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T&T vs Haiti, 23-Jan-2007.
Wed Jan 24, 2007 08:26

Haiti edges hosts for 2007 Digicel title.
By: Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).

Congratulations Haiti! Well Done T&T.

That sums up the final of the 2007 Digicel Caribbean Cup which ended with back door qualifiers Haiti capturing the winners prize with a 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Haitians promised conviction and they gave it from the get go and passion and pride was expected from T&T but it came a wee bit too late as skipper Densill Theobald and his teammates could only acknowledge the fans with their shoulders dropped moments after the closing whistle.
The Haitians had to qualify via a playoff win over Bermuda but they were last ones jumping as skipper Richard Pierre Bruny lifted the coveted Digicel Cup and they collected the USD$120,000 after 90 plus minutes of pulsating action.
For all it’s worth, the highly inexperienced T&T team attracted maybe the largest crowd ever by an outfit comprising only one overseas-based professional who spent the evening on the bench – Scott Sealy. Only the “Strike Squad” with so many home-based non professionals would have played in front a bigger crowd. There was an estimated 20,000 at the venue on the night and many would have still left with a gut feeling that the team did not totally disappoint them with its performance.
And head coach Wim Rijsbergen could feel disappointed but also somewhat satisfied that his squad of players, still familiarizing themselves to the international stage, was able to produce such a fighting and especially commanding second half performance when they had close to seventy percent of the possession and created chances with it. Too little to late though. Haiti had its best team and while earning marks for grit and vigor in their game had to depend on two goals which would have maybe not scored on a sharper defense plus T&T had anything but it’s best available team on the pitch.
But credit to the Haitians who stuck to their plan. Pierre Bruny marshaled their defense and their goalkeeper Fenelon Gabard pulled out all the stops in the second half as T&T went pressing for an equalizer. That followed a first half which had seen both teams starting at a laid back pace but T&T doing that more so.
The hosts were stunned on 21 minutes when Cadet Eliphene was allowed to turn too easily with room by Makan Hislop on the right and squared for Brunel Fucien to then see his shot blocked by goalie Jan Michael Williams. The stop was not clean enough though as the rebound was quickly pounced on by Boucicaut Alexandre for the opening goal.
Haiti realized that they had done just what the doctor ordered and they were more than ever prepared to starve the T&T side. But Rijsbergen men got their act going and should have had a goal when a right side corner was turned into the goal but by the hand of Seon Power. Then Kerry Baptiste shot wide from a good opening and Kerwyn Jemmott had his effort saved.
The second half was off and most were expecting a T&T resurgence and Theobald was desperate to lead from the front, going at everything but doing it cleverly and with purpose. Strikers Gary Glasgow and the hardworking Darryl Roberts were not being allowed to find their footing as much as the earlier games and Rijsbergen was forced into introducing Joel Bailey to deepen the attack as T&T searched for leveling item.
Bailey wasn’t on as yet though when Haiti handed the killer blow. A neat move on the left, a well thought out run led to the T&T defense being left flat footed and Williams could only partially block a shot which he should have held on to and Fucien converted with everyone else gazing in the 52nd minute. There seemed like no coming back from that point but yet there was something that would make the onlooker still keep his bets on a T&T comeback.
The first reaction to that came on 66 minutes when Nigel Daniel brought his Pro League tricks to the international stage, as he fired one home from 35 yards out to send the home fans into a frenzy.
That was the signal of a spirited attempt to a comeback from T&T but Haiti never stuttered.
Gabard did well to stop a well taken header by Bailey from Power’s long right side cross in the 76th minute and then Glasgow also had the Haitian denying him to the dismay of the thousands watching on. Gabard then pushed over a Theobald free kick and passed a further test when Roberts went for goal down the stretch. Nothing would go T&T’s way and not anything would deny the Haitians of their first ever regional title.

Trinidad and Tobago: - Jan-Michael Williams, Makan Hislop (Joel Bailey 64th), Osei Telesford, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Kerwyn Jemmott, Darryl Roberts, Gary Glasgow, Kerry Baptiste, Seon Power, Nigel Daniel, Densill Theobald (capt).

