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Men against boys! Hart criticises effort after T&T crash to defeat in Honduras

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart slated his players’ effort in San Pedro Sula last night, after the Soca Warriors slumped to a 3-1 loss to Honduras in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Estadio Olimpico.

The Warriors have lost their two opening games of the CONCACAF Hex, which leaves them one place off the bottom of the table. Surprisingly, they have the United States for company after coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team slumped to a 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica in San Jose. But it was scant consolation for Hart.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (right) passes on instructions to left back Aubrey David during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (right) passes on instructions to left back Aubrey David during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“In Honduras [last night], it looked at times like men playing boys,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “They were first to the ball and even when we were in possession, they were moving us aside, they were getting a foot in and covering each other very, very well.”

Trinidad and Tobago lost goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams to a concussion in the opening 10 minutes and then fell two goals behind within the first 20 minutes of the match.

Hart admitted that his players were unable to match the commitment and movement of their Central American hosts.

“We gave up two early goals [which] allowed them to get on top of us [and] I thought both goals were preventable,” said Hart. “We were just physically manhandled today. I’m not pleased with the level of commitment—[or] maybe it is the level of fitness.

“We are not closing off space quick enough in the transition and getting back in the defensive shape after we attack. When we do attack, we are leaving people in isolation. Our filling of space defensive and offensively [was inadequate], we have to put way more physical effort.”

Photo: Honduras winger Boniek Garcia (right) and Emilio Izaguirre (left) vie for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016. (Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)
Photo: Honduras winger Boniek Garcia (right) and Emilio Izaguirre (left) vie for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago winger Cordell Cato during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)

Hart made just one change to the Warriors team that lost 2-0 at home to Costa Rica last Friday, with speedy forward Trevin Caesar replacing attacking midfielder Jomal Williams.

He hinted that more adjustments will be made to his squad, as he seeks out players with the right mentality to compete at this level.

“Even in possession, we are not playing with enough triangulation and we are just not playing fast enough,” said Hart. “And there are a lot of players who don’t seem to be willing to run. We’re dropping our heads and pointing fingers when we need to fight…

“We have four of the 23 players who have played in the Hex before and I don’t think the mindset of some of the players is prepared [to fight at this level]. And when a team lacks that kind of experience [and] people who know what it takes to [make it] happen, it becomes a very, very uphill task.”

Trinidad and Tobago host Suriname and Haiti next in 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Play Off action on 4 and 8 January 2017 before they return to World Cup action with successive home qualifiers against Panama and Mexico on 24 and 27 March. Hart is targeting six points.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (centre) gives instructions to substitutes (from right) Andre Boucaud, Willis Plaza and Jomal Williams during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016. (Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart (centre) gives instructions to substitutes (from right) Andre Boucaud, Willis Plaza and Jomal Williams during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 15 November 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Orlando Sierra)

“We have two [World Cup qualifying] games in March, which we have to look to get six points from,” said Hart. “We are in a situation where we have placed ourselves behind the eight-ball. [But] we have three games in January to try to qualify for the Gold Cup, which should serve us well.”

The Warriors are due to leave Honduras on Thursday, although some of the foreign-based players fly out later today.

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102 comments

  1. So Hart called it as he saw it and everybody vex. Who’s in a better position to know the capabilities or lack thereof of his team? But now the Monday morning coaches down his throat. You would swear we have a Neymar, Rinaldo, Messiah or anybody close to their ilk playing for us. Harry i say to ass with all ah dem. You knew you were being set up by DJW from day one. Fire the wuk and go find a team who are 100% committed to the game and their shirt.

  2. I agree with Mr. Heart that we are not see quite the effort needed at this level, whatever reasons it is fitness ET Al. However he as the technical person also have to take blame for the poor performance. Look if we want to play these teams our technical abilities have to improve. We cannot play the very defensive, direct football that is quite evidently the style which is being used. So we’ll done Mr. Heart in pointing out a somewhat lack luster performance from your men, however the ball is in your court and you have to change your tactics or we will not see past this round. I would like to see more attacking play from the wingbacks. Mr. Hyland is not one of our best attacking midfielders, bring someone else.

