Former national football team captain and defender Sedley Joseph is hopeful that Trinidad and Tobago would adopt an attacking approach in Friday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Zone Final Round Qualifier against Honduras at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
After six games, in the six-team standings, Honduras are fifth with five points, while TT are rooted to the bottom with three points. Mexico lead with 14 points, followed by Costa Rica (11), United States (eight) and Panama (seven).
The top three teams will book their tickets for the World Cup in Russia while the fourth-placed team will progress to the Inter-Confederation Play-offs – against the fifth-placed team in the Asian Zone in a home-and-away tie in November.
Asked how TT coach Dennis Lawrence should approach Friday’s game, Joseph responded, “It’s important that Trinidad (and Tobago) try to get a victory in those games because we’re in the bottom of the table. Playing at home, we have the advantage.
“The game is playing in Couva and that is some advantage as far as the crowd support and (according to the coach) the closeness of the spectators to the ground. I expect that there should be a full house because it’s a smaller Stadium than the Hasely Crawford Stadium.”
As far as tactics are concerned, Joseph noted, “In order for us to get three points in this game, we have to use a fairly attacking system which means there might be some problems as far as the defensive part of his formation is concerned.”
Joseph added, “He can’t afford to decide on an attacking formation and leave his defence open. He has to mix it in the sense that he has to be very careful to ensuring that his defence is steady and, at the same time, trying to get goals up front.
“Having played against these Central American teams, they are very quick and they use the short (passing) balls. We can’t leave the defence open because they’ll try and make use of it.”
Regular captain and centre forward Kenwyne Jones is still out of the squad after suffering a knee injury in June.
Joseph stated out, “Kenwyne Jones was being used as the point man and, with the games that I saw, you weren’t seeing many much movements from him. He was looking for the ball coming across from the air. He has the strength, he has the height to get at the ball in the air but, at the same time, you cannot be static. It may be a good thing that he’s not in the team.
“We have few forwards who may be fairly quick. I think this might be a good thing that he is not playing and there are other players who could really cause some problems with the opposing defences.”
And Joseph is not giving up hope that TT can, at least, finish fourth on the overall standings.
“It is unfortunate that we only have three points and at the bottom of the table,” said Joseph. “That’s the situation where we are in now. We have to be careful.”
With regards to Daneil Cyrus, who has been used by Lawrence as a central defender (while previous coach Stephen Hart used him as a right-back), Joseph said, “There were occasions when Cyrus was caught having to run back as a defence man. You cannot only think about going up and assisting in attack and forgetting your defensive role. You have to be seeing the play coming towards you.”