Dear Editor: We lost to El Salvador, but here’s why I don’t regret getting excited about Mexico result

“[…] They left their ‘liver string’ on that pitch in Texas with a 0-0 scoreline against Mexico, in a game that must have felt like three hours long! Who wouldn’t find something to celebrate in that if you were the player or coach?!

“[…] For me, celebrating a successful result is important and sometimes needed… Why else do players get together for a short celebration after a goal?”

In the following letter to the editor, ‘Red Hill Coach’ explains why he does not regret celebrating Trinidad and Tobago’s Concacaf Gold Cup draw against Mexico—even though it was followed by a 2-0 loss to El Salvador:

Photo:Trinidad and Tobago football fans get behind their team at the Toyota Stadium in Arlington, Texas during their Gold Cup clash with El Salvador on 14 July 2021.
El Salvador won 2-0.
(via TTFA Media)

Fellahs, don’t misunderstand my celebration after our Mexico win and think I was just getting away, especially after our 2-0 loss to El Salvador last night. Allow me to explain.

Trinidad and Tobago’s football was at its lowest during the Terry Fenwick tenure. The morale and enthusiasm of the players were very low, as a result of the head coach’s decisions and coaching style.

Having a player on the team that isn’t near ready to represent his country whilst leaving home a player who is much more ready also adds to the low vibes.

Fast forward to a new coach who used most of the same players with only a few new additions, only with his own style of play and a different relationship with the said players. And what we got was a sudden jab of hope, pride and honour to represent their country. 

Additionally, having experienced an improvement in our play during the Gold Cup qualifying games, we went straight into the group stage to face the current Concacaf champions, Mexico.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Jelani Peters cuts out an attempted squared pass by Mexico attacker Jesus Corona (left) during Gold Cup action at the AT&T Stadium in Frisco, Texas on 10 July 2021.
(via Concacaf)

Bear in mind these players must have had more than a few doubts, nerves and anxieties. Most of them hadn’t played regular football for almost two years, due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Yet, they left their ‘liver string’ on that pitch in Texas with a 0-0 scoreline against Mexico, in a game that must have felt like three hours long! Who wouldn’t find something to celebrate in that if you were the player or coach?!

Let’s not forget that feeling we had as players. For me, celebrating a successful result is important and sometimes needed. It restores pride, confidence, hope, etc. Why else do players get together for a short celebration after a goal?

What is important is that we quickly refocus after the celebration. Sitting here in Trinidad, I can’t say if the refocus was enforced or restored. But all in all, I am happy with ‘Coach Angus’ Eve, his staff and players under the current situation and circumstances.

Hope was restored and they showed pride and honour we want to see from our team. Last night’s game didn’t really give us the rewards for this, but they tried.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Noah Powder (centre) tries to intercept the ball while El Salvador players Darwin Ceren (left) and Marvin Monterroza watch on during Gold Cup action on 14 July 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

To end, as I always say, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) needs to forget about investing in the present—invest in the future.

In the past, if the TTFA had a million to spend, they would put the majority on the senior teams with virtually nothing left for the junior levels. My view is that the TTFA needs to spend its time and money on the youths and start planning for the next two World Cups.

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