ANGUS Eve, interim coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, says that “every game is a final”, ahead of his squad’s Concacaf Gold Cup Group A encounter against El Salvador on Wednesday, from 7.30 pm (TT time), at the Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas, United States.
TT were held to a goalless draw by defending champions Mexico on Saturday at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas while El Salvador took care of Guatemala 2-0 at the Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
Eve, at Tuesday’s pre-game media conference, held via Zoom, said, “Every game is basically a final. We wanted to be on this stage. We’re back on this stage and we want to go on and produce, and make our country proud to re-establish ourselves in Concacaf.”
The TT-Mexico game was marred by a couple of incidents where Costa Rican referee Ricardo Montero had to stop play in the second half due to racist chants from the Mexican fans.
And the TT team (players and technical staff) were subjected to countless threats via social media.
The TT Football Association (TTFA), in a media release on Tuesday, said, “The Frisco police department has provided 24-hour presence at the team’s hotel since Monday.
“It was agreed that Inspector Peter Fraser, Consul Security will accompany the team for the remainder of its stay in the United States.”
About the increased security for the TT team, Eve refused to give a direct answer “because of security reasons. It’s a bit tense.”
Denmark-born goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup, who was replaced by veteran Marvin Phillip for Saturday’s game, was also questioned on the issue at Tuesday’s presser.
“It’s not good things but I don’t want to have (my) focus on that,” he responded. “I don’t like what happened to my teammates and myself. We just need to concentrate on (the) game against El Salvador.”
With regards to keeping the players’ focused on Wednesday’s fixture, Eve said, “As much as possible, we want to keep the players’ positive and we’re here to play football. We’re here to rebuild our reputation in the zone and that’s the only thing that we’re focusing on.”
Eve replaced Terry Fenwick a month ago, following TT’s failed 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign.
“The first thing I wanted to build back was the players’ attitude towards the game, the spirit of the players to play for the jersey,” said Eve. “The intensity of the game, I think, it was too slow previously, with the type of players that we have. I think all off those things are coming together. This project has been only about three weeks so there is a lot of work still to be done.”
According to Frenderup, “We have a new coach. He comes with some new ideas of what we should do on the pitch. He has a plan, and we follow that.”
Also on Wednesday, from 9.30 pm (TT time), Mexico will square off against Guatemala at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas.