Trinidad and Tobago's senior footballers can hold their heads high as they look ahead to their major future assignments following their creditable showing at the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup in the United States.
This was the general feeling as the squad departed New Jersey in different batches for Port of Spain and other overseas destinations on Monday. Fourteen members of the squad were scheduled to arrive at Piarco International Airport at 9pm.
Aside from the strong showing which won the "Soca Warriors" several rave reviews in the international press, there was more reason to look ahead eagerly as Concacaf confirmed on Monday that there was a strong likelihood T&T could move on to the 2016 Copa America which will include the best nations from South America and Concacaf. The confederation will announce shortly a playoff schedule which will pit T&T against Haiti as with two Copa spots up for grabs from this Gold which would include the eventual champion, already three of the four teams have qualified for the Copa. Those teams already through are Mexico, USA, Jamaica (having won the Caribbean Cup) and Costa Rica.
View Stephen Hart at Post Game Press Conference
See Kenwyne Jones' Post Match Interview
Skipper Kenwyne Jones, though disappointed with T&T's exit, said there was every reason for a feeling for optimism going forward.
"It's an ironic feeling really because we lost on penalties in the Caribbean Cup and tonight I thought we had this one but it wasn't to be. But i think we have a lot to take from this as a team going forward," Jones told TTFA Media.
"I want to thank the staff and the players for every bit of effort during this tournament. We got closer with every day, every session and every match that passed and this augers very well for us going into the World Cup qualification.
"My hope and the hope of everyone in the team is that we can get the right preparations for the future. All along we have been told that we needed to perform and hopefully we would have done something now to warrant the kind of support that we deserve. If not, then we would be going back to square one and that is what makes the difference with the other countries moving ahead of us," Jones said.
Cyrus sorry for Penalty miss
Trinidad and Tobago defender Daneil Cyrus apologised to his teammates and the country for missing the penalty that would have pushed his team through to the semi finals.
After Marvin Philips made a vital save to put T&T in the driver's seat, Cyrus blasted over par to bring Panama back into it.
"I am sorry. I want to apologise to the nation and my team for that miss," Cyrus told TTFA Media.
"I hope we made the country proud and that they can now support us when the next campaign starts for us. This whole experience was a really good one for us. It brought us closer as a team and it made us believe more in our ability. It took a lot out of us but we have a lot to take from it. The entire team gave a lot of effort and was dedicated throughout. We would have liked to go all the way but we still can hold ourselves up and move on from here, "Cyrus ended.