Eve takes heart from Guyana friendlies; reiterates call for support ahead of tough World Cup qualifiers

By Sports Desk May 17, 2024
EVE...the 23 players and the TTFA alone can’t qualify. We need support from corporate, the Government, the fans. EVE...the 23 players and the TTFA alone can’t qualify. We need support from corporate, the Government, the fans. File

Trinidad and Tobago’s Head coach Angus Eve welcomed the outcome of their two-match friendly series against Guyana, but in the same breath, says he is bracing for even tougher assignments when kick off the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next month.

Though pleased that a few local-based players gave him much to think about in their 2-1 and 2-0 win over Jamaal Shabazz’s Guyana outfit, Eve again rued Trinidad and Tobago’s citizenship laws, which he believes puts them at a slight disadvantage against regional opponents, who have the luxury of importing heritage players from elsewhere around the world.

As such, Eve, who used the Guyana fixtures to fine-tune tactics and expose more players to the national team, is hoping to get the necessary support to spur his Soca Warriors on throughout the World Cup qualifying campaign, which gets under way against Grenada on June 5.

“I think when we used to play before, going against Grenada was a foregone conclusion,” Eve said as he reminisced on the twin island republic ‘s dominance in the past.

“But the immigration laws in this country do not help us. We do know Grenada has a lot of players coming back from England. They might not be the quality as those for Jamaica, but we do know they have a lot of those sort of players coming back,” he reasoned during a post-match interview.

Eve and his men will also have St Kitts and Nevis, Costa Rica and The Bahamas to contend with in Group B.

Former Soca Warriors and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke recently joined the call for a review in the citizenship laws, which states that “A person shall not become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, if at the time of his birth – (a) neither of his parents is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.” Until such changes are made, both Yorke and Eve believe Trinidad and Tobago will remain on the backfoot when compared to other nations.

“So, we need the 12th man to be on board with us. The guys are going to come out and give everything that they have, so it’s just for the fans to come out and support the team. The 23 players and the TTFA alone can’t qualify. We need support from corporate, the Government, the fans, the normal man in the street, because when the team does qualify, then all of us will be celebrating as a nation. So, we need a national effort to qualify,” Eve stated.

That said, the tactician quickly pointed out that the team still has much to do in terms of their technical and tactical efficiency, particularly those local players who might be included in the final squad.

“I think it could have been a bigger scoreline (against Guyana). We gave some sloppy chances, and we have to alleviate those problems when we play the next team,” Eve declared.

He named midfielders Matthew Woo Ling and Daniel David and veteran striker Kevon “Showtime” Woodley, who scored in both games, among those that impressed against the Jaguars.

“I thought when we put them on in the second half, it changed the game, and we got a little bit more tempo and we got more penetration. So, very happy for these guys. They got the opportunity and I thought that they grasped it with both hands. A number of them gave us some stuff to think about, so there is a lot of positive,” Eve noted.

 

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