As the Soca Warriors gears up to head into its first residential camp under new head coach Tom Saintfiet from tomorrow at a Hotel in South where the players will be based until their departure for Nicaragua, the players have given positive feedbacks about the organisation of the preparations over the last four days. A squad of 21 out of the 28 players called commenced training last Thursday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, as T&T looks to two upcoming friendlies against Nicaragua on December 27 and 30.
Saintfiet, 43, has conducted four sessions so far and will oversee double sessions daily from Tuesday as he gets his squad ready for the two matches in Managua to be followed by the CFU Gold Cup playoff matches at the Ato Boldon Stadium against Suriname and Haiti on January 4 and 8th. The team departs Port of Spain on Christmas evening.
Goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams who has spent the last two sessions also working with goalkeeper coach Lukas Wojciak, said Saintfiet has made a strong impression so far.
"It's been really good so far. I think the coach obviously has the right ideas, he has all the qualifications for the job and he has come in and imposed himself really well on the group.
He has made his intentions clear which is to firstly qualify for the Gold Cup and then the World Cup. I think he was well received by the players and it augers well for the future of the football in Trinidad and Tobago.
He knows his stuff and he has really gotten off to a very good start," Williams said yesterday after training at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
Williams noted the importance of the team achieving positive results and regaining confidence as it prepares to enter a busy 2017 calendar.
"Now is crunch time for us. We have to buckle down as a team and we have to get back to winning ways. I think the coach knows his stuff and with that extra drive and motivation we should do well. Although we may not have our full compliment of players for Nicaragua, I think a lot of the local based players are getting a chance to show that they deserve a spot," the Central FC custodian pointed out.
Mexican-based forward Shahdon Winchester said it was important that the squad members focus on playing their parts in helping the team achieve positive results in the matches to come.
"So far things have been going good with the addition of the new players and technical staff. I am pleased with the sessions so far and I think we can only go up from here. I think he (Saintfiet) strongly believes in his philosophy which is a good thing. The four games are important. The two games against Nicaragua are warm ups for us heading into the Suriname and Haiti games. As coach said, he came here to do a job, and we as players have to help him do that job," Winchester said.