T&T Soca Warriors coach, and former England international Terry Fenwick has described this country’s first-round exit from the 2022 Concacaf Qatar World Cup Qualification campaign as a big disappointment on Saturday night.
Fenwick was hired late last year under controversial contractual circumstances by former T&T Football Association (T&TFA) President, Williams Wallace after the firing of former national player and World Cup hero, Dennis "Tallest" Lawrence, who led the team in the previous qualifying final round of qualifiers for Russia 2018 without much success.
On Saturday night, the Soca Warriors quest for a spot at next year’s Qatar FIFA World Cup came crashing to a halt at the first hurdle, their earliest ever exit, following an underwhelming goalless draw against host Bahamas at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau.
Going into the match, coach Fenwick’s men needed a win to have any chance of advancing to the next round and to keep pace with Group F unbeaten leaders St Kitts and Nevis which defeated Guyana 3-0 on Friday night, ahead of both teams meeting on Tuesday, the final round-robin match in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
However, a misfiring T&T line-up failed to score against group minnows Bahamas who had conceded 15 goals in their three previous matches, two 4-0 defeats against St Kitts and Nevis and Guyana and a 7-0 mauling from Puerto Rico on Tuesday last.
But just needed to win by any margin, T&T featuring a host of overseas-based players in the starting line-up failed to even score once.
With the goalless draw, T&T improved to five points from three matches, four behind St Kitts/Nevis who whipped Guyana 3-0 on Friday, with only one match left to play for each team and only the group winner advancing.
In their first two matches, T&T had blanked Guyana 3-0 on March 25, followed by a 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico three days later which left them trailing St Kitts and Nevis by two points after two matches, and needing to win their remaining two encounters to top the group.
For the Bahamians, it marked their first-ever point from World Cup qualification since a 6-0 win over Turks and Caicos in 2011.
Commenting after his team’s exit from the World Cup campaign, a sombre Fenwick, a former England 1986 World Cup defender when asked his thoughts on the unexpected result based on how the Bahamas had performed in the group stage thus far said: “First and foremost, I’ve got to hand it to the Bahamas, they had a game plan and they dug in deep. They wore their hearts on their sleeves, they fought for every ball, and they grinded out a result.
Trying to find answers for his team’s miserable display, Fenwick, a former winning T&T Pro League coach with San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC said, “I’m very disappointed for us in T&T.
“We squandered our chances and the quality of players that we have got within the squad, this is a big disappointment.
He added, “We didn’t give any chances away really ourselves and we created possibly six, seven, eight chances and didn’t convert and if you don’t score at this level, teams can come back and bite you.
“And I thought that’s what they did. The Bahamas showed a lot of pride and passion played for their country, and the chances that we missed were glaring.
With their campaign all but over, under-fire Fenwick and his players will now turn their attention to their Nations League Qualifier against Montserrat on July 2.
However, with the match against St Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday left to play, Fenwick said his team will look to give the group winners a run for their money. The team arrived in the Dominican Republic yesterday.
He said, “We will be going into that match with the same game plan used against the Bahamas.
“We obviously thought we would have had a better result than we had, but we have got top class players and we have some good youngsters coming through and it’s time to see them, and we will give St Kitts and Nevis a good run for their money.
Asked if any changes in the team can be expected for Tuesday, Fenwick replied, “Possible we can see a different formation, but I will be looking for better going forward, creating chances which we did today, and our finishing was poor.