TASTE OF TRIUMPH

Mexico's Andres Guardado (18) and Trinidad & Tobago's Khaleem Hyland (8) battle for the ball during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match in Charlotte, N.C.
Associated Press/Chuck Burton, file

The last time that the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team won an international football match — the hapless Anguilla, then ranked 209th from FIFA’s 209 member associations, notwithstanding — Black Panther was in theatres, Super Blue and Machel’s Soca Kingdom was the road march tune and midfield bolt Michel Poon-Angeron’s primary ambition as a player was to avoid relegation with St. Mary’s College, reported Wired868 on March 26.

It said the Warriors went 17 games without a win since their 2-0 friendly triumph over the United Arab Emirates in Girona, Spain on Sept. 6, 2018.

“Sixteen of those outings were under the management of former head coach Dennis Lawrence, while the seismic 17th, a joint-national record 7-0 loss to the United States, came under the watch of current head coach, Terry Fenwick,” Wired868 said.

On March 25, it said Trinidad and Tobago tasted triumph again, as they whipped Guyana 3-0 in their opening Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying fixture, adding that Fenwick “gushed over their showing in Santo Domingo.”

“[I’m] obviously very pleased with the result,” Fenwick told the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) media. “This is my players that want to make […] the football fans back home in Trinidad proud of our performances. Can’t say anything too high about them, the performance was great.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick acknowledges fans in the stands during warmups before an international friendly soccer match against the United States, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.  Associated Press/Phelan M. Ebenhack, file

Wired868 said team captain, Khaleem Hyland, “who was a commanding presence in central midfield, was glad to have something to celebrate — although his stats were a bit off.”

“It is our first victory in 20 games,” it quoted Hyland as saying. “So, we needed to get back to that standard where we belong.”

Wired868 said Trinidad and Tobago were, “at times, unrecognizable from the long-ball, kamikaze-press merchants they were under Fenwick against the US and in the practice games in Trinidad.

“Instead, they sometimes passed through rather than over the opposing midfield lines—a task made easier by an unusually tame Guyana team—and looked fairly composed in possession, with Hyland, debutant Daniel Phillips and the roving Joevin Jones having much to do with that,” it said.

Still, Fenwick could point to fact that Levi Garcia’s opening goal came from regaining possession high up the field, Sheldon Bateau scored off a set-piece and forward Ryan Telfer grabbed a third from a long ball, although it owed much to an extraordinary error by Guyana goalkeeper Akel Clarke, according to Wired868 said.

“We are working on a very high press, from that high press it’s 100 miles per hour and then we’ve got to slow it down and be composed when we’re on the ball,” Fenwick told Wired868. “I thought our passing and movement was excellent. When we were direct we were very direct and got our goals, set plays worked very well with the in-swinging free kick.

“[…] Obviously pleased, but this is just the first of hopefully many,” he added. “But again, one step at a time.”

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