Squad building key to Trinidad’s Gold Cup ambition

Attauallah Guerra (red jersey) helped lead Trinidad & Tobago to the final of the 2014 Caribbean Cup.

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- With seven months to prepare for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Trinidad & Tobago head coach Stephen Hart knows what his team needs to be successful: better fitness and more playing time with the players' respective club teams. 

The Soca Warriors finished second to Jamaica in the recent Caribbean Cup, losing to their rivals on penalty kicks, 4-3, after playing to scoreless draw in the championship game. 

"Physically, we were behind," Hart said.  "If we are to play at a higher level, at the Gold Cup level, we need to be much fitter and the players need to be playing football." 

The Jamaicans showed a lot of energy in the second half of the championship game, according to Hart. 

"If you look at their squad, they have a number of players who have played consistently with their club," the 54-year-old noted.  "And we're the opposite.  We have a number of players that are not playing 90 minutes, so I am not surprised at all. 

Just weeks after being handed managerial reins, Hart guided Trinidad to quarterfinals of the 2013 Gold Cup, dropping a narrow 1-0 decision to Mexico.  After acquiring additional familiarity with the side, the former Canada chief is looking to do even better in the CONCACAF competition.

"We have to look for some international games to settle our internal problems, and build a squad," stressed Hart.  "If you look, I think we have a nucleus of a nice squad.  We have a few players to bring in as well who weren't available for selection.  So, hey, when is Gold Cup? July.  We should be fine." 

Trinidad went undefeated in the Caribbean Cup with a 2-2-0 record, while finishing first in Group A.  Wins over Curacao (3-2) and French Guiana (4-2) were followed by draws against defending champion Cuba (0-0) and the Jamaicans.