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Kenwyne: Don’t put too much pressure on Levi; Warriors ready to finish job

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team captain Kenwyne Jones has urged “Soca Warriors” supporters not to heap too much responsibility on Levi Garcia just yet, after the 18-year-old Netherlands-based winger shone in their 3-2 win over St Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday afternoon.

Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with "Soca Warriors" fans after his double set a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) celebrates with “Soca Warriors” fans after his double set a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale on 25 March 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Garcia, who plays professionally for Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar, came off the bench to score twice against the “Vincey Heat” and, in the process, became the youngest Trinidad and Tobago player ever to score in a World Cup qualifier.

But Jones, who also made his international debut as a teenager, is urging the public to make realistic demands on the former Shiva Boys Hindu College student and Siparia Spurs player.

“He did well (but) I don’t want the public to put too much pressure on him,” Jones told the TTFA Media “He is being well coached where he is and I am happy for the start that he had. And hopefully he can go on and become a very integral part of the team.

“At the same time, he still has a lot to learn and I do hope he takes those lessons well and go on and fulfil his potential.”

Jones, a former England Premier League player who now earns his living with Abu-Dhabi club Al Jazira, claimed that the Warriors were never in danger of dropping points against St Vincent, despite trailing 1-0 at halftime.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) tussles with St Vincent and the Grenadines captain Roy Richards 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 captain Kenwyne Jones (left) tussles with St Vincent and the Grenadines captain Roy Richards 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)

“It was one of those games when we weren’t at our best,” said Jones. “We had to depend a bit on individual brilliance. I don’t think the team was at any point in danger of not winning the game. But I think we were just off the pace mentally.

“I don’t think we will be having that problems in this game (on Tuesday March 29). It was our hurdle which we had to cross and we crossed it.

“And now we are looking (forward) to playing at home and getting back that style and identity that we had.”

Warriors head coach Stephen Hart said the squad has put its patchy performance in Arnos Vale behind them and are now focused on doing better at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“We’ve sort of finished thinking about the win on Friday and now the focus moves solely to Tuesday’s game and getting three points,” said Hart. “We spoke about the game and the players realise that it wasn’t one of our better performances. But we accept that the result was the most important thing.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart juggles a football during practice before his team's 2016 Copa America play off contest against Haiti. (Copyright AFP 2016)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart juggles a football during practice before his team’s 2016 Copa America play off contest against Haiti.
(Copyright AFP 2016)

“And now when you look at the other result with Guatemala and the USA, it sort of throws the group wide open. We don’t want to look ahead too far but we know that, as a team, we have to stay focused and ensure that we keep improving in every aspect.”

Jones was unfazed by the new dynamics of Group C, after Guatemala’s 2-0 home win over the United States meant that the three nations remain in the hunt for two spots for the final CONCACAF qualifying round.

“The result (in Guatemala) doesn’t change our focus,” said Jones. “We know what we set out to do regardless of what happens in front of us or behind us.

“We still have our personal goals and we are going to go out on Tuesday and get a step closer.”

Jones was a member of the Warriors squad that gained international attention at the Germany 2006 World Cup. He is desperate to get to the Russia 2018 edition and urged supporters to come out and support the team on Tuesday.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans get behind their team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, during their World Cup qualifying clash with the United States on 17 November 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football fans get behind their team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, during their World Cup qualifying clash with the United States on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“Just like how we are going through the paces of this qualification, it’s important that we have the public coming out and showing their support,” said Jones. “We are going to need them in the next round once we get there. And we’d like to have them supporting us from the get go to make the journey even sweeter.

“We want to change the script from how it was in 2004, 2005 and 2006. I believe that this team has a lot of potential and we have a goal in mind to go to the World Cup.

“We are asking the public to come out again in their numbers to give us that moral and physical support.”

Trinidad and Tobago kick off against St Vincent and the Grenadines at 7 pm. Tickets are available for TT$300 (covered stands) and TT$150 (uncovered stands).

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41 comments

  1. And I am just sharing my testimony eh Anthony Sherwood and Dion Sosa for many years I have spent thousands of dollars helping the same kind of players that you all are talking about because of my passion/ addiction that had for our players, the sport and our sweet country and wanted to see them make it either professionally or receiving a football scholarship to get their degrees to finally get a job and take care of their families and I use to throw boat rides and party functions in order to do so and also thanks to the United Nations my job because the monies was great for what I did eh, and a few sponsors, but as Lasana Liburd said it must be a business and making monies because you all have a family and bills to pay and when some if not all make it professionally abroad and making their big monies many of them rarely looks back and don’t even send balls, uniforms, bibs, and other equipment for the program and to help others like themselves to carry on what you both and others love doing for the players , many of them are selfish and they tends to forget where they came from. so it is nothing personal when your academies is run like a business and you all can really learn that lesson very well from Proof. Ron La Forre and Coach Terry Fenwick when it comes to either their coaching academies or being hired to Coach a team in the Super or Professional league….Respect.