  3. So the coach can’t say publicly that he is disappointed with the teams performance? That had to be a trini thing. After all some of his starting 11 loves party. Have you ever seen an international match where the manager’s face is all angry. No its not “well done” in Spanish nor do they get lollipops in the changing rooms. Is level buff. It’s not like the teams track record was hidden, this was coming. And knowing how much support one is actually given hmmmm

  4. U cannot afford passengers on the team… insisting on playing kenwyn and even cyrus in the last couple games is making no sense… not bashing them but they just don’t have the legs anymore… Kenwyn never got up to more than a trot…. so we were playing with 10 men effectively… and not for nothing he would sub the man he even moved him all d way back to defensive mid where they played circles around him because he never moved… Hart can’t be serious…

  5. Well said Anees Ali I am in total agreement! Couldn’t have said it any better! Alot of factors off d field affecting performance and quality! We forget d good so easily and readily

  6. Trinidad and Tobago footballers are not serious at all. Your not seeing the hunger, passion and drive. Is like pro-league football they playing. Come on Coach, send your Scouts out there internationally. Dig deep !. If we don’t get it right before March, well then is failure. It have alot of Alcoholic players on the side who busy drinking and partying having a good time not knowing sacrifice is needed around this time. All i can say at time, the rest of the teams that are in the HEX, really hungry and want to reach the World Cup.

  7. I think the psychology of the entire team is affected with the Molino incident. Personally Hart I think has brought our football up from where it was 3-4 years ago when he took over. However he needs to get our players to play football and not just laze around on the field or run like madmen in a disorganised manner. Just last year we were playing brilliant football. Holding off at least a draw against the top teams and defeating the teams we were expected to. Things need to change before the next 2 qualifiers in March. I thinks that’s enough time

    • Well said sir, Mr. Heart has to remember he is the coach. He made a decision to leave out Molino, well alright, what changes has he put to off set that, it’s not as simple as just changing a player. We need to change our tactical approach, this direct football not working and if Mr. Heart would like to continue playing it, put players who could play it.

  8. I agree with Ivor Thomas….the team lacks intensity. Their fitness is no problem…their conditioning though, that’s where the issues lies.The mental fortitude to keep pushing, concentrate and focus is also a problem in that it happens to too many players at crucial points in the game. Cyrus has been caught ‘ball-watching’ many times. In the Costa Rica game the guy scored at his back door, but he came over to help as the MF did not track the guy who made the initial run into the box. Further, the two defenders should never have missed that cross…lack of composure. So the ‘team’ must come in for some stick even though some players may have performed creditably. If Hart is smart he would subsequently have spoken to each player individually. Many have been calling for Hart’s head, but I feel he’s done a good job thus far. He needs more support administratively….the discipline in the team is becoming a major issue….heads must roll in order to reel it back in.

  9. Fabio Capello struggled to get England to perform well. While the coach has a part to play firing may not always be the solution.

  10. Hart and TTFF admit it, this coach is out of his depth, these qualifiers are not in his League.
    How many more excuses can we take, how many more?

  11. Based on what I have seen, Coach Hart seems unwilling to accept the shortcomings of the team, and to make the necessary adjustments. The negatives are always the same, same players, same. Whilst our pool is not the largest, I really believe that he could be making some team changes. On another note, the TTFA have not made enough effort to look outside for players. I can call a few names of trini roots players in England playing, we have not capitalized on this to expand our pool. I support my Warriors 110%, but want to see some proactive moves by TTFA and Coach. Players do not seem motivated, why? Lasana Liburd, I recall reading that the Manager did not travel with Team because of expired passport?

  12. Hart himself need to go he got a job to do and fail to do it.. he needs to go.

  13. Unfortunately I think Hart is out of his league now…..He did well with the team at lower levels of competition…all of these comments are true to some extent…how does an ineffective striker with a very low work output continue to keep his spot to the detriment of others is a question only coach and captain can answer….the ttff needs to act now or forget this campaign

  14. Changing the coach at this time is ill advised. TTFF needs to explore other players around the world with Trini parentage including a goalkeeper

  15. All a coach can do is coach the players .these bunch of amateur school boys have to put there training to the test big f for the players they not showing heart just a bunch of confused school boys

  16. With the style of football he have them playing he should be the last one criticizing. He lucky he’s still the coach with the shit system he have them playing

  17. Hart feel he know his side…. Pls fire this guy ? get an international experienced coach.. Not one who coached Canada

  18. As long as Jones is our main striker we could forget about the finals

  19. He is a low budget coach ?
    And who does really do the scouting for TNT boi. Have better youth not even discovered yet out here.

  20. maybe we should try gung-ho football rather than try to play tactical football cause clearly some players don’t have to mental capacity to concentrate for long periods. By gung-ho i mean attack and dont worry bout defending.

  21. He is right they looked ordinary

  22. Smh…. Hart Need To Have A Heart And Give Other Players a Chance to Play, Change Ur Starting Line up, Use different Tactics, is the same thing over and over….

  23. ..A team that lacks the talent of its opponent needs to compensate with tactical acumen and discipline, individual and collective effort, spiritual and physical bravery and also must play to its strengths. We fall short in all of the above. What do you expect from men who could party like its 1999 (or 2009) before important matches?..

