Trinidad and Tobago’s National Futsal Team will face off with Honduras in their opening leg of a two-game series at the BN Arena in San Jose from 5:30pm (7:30pm TT Time) on Wednesday in their CONCACAF Final round qualifying play off.
T&T, under head coach Clayton Morris, have been in Costa Rica for a week preparing for their qualifiers and the team completed its first victory since here when they trounced local Costa Rican Futsal League club Joma Futsal 6-3 in its final training match in San Jose on Monday night.
T&T got a hattrick from captain Jerwyn Balthazar, two goals from Point Fortin Civic Centre player Bevon Bass and one from Noel Williams to outscore the local team.
T&T went ahead on two occasions in the first half but Joma were head and head with them, pulling a goal back each time T&T took the lead. They got their goals from Luis Barnes and Daniel Carerra and also got a third item from Christopher Diaz in the second half.
But T&T took firm control of proceeding after the break through Bass and Balthazar before Williams netted the sixth item near the end of the match. Generally it was a more encouraging display from T&T which had been beaten 6-1 and 6-0 respectively by Costa Rica last week.
Honduras meantime, faced Costa Rica in a closed-door match on Monday and lost 4-2 to the reigning CONCACAF champions. In its Central American qualifiers, the Hondurans defeated El Salvador and Nicaragua 5-2 and 6-2 respectively but lost 6-4 to Panama and 6-2 to Guatemala.
Looking ahead to the encounter, Morris said the latest victory was a definite moral booster for this team which got to this stage after finishing third in the Caribbean Championship in Cuba in January.
“This victory is definitely a confidence booster. I am so happy we got to play this third game. They were not as good as the Costa Rica national team but they definitely give us a good match. I was happy to see us scoring six goals before we conceded six in each of our games against Costa Rica. But this time we were able to get the goals and we were also able to correct some of our mistakes,” Morris told TTFA Media.
“We have worked hard for the past three months coming into this playoff. The stage is now set for our guys to go out and put it into practice. Our next objective is to get past Honduras and into the Final round and then achieve our ambition of qualifying for the World Cup in Colombia,” he added.
In the latest Futsal world rankings released this month, T&T stand in 59th position while Honduras are not ranked in the top 100. Guatemala is the top ranked CONCACAF team in 24thth spot with Costa Rica 26th, Cuba 29th, United States 41st and Mexico 49th.
T&T are ahead of England (60th) and Sweden (61st). Brazil, Spain and Russia are the top three ranked Futsal Teams in the world in that order.
Futsal is a five-a-side indoor game, played in 20-minute halves on a surface no larger than 25 by 42 metres (and no smaller than 20 by 38) for international matches. Goals measure three by two metres. Unlike 11-a-side football, goals may not be scored directly from the kick-off and are no offsides and there is unlimited substitution. The clock is stopped every time the ball goes out of play and each team team is entitled to a one-minute time out in each half.
The winner on aggregate in the two games between T&T and Honduras will advance. There is no home or away goal ruling. United States and Canada are also facing off in a qualifying leg in San Jose this week.