FORMER Trinidad and Tobago players Brent Sancho and Ron La Forest are both pleased with Angus Eve’s performance, thus far, as TT interim men’s coach.
However, with Eve’s contract set to expire on August 31, both stayed clear of endorsing the ex-national midfielder and captain as a long-term coach.
Sancho is concerned about the immediate future of the TT men’s team while La Forest is willing to assist Eve in the technical department.
Eve replaced Terry Fenwick as TT coach on June 13. At the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers, Eve guided the team past Montserrat (6-1) and French Guiana (8-7 on penalties after a 1-1 result at the end of regulation time) to qualify for the Gold Cup.
And, at the Gold Cup, TT drew goalless with Mexico, lost 2-0 to El Salvador and held Guatemala to a 1-1 tie.
Sancho, the ex-TT central defender, said on Tuesday, “Angus deserves credit for what he has done, as it relates to where the team was off the field, the toxic environment. To turn around the troops, to give a courageous performance is a true testament to what he’s been able to do.”
Also on Tuesday, La Forest, the former national striker, said, “Angus did his utmost best, which I applaud and appreciate very much, in terms of putting the (team) together as quick as possible, getting them to buy in as quickly as possible. That was very admirable.
“I would have done the same thing too,” he continued. “With the previous coach, we were playing too tense, like they were in a boot camp. Angus did a tremendous job in terms of binding them together, getting back a little smile on their (faces), which is good for us.”
La Forest, the ex-Joe Public, Ma Pau and Guaya FC coach, queried the tactics used by Eve in TT’s opening Group A game against Mexico on July 10.
“I felt he surrendered early, in terms of giving them all that respect,” La Forest said. “We played Mexico and it was a ding-dong battle between us. I wasn’t too pleased with that performance. I felt as though he dropped shoulders too soon.
According to the former TT Under-17 coach, “I could see where he tried to come from. He felt Mexico was the hardest team in the group. He could have (gotten) a nucleus of players to go and play against Mexico. You don’t want to give away too much chances against them.”
La Forest listed the outfield players he would have used against Mexico – defenders Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones, Aubrey David and Jelani Peters, Mekeil Williams and Neveal Hackshaw as defensive midfielders, Noah Powder and Reon Moore on the flanks with Kevin Molino as the attacking midfielder and Marcus Joseph as the centre-forward.
“Had we gone with that,” said La Forest, “I think the other two games would have been much easier. He wouldn’t have to be making (many) changes to break the chemistry. He gave in too early because of Mexico ranking.”
With regards to the position of TT coach when Eve’s contract ends, Sancho said, “For us to answer the question of whether or not Angus should continue in the job, we, the stakeholders in football, have to address the current situation.
“I think a lot of it comes down to where we want to be, what we’re trying to do, where we want to achieve, whether or not we’re looking for a young team, that is geared for the 2026 World Cup. Are we going to recruit heavily overseas, to look for players with (TT parentage)?”
Sancho added, “We also have to address the local league situation and whether or not the players are developing properly. All those questions need to be asked first, and then look for the person that suits that answer. It makes no sense making emotional decisions or making decisions based on a couple of games. We have to take a holistic approach at this.”
La Forest, who previously indicated his desire to serve as TT coach when Fenwick was sacked, said, “I would like to be part of the (technical team) also. I could bring experience to the table. At least have a senior person around to show them that helping hand in terms of the best way forward.”