Improved concentration required – T&T coach
After leaving it late against Cuba on Monday night to earn themselves an important point in Group A of the Caribbean Football Union Men's Caribbean Cup, French Guiana will seek to step up a notch when they face former many-time champions Trinidad and Tobago in the opening fixture of a double-header at the Montego Bay Sports Complex this evening at 5:30 p.m.
A loss for either could prove a near end of their Caribbean dream, if defending champions Cuba defeat unlucky CuraÁao in the second match at 8 p.m. The winners from both groups will contest the final.
Trinidad lead Group A with three points, themselves staging a comeback to edge CuraÁao 3-2 in their first game of the championship, leaving head coach Stephen Hart worried about his team's form.
"The players know they let themselves down, although we got the result, but collectively, we will do better for our next game," Hart told The Gleaner.
"What we need is improved concentration to get past the French Guianese, because they have some quality players," Hart said.
"We need to do better, especially in defence, and although we know there will be no easy games, the way we conceded the goals against CuraÁao is worrying."
Kenwyne Jones' class was a major difference in that match and could be a big problem for French Guiana, who looked at odds defensively at times against the Cubans.
Etienne Sillie, while not pleased at leaving it that late in the match to secure a point was happy with his team's fighting spirit, adding it's a quality that will be needed against the Soca Warriors.
"We showed good fighting
spirit to get the draw against Cuba, and I think we need that kind of performance against Trinidad and Tobago, who are a tough opponent," Sillie said.
Cuba did look a little rusty in their first match, but will be hoping for a much-improved performance against CuraÁao, who showed they should not be taken lightly.
Both are in need of a win and can ill-afford to drop any further points, setting the stage for a really good matchup.
Cuba coach Walter Benitez was not pleased with his team's failure to secure the victory, but pointed out that they have the pedigree to get it right against CuraÁao.
"I am disappointed we drew the match when we thought we had it won, but we look forward to our next game against CuraÁao; and they are a tough team so we will have to player harder and smarter to win against them," Benitez said.