EXPERIENCED TRINIDAD and Tobago duo Sheldon Bateau and captain Khaleem Hyland are hoping to see a continuous run of improvement by the national men’s football team as the build-up continues to next June’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Both players reflected on Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Iran in Tehran, following the match in which they pointed out that the TT team were able to compete with the 2018 FIFA World Cup participants but now need to put in the extra effort in order to achieve positive results against such quality opponents.
“The effort from everyone was great. It was a heavy pitch and a tough game. We all know Iran is a tough team with their participation at the last two World Cups. They have had good coach for a very long time in Carlos Queiroz and a lot of experience and they showed they had a good game,” Hyland said. “We stuck with them until we conceded an easy goal. I think maybe we decided a bit later to push the throttle and go all out.”
In terms of what he felt was the biggest take away from the encounter, Hyland noted, “The attitude is what we can take away from this game. The willingness to fight, to help each other and be willing to sacrifice until the last minute was great and we just have to take that on board. I can see the team is getting stronger and we just have to continue until the Gold Cup.
“You can clearly see we’ve played very well. We came out victorious against UAE and then we lost to a soft goal against Thailand, similar to what happened versus Iran. But the work effort and the ability of players, willing to work and fight shows what the coach (Dennis Lawrence) wants us to do. Clearly his message is being passed on to the guys and it is being picked up by them,” Hyland stated.
Kazakhstan-based defender Sheldon Bateau felt there were some factors to be pleased with.
“I want to commend the team on its effort which I felt we did well with. Result-wise it was disappointing because I think we have what it takes to play with these teams and get a result. Iran (were) definitely a good team. They play at a high level consistently. We played in spurts.
“For me personally I want to see the guys work more on themselves. I think if we can have some individual improvement then, as a team, we can do much better,” Bateau said.