Haiti: - Fenelon Gabard, Gilles Frantz (Dacius Gilles 90th), Guillaume Stephane, Brunel Fucien, Cadet Eliphene (Lormera Roody 90th), Boucicaut Alexandre (Raymond Ednerson 63rd), James Marcelin, Richard Pierre Bruny (capt), Chery Mones, Vubert Alain, Maynard Josue.



Trinidad and Tobago 1 v Haiti 2

22 Shots 11
9 Corners 6
5 Fouls 5
5 Offsides 2
2 Yellow cards 5
0 Red cards 0
T&T coach not disjointed after final loss.
By: Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).

Disappointed but not disjointed. That was the mood of Trinidad and Tobago head coach Wim Rijsbergen after T&T faltered in the final of the Digicel Caribbean Cup, losing 2-1 to Haiti on Tuesday. Rijsbergen had his four-game unbeaten streak clipped by the visitors but he had a lot to take out of the affair and the overall two-week experience.
“After the semi final we saw that Haiti had physically a little better group than we had. As I keep telling the boys every game if we had started with a little bit more aggression… you saw the difference in the second half when we had to come back from 2-0. Hopefully this will be a good lesson again,”Rijsbergen said.
“Of course we have seen all the games and there is still a lot of improvements to make and we will keep working on that. Overall we were satisfied with the group… they played with all their heart. You can’t blame them all but we tried hard and we saw a good crowd and they should be proud of the team and hopefully we can try next time to win this Cup.”
When asked what the immediate future would be for the runners up, Rijsbergen said he had every intention of working with the bunch but also wanted to improve the weak links within the team.
“We have seen a lot of new players and of course we will try to improve this team so in the future you could see some other faces in some international games. We will try to get the best team possible. We have seen some weaknesses and we will try to improve that in training. But on the other side we are also looking for some guys to replace some weaker parts in our team. That’s part of the future. It would (have been) nice with this group to win the Cup but they have to wait a little big longer.”
He added there could be a couple changes to the team which departs for matches against Panama and Costa Rica next week.
Going back to the loss, Rijsbergen pointed that his team didn’t start with the same aggression as the earlier 3-1 win over Haiti. And he felt T&T didn’t pressure sufficiently, also failing to utilize the flanks and poor crossing on the evening didn’t help, also referring to Leslie Fitzpatrick’s wasted last gasp corner.
Asked what he was pleased with from this tournament, the Dutchman added “Everybody was negative when we played the first game and if you work hard with a group they way we did last couple of weeks then you see the improvement. It wasn’t enough to win the tournament… but we don’t have time to work with a group. We only had it for 6 weeks in the World Cup before. One of the big problems we have is not a lot of time to work together. With these boys at least we had a chance to start from nothing and try to get a good group and we have seen the improvement. Hopefully we (will have) more time but it will be difficult because there are a lot of other things (in the way), the kind of competitions and people with thoughts of how we should do it. We proved that you can do it if you put the work in. They did better than we all expected and now we must look forward to see where this can lead to,” Rijsbergen added.

Coach and skipper says win is for Haitian people

CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union President Jack Warner was on hand to present the winning Cup at a colourful closing ceremony which included fireworks and confetti as well as a display of T&T’s Carnival with a presentation of its masqueraders in costumes and a performance by local songstress Destra Garcia.
Following the victory, Haitian head coach Luis Garcia was elated as was his captain and final “Man of the Match” Richard Pierre Bruney.
“We worked hard for it and we played with a plan, We said we would play with conviction and we did it. We are happy to see how the people of Trinidad supported the football but we are even more happy to do this for the people of Haiti,” said Garcia.
“This is a win for the people of Haiti,” he added as his players pranced around with the Digicel Cup following the presentation ceremony on the outfield.
Bruney, the team’s defense master, said he felt privilege to win the Cup, especially as it could be his final international tournament before the Gold Cup, for his country.
“I am very happy and we are all very happy. This is an important moment for us because we achieved our first win in this competition. We wanted to do it and we played our best game and got the winning result,” he added.

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