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T&T vs Haiti (U-16) - 25-Aug-2006.
Sat Aug 26, 2006 07:17

Haitians too hot to handle.
By: Shaun Fuentes.

Haiti became football kings of the Caribbean at the Under 16 level when they held off a stubborn challenge from Trinidad Tobago to come away 1-0 winners in the closing match of Group A action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday night.
The win gave the Haitians a maximum nine points from their three matches in the closing group stage and put them through to Sunday’s final of the 2006 CFU Youth Cup against Mexico which will be played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 4pm. With Mexico, which defeated Jamaica 2-1 on Friday not being a CFU team, it automatically means that the Haitians end up as the tournament’s winners. The “Reggae Boyz” meantime will do battle with the “Soca Warriors” for third place honours from 2pm at the same venue on Sunday. Haiti, T&T and Jamaica all advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying to be played in April 2007 (in Honduras and Jamaica) towards the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Championship in Korea.
On a relatively cool evening which saw both games shifted from the Larry Gomes Stadium due to inclement weather and field conditions, the feature game was pushed back by half hour after the field markings were unready on time and local fans flocked to the venue to see the best of Caribbean youth football, aware too to that there was no admission fee. And they got a well contested match as the Haitians showed their stability and sheer passion for the game by getting the better of the hosts. Skipper Jesse Fullerton and teammates were however not totally outdone as they put on maybe their best performance of the campaign, certainly against their hardest opposition.
In the earlier game, Suriname went home with something to show as the eased past Barbados 3-0 with goals from Teghan Pools (25th minute), Ivanildo Chobin (60th), Giovanni Drenthe (80th). Across at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, with Mexico winning, Canada and Panama played to a 2-2 draw.
In the feature match in Port of Spain, neither team could seize the advantage in the early stages with T&T holding their own, managing to enjoy some decent possession without any fluster. But the Haitians always looked likely to create danger, moving faster to the ball in spurts and playing with a level of composure and certainty almost as if nothing could trouble them. And one man in particular almost choreographed their game all by himself. The number eight Joseph Peterson, the eventual Man of the Match was a cut above the rest, winning admirers from all sides. “It look like the wrong country get the new Latapy”, one recognized T&T football correspondent blurted as he and others also got excited at times with the little man’s play and that of his teammates.
T&T’s Kevin Molino, getting his first start of the tournament after impressing on Wednesday against Suriname wasn’t having much of bad game as he and leading marksman Stephen Knox combined well on occasions, trying hard to make something happen for the home team but the Haitians were just too hard to break at the back.
And on eleven minutes, the decider was there for all to admire. A beautiful slicing pass by Peterson for 40 odd yards out made its way through and eventually got to Jules Sandy to hammer past a hapless Fullerton. Once again it was dancing time for the Haitians as Sandy teasingly put his finger over his lips in celebration, joining his teammates as they made better use of the TSTT sponsored rhythm section on hand.
Anyone who saw the two teams in previous action, particularly if being a T&T fan would likely to have become somewhat worried with the first one going in favour of the Haitians. But the local boys were not deterred and they battled on, nine minutes after the goal, they went close to tying it when Ryan O’Neil’s long range right footed free kick flashed wide of the upright.
Three minutes later Jean Luc Rochford out ran his man to win possession and then stylishly dragged past him before being taken down. And from the result free kick went T&T’s best chance of the game. Knox played it in from the right, and Molino didn’t seem ready to pounce, poking his effort straight to goalie Dorhans Shelson from the six yard box.
T&T pressured but the Haitians withstood and while Knox and Daniel Joseph looked like posing some danger at times, it wasn’t enough to trouble the boys in blue and white.
Anton Corneal put Chad De Freitas into the attack at the expense of Molino at the start of the second half seven minutes into it, he should have stole an equalizer, managing only a shot which the ‘keeper kept out. Then on 59 minutes, there was a scare for the T&T players while the fans were on the edge of their chairs almost as if they were there only supporting good football at that stage. Normil Valdo ran onto one and saw his effort crash off the bar.
T&T managed to win quite a few free kicks around the box and Sheldon Bateau wasn’t doing a bad job in serving them. Once his deliver was only just headed over by Akeem Adams.
But nothing could hack the Haitians as only a De Freitas fall to the turn inside the box brought loud appeals from the crowd but referee Enrico Wungaarde wasn’t having none of it. And the only bit of cheer after that from the fans was when midfielder Sean De Silva was warming up and then made his entry but by then, Haiti were already getting ready to dance again, as they went on to book a date in what promises to be an enticing fixture with the Mexicans.



1.Jesse Fullerton (capt), 3.Ryan O’Neil, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 5.Akeem Adams (16.Marcus Joseph 87th) 14.Jean Luc Rochford (9.Chad De Freitas 46th) 12.Robert Primus, 15.Chike Sullivan, 19.Kevin Molino (8.Sean De Silva 84th), 20.Daniel Cyrus, 10.Stephen Knox, 11.Daniel Joseph.


