Mission not yet accomplished.
That was the general feeling in the Trinidad and Tobago senior team camp after they enjoyed one of their more comprehensive victories in international competition in recent years by way of a 10-0 thrashing of Anguilla in their closing Caribbean Cup Group 5 fixture, at Warner Park, in Basseterre, St Kitts, late on Sunday.
Caledonia AIA forward Jamal Gay led the way with a first half beavertrick, while Philadelphia Union midfielder Keon Daniel struck a hattrick before the interval to send the Soca Warriors ahead 7-0 at the break.
Vietnam-based Willis Plaza notched a double and debutant Sylvester Teasdale added one more and four assists to leave T&T sitting pretty at the top of the table on nine points, scoring fifteen goals and conceding just one in three matches.
The last time T&T were that dominant in a competitive outing was in 1989 in a Caribbean Cup qualifier, defeating Aruba 11-0 in St George's with Richard Fraser and Paul Elliot Allen both scoring beavertricks. T&T went on to win the Cup that year, defeating Grenada 2-1 in the final on a Dwight Yorke double. Current head coach Hutson Charles was a member of that winning team.
After Sunday's heavy win, Charles said T&T still have some work to put in before putting their hands on the Cup they last captured in 2001.
"We did exactly what we came here to do," Charles told TTFF Media Officer Shaun Fuentes, "which was to get nine points. We achieved that, but the mission is far from over.
"The next round will be tough and we definitely have to get some reinforcements. We have already started planning. We had a meeting earlier today and we have already been communicating with the others back home about the preparations for the next stage. We will be looking at some of the possible additions to the team for the next phase.
"I think the results here meant a lot for us, especially the players and everyone back home who would like to see the football go forward, especially in light of everything that occurred before we got to St Kitts. Hopefully we are sending the right signals and we can continue to progress towards the Finals, and onward to the Gold Cup next year," Charles added.
The match on Sunday night started half hour late due to the inclement weather. There was heavy overnight rain which continued for much of Sunday morning, with the island under Tropical Storm alert. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the men from the twin-island Republic. They dominated throughout against 204th-ranked Anguilla, who lost their 2014 World Cup qualifiers 2-0 and 4-0 to Dominican Republic last year.
Anguilla were hoping to have a better showing after managing a goal in their 4-1 loss to French Guiana on Friday. Those same opponents whipped St Kitts 3-0 later on Sunday to advance as the second-placed team from Group 5.
Gay headed home from close range on a right side cross by Kevon Carter seven minutes into the action, giving T&T an early lead. Four minutes later, Daniel would unleash a low left-footer which beat goalkeeper Kevin Liddie to his right. Clyde Leon was the provider on that occasion.
Anguilla hardly had time to recover before Gay grabbed his second item, connecting to Carter's right side ball on the near post in the 14th minute.
Eleven minutes later, Gay decided it was time for his hattrick, netting the second time around after Liddie blocked his first attempt on a pass by Teasdale.
At that point, the rains were belting down, with strong winds coming across Warner Park. The T&T bench was blown over, and the substitutes and staff had to gather muscle to put it back into position. It seemed quite funny to them at that point. Perhaps, the comfortable lead made the occasion less uptight.
Their bench was back upright as the half approached, and there was still time for three further goals before the interval.
Daniel struck another left-footer past Liddie from the edge of the box in the 37th minute. And then, one minute later, Teasdale slipped one through for an onrushing Gay to hammer home. Daniel got his hattrick in the 40th when he played the ball over the line from close up after Carter's drive was held up in the water.
Devorn Jorsling came on in the second half and missed a couple good chances to join the scoring party. Plaza, though, pushed his tally to three in the series. He sidefooted home from a Teasdale right side cross in the 52nd minute, and headed home another Teasdale delivery on a move started in the middle, involving Hughtun Hector and Daneil Cyrus.
Teasdale finally got his goal when his shot bounced off Liddie, into the left corner of the net.
Skipper Jan Michael Williams had to make one good stop to keep the clean sheet, the experienced T&T goalkeeper pulling off a good save low down to deny Kenny Williams in the 76th minute.
Next up, T&T will play at home, from November 14, against Cuba, Suriname and the runners-up from a first round group featuring Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Curacao. The top two teams will qualify for the eight-nation Caribbean Cup Finals in Antigua, in December, from which four teams will advance to next year's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
T&T: 1. Jan Michael Williams (capt), 5. Carlyle Mitchell (6. Kareem Moses, 54'), 20. Seon Power, 17. Daneil Cyrus, 3, Joevin Jones, 8.Sylvester Teasdale, 2, Clyde Leon, 7, Hughtun Hector, 19. Keon Daniel (14. Willis Plaza, 46'), 11. Kevon Carter, 14. Jamal Gay (9. Devorn Jorsling, 46')
Subs that did not play: Marvin Phillip, Kevon Neaves, Richard Roy, Curtis Gonzales