With the resumption of World Cup qualifying quickly approaching, We sat down with Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau to find out what his thoughts are on the qualifiers, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago in Russia and the upcoming “Warriors” talent.
TTFA Media: What’s in your head at the moment as we look ahead to the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers with St Vincent and the Grenadines?
SB: At the moment I must say that I’m pretty much excited and motivated to continue the good job with the team that we’ve done thus far in the campaign
TTFA Media: What are your feelings on coming back into the team after missing out on the Copa America playoff with Haiti in January?
SB: Missing out on game against Haiti was a bit heart wrenching, knowing that I couldn’t be there to fight with the boys and also the fact that I know if we had performed the way we could we would surely be in the Copa right now (but that’s in the past and I hope we can move on as a group and a country and continue doing well on the road to Russia.
TTFA Media: What are do you think are the key factors that have made this team into a close-knit unit?
SB:I think the main strength of the team that creates the tight bond we have is firstly the mixture we have of youth and experienced players, and also our experienced players can relate to the younger players so there’s no gap in communication which helps to keep a certain level of humbleness and maturity within the group. Secondly I think we’re all on the same page when it comes to wanting to change football in Trinidad and Tobago and take the team and country back to the level we’re suppose to be on.
TTFA Media: What are your feelings on the return of Kevin Molino and Hughtun Hector?
SB:I’m actually elated to see Kevin and Hector back on the pitch again, it’s no secret that they are both quality players and can add the finishing touch to the team.
TTFA Media: As one of the players who came out of the T&T Pro League, what are your thoughts on some of the players from the league who recently got an opportunity to play for the National Team and are now in the World Cup squad?
SB: I think this is a great opportunity for the local players and I think this is something that should be done more often like the coach wants because it’s normal in other countries to have a local squad active while the overseas players are unavailable but I urge them to embrace the opportunity and make the most of it because whether local or foreign as long as you can add something to the team you’ll be involved more often if not immediately but this is also a good chance for the coach to increase his players pool and have more options going forward.
To me it doesn’t matter the opponent nor the title of the match but it’s a matter of setting the tone and sending the message for years to come that it’s a new generation and we’re here to dominate as Trinidad and Tobago and not Trinidad and Tobago locals or foreigners for that matter. Results don’t matter in matches like that one against Grenada but what matters most is doing the things they need to do individually and collectively to get a positive result.
TTFA Media: What is the atmosphere like in Russia as it relates to the World Cup in 2018
SB: Currently there’s a lot of construction going with all the new stadiums and making things and life more attractive and presentable but I think for now this is still calm but for sure it’s going to increase by the end of this year because already some people are anticipating the first kickoff.
TTFA Media:What about that, the scenes in Russia, gives you an added buzz about your home country having a presence there, the Team and the People of T&T?
SB: I think to bring my country to play in the World Cup in Russia would be a dream come true because sometimes they ask where is Trinidad and Tobago and what’s it like there and most times I need to show some videos on YouTube (laughs) but it’s really difficult to explain because here they don’t know what ‘real vibes’ and ‘carnival atmosphere’ is like. So for me it would be a pleasure to bring it to them live and direct and probably open the door for other players to come to Russia.