22.Dorhans Shelson, 3.Jean Baptiste Shiroc, 5.Pierre Elusma, 6.Saint Cyr Widner, 7.Saintilien Geferee, 8.Joseph Patterson (capt), 9.St.Victor Ulterguens, 11.Normil Valdo, 12.Alcine Samuel (13.Joachim Dieunel 73rd), 14.Jean Jacques Bitielo (16.Romulus John Peter 83rd) 15.Jules Sandy.
T&T mesmerised by Haitian magic.
By: Lasana Liburd (Express).

The Hasely Crawford Stadium fell under a Haitian spell on Friday evening. Trinidad and Tobago's 1-0 loss to Haiti in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-16 Youth Tournament semi-final round might have prompted a hasty exit by spectators at the final whistle. Instead, local fans stood in the aisles transfixed as over a dozen Haitian teenagers put on a dance exhibition that seemed to match their football performance for creativity, enthusiasm and, above all, audacity.
Jules Sandy, the game's lone scorer, celebrated his goal by bringing his finger to lip in a gesture to the home crowd and, at Surinamese referee Enrico Wijngaarde's final whistle, the Haitians indulged in some teasing hip movements in front the Trinidad and Tobago technical area that could be viewed as provocative. A post-game brawl between Argentina and Germany at the 2006 World Cup was ignited by far less.
But there was no denying that the young Soca Warriors had been mastered. "Haiti was more mature in their game," said national youth teams' coach Anton Corneal. "There were times when we had them on their back but they were mature enough to handle the pressure and play themselves out of it, especially in the second half."
It has been a tough week for Trinidad and Tobago football fans still basking in the country's historic showing at the Germany World Cup, just two months ago.
First, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation's (T&TFF) decision to scrap September friendlies against senior Mexican and Colombian teams suggest, correctly or not, that new coach Wim Rijsbergen does not have a squad worth fielding without his overseas contingent. It is a point that might prompt a cringe from Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene.
And Trinidad and Tobago's failure to top a four nation Caribbean group that did not include English-speaking rivals Jamaica would further sting local pride as does a continuing failure to produce a youth team capable of seizing one's breath. There were some shouts for Corneal's dismissal as the game headed to a predictable defeat although the youth team coach pointed out that he has done better than most in recent memory.
Two years ago, coach Nigel Grosvenor's under-16 outfit fell to Cuba by a 6-2 goal aggregate score in the final Caribbean qualifying leg while Ron La Forest's team ended bottom of a group that comprised Bermuda, Guyana and St Lucia in 2002.
In the past 15 years, Trinidad and Tobago appeared at the final CONCACAF group stage just twice--1999 and 1991--and, on both occasions, finished last and without a win. Still, Corneal promised that his team will do better next April in the final World Cup qualifying phase.
"We need to step up the program physically," he told the Sunday Express, "and play against competitive teams more often, not once, every two months, so the players know what it is like."
Corneal, an assistant to former head coach Leo Beenhakker at the 2006 World Cup, pointed out that the Warriors significantly closed the gap between themselves and respected international opponents like Sweden with just five weeks of intensive training. Dutch coaches Rijsbergen and Jan Van Deinsen are, according to Corneal, playing an active role in an attempt to perform a similar job with the youth team.
It will be interesting to observe Haiti's mettle against Mexico in this afternoon's 4 p.m. final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium but the French-speaking islanders seemed a good yardstick to gauge the merits of Corneal's squad on Friday.
Trinidad and Tobago kicked off without the injured trio of Leston Paul, Stephen Chang and Daniel Cyrus--the latter confessed a back injury during the warm up--and were soon second best to the Haitians.
Corneal abandoned his 4-4-2 system to match Haiti's 3-5-2 in an effort to tame his opponent's midfield prowess while defender Brenton Balbosa was asked to stay close to Haitian captain and playmaker Joseph Peterson in Trinidad and Tobago's defensive third of the field.
The coach must have feared the worse when Peterson, the eventual man of the match, instigated an opening goal for Haiti after just 10 minutes. Haiti's skipper sent Normil Valdo clear down the right flank and his cross was teed up by St Victor Ulterguens for Sandy to finish with composure. Sandy wheeled away to face the home crowd with finger on lip. It was a signal of intent. Haiti were there to conquer not charm.
And yet there was something about the slick ball movement and deceptive shimmies from the Haitians that touched a chord with the Port of Spain crowd who alternated cheers for the home team with murmours of approval for the visitors.
Corneal claimed "four or five" scoring opportunities for his side but they came mostly from set pieces. Once the ball rolled, the Haitians were superior.
Peterson's clever turns in midfield and Valdo's penetrative runs down the right touchline were highlights of Haiti's offensive game while Saint Cyr Widner was commanding as a midfield sweeper. In red, white and black strip, the central defensive trio of Robert Primus, Ryan O' Neil and Sheldon Bateau admirably managed an intense workload and there were flashes of potential from midfielders Kevin Molino and Chike Sullivan and forward Daniel Joseph. Corneal has eight months to transform this raw material into a world class product. But Friday belonged to Haiti.

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