T&T U-15s lose 3-0 to Costa Rica, Wilson misses penalty in Concacaf opener

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The Trinidad and Tobago Boys National Under-15 Team opened their Concacaf Championship campaign this morning with a 3-0 loss to Costa Rica at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Costa Rica scored all three goals in the opening 20 minutes and, although the Elite Team was able to subsequently stem the flow, the boys in red, white and black could not get on the scorecard themselves. The young Soca Warriors should have scored, though.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago flanker Josiah Wilson (centre) runs at the Panama defence during TTFA U-15 Invitational action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 17 July 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Attacker Nathaniel ‘Natty’ James won a penalty kick in the second half, only for winger Josiah Wilson to blast his effort against the upright. James subsequently blazed a half-chance over the bar as Trinidad and Tobago ended the affair without a goal.

The final result marked the stingiest defensive effort to date by coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s team but it was still insufficient to make a game of the affair. The Under-15 Team, which began training two and a half years ago, have now conceded 16 goals in their last four outings after losing 5-4 to Panama, 4-0 to Venezuela, 4-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Costa Rica.

Trinidad and Tobago were initially carded to face Mexico, Panama and Curaçao in Group A. However, a pull-out by Jamaica—supposedly over visa issues—created an opportunity for Fevrier to compete in Group D instead alongside Costa Rica, Portugal and Barbados.

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Fevrier told the TTFA Media that their aim is to qualify for the 2021 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and he is confident they are on the right path.

“Although results matter, we can’t only focus on that, this is about development,” said Fevrier, “and we played some unfamiliar opposition who came highly rated and we saw why in the tournament. In order for us to improve this must continue that is why I am so delighted for this new grouping.

“[…] We have to play the top teams ahead of the competition which matters, which is the qualification tournament for the 2021 FIFA Under 17 World Cup. This is my focus for this team, so leading up to that if we get opportunities to face these highly respected team we will grab at the chance.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Nathaniel James (centre) tries to escape from Mexico players Andrés Becerra (left) and Gael Garcia during the TTFA Youth Invitational tournament at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 21 July 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago face Caribbean minnows, Barbados, next from 11am on Monday before tackling Portugal from 9am on Wednesday.

Barbados are coached by former Trinidad and Tobago football icon and national coach Russell Latapy. Ironically, Latapy was in charge of the T&T U-15s at the 2017 Concacaf Championship when they conceded 21 goals in four matches against United States, Canada, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

Trinidad and Tobago lost their opening contest 4-0 to Costa Rica in 2007. After two and a half years and millions in development money—the TTFA’s Elite programme receives TT$8 million from NLCB over a four year period—the results have been marginally better so far.

Fevrier’s men will be expected to register their first win of the tournament on Monday when they face Barbados, though.

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