T&T senior men’s team will be aiming to live up to all expectations on the field and on paper at the Concacaf Gold Cup in July after being rated as the number one-ranked team in the Caribbean for this month despite its recent 1–0 loss to Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
The Soca Warriors, coached by Stephen Hart, was ranked 65th in the world by Fifa, top in the Caribbean ahead of Jamaica (75th), Haiti (79th) and Antigua/Barbuda (106th).
T&T is just ahead of Burkina Faso, Bulgaria and Norway and right behind Peru, Australia and Republic of Ireland.
T&T is fifth in Concacaf at the moment, with Costa Rica leading the pack, ranked 15th in the world, followed by Mexico (18th), United States (27th) and Panama (53rd).
Hart said he was not moved by the ranking, saying that his main concern was the team’s readiness for the Gold Cup, which T&T kicks off on July 9 against Guatemala in Chicago.
“Like I said after the Panama game, the important thing for me and for the team is the preparation leading up to the Gold Cup which includes at least three proper international matches and training camps in order us for us to really go in there and compete with the rest of the region,” Hart said.
“Of course the rankings plays its part its part but it’s more important for us to straighten out everything in order for us to really get it right for the Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifiers which are right around the corner.”
Molino maintains ground
after Kaka’s credit
T&T midfielder Kevin Molino is keeping his feet on the ground and his head out of the skies days after receiving a recommendation from Brazilian star Kaka as a good pick for Italian club AC Milan.
Kaka’s comments received widespread coverage in the media as he was recorded as saying in an interview with the Italian magazine Gazzetta dello Sport, “Kevin Molino, he’s from Trinidad, a good forward. He must grow and learn, but he could do well.”
And what did Molino think about the words from one of Brazil’s footballing stars? Well, he’s honoured but not carried away.
“It’s a big deal when someone like Kaka says something like that about you. I was a bit surprised when I saw the report but I know he is someone who likes to encourage you and he wants the best for me and the rest of the team as team-mates. He’s been through it all and now he’s in a state where he can help and inspire. For me, there’s nothing better for my career at the moment,” Molino said.
“He’s been great on the training field and in the dressing room and of course you can see he’s settled in on the field so far in the season. I think we will continue to grow and get better as the matches come along.”
Molino set up Orlando’s opening goal in their 2–0 win over Portland Timbers on the weekend. His firm cross was chested into the goal by Canadian forward Cyle Larin on 30 minutes. Kaka converted a penalty to seal the win and push Orlando to third place in the Eastern Conference.
Stern says football
Former national team forward Stern John says his active role in the T&T Football 7 Academy, which was launched last Saturday in Trincity, has reignited his passion for the game.
John, T&T’s all-time top scorer with 70 goals, has been away from the professional game for just around four years. But now in his role as head coach of the T&T 7s Academy which caters for kids between the ages of 5-17 years old, the former Sunderland striker is once again buzzing round the football pitch.
“I’ve been away from the game for a long time and this has definitely opened my appetite for the game again. I think I’ve found my passion back. I love the game and it’s an honour coming out here to work with the kids and hopefully I can help develop a couple good players for T&T,” John said.
“We got a fantastic response to start the academy Hopefully we can continue encouraging more kids to come out and start learning more about the game and improving their level and to enjoy the game more especially the younger ones, “the ex-Crystal Palace man said.
John will also be sharing the experiences of his playing career with the young players in the academy and providing tips and advice on the game. He intends to work closely on goal finishing with the potential forwards. Goal scoring has proven to be a challenge for T&T national teams, particularly at the youth level and there’s no better forward in T&T colours from which to learn the art of scoring goals.
The former Southampton forward along with his support staff will conduct sessions Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 5-7 pm and Saturday mornings from 8-10 am at the T&T Football 7 Academy base at the Henry Street Recreation Ground in Trincity. Further information on the academy can be obtained by calling 488-7001 or 485-7001.
Chicago boss: Joevin can go places
A week after Joevin Jones made the MLS “Team of the Week” after his goal scoring performance for Chicago Fire, club head coach Frank Yallop says the former W Connection player “has the talent to really go places”.
“I think from day one he has shown his quality,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com after at Toyota Park on Thursday. “And it’s not just in matches he’s very good, in training too he’s very clean on the ball, engaged in everything we’re trying to do defensively and offensively, and he’s very easily coached. I’m very happy for him, he’s a good kid and he has the talent to really go places.”
The 23-year old T&T senior team player also came in for some commendation from his teammates, including captain Jeff Larentowicz, who said: “He’s played two different spots and done really well at both I don’t think it’s easy to go from an attacker to a defender from game to game and he’s done it pretty well. When he’s attacked, he’s set up a goal in San Jose and scored against Toronto, and when he’s defended he’s done really well, so he’s been very good for us.”
“He’s so creative,” forward Harry Shipp added. “He’s a defender but he’s got a much more attacking brain than most defenders do in this league.