  24. Not good enough period is apt. I looked at the highlights of the game and some of passages of play is just to slow. The marking and concentration very poor. There needs to be serious improvement or else T&T will be ‘also-rans’.

  25. Keith, I feel the main issue is our team’s collective unwillingness to dig deep and compete. Sure, we didn’t adjust well to Campbell’s introduction against Costa Rica.
    And I thought Honduras’ number 10, Mario Martinez, was getting a shocking amount of space between our midfield and defensive line last night.
    But in both cases, I thought we were set up on paper to keep out our opponents’ inverted wingers. But we didn’t match them for effort.

  26. I will put it this way Giovanne, I’m glad my livelihood and my ability to financially take care of my family doesn’t rely on valued employees who would go on a boat party before a critical, potentially career-defining meeting.

  27. Nothing wrong with Hart scolding his players’ collective effort, ad long as he didn’t single out any particular player(s). I think the team has abandoned some of Hart’s playing philosophy, especially the possession based game he espouses. The defense now looks uncomfortable and incapable of playing out the back. Our fitness levels is deplorable and you can’t really blame that on Hart; that’s on their clubs. He only gets them for 4-5 days each FIFA window. As a matter of fact, he won’t have them until January.

    • I’ve never been convinced by group criticism personally. Say I was playing right wing and I was rubbish. Group criticism allows me to hide behind my teammates. I might even fool myself into believing that everyone else was just as bad and take heart from that.
      Now say I was Hyland or Jan-Michael who just sacrificed their own health for the team. I’m thinking: Call names! Don’t let me be tarnished by association!
      In a previous interview, Hart says he always ensures that players know when he is unhappy with them. So I guess they won’t really be able to hide within the camp.
      But I don’t know how effective public group criticism is apart from giving the fans an idea of what you are feeling.

    • I don’t go with the Mourinho approach but I feel its pretty simple … Harty is pissed off!! The team has been rubbish and whether hyland has played well or not the team (as a whole) has been rubbish. I also feel that there is a time for tact and a time for blowouts …. Cyrus has been given chances time and time again …. and he has been a let down in fact I’d go as far as to say that Harty probably feels a lil let down by his senior players for their approach and application to the task at hand. So all the niceness had to be put on the backburner and some tough realities had to be revealed. Time to see if they gonna stand up as men and be counted or fall away like some weak lil boys ….which if is the case of the latter ..then just call up Molino and hit your parties as usual with yuh sketels cuz you don’t belong amongst the elite in the sport…..jus sayin

    • that’s group criticism in public, rest assured the individual shit-hounds being dealt with.

    • Lasana Liburd I think behind the scenes in the locker room might be s different story. I’m sure he singled out guys. As they say: “Locker room talk should stay in the locker room.”

  28. The interview said it , some players don’t have the mental capacity and fitness levels are poor prior to that he kept saying he is looking at the player pool… the coach only have these players for sometimes a week to prepare but they lack the passion to play for this country and represent us well. Fitness levels poor, poor first touch, constantly switching off in games. The progression of players from the youth levels have not been regular as indiscipline continues to plague these young boys as if the made it. They get girls and small money and them is the best thing the mentality of people in this country is the product we see.

  29. I. Really don’t understand what you people want you prepare your team they don’t execute what the hell can coach Hart do change the entire 11 the man has 3 subs face the facts the players he had are not as good as the other teams and if they don’t work hard as a. Unit the results will be the. Same

  30. Yeah but he keeps criticizing the team’s performance over the same issues when they lose game after game. He seems not to have the ability to make the necessary improvements!

  31. We are just not good enough. Hart is not to blame.

  32. There’s nothing wrong with a coach speaking harshly about his players as it happens all the time. (It’s part of being a professional and having a strong mental) Now, that game last night was nothing short of schoolboy football as we lacked in numerous areas with fitness being the main one. If your not fit, you are outmuscled the ball, you think slower , you can’t move as fast, higher chance of injury and the list goes on…….. Trevin Caesar gave us an indication of what can happen if we change our tactics as the situation requires . We are not Barcelona who can play their brand of football regardless of who they play as we simply don’t have that player pool/pedigree . It appears Hart may be unwilling to change his tactics to the level he needs to due to misplaced loyalties and honestly at this stage we can’t afford that . I greatly appreciate what he’s done thus far but I think this task may be too much for him and someone with greater World Cup pedigree may be needed. (My two cents….. o and by the way as far as Cyrus, that was the worst I’ve seen in years from any footballer)

  33. He’s absolutely correct they just can’t play

  34. Cyrus has deteriorated to a level that dropping him would just be merciful. I haven’t seen a dumber footballer in years!!

