As the football calendar for 2012 approaches end, The National Senior Team and the Under 17 men’s team has come in for high commendation from Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation Technical Director Anton Corneal.
Corneal was speaking on Tuesday as he looked back at the performances for the Senior Men’s team that finished second in the 2012 Caribbean Cup and qualified for the prestigious CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013 for the first time since 2007, as well as the Under 17 team’s progress to the CONCACAF Final round of qualification in Panama City in April for the 2013 FIFA Under 17 Team.
On the Senior team’s run, Corneal complimented the players and the team staff for what he described as undying commitment.
“What we did was set a stage to build on,”Corneal told TTFF Media.
“And when one looks at some of the players that made up the Senior team, you see young players that have come through a development program dating back to 2004/2005 and all of a sudden made into a Final. Of course we would like to see a bigger pool of the players but at the end of the day, there are players in there that complimented the more senior, experienced ones, who have been with us at two youth World Cups. This did not happen by guess.”
Corneal added that there was camaraderie in the T&T camp over a four-month period that was a major factor behind the team’s success.
“There was a good synergy between the young and experienced players which helped the team to progress both on and off the field. They all had the same goals which was not just to get to the Gold Cup but also to fight down to the wire and try to improve their state of play, while representing the country with distinct and honour at the same time.
“When you look at the staff also, there are individuals in there who at one point did not know what the next day or the next week might bring and they gave up other commitments in order to provide their services for the national effort and this happened with our other national youth teams as well.
“We had a situation where members of staff had to dip in their pockets to make things happen and give up time at home in order to provide service outside of the country in order to make things happen when things were difficult, all for the sake of seeing possible benefits down the road. And thankfully we did see some of the benefits. This is the attitude and approach that is needed across the table in order for us to make steady progress and we are hopefully off on the right foot,” Corneal added.
The T&T Men’s Under 17 team reached the quarter-finals of the Tournament of the Americas in Cali, Colombia, a few weeks ago and closed the tournament with 3-1 defeat in a friendly against Venezuela’s under 17 team.
“We had an excellent campaign in Colombia that will undoubtedly help this team in its preparations for the final round of qualification next year. The players were exposed to a high level of competition and the chemistry of the team, being away from home for close to two weeks, will serve us well as we look ahead to 2013,” Corneal said.
The former national player said that the staffs of both teams will in a few days meet with the President of the TTFF Raymond Tim Kee and other officials to outline programs for the build up towards the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Under 17 qualifiers in Panama City.
“We have already drafted up programs which will deal with the preparation of both teams and of course in terms of team selection and a general program as it relates to the organizational structure and readiness of the teams and this also includes our Women’s senior team that has a World Cup campaign to look ahead to for 2015,” Corneal stated.
By Shaun Fuentes, TTFF Media Officer