THE EDITOR: I supported England for this year's FIFA World Cup but in Qatar 2022 I am hoping to support team T&T.
The TT football team made it to the World Cup of Football on one occasion and it is possible to do it again. It doesn't matter that we are a small nation because all we need is twenty-three quality players. We must, however, study the footballing culture of other successful footballing nations.
Let's take England for example. Even though they didn't make it to the finals and ended up finishing fourth, England's success is only a shock to people outside of England. One local pundit said England do not have a chance at this year's World Cup (whatever that is supposed to mean). We can learn a thing or two from England's World Cup campaign instead of predicting their demise.
The form of England leading up to the Russia World Cup was superb. The England national senior team has found a new confidence and developed fortitude which is the direct result of two obvious factors. First, there has been great development at Under-17 to Under-20 levels, which is now seeing more players graduating to the national senior team having performed and excelled at the development age groups. These guys had coaches who were able to take the players to another level and convert them into a group of winners—and indeed Southgate was one of these youth coaches—so the transition has been relatively easy for so many of these kids and there has been no unnecessary friction that usually accompanies a so-called big name foreign coach from outside of this well-organised and superbly sophisticated system.
TT's coaches need to recognise and develop talent in our young locals at an early stage and get them performing at a high level. It is my understanding from doing research on people who claim to be close to the team, that Gareth Southgate, even though inexperienced in the opinion of some, is a great manager. He is someone who spends lots of time with individuals one on one—much the same as the late Sir Bobby Robson used to handle his teams—and creates a bond with players, who are then prepared to do anything for him to ensure his success.
TT can qualify for Qatar in 2022 by learning from England's successful methods and perhaps adopting a similar approach in their attempt to reach the next World Cup though it will be a gigantic task. Maybe 2026 might prove to be a more realistic target.
SIMON WRIGHT, CHAGUANAS.