Home / Volley / Global Football / What now? World Cup 2006 goalie, Jack, on Hart, Molino and T&T’s Russia campaign

What now? World Cup 2006 goalie, Jack, on Hart, Molino and T&T’s Russia campaign

The final round of Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying games have begun and it’s obvious that our start has been poor. But the question is: Why?

There is a very simple answer. These teams in the Hex are better than us technically and we haven’t been tactically astute enough to combat our technical deficiencies.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Jomal Williams (centre) tries hold off Costa Rica defenders Johnny Acosta (left) and Francisco Calvo during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Jomal Williams (centre) tries hold off Costa Rica defenders Johnny Acosta (left) and Francisco Calvo during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

First, Costa Rica. They are undoubtedly a quality team but I would have expected us to be more assertive in the way we approached the game. Reviewing the game I’m not sure what our approach was.

Costa Rica had 54% possession away from home and it was far too easy for them in my opinion. Costa Rica were in control of the game without being overly dangerous but, as the game went on, one had the feeling that their extra quality would come through.

The Costa Rican manager was very clever in that he never committed too many bodies forward to open them up to the counter attack while we played far too slowly and without passion. I would have expected us to fly out of the traps and immediately let Costa Rica know that they’re in a proper football match. That performance at home lacked intensity, concentration and alertness and we conceded silly goals.

Next came Honduras. Playing Honduras in San Pedro Sula is a tough assignment. They are a very athletic team and are a really physical bunch.

Honduras did to us what we should’ve done to Costa Rica. They were on us like a stubborn rash and they refused to allow us to settle. Their passion was there for all to see and their home fans roared them on.

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)

Again, I’m not sure what our plan was. At times we attempted to go toe to toe with them and at times it appeared as though we wanted to counter attack but we were desperately poor in executing the latter effectively.

To be brutally honest, we were poor. What also concerns me is what appears to be a lack of leadership within the squad. Our game management was poor. Honduras had a staggering 72% possession and, I’m sorry, you will rarely ever win any football match giving up that much possession.

We looked dangerous at set pieces but from open play we never really looked like scoring. The goals we conceded were certainly preventable and that would disappoint the coach for sure.

Where do we go from here?  The manager is a football man and I’m sure he is mortified with the lack of intensity displayed by his players. This break until March is good as it gives the staff and the players time to reflect on their performances.

On the plus side, there are still enough points to play for. But the minus side is how are we going to get these points. It will be very tough. The United States have started poorly but they will almost certainly qualify.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

We have four more home games against Mexico, USA, Panama and Honduras. Can we win them all? I doubt it.

Then, we have away fixtures against Mexico, USA, Costa Rica and Panama. We definitely will not win all our remaining away games. I think 14 points may be enough for fourth place and the Play Off round and we have to find a way to get these points. I think we have to play on the counterattack.

Consider this, we have conceded 24 goals in the last 10 games. That’s an abysmal record and unless you’re a free scoring team you would lose most of those matches. This statistic tells me that we are not defending well. We must correct that fast.

We cannot go toe to toe with these teams as they are fundamentally better than us. We have to be tight and not concede and then try to hurt them on the break. I think we have enough pace to do it.

Are we good enough tactically to do this? Can the coach implement this?

He would be racking his brains trying to find a solution.

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)

I have observed that many pundits are calling for coach Stephen Hart’s head. I’m not so sure changing the coach now would be beneficial. It worked for us 11 years ago but I’m not sure if it would work now.

Leo Beenhakker was terrific as he is vastly experienced and had managed the likes of Real Madrid and Holland. His appointment worked for me personally as straight away he had belief in my talent. I worked my socks off for him as he was inspirational.

A new coach would have to get the players to buy into his philosophy and methods. When is he going to do this? This isn’t club football when the manager has you all week preparing. He would mostly likely have four or five days before the next game to get his points across.

Unless it’s someone of very, very high quality, I think it’s an almighty gamble. Mr Hart, in my opinion, should be given a bit more time to turn things around.

Football is a results business and the coach would know this. It’s also an industry where you must have thick skin and be steadfast in your philosophy. Mr Hart is being criticised now and he must take it on the chin as he is in charge. He is the boss and it’s part of football.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart reacts to the final whistle in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

But while the coach is there, we have to support him as it’s a lonely place, especially when results are going against you. Support your coach.

As for the players, don’t for one second believe they are blameless for this start. Mr Kevin Molino is a talented boy but he let himself, his family, his teammates and the fans down by his indiscretions. His actions were childish and created an unnecessary distraction.