  35. Hannibal Najjar

    It was always going to be torrid for T&T playing away to Honduras especially since they, having given up all the points to Panama last Friday at home and knew that this was their absolute best chance to revive their quest for qualifying facing a beleaguered T&T squad. They were not going to even consider anything but all 3 points having lost all 3 5 days earlier in Honduras. T&T needed to at least get one/1 point to stay more alive (nothing at this stage is dead) but had to know that a very talented and sharp-and-ready set of young Olympic-experienced players, where not going to be settling for anything less than 3 points, in their back-to-back home encounter. We are in deep trouble! This began when we experienced that pre-Guatemala camp-breaking fiasco led by, Bowe Bergdahl Molino. That debacle led to a dismal but much-cherished and needed 2-2 tie against Guatemala that guaranteed us a HEX place. But, that was then followed by a trouncing to the US in the US. We recovered somewhat with a neat victory against DR, but another similar, camp-breaking, small-head favoring, move by our very own Bergdhal, “shit-snake” Molino invited a devastating loss away to minnow, but usually, very capable, Martinique. From that weakest-of-the-three-groups group qualifying rounds, we were already downward-trending, both, in spirit and resolve, and the other 5 qualifies for the Hex, were ascending in stature and resolve. We were in a downward-spiral and those 5 others were in a rising-tide level. And so, the mismatch was already evidencing itself and that is what we have thus far seen in our two Hex games. We in deep trouble. Before, in my outreach to Kenwyne Jones to shoulder both squad and country, I have now all but to relinquish that hope. Then, I said that we would not qualify without him on the field, and also, we would not qualify with him on the field without his broad-shoulder mindset that I challenged him to garner, posses, and reveal. We in real trouble. I am always mindful that we should never trouble trouble until trouble troubled us, but Molino went out, not once, but twice, and in quick succession “too boot”, (?-spelling in question), to trouble trouble! I am so sad for Stephen Hart for, as I have said several times before, he was able to garner the three legged support symptomatic of a developing country’s sturdy “campaign stool”, in 1. the team, 2. a hands-off media, and 3. a stand-still-and-quiet but, hopeful 12th-man – the nation. That was disassembled by our Bergdahl.

  36. 100% agree! I wonder if there are underlying issues [payment] since the entire team looked poor as stated above.

  37. How do we fix it is the real issue…

  38. Reyes Trinidad needs you. Lololololi

  39. There is nothing quite like a coach who supports and motivates his players! Bravo, Mr Hart! ??

  40. Cyrus was terrible and awful on the eye but he remain for 90 mins..kenwyne was non exixistent for the entire first half until Hart now realise he is to play behind a real striker..took off all the key players in that game as well..boucad..garcia should be starting and hyland..cyrus and Jones should all be benching..favouritism I suspect

  41. Hart reach a level that is to high for him..the hex is for a bigger and better manager

  42. Is he talking about the Costa Rica game?

  43. that pretty much sums it up. the physical nature of the game demands a particular aggressive mind set. I’ve witnessed youth games here where the ref blows for minor contact and awards free kicks. at times like those I always shout out to the ref and ask if the children are playing football or moral. It’s these little things that can mould a young player. let them know that the game is physical, players will rush at you and forcefully nudge you and you will have to develop the skill to deal with it with the ball at your feet. Anyway, I know that this team has what it takes because it’s the almost same team that played in the 2015 Gold Cup and they played with spirit and heart. I just would like them to get to that level again…and soon.

    • We mollycoddle our children here. They’re in their 30s and still going into mammy fridge to eat what they didn’t buy and not contributing to the mortgage.
      Too many of our children don’t grow up.

    • I echo those sentiments Lasana. Not sure that will ever change tho. We ate enabling our kids by doing just what you stated.

    • I always remember an anecdote from Hernan Crespo who said when he went to Italy he thought he knew everything. He told himself: I’m a Copa Libertadores champion. What can Italy teach me?!
      Then in his first season, he was being bounced around by defenders like Nesta who were far physically superior to him.
      What he did then was hit the gym and took his physical condition to another level.
      The same thing happened with Cristiano Ronaldo in the Premiership.
      What can Hart do if his players don’t have the ambition to better themselves so they can play at any stage?
      Time to get rid of the players who aren’t serious about this journey and what it will take.

    • Something I noticed yesterday after the game, when the players were exchanging shirts i don’t remember noticing a 6 pack (or even a 4 pack) on any of the T&T players I saw.

      When you look at professional footballers you can generally see the fitness in their bodies. We have alot of work to do to improve the fitness of this team.

      The talent is there, it just seems that we have lost the will.