Dennis Lawrence, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago football team, is keen to see growth, especially in the TT Pro League, as he looks towards the immediate future.
Lawrence saw the TT team draw their last two international matches at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva — 2-2 against Grenada on Saturday and 1-1 against Guyana on Tuesday.
During Tuesday’s post-match media conference, Lawrence said, “The idea is to continue working and continue to progress as a group. As we go along, we’ll start elevating the level of the competition.
“If you play the wrong opposition, you’ll take 10 steps back. We need to start going forward.”
Lawrence pointed out, “I believe that we need to improve the Pro League, and that will help us in improving the next step. Consistently we’ve been in the Hex (final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying). We need to improve the Pro League, because we need to become better in CONCACAF.”
Lawrence had a 25-member team for the two games at Couva and was pleased to get a look at all his players.
“I was happy to have them,” he said. “Coming out of these two games, I’ve got a clear idea now who are the ones we can go forward with, the ones that need to go back to their clubs and continue to work.”
The TT coach added, “We didn’t get the results that we wanted but I think we learnt a lot about a lot of these players, from the time we worked together, in the build-up to the game and in the camp.
During his time as TT coach since January, Lawrence has used Kenwyne Jones, Jan-Michael Williams, Khaleem Hyland, Kevin Molino and Sheldon Bateau as team captains.
Asked if he has identified a long-term TT skipper, Lawrence replied, “I’ve got a different view on that because I’ve always believed in a game captain and I’ve always believed in a team captain.
There is no guarantee in football these days. You are not guaranteed (that) you’re going to be in the starting XI.
“What I’ve done during the period that I’ve been here (is) I’ve allowed people who have shown the right attitude, who’ve shown the good leadership, to be responsible for the captain’s armband. I think I’ve found a couple that have been very good in it so far.”
Lawrence admitted that he has mixed feelings over his tenure as TT coach thus far.
“I’ve enjoyed leading my country again,” said the 43-year-old. “I haven’t enjoyed the results that went with some of the games. But what I’m enjoying now is the youngsters, taking (them) and mould them towards what I think we need to have in this country.”
The TT coach stated, “We need to have people that would represent this country with pride.
We want to be winners, but there is always a process. We’re still a young group and I don’t think we’re ready yet to say we can take on the world. We’re not at that level yet, but we have to become at that level.”