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Soca Warriors must beat Guatemala tomorrow

Thursday, September 1, 2016
Soca Warriors coach, Stephen Hart, left, observes players Shahdon Winchester, Andre Boucaud (#14) and Naveal Hackshaw during a training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Training Field, Mucurapo, on Tuesday, ahead of Friday’s 2018 World Cup Concacaf Semfinal Round Group C qualifier versus Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. Kick-off is from 7.06 pm.

I suppose that we can all hope being at home at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and our home crowd support, we should provide the positive atmosphere to enhance the ambiance which motivates our people and players as well. With the celebrations of Independence seeming to run over straight to the stadium, environment is a major factor in our favour.

However, behind the closed doors with the coaching staff and players, the essential question is: “What are our plans to ensure victory?”

From a strategic mode, the concept of playing at home requires a fifteen-minute start that should have the opposition retreating in response to the speed of Levi Garcia, Joevin Jones, Tervin Caesar, who must be occupying the opponents portion of the field, awaiting services from the back four.

Ahead of the speedsters skipper Kenwyne Jones and the quick-footed Kevin Molino anxiously awaiting any type of penetrative service that’s behind the Guatemala defence where the speed and skill of our aggressive attackers can well unsettle the opponents. 

But more than that, our Guatemalans friends will realise that defending their goal must be their mantra for the evening. It is not too often that we have had some excellent midfielders who have the ability to be good ball winners and follow the possession game with intensity. We are strong in that area.

Of course, the key to this approach must be the ability to focus well in advance of the first whistle. In recent matches, we tended to be satisfied with rolling the ball among our defensive players and build carefully but slowly, within our own half of the field, which under normal circumstances will be adequate.

The shock of extremely quick play, vociferous voices from the stadium fans, and an attitude of positivity in scaring the visitors, is however, lethal.

Because I am not able to determine who are the players that will start and how ready they are for this encounter, we must place trust in the selection of the coaching staff, seeing that nineteen players on the squad have been playing abroad. Judging from the comments made by some of the players through the media, I assume that they are on the same page.

Another area for attention is the surface on which the game will be played. We are all aware of the significance in pattern of play on a dry surface as opposed to a slippery or Soddy one.

Some may claim that that does not matter much. Well, for a start, the structure or formation used will differ from wet to dry surfaces (and of course, the types of studs which are needed) especially with defenders and goalkeeper.

I assume that the staff may have seen the Guatemalans last encounter against Venezuela, which will provide more confidence to the system of play and the key players to use the surface.

Our recent victories over the visitors must bring horrible memories to them with the first five minutes when the enthusiasm is high, the crowds are rearing to make their demand from our players, implying that their efforts must raise the chants and scare all those who are not supporting the red/white/black shirts.

One great game will just about take us among challengers who will know that we are ready. 

Go for it lads!


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