Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hart wants best team


SLIDING TACKLE: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones is tackled by a Jamaican defender during a friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last November. T&T won 2-0. —Photo: Robert Taylor

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago men’s National team head-coach Stephen Hart would want to have his best players for 2014 Caribbean Cup tournament, and sees it as a positive move that the tournament have now been shifted to an official FIFA international period. But he is also concerned about how the tournament will be run within that period.

Caribbean Football Union officials have confirmed that Jamaica will host the 2014 tournament from November 10-18. It will be Hart’s first Caribbean Cup tournament in charge of Trinidad and Tobago, who were beaten 1-0 by Cubawith Jamaal Shabazz and Hutson Charles in charge in the last final two years ago.

“The fact that they put the tournament within a FIFA match day period means that all the teams in the CFU will have access to potentially a wide base of players, their so-called better players, which is a positive move,” Hart declared. “It will raise the standard of the tournament considerably because every team is supposed to have their best players. “

And Anton Corneal, Trinidad & Tobago football technical director added: “I think it’s long overdue. Too often countries have been represented by depleted teams. It will give the team (T&T) the chance to play competitive matches, not just friendlies, and become a cohesive unit ahead of the next World Cup qualifiers. Both the Caribbean Cup and teams, will also be more attractive to sponsors as well.”

Hart’s concern was how matches will be played within the eight-day period. “It’s a question of whether they can get the games in during that time period,” Hart said. “Even if it’s a FIFA time frame doesn’t necessarily mean you can play on any day within that period. We have to see if they have gotten the permission from FIFA. All of that has to be worked out.”

Hart added that he too would like to have the strongest possible T&T team at the tournament. “You have an opportunity two-fold.

“Definitely you are going there to qualify (for the Gold Cup), and its more games for the players to jell as a unit,” Hart said.

Hart said that as host, five-time champions Jamaica will have a definite advantage, having won three of four times they hosted the Caribbean tournament. (Jamaica) is always a difficult place to play,” Hart said.

“But with the right preparation, everyone enters the tournament on an equal footing, with the exception of Jamaica.”