TT Under-17 football team coach Angus Eve is hoping to reintroduce certain elements in national youth teams that he felt had gone missing over the past few years, as he attempts to take the country towards qualification for forthcoming FIFA Youth World Cups.
Eve is also the assistant coach to the Under-20 men’s coach Derek King alongside Stern John. The Under-20s begin their CONCACAF qualifying campaign in June, while the Under-17s will have a few extra months before their competition begins.
The former Chester City midfielder was part of the TT team that participated at the 1991 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and guided TT to the CONCACAF final round of Olympic qualification in 2012 as coach.
“Discipline and passion is the key. I think we have lost those two things in our football,” Eve told TT Football Association Media.
“The talent has always been there but we need to get the players as fit as possible so that they can exercise the talents they have on the pitch. From the get-go, it will be about physical. The discipline element must be there. I am from the Bertille (St Clair) old school of discipline so I think that’s a key.
“If I can get a player to obey off the field then it will be easier to get him to obey on the pitch. Of course once we get the passion for wearing the shirt...for wearing the red, white and black then I think it will augur well for us going forward,” Eve continued.
He sees the task ahead to be mountainous, but not unattainable.
“Everybody (in CONCACAF) has been going forward and we have been standstill. I don’t like to go back and knock people for whatever, but I think we were focusing on building stuff instead of building the teams.
“I think that if we pay more attention to the human product, because the human being is the one who has to go out there and run and if we can get those things back into the team, that sort of pride, I think the crowds will come back. Kudos to teams like Panama who have developed and moved their programmes forward. We used to beat those teams by four and five goals when I played.”
Eve, who also serves as coach of Pro League outfit Club Sando and Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division winners Naparima College, is looking forward to working with former TT teammates King and John.
“We played international football for a long time together. I think Stern is still the most prolific striker we had and in world football he is right up there. Derek King was a solid defender and I used to juggle between midfield and forward, so it’s a good blend. Ross Russell is also there with immense experience. We have all elements of play on the field within the staff, so it could be a good synergy.”
The former Defence Force, Joe Public and San Juan Jabloteh player, who was also a member of the TT team that made it all the way to the semi-finals of the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, is optimistic of a change in fortunes for TT football.
“The initiatives of the new president and the technical committee, a new technical director and hiring of a new set of people will bring a different blood into the FA and hopefully it turns into performances. What I can say is that they have started on the right foot. They have to give us the tools to work with. They have started in the right way, the composition of the staffs, the way they went about in selecting the staffs was a more transparent process and going forward I hope they continue to build on what they have started,” he said.
“I’ve always thought that I served my country very well and I am always proud to serve my country. Having this opportunity now is very humbling. It just shows that people do believe in the work that you are doing and that sort of confidence and you now have to go and repay it,” Eve concluded.