  2. Every football/sports team does have a savior eh. Pele,Maradona, Becky. Cryuff (R.I.P.) Garinncha (R.I.P.) Michael Jordan, Russell Latapy – The Little Magician the only reason why we finally made it to the 2006 World Cup in Germany eh, and now another star is born to really match up against the USA team who is also rebuilding eh, yuh see what happened to them against Guatemala eh, but the problem with our Soca Worries is our defenders and if they doesn’t get their acts together eh, they better forget about joining the final six teams eh. Them really good yes.

    • The defense is a real enigma for me. Sometimes I feel Hart does get it wrong too, but then again I doh know what he sees in the practices. Also I feel like given the formation there are too many gaps in the middle of the field placing added pressure on the defense. Hyland is very up and down for me. If only George wasn’t still trying to find a team I would have Boucaud and George in the hole to clean up. Cyrus seems to often be way too far up the pitch too often and has to rely on his speed to get back which he does fairly well but then his tackling isn’t always ideal after those lung busting runs. He is much better at taking the ball cleanly from opponents and makes much better decisions as well when he is in position. As for all teams having a savior I can agree but I don’t think it is time yet to put all that weight on and 18 year old shoulders. Let Levi worry about simply going out and doing what he does best for both club and country until such time as it becomes necessary for him to carry that burden. Small man need to just live and enjoy he football and see how far it can take him without the pressure and distraction of having to lead the Warriors. KJ can handle it!

    • Well I understand what you are saying eh, and yes he is still young and it is his time now to enjoy his football career and keep our flag flying very high eh, and I am really hoping that more of our 18 yr olds follow is footsteps eh.Lets also keep him in our prayers.

    • Sherwood need to Have a full fledged academy. He did well keeping Levi ready for when he had to go to AZ. I hope he can influence more youth because he really seems to care and have a very good understanding of how to groom these young ballers.

    • I agree with you 1000% and others like Anthony Sherwood who also have football academies really needs to understand the vision instead of just doing it for the monies eh. Them really good yes.

    • Mango you on shit talk here or you serious…if you on shit talk then take a ride down south one day and have a look of the composition of players in our football environment…many of them come from nothing so don’t bring that dotish money talk around me boss. I take real offense to that…

    • If anything, I want to encourage Tony to be more about the money if only so his academy can grow and reach more people.
      If a man is showing signs of progress and success, we can’t tear him down without grounds Mango.

    • Anthony Sherwood I think you misunderstood what I said boss I wasn’t referring to you eh when I mentioned about the monies eh, so please doh hut up your head eh.

    • Alright bro, cuz you know where I came from – Gonzales Village Guapo…money is one thing I never had growing up and to this day, it has never influenced any of the decisions that I have made. The success that a kid like Levi is having gives me more joy than a dollar ever could…respect.

    • Just to let you know I am not only passionate about the beautiful game and our sweet country and I know if it wasn’t for your foot injuries like myself you wudda made it really big in the football world and make plenty monies eh LOL , and the next time you run into Jan Steadman yuh must ask him about me because alot of folks really don’t know how good I was with the ball and why I keep on saying that our national team is missing a real midfield general/ prolific goalscorers who reads the game and can distribute passes on a dime and that was my position when I played the beautiful game back in meh days lol hence the reason why bound not to score KJ looking like that eh, he needs a midfield general with him to always look good and last but not least I know what you are doing with your academy so I wasn’t surprise that Levi is in Holland eh, so just keep up the great work, your blessings are on the way……respect.

    • I can vouch for anthony sherwood the brother is just like he real grass roots we both have great passion 2 help these youths I wish more guys were like him jah lillywhite and anthony creece genuine guys with the heart for better the youths

    • So what about “Dada Wickham eh, who is responsible for plenty other great footballers eh, including Kerwin “Hardest” Jemmot eh, and stay tuned eh Dion, because his son getting on bad, bad, with the ball eh and he promised me that he will be better than his father with confidence and yes I am his manager for life so it will be ah done deal eh. LOL

    • Boy Mango you could real put yuh foot in yuh mouth papa. No doubt yuh passionate bout ball but sometimes slow yuh roll a lil and think a lil bit more about what yuh saying sometimes …. … something I think we could all do at times …. constructive criticism but warranted.

