Trinidad and Tobago defensive duo Radanfah Abu Bakr and Sheldon Bateau were rated as this country’s top two performing players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
This is according to the official Technical Report compiled and released by the tournament’s technical study group on November 18th.
Oscar Benitez of El Salvador, Carl Brown (Jamaica), Luis Miguel Hernandez of Honduras, Wilmer Cabrera (USA), Ramon Maradiaga (Honduras), Keith Look Loy (Trinidad and Tobago) and Eduardo Rergis of Mexico.
T&T topped their group, beating Guatemala (3-1), Cuba (2-0) and holding Mexico to a thrilling 4-4 draw, described as the best game ever in Gold Cup history. The technical committee felt that Trinidad and Tobago played very well, even surpassing Mexico, the eventual tournament winners, at the group stage.
T&T footballers won Man-of-the-Match awards in three of four matches played—Joevin Jones against Guatemala, Andre Boucard against Cuba and Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings against Mexico.
Panama goalie Jaime Pinedo was Match-of-the-Match in their quarter-final when he made saves twice when T&T were in a position to win via a shootout. After a 120 minute 1-1 draw, Panama won the quarter-final 6-5 on spot-kicks.
“The team displayed solid physical strength as well as drive and will, becoming an example of courage in the match against a powerful Mexico.
The team had good collective and individual play, particularly by Abu Bakr, who was one of the tournament’s most consistent players, and Sheldon Bateau. Both players were good at ball interceptions and very effective in aerial plays.
“The technical group (team staff) kept the team motivated throughout the tournament. Tactical preparation was good, particularly in the match against Guatemala, where they applied pressure from that the start and won the match
“It was disappointing having the team (Trinidad and Tobago) leave the tournament losing on penalty kicks against Panama, but the team should be proud of the way it played at the Gold Cup 2015,” the report stated.
“Trinidad and Tobago showed it is a team with great potential for technical development, which together with its innate physical strengths, provides it with the ability to become an efficient team.
Trinidad and Tobago’s best players, according to the report were defenders Bateau and Abu-Bakr; midfielders Andre Boucard and Kevan George; and striker and captain Kenwyne Jones as well as Cordell Cato and Khaleem Hyland.. Bateau was credited for his aerial strength and Bakr for strong defence.
“The team had good collective and individual play, particularly the #6 Abu-Bakr, who was one of the tournament’s most consistent players, and No.4 Sheldon Bateau. Both players were good at ball interceptions and very good aerial play.”
George, was described as team leader, “a team organiser”, with very good technique and Boucard as another team leader. Jones was termed a dangerous player with his physical strength and power, but was said to be immobile and apathetic at times. CONCACAF found that all the Caribbean teams had improved significantly and that Trinidad and Tobago was great defensively.
“They kept consistent pressure on opponents, individually and collectively,” the report said.“Mainly big, strong, fast players with good physical fitness in the matches and compact in the defence, but not in the attacking lines.”
With a solid defence that conceded two goals in three matches; except for the thrilling 4-4 draw with champions Mexico, T&T also finished the tournament as third highest scorers (10 goals), behind Mexico (16) and the USA (12).
T&T were criticised for not having enough players in attack, and the otherwise solid central midfield not being close enough to supporting the attack. Most goals were said to be scored from individual effort rather than good team play.
“A structure in attack was not evident,” the report stated.”
Wide midfielders Joevin Jones, Cordell Cato and Cummings were described as quick, skillful, and dangerous in the wide positions, but inconsistent,.
The report said further improvement will come from Trinidad and Tobago putting more bodies into the
attack; attacking as a compact group; and taking more shot at goals from close and mid-range.