Cooper tips Under 20s to advance in CFU qualifiers

Former Trinidad and Tobago Under 17 head coach Shawn Cooper is tipping to the National Under 20 Team to advance to the Caribbean Football Union Final Round in October by way of getting through their first round assignment starting on Wednesday at the Ato Boldon Stadium against Guadeloupe.

Cooper is the head coach of Queen’s Park FC and he witnessed the Under 20s in action during a recent training match which his team won 2-1 at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium.

“I was pleased with the intensity of the Under 20s. normally we are a bit laid back but I thought that Queen’s Park gave them the type of game to help them get to the next level,” Cooper told TTFA Media.

“Being a former national coach, I prepared the team (Queen’s Park) in a way that they (T&T) would have had a proper training game before going off to their CFU games. The only thing I could criticize the Under 20 team for, which I am sure the coaches will address, is their finishing but other than that, I am pretty pleased with what I have seen of them. I think some of the senior players who have played international football before should lead the team from the front,” Cooper added.

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“The progress is there but still slow because the pace is a bit off with the local competition from that off the international competition. You tend to find that players are a bit lackadaisical when they face local teams because there is not that push to get them to a next level.

“But I can see this team getting out of the group. The players such as Noah Powder and other players from the last Under 17 Team will bring some quality to the team. We cannot take any team for granted but from what I have seen of the team so far, I can say that they will get through this round and then look to advance from the final CFU stage towards CONCACAF,” Cooper concluded.

The T&T team will enter a live-in training camp at the Metro Hotel, Couva on Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s opening clash with Guadeloupe. Turks and Caicos will face St Lucia from 5pm in the earlier match. Tickets costs $20 (covered) and $10 (uncovered) and will be on sale at the Stadium on game day.

The T&T Team is attempting to qualify for the CFU Final Round in Curacao in October which leads to the CONCACAF Final Round in Costa Rica next year. The 2017 FIFA Under 20 World Cup will be staged in South Korea.