Trinidad & Tobago get a win and a draw in 2 game friendly against Jamaica – A move in the right direction?

Trinidad & Tobago recently got its first win over Jamaica in 10 years with a goal from Reon Moore and it was followed up by a 0-0 draw several days later. This Jamaica team, while young, has some top-quality players who are attached to English Premier League clubs, such as Dante Harvey (Tottenham Hotspur), Dexter Lembikisa (Wolves), Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea), Ravel Morrison (DC United), Delano McCoy-Splatt (Fulham), just to name a few of those at Heimer Hallgrímsson’s disposal. It is impressive that this is a very strong squad and a testament to the scouting and development of the Jamaican Football Federation. Even though the result did not go their way, having these types of options bodes well for them in the upcoming competitive games.

It is without question that many of the more known names will return to the squad for the Concacaf Nations League games against Bahamas and Nicaragua. While coverage of the game was once again an issue for the Trinidad & Tobago fans, the game was available thanks to a Jamaican Youtube channel MG Sports TV. The inevitable question that many are asking, mainly due to the lack of football is how many of these players will feature in the final squad for the Concacaf Nations League matches. Anyone who has even a minute understanding of football will know that preparation and development is far from an overnight task that requires patience and direction, a trait that was not given to all coaches in the past. 

Angus is known for prioritizing having a tight defense and eventually building a team on these foundations. The eventuality is usually a team that is balanced as seen when he coached Naparima College in the Trinidad  & Tobago Secondary School’s League and club teams. One of the challenges Angus and previous coaches have had to face since the Covid-19 pandemic is the lack of regular football for players. Having continuity with International friendlies and at club level for players is absolutely essential and even with the best fitness it is difficult to maintain a high level without playing.

Comparatively speaking, when looking at both Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica one must ask the question respectfully why there is such a massive gap in players playing internationally for Jamaica compared to Trinidad & Tobago. Many panels have continued to discuss this in the local media about what is wrong with our football and it can be safely said that while there have been definite positive changes, many very obvious things remain the same. While I am sure people who are versed in the affairs of Jamaican football will say the football situation in their country is far from perfect, they continuously produce players and performances that attract some of the biggest clubs in the world.  

One key positive in both games was the defensive performance of Josiah Trimmingham and Justin Garcia, among others, in shutting out Jamaica in the two games. Trimmingham who, among others, was unjustifiably criticized when Trinidad & Tobago took on the United States during the heights of the Covid-19 pandemic, looked more comfortable. The negative comments during that period from some of the so-called experienced experts in Trinidad & Tobago football were quite laughable. These players were called up during the pandemic and most would not have played any sort of regular football in a significant amount of time, and to add to this playing against an organization that was far more comfortable and organized during such an era. These unrealistic comments made by people who should know better are a true hindrance to addressing the issues that affect the team. 

Reon Moore takes on his man (Image courtesy the TTFA)
Reon Moore of Trinidad & Tobago takes on his man in Jamaica vs Trinidad & Tobago friendly (Image courtesy the TTFA)

In addition to this, Reon Moore looked to be comfortable and it must give Angus some comfort knowing he has some options since regular starter Levi Garcia who has been in fine goal-scoring form for AEK Athens has just recovered from an injury. Alvin Jones and Jameel Neptune looked comfortable and it seems as if, as stated before, that focus on strong defense and speed on the counterattack appeared to be the way the team is being set out to play. While it was not a perfect display by any means it seems heading into the crucial upcoming games the confidence of the team will be higher. Will these results hopefully translate to results in competitive games? We will all see very soon.

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