At 19-years-old, forward Kadeem Corbin (#9) is on Trinidad & Tobago's 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster. (Photo: Mexsport)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Trinidad & Tobago head coach Stephen Hart is upbeat preparations for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He’s been conducting double sessions with the squad, working towards the objective of matching the team’s best ever finish in the competition – a place in the 2000 semifinals.
“They have been fantastic,” said Hart of recent training sessions. “The response has been very good from the players and there has been absolutely no complaints. This has been the equivalent of a preseason for us, so the work is rigorous. But everyone has been training very hard and we will continue to improve along this phase.”
For Hart and company, it is the first full gathering of the year. And while the 55-year-old has been satisfied thus far, he expects energy levels to rise even higher when the Caribbean runner-up arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Wednesday for a more intensive camp.
“We’ve segmented what we need to do,” Hart noted. “The early stages has been focused on our mental and physical preparation and then we will move into the tactical phase of team development. Lastly, we’re working on a couple different systems to suit the opposition we will be meeting.”
While Hart remains undoubtedly optimistic about efforts on the training pitch, the former Canada manager has been forced to make personnel adjustments considering the absence of key players, such as the injured Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC/USA), who scored in the 2013 Gold Cup and netted seven times in the 2014 Caribbean Cup. Midfielder Hughtun Hector (Hanoi T&T FC/Vietnam) and defenders Seon Power (Chainat Hornbill/Thailand) and Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC/Korea Republic) also will miss out.
“You cannot replace those types of players,” Hart expressed. “But I believe we have other players that can step in to those roles. They play a little bit differently, so we will have to adjust how the team plays in order to suit their strengths. Injuries are part of football. Unfortunately for us, these injuries come in a department where we are a bit suspect, which is scoring goals, but in the last two games we created a lot of opportunities and it’s just a matter of tucking them away.”
The Soca Warriors will open their Gold Cup campaign on July 9 against Guatemala at Chicago’s Soldier Field.