    • Malik if you really know me eh, you wouldn’t be saying that eh, I like plenty Shit Talk as Anthony Sherwood stated eh, and pecong well I am the king, and ah just love to pound our bound not to score KJ eh, nothing personal and as I said in another post our Soca Worries is really missing a real midfield/ playmaker/dribbler/ goalscorer that can really put it on a dime for KJ to score and make him look good all he have to do is find himself in the right spaces on the field of play and it is ah done deal eh, so doh take me on to much eh. hahahaha

  3. That’s is the dumbest statement any Captain could make eh Sigmund Mad-Scorpion Williams, what pressure Levi could be under eh, playing against that bootleg St, Vincent team eh, like forget that he is playing real professional football in Holland or what eh. You really good yes,

    • That is not what I get from KJs message at all. To me he seems to be saying let the kid mature at the pace he is already going and do not try to make him feel like he has to be the savior or live up to any hype that his debut may bring with it. Is not about SVG but bigger picture. Remember all the hype Freddy Adu got? Where is he today? There are many players from various nationalities that never met their potential. Not because they weren’t capable, but because they were being pushed and expected to do too much far too soon. That’s why KJ alluded to Garcia being coached in a fine manner where he is.

    • Well the way our Soca Worries playing eh, Levi will really be the savior of the team eh and please don’t talk about Freddy Adu eh, because the only reason why he was a failure because his mother like others mothers in our sweet country who although held back some players football carrers didn’t want him to go abroad at his very young age eh, was it 16 yrs old eh, and she should have let him done so eh, because he wudda made it really big in Europe instead of staying and playing in that bootleg MLS pro league eh and I dun talk. Them really good yes.

    • I find we fans does push the panic button way too quickly. The mark of a good team is when yuh able to win even if yuh eh play well. Hart is building them for the long haul and even on days when KJ not at his best he is still a leader that galvanizes the team and tries to do the little things. Yes Levi individual skill came in very handy at the right time, but that doh mean he will be or has to be our savior. All he has to do is be able to go out and as Hart told him “go and play yuh game like yuh know how to.” He doh need the weight of the entire warrior fanbase on he mind when he out there. As for this notion about how the team going, we need to keep some context here. In 3 WCQs the team is undefeated and has 7 points. Don’t forget the displays against USA and Guatemala when evaluating them. It’s very unfair to them to look at Friday’s game in singularity. They deserve more appreciation than that and they also should have a chance to show us that, that game was a one off before we start talking about “the way they going.”

  4. KJ is right tho. Let Levi mature in his own timing. He doing a fine job already no need for any undue pressure. Aside from that I tend to agree that despite how things was looking when SVG went ahead, I was never really worried that we would lose that match. Coach watch and make subs as necessary and it proved the right move. Hart like skills men and right now with Cato and Cummings on the shelf, along with Nashy adjusting to his new body and getting back to his normal self, Garcia was just what the Dr. ordered.

  5. The pressure is actually on Kenwyne. He needs to step up his game. With Guatemala beating the US, things just got a little tricky. The skipper needs to step up.

  6. Why he doh hush he shitty tall good for nun?? he frighten he lose his spot????

  7. Why,,,,,,Levi Garcia Feet is Ground & He Understand Where he comes from & Where He Wants to Go,,,,,,Let Him Shine,,,,He plays football the Way We Should .

  8. He must say that. He seeing his pick in danger

  9. Hannibal Najjar

    The captain has spoken all the right words. The focus has to be a united one – no waving from that. The collection of united, core thought and focus is, must be a harnessing of all of the interpretations, that are to be put into one volume, one chapter, one page, one line, one word, one mind. This job begins with the ORC. My thought is, while we always almost never want to think too far ahead, and so, refrain from even glimpsing at the September encounters, we must value the strategy of backward designing. This game is very crucially tied to those two end group games – stringing this period with that. Further, we have to score when we are struggling to, especially, at home and not concede as easily.

  10. hahahahahhahahahahahahhahaha. Bound not to score KJ really good yes.

  11. Right lol please. Thank god he and Hackshaw came on bcos they were not looking sharp offensively and we were completely loss and beaten defensively. .

  12. or simply do their job… like mark players, defend as a unit, track back … SCORE…..

  13. Even bit about getting back the style and identity at home isn’t quite what I hoped. I’m still hoping we improve on everything we have done before.
    We have been more workmanlike than anything else. I think we should be doing better than we have been on the ball.

  14. Very nice to know the Warriors were just playing possum eh? Lol.

  15. A lot less pressure on Levi if other people step up and score.

  16. Ah guess the Vincy heat get to him when he make the comments…. send him the tape of the game so that he could see the nonsense we played for 70+ odd minutes and ask him why he didnt score the 1 v 1 early in the 1st half to ease nerves…. KJ is kicks yes….

  17. I am clearly reading this wrong. Did the man say they were never in danger of dropping points?

  18. Brian – you’re in the picture.

  19. Ok bro, stop playing s*~t then so he wouldn’t have to save us!