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Warriors a work in progress

By JOEL BAILEY Sunday, February 10 2013

JOINT TRINIDAD and Tobago football team coaches Hutson “Barber” Charles and Jamaal Shabazz have each described the state of the national squad as a work in progress.

The squad, dubbed “the Soca Warriors”, were beaten 2-0 by Peru in a friendly international on Wednesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

Shabazz, in the post-match media conference, said, “I thought it was a work in progress. The game answered a couple questions for us, in terms of the team, in terms of the type of work that we need to do going forward.”

Charles added, “I too was satisfied, to the point that we see where we’re at, and what we need to do, in preparations for the Gold Cup.”

Asked about the tactical preparedness of the host team, Shabazz responded, “we did a lot of work, we had two days but we discussed a lot to keep the team compact and keep the shape in defence, and try not to give a lot of space behind, and try to keep the ball and build up the play.

“I thought, on (all) counts, we achieved that, sometimes too much,” continued the former TT women’s team coach. “Sometimes we kept the ball when we could have tried for penetration. Generally I thought the objectives, except for the result, was met.”

Charles commended the team for their gutsy display against the South American opposition.

“The high point for me was (that) we kept the ball a lot and we sticked to our plan,” said the ex- national midfielder.

“I think that is something that we worked on in training and I think we overdid it. We saw a lot of things that we need to work on and I thought this game brought out a lot.”

Shabazz made it clear that the result would not be taken for granted by the technical

staff.

“We would come to the point in this country, in our football, after we pass through this difficult period, to be very disappointed with a result like that,” he stated.

“Now we can be calm and think this is not bad. But we must be more ambitious.

“We must be more hungry, not just as players (and) coaches but as a people,” added Shabazz.

“For now, we accept and we say this is not bad but we are much more ambitious than this going forward.”

Kenwyne Jones and his replacement Devorn Jorsling were the only strikers used by the TT technical duo and Charles emphasised, “I think we’re looking for a guy who can hold up the ball, who can bring other players into the game and, of course, score goals.”

With regards to the local-based players on the squad, Charles said, “definitely, as you can see, they need some more work. This is something we discussed that we’re going to ask for a couple games out of the FIFA date, to bring them up to scratch.”

Shabazz added, “and it’s also difficult for them, the rhythm of the game, five (or) six subs coming in there, it’s difficult for them too.

“But the only way the ones who’re playing in the local league will need to play some of these matches against this type of opponent and get to start as well.”

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