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Coach of the successful Trinidad and Tobago men’s hockey team at the FIH World League First Round Raphael Govia was very pleased with the team’s performance in Jamaica but added the squad must focus on their finishing going into other tournaments. T&T won the tournament and qualified for the second round of the FIH (International Hockey Federation) World League in Chula Vista, California, USA, next February.
Govia, a former national player, said: “I was a bit worried going into this (1st round FIH) tournament as I saw a few areas of goal scoring that I needed to sharpen up on.” The QPCC coach added that the boys were a bit rusty after the Commonwealth Games as they came back home to a mossy closed Tacarigua facility, where all their trainings take place. and he only had five to six sessions with the boys prior to our departure to Jamaica.
“I worked hard on finishing and the awareness in front of goal, as I recognised this was the area most critical in need of sharpening up,” Govia said. Govia said the surface in Jamaica did not give the T&T team the edge and in fact the uneven surface compromised T&T’s game.
“So our boys had to re-adjust to these conditions, as we are more accustomed to the faster consistent watered type pitches. We had a tough start versus Dominican Republic with 21 circle penetrations scoring none,” Govia analysed He said T&T rallied to win the match and prepared better for the ensuing games.
Midfielder Akim Touissant, who was moved to forward, played a significant role in getting the goals needed to advance while skipper Darren Cowie, Otis Oconnor and Aidan de Gannes kept the T&T defence locked.
In the middle, Solomon Eccles controlled the engine room and dictated our passes to our attackers, Shaquille Daniel was one of the hardest workers on the pitch while up front Kiel Murray and Tariq Marcano kept their opposing players busy. T& T’s Tournament MVP and highest Goal getter Akim Touissant also caused defences real problems.
“For sure as a team we must pay attention to our attacking skills and turn our many opportunities going forward into goals,” Govia said. Looking forward to CAC, the T&T team will depend heavily on the senior players connections with our younger ones.
“It’s very important for us that if we are to medal in this competition we have our full force of players as we will have the Cubans to deal with then Mexico.World League Round 2 will be another tough task ahead-- as the competition will be tough against teams on the circuit regularly with much higher rankings, The T&T hockey men outfit also has an assignment at the Pan Am Games in Canada next year.

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