T&T put in a promising performance as hosts of the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, ensuring a fourth-place finish to book their place in Egypt. The 2009 youth finals will the dual-island nation's second appearance at a U-20 global showpiece and judging by the steady improvements in their football, the opposition will do well not to underestimate the red-clad islanders.
Trinidad hosted the 2009 CONCACAF championship in Macoya and Bacolet over nine days in March. They began their campaign amid raucous local support with a 1-0 win over Canada and then followed it up with a 0-0 draw against eventual champions Costa Rica. Their third group game was a bit of anti-climax, as they had assured progress to the semis and Egypt beforehand. However, they still managed to come from two goals down to draw Mexico 2-2. In their last-four meeting with the much-fancied United States, the tournament hosts ground out a goalless draw before being edged in a penalty shoot-out. They had to endure further heartbreak in the third-place game when a late Honduras goal forced the home boys to settle for fourth.
Zoran Vranes brings a wealth of coaching experience to this young Trinidadian outfit. The Serbian former FK Partizan player managed the Trinidad and Tobago senior national team briefly in 2003 before helping to transform the fortunes of St Vincent and the Grenadines from minnows in the Caribbean to genuine contenders.
Trinidad has among their ranks a raft of talented players, all good with the ball and possessing the prototypical Caribbean traits of explosive speed and power. Chief among them is Sean de Silva, who scored the crucial goal in Trinidad's opening win over Canada. Jet-heeled striker Qian Grosvenor, Daniel Joseph and namesake Marcus Joseph comprise a midfield that may well be able to make a mark in the Egyptian finals.
What they said...
"It was very good to see that Trinidad and Tobago can play well under mental pressure and not just physical pressure. I am very proud of the guys...And I would like to thank all of Trinidad and Tobago who supported us," Trinidad and Tobago coach Zoran Vranes, after his side qualified for Egypt 2009.
|8||Sean DE SILVA|
|14||Jean Luc ROCHFORD|