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‘We still need to finish’

‘We still need to finish’


Coach of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Under-20 Football team Kendale Mercury, despite earning two draws against the more accomplished Trinidad and Tobago outfit, said his young charges need to “finish.”{{more}}

Mercury made the observation after seeing his team squander a 2-0 lead, to give up two goals in injury time last week Friday night at the Victoria Park.

Mercury opined: “Once we can get it right, we could be unstoppable.”

The host also drew 1-1 last week Wednesday at the same venue.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is preparing for the Caribbean Finals, which also involve Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and will be staged here from January 9 to 13 next year.

The two-match friendly internationals were used as warm-ups for both teams.

Trinidad and Tobago, who will host the CONCACAF Finals from March 6 to 15, have qualified automatically.

The local coach felt that the Trinidadians provided good opposition for them.

“Not often we are exposed to a team who moves good off the ball, so it was a good experience for us,” Mercury said following the Friday match.

“Tonight we looked better attacking, but we still need to finish,” he added.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines let their opponents off the hook, conceding two goals in injury time, after the Young Soca Warriors looked dead and buried.

An own goal in the first minute of injury time, converted by Reginald Richardson, and a Sheldon Bateau strike two minutes later resurrected the Trinidadians, who were behind 2-0.

Two second half goals by Cornelius Stewart, the team’s stand-out player and captain, had given the home side and the spectators much to savour.

Stewart scored from the spot, then from the top drawer, he twisted pass three defenders and sent a looping shot that hit the far upright, then into the net.

Mercury blamed the lack of concentration at that point, which saw his team slip from an unbeatable position.

But Mercury is hopeful that during the upcoming weeks, many of the issues confronting the team will be ironed out. He is counting on the planned two-week camp to keep his players focussed.

“We have some tactical issues to deal with and players believing in themselves,” the coach stated.

Mercury’s opposite number, former Technical Director employed by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, Zoran Vranes, said he was “surprised” at the improved level of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines

team, from where he left it just over a year ago.

“They gave us a good fight. They were not bad, very strong, but must control their aggression,” Vranes observed.

He thought that the match officials did not protect his players, with the physical aggression shown by the Vincentians.

Vranes was high in praise for Stewart, whom he referred to as one of the most talented players in the region.

The winner of this Caribbean stage will join Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF Finals, while the runner-up will play-off against UNCAF’s third placed team for another berth.

Four teams from CONCACAF will qualify to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, 2009.