Trinidad and Tobago’s Men and Women’s Team suffered opening day losses at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia on Friday night. The Men, comprising of mostly under 20 players went down 2-0 to Honduras, conceding goals before the half time interval and ending the match a man down after Jerren Jackie was red carded for a second bookable offence. The Women’s Senior Team were handed a 5-1 loss by Mexico in their encounter.
At the Estadio Rogelio Martinez, T&T held their own for much of the first half against an Honduran outfit that included players physically bigger and more robust than Russell Latapy’s men. It was all event until the 31st minute when captain and defender Denil Maldonado put his effort past goalkeeper Denzil Smith from a wide incoming ball.
And T&T took some time to gather themselves before falling further behind four minutes before half time when Eduardo Cruz left the score at 2-0.
There were no further goals after that but T&T instead loss captain Triston Hodge to injury as he has to be taken to hospital but was later said to be out of danger. Jackie was sent off nearing the end after picking up an earlier yellow card in the 63rd.
“Not a bad performance. We were nice and solid in the first thirty minutes playing against a bigger and stronger team than us,” Latapy told TTFA Media after the win.
“Again I have to stress that this is preparation for us for the qualifiers in November. I am quite happy with the way the game went. But we still have to improve a lot. We have to be much better in our retention of the ball. We are winning things, breaking up plays in midfield and not able to keep the ball. We were compact enough and getting the ball in wide areas but just disappointing in the use of the ball and we give away too cheaply at times That caused us to have to work too hard to get it back and we got tired in the end,” he added.
Describing the goals conceded, Latapy thought they were preventable .
“We lost two goals that I thought were avoidable. One came from a corner but fair play to Honduras in that they were able to do things we were not able to do even though we have been working on it which is blocking players and preventing them from getting a free header and they scored on us in that way. And then seven minutes or so later there was some indecision with a ball played over the top and not deciding which player should cover and and which should attack the ball, allowing a simple cut back into the penalty spot and the boy slips it away.
“We were solid enough in the second half but all in all keeping in mind that this is development and preparation for November, we are heading there although we have a lot of work to do. As a nation we have to face the reality that we are playing against teams that have players playing in the professional leagues and overseas as well and some our boys, as talented as they are with as much potential as young players, some of them are not even playing in our Pro League. And with the lack of international matches we are always going to suffer and it is always going to be a learning experience.
“If we are going to qualify for a World Cup, then we need to have something in place that would allow us to play the number of games needed at this level. Some of the things we got caught out on today was not doing things at the right time, making fouls at the right time… falling down at the right time, being able to slow down the rhythm of the game when the tempo is against us, being able to quicken up the tempo of the game and play the ball forward in the right areas when we are on the front foot. These things come with experience.
“I have a couple players here who have not played five games at this level and it is difficult to just be thrown into a tournament like this. This is how you gain experience and I will say and ask continuously for the support that this team needs because a lot of these kids potentially are good players but it is always going to be an uphill battle if they don’t get the experience. We have another game to play in a couple days and we will prepare and again go into the contest with the intention of giving it our best and trying to improve every step of the way towards November,” Latapy concluded.
Colombia defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in the other Group A encounter on Friday. T&T faces Costa Rica on Sunday from 5pm TT Time.
Over at Estadio Moderno, T&T’s Women got a 57th minute item from Liana Hinds but that would be all they could muster against a well oiled Mexican team. Monica Ocampo scored the opening two goals in the 20th and 53rd minutes. Mexico’s third goal came in the 54th through Victoria Corral before Hinds made it 3-1. Kalyn Johnson (66th) and Vaitiare Robles in the 70th were the other goalscorers.
Haiti forfeited their Group B match to Nicaragua as at least seven of their players did not arrive in Barranquilla for the encounter, left stranded in Dominican Republic due to issues with travel documents.
T&T will face Nicaragua on Sunday from 5pm TT time.