He may be disappointed to read me saying this but I’m not lying. It’s the truth and he should have known better. I mentioned recently that, if I was the coach, the penalty would’ve been more severe mainly due to the fact in happened not once but twice.

I hope he learns and is more focused and mature enough to understand what is at stake here.

The other boys must re-focus as well. They will all know if they played well or not. They are professionals. They have to limit individual mistakes and this comes from concentration.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielders (from left) Kevin Molino, Andre Boucaud and Khaleem Hyland prepare for kick off against St Vincent and the Grenadines in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016.  Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0. (Courtesy: Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielders (from left) Kevin Molino, Andre Boucaud and Khaleem Hyland prepare for kick off against St Vincent and the Grenadines in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0.
(Courtesy: Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

After every international during our qualification for the 2006 World Cup, when I went back to Dundee, I would visualise every game and even every training session at night.

It was an obsession to ensure I did everything possible so my own performance would not let down Trinidad and Tobago. Qualification is all I thought about. I was possessed by this goal.

When I trained with my club, I reminded myself that I was an international player aspiring to play in the World Cup finals, so every training session and game must reflect that. I was no longer only a club player.

The players would have certainly lost confidence as losing sucks it out of you. But there is always the next game to put it right, and that’s what they need to do.

It’s time to man up, perform and, most importantly, give maximum effort.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) is helped to the dressing room by defender Yohance Marshall (centre) while captain Kenwyne Jones (right) looks on after 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) is helped to the dressing room by defender Yohance Marshall (centre) while captain Kenwyne Jones (right) looks on after 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

About Kelvin Jack

Kelvin Jack
Kelvin Jack is a former Trinidad and Tobago international football team goalkeeper and was first choice at the 2006 Germany World Cup although injury restricted him to one outing against Paraguay. Jack is an ex-San Juan Jabloteh captain and played professionally in the UK with Dundee (Scotland) and Gillingham (England).

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171 comments

  1. I remember Jack in 2005 and the level he was at before Leo compared to the games against Bahrain was a vast improvement. Lawrence and Cyd Gray fall in this situation as well. No disrespect to any of the guys called.

  2. Wat about Guerra

  3. Reading this took me back to the 2006 World Cup. I was pleased to see the three commentators on the Canadian feed use Kelvin as the example of what proper goal tending was all about in their postmortem . They would point out the particular error of a particular goalie, then show what Kelvin did in a similar position. Never forgot that.

    • Wow. They used clips from the Paraguay game or the Bahrain game?

    • And just imagine that Kelvin Jack was Coach Leo Beenhakker first choice eh and he wasn’t even plying his trade in the EPL but when all of sudden eh, he got injured and then the real EPL goal keeper Shaka Hislop finally got to play eh, but if our first choice had played against the bootleg England team eh, our Soca Worries wasn’t loosing at all eh. steeuupss. Them really good yes

    • Mango, Shaka was brilliant against Sweden and England. Kelvin was the first choice. But Shaka didn’t put a foot wrong from what I remember.
      I remember in the mixed zone after the Sweden match, Zlatan Ibrahimovic told me that he couldn’t believe Shaka was considered a second string goalie for any team.

    • Lasana Liburd I don’t recall Lasana , but I remember the elder commentator with an English accent saying as they pulled up the clip ” now look how Kelvin Jack the TnT goalie responded to the same situation.” I also remember him saying ” Trini to tha bone” with his strong English accent after we drew with Sweden .

    • Yeah because the same Zlatan didn’t see our number 1 choice Kelvin Jack steeuupss and I won a very big set ah monies when I said that the fella from Liverfool wudda ah score on our second choice Shaka Hislop eh, because he always scored on him in the EPL league. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  4. One the Daniel Cyrus issue, what do you think of possibly replacing him with Carlos Edwards?

  5. just looking at this pic , a indicipline bunch of athletes, what can any coach do withthem

  6. Excellent article. The T&T squad is young and inexperienced coming up against better organized teams with much more experience. The 2006 T&T team had lots of players with pro experience in England & Scotland and still just scraped through with a top international coach. As Kelvin Jack said, more passion from players and a revised tactical approach by the coach to strengthen the defense and to keep possession for longer periods is needed. This would not guarantee winning but would give the team a better chance.

  7. I love Trinidad eeh but we football team is fucking shit an them love to show off

  8. All the overseas players playing to soft it have players in the pro league who’s not a afraid to get injured and will to give full hundred