The Soca Warriors are putting in hard, daily double sessions, ahead of their departure on Wednesday for Miami, USA, en route to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the region’s premier football competition.
The Soca Warriors will also have another one-week overseas camp in Miami, during which they play an international friendly against fellow Gold Cup qualifiers Haiti, who beat 2013 quarter-finalist Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 at the group stage of the last competition. T&T is expected to have another warm-up against a club team, before opening the tournament on July 9 against Guatemala in Chicago.
Stephen Hart, Trinidad and Tobago’s head-coach, had hit out at the performance of the Soca Warriors over a recent 3-0 defeat to Jordan in an international friendly, describing them as putting in a “fete match” performance.
More recently, Hart seems more pleased with the work being put in by his players. During a live-in camp, the Soca Warriors endured two sessions per day training, with physical work on mornings and ball working in the evening.
“They have been fantastic. There’s been absolutely no complaint. Everybody has been training very, very hard,” stated Hart, the former Canada national coach. “It’s been a lot, a lot of work. The work has been the equivalent of a pre-season. At some point I will have to give them a half-day off.”
“We sort of segmented what we need to do. The early stages will focus on our physical and sort of mental preparation and then we will move into the ball phase, or the sort of tactical phase of the team development and working on a couple of different systems to suit the opposition we will be meeting.”
Two personal tragedies hit the team last week, the death of Hart’s mother, while 19-year-old debutant Kadeem Corbin, also lost his guardian and aunt, 48 year-old Michelle Corbin-Superville, who died in her sleep last Monday, due to heart failure.
“It will be no effect on the team,” Hart said of the passing of his 92-year-old mother, Monica Hart, last Thursday at the Scarborough Hospital, Tobago.
“She will want me to be here doing what I love to do. I will get on with the work that has to be done.” Hart goes to the Gold Cup with a team missing two key attacking midfielders, Hughton Hector and Kevin Molino, both injured.
“You really can’t replace the type of player. But you have other players that will step in,” Hart said. “They play a lil bit differently so we will have to adjust to show their sort of strengths. All that will be in the later part of the camp. Injuries are a part of football. Unfortunately it is in the department we are a bit suspect about, which is scoring goals.”
“But in the last two games we created a lot of opportunities. It’s just a matter of tucking them away.
“I think there is a lot of distraction when the players are in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s important to go overseas. Be isolated. Be away from all the sort of entourage that kind of follows around the team, and just be able to focus on the task at hand.
“Plus, we will get to play an international game. So we want to be in a situation where we are sort of in the mindset that Gold Cup actually starts just a few days after that. The international game will tell me a lot,” Hart added.
“Hopefully, I will also get a closed-door club game and I can experiment on a different way of playing—which we have been doing. We did it against Curacao (1-0 defeat). We did it against Jordan (3-0 defeat). Those things take some understanding. We’re not a club team. So, if things did go wrong, and they did go wrong, it’s better to get it wrong at that time period rather than the Gold Cup.”
Harts want everything right by the time they face Guatemala on July 9.