there is no question that his results have been good.

  44. Very honest assesment by him

  45. Hart is very correct some of the more experienced players are not giving him what he wants, complacency is setting in it seems

  46. me too …to concede 2 goals to SVG?