HAPPY WITH STAFF: German Otto Pfister, left, sits with his technical staff. Near him (l-r) are assistant coaches Anton Corneal and Hutson Charles and manager Peter Rampersad. —Photos: Curtis Chase.

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Coach: T&T unlucky

...But can qualify for 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com

COACH Otto Pfister believes that Trinidad and Tobago were unlucky not to qualify for the next stage of 2014 World Cup qualifying. But the veteran German coach thinks that the current senior national team is a good one and that qualification for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup is a strong possibility if the squad is kept together.

Having been knocked out of World Cup qualifying, the immediate challenges for the T&T national team, would be the 2012 Digicel Caribbean Cup finals to be played June-July 2012 in Antigua & Barbuda, and the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The Soca Warriors won their final game of their unsuccessful Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign when they beat Guyana 2-0 on Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. However, Guyana (13 points) copped the qualifying spot by a single point from T&T (12 points) after winning their crucial first meeting 2-1 at Providence last Friday.

"I think this team has a good future and hundred per cent chance for the qualification for the next Gold Cup. The team is young, except Stern (John), who maybe stop his career and Carlos is 32 years. The rest are young boys," Pfister said at Tuesday night's post-match media conference. "And Trinidad has to keep this team and prepare correctly, and then we have a good chance. But the main thing is the local football. If we have not regular football in your country then it is very difficult because the boys must play regular football."

Pfister's greatest challenges with the national team were a lack of regular football by the local players due to long breaks in the Pro League and the lack of friendly international matches for the national team. Pfister said his staff of Anton Corneal and Hutson Charles have had to be innovative to overcome the lack of regular football.

"I was very happy with my staff.... they work very hard. We make some changes that is not normal in football," Pfister said. "We train two and three times every week with the national team. This is not the way. The normal way is the football plays and when it is the international games the coach calls the players. We make, two.... three days training then we play."

Pfister urged the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) to soon appoint a technical director with full power to make developmental changes. He listed coaching development as a priority. Pfister also wanted Pro League football to run regularly with just a three-week Christmas break and a four-week break between seasons in June when it is hot. Pfister also called for young people to be given a role in football.

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