T&T finished 10th at the International Handball Federation’s Men’s North American and the Caribbean Emerging Nations Championship yesterday after losing to Dominica 22-17. The victory secured the latter ninth after earning three wins out of three matches in the Placement Round 9-12.
This was a highly anticipated match after both teams had won all its Placement Round matches prior. It turned out to be a low-scoring first half as the Dominicans were able to take the lead and went into the break with a five-goal advantage at 9-4.
T&T came back a lot stronger in the second half, especially with Derice Biggart taking the attack to his opponents. In fact, Dominica found it difficult to contain Biggart. The second 30 minutes were hard-fought but T&T was not able to reduce the gap. They would, however, be happy with the fight they showed in defeat.
The top scorers of the match with seven goals each were Dominica's Nathan Sebastien and Biggart from T&T. After the game, T&T coach, Kenwin Goden, told Guardian Media Sports that he was extremely disappointed with the result. “It wasn’t good for us at all because technically we are better than them. We are better than the English-speaking Caribbean teams, and that is the honest truth. We didn’t start at the pace we should have started at. The rhythm just wasn’t there at the beginning and we took too long to get into the game so that cost us along with the other silly mistakes,” he said.
While Goden acknowledged that the team responded more positively in the second half, he said that they got their game together too late. He said, “At the half, we spoke at length about what we expect to go in the second half and do. Yes, the team responded, but we took too long to respond, and that is basically it.”
As the tournament came to an end, Goden feels it was a great experience for the local handballers to play at such a high level. “It was a measuring stick for us in terms of development and going forward. What we have to go back home is push the sport and advertise so more people can come out and try. It is a new sport in the country and it is being exposed now with us being across here,” he said.
The T&T Team Handball Federation is now planning a tournament for Tobago in July.