Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hart focusing on senior team’s future



Mark Fraser

With the 2014 World Cup now something of the past, national senior team head coach Stephen Hart is now focused on preparing his team for the Caribbean Cup qualification which will see T&T entering competition at the semi-final round which will be hosted here in October.

Prior to that, there are two international dates in September and Hart believes it is extremely important that the “Warriors” play at least one international friendly. The TTFA is currently in discussions with a couple respectable opponents from South America and Europe about possible fixtures.

Hart and his coaching staff will be keeping a close eye on the Central American Cup which is being played in the US in September which will feature potential T&T opponents from Central America at the next Gold Cup and World Cup qualification bid.

Hart reflected on the two recent matches, against eventual World Cup runners up Argentina, and Iran, and stressed the need for the team to continue with such momentum in the build up to the CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

He pointed out that in CONCACAF, T&T would be in a situation where two back to back games could be played within a week and hence the Argentina and Iran games played four days apart was ideal for him in relation to his approach and team selection.

“In Concacaf you would have to play two games within two to three days and so I felt it was important to see if the players can carry the same emotions and the same responsibilities into back to back games and I only made two changes for the Iran game instead of changing up the entire team,” Hart told TTFA Media.

‘’We were right into the game up until half time. Iran were not better than us at all but they were better prepared and they were physically better prepared and better in the air.”

Situations like that serves to prepare a team for competition and the arduous task of World Cup qualification which is why Hart is hoping the team is afforded the opportunity to play similar matches in coming months. He mentioned that he met with skipper Kenwyne Jones and the rest of the squad after the two-match series, reviewing the camp and outlining the intentions and ambitions for the future of the team.

“I had a meeting with the players and I said to them that you have played the Asian champions and the South American champions. The standard set by those teams is right up a level. There are two ends of the spectrum in relation to us.

‘’Argentina is a World Champion and the runner up and clearly have much more quality than we do and on the other end Iran is a team we are not far off and we can certainly build off these two games towards the 2018 campaign. “Just being there and seeing what is going on see and being part of the facilities gave a lot of the players an idea of the magnitude of the World Cup event and what it would be like to be in it.’’