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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Paraguay coach wary of U-20s

Paraguay's national Under-20 team head coach Adrian Coria says he will not make the mistake and underestimate Trinidad and Tobago when both teams clash in Cairo at the FIFA Under 20 World Championship on October 1.

In a recent interview, Coria spoke of his team's readiness for the upcoming tournament, noting that his team had already beaten T&T 4-1 in an invitational tournament in Venezuela some weeks ago. But he changed his assessment of the junior "Soca Warriors" following their narrow 3-2 loss to Brazil a few days later after being ahead 2-0.

"We played them (T&T) in a six-team tournament in Venezuela and won 4-1," said the Argentina-born Coria. Â

"I didn't think much of their football that day, but they were a totally different side against Brazil a few days later. They played with a lot of skill and created a lot of chances."

Commenting further on his team, Coria added: "We had to go and look for players in the lower leagues because there weren't any in the first division. Then, when we went to Venezuela, we had very little idea how we would respond in a competition like that. Even so, things worked out well for us and we managed to qualify for Egypt and finish runners-up, something we really deserved."

Thanks to their performances at the continental championship, several of Coria's charges have opened up exciting new career horizons.

"It was amazing because quite a few of the players went off to Europe, Argentina and Mexico after the tournament," Coria continued.

When T&T and Paraguay faced each other, Germany-based striker Jamal Gay was not in the line-up. But the big striker along with Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland have joined up, giving a boost to Zoran Vranes' squad. And Gay says he wants to help T&T try and erase some of the disappointment of not advancing to South Africa 2010.

"That was a big disappointment for me, finding out while we were in Turkey that we lost out on qualifying for South Africa," Gay told TTFF Media after a double session with T&T in Lanarca yesterday.

"I was part of that team last year and it hurt but now I am really happy that I have the chance to go on and represent us at the Under 20 World Cup. It's a great opportunity to move on from here."

He added: "I've settled in easily because I have been around some of the guys before. We have a good chance of doing well but we have to play and work hard on the day of the games. We have to avoid silly mistakes.

"I have scored three goals in games since I joined the team but I have to work harder because it's going to be really tough in Egypt. We can create history and there is a massive opportunity out there for us to take our game to a higher level. Everyone from across the world will be looking at the opening game so we have to make it count" Gay added.

Commenting on his experience in Germany, Gay added that it has been no easy sailing with Second Division club Rot Weiss Oberhausen.

"It's good to be training and playing among and against very good players. There are better strikers at the club, so it means I have to work harder and score more goals to get a start. I'm making good use of my opportunities and I score whenever I get a chance in the training games but there are better strikers who start ahead of me in the League games."

Gay noted that he will be missing a Cup encounter against German giants Bayern Munich this coming week.

"I scored four goals in a practice game before I came to join the national team. The coach was happy but he still preferred the other strikers. We play Bayern Munich in the German Cup second round next week but for me, being with my national team is more important," Gay said

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