As Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 Men prepare for their arrival into Curaçao ahead of the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 Championship, team captain Jabari Mitchell says there is an upbeat feeling in the camp.
Mitchell was speaking ahead of Saturday’s opening match against Cuba, describing the training camp in Panama as useful towards the team’s preparations. The team arrives in Curaçao on Thursday afternoon following a three-match series in Panama in which they won two games and lost one.
“ The training camp was really positive. It helped us to build a stronger bond as we lived together for a decent enough period and the vibes within the camp built a nice atmosphere heading into the competition in Curaçao,” Mitchell told TTFA Media.
“The team is full of confidence at the moment. Everybody’s fit and all working with and for each other,” he added.
He said the key to a good opening result would be playing without fear and dictating the pace of the game from early on.
“Everyone is really confident and anxious to show what we can do in this tournament and therefore we have to take on the Cubans in a fearless approach. We know they are a good team but we are also confident in what we can do. We are the defending champions and we need to defend that title with everything we have,” he added.
“Concentration will be key for us in this tournament, capitalizing on our chances and taking good care of the ball in possession.”
Mitchell was one of the younger members of the Derek King-coached outfit that captured the 2014 title with a commanding 3-0 victory over Haiti in the final in Port of Spain, going on to contest the CONCACAF Final round in Jamaica where T&T missed out on progressing to the FIFA Under 20 World Cup.
“I’m even hungrier now and more focused than I was last time around because I’ve been there before. I have an idea what to expect and I know every team will be coming at us. I try to encourage everyone in training to push and try my best to lead by example in terms of my work ethic and leadership on and off the field. The technical staff has also been keeping us in a gear and trying to ensure we are ready for the battles ahead,” Mitchell added.
T&T will face off with Cuba in their opening match of the Caribbean Football Union Final Round of Under 20 World Cup qualification on October 22nd in Curaçao.
T&T, the CFU defending champions, have been grouped with previous runners up Haiti, Cuba and St Lucia in Group B which will be contested at the Ergilio Hato.
Following their opening game with Cuba, T&T then faces St Lucia on October 24th and Haiti on October 26th.
Group A comprises of hosts Curacao, Bermuda, St Kitts/Nevis and Antigua/Barbuda.
The top two teams will advance to the semi finals as well as gain automatic passage to the CONCACAF Final round which will be played in Costa Rica in February. The semi-finals will be played on October 28th and the final and third place match will take place on October 30th. The top five teams from the CFU Final round will advance to the CONCACAF stage.