Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Senior Team will be hoping to make a strong impression in their International warm up clash with Barbados when both teams meet on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 7pm.
T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence oversaw a final training session at the Couva venue on Thursday evening and expects to have a squad of players eager to face their opponents as preparations continue for the all important 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico on March 24th and 28th.
Assistant coach Sol Campbell was scheduled in on Thursday night and is expected to be with Lawrence and his staff for the encounter with the “Bajans”.
“Like I said it will be exciting for the players as they get the chance to show us that they are worthy of selection for the two World Cup qualifiers. From a commitment point, they have given enough focus and attention to the work that we have tried to do. Now it’s just about execution and it’s for the players to go out and concentrate on the work that we’ve done also go out there and deliver,” Lawrence said.
Central FC Midfielder Leston Paul is expecting the T&T side to step up to the call.
“Things have been fantastic for the past couple of weeks. We’ve put in a great load of work and having the new technology with the GPRS means we can now see where are at physically. Coach has simplified his game so the guys have gotten a good hold of it,” Paul told TTFA Media.
“The sessions have been well planned and great all round. It has been just enough to get us ready for international football,” he added.
As to how much the game on Friday will play its part in the build up to Panama and Mexico, the ex-national under 17 captain said: “I think every game is important. It’s a new group of guys so everyone is ready to go to show themselves for selection.
“We know how important these two games are with regards to our qualifying chances and the players realise that and they all would like to be part of the effort. The coach has emphasised how important it is for us to be on top of our game at all times and to stay focused and ready at all times,” Paul added.
Tickets for the game are priced at $50 (adults) and $20 (kids) and are available at the Ato Boldon Stadium on game day. Gates open at 4pm. Tickets for the two World Cup qualifying games are on sale at Lotto Locations throughout the country from Friday. (March 10th).
Leston Paul looks ahead to Friday's friendly with Barbados
Lawrence looking for performers.
T&T Guardian Reports.
T&T locally-based professional footballers will hope to make their one chancecount largely during an international friendly to impress newly-appointed national senior coach Dennis Lawrence against Barbados at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 7pm this evening.
The match is being used to asses the locals who, if selected, will join the list of foreign-based players in the national squad for the next two Concacaf World Cup Final Round qualifiers versus Panama on March 24, and four days later versus Mexico—both at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 7pm.
The 156th-ranked Barbadians are also using the match as part of their build up for the Windward Islands competition in May, and will be in action again on March 26 when they meet Martinique at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
The Soca Warriors, ranked 84th in the world are without a point after two matches following two defeats, at home to Costa Rica (0-2) and on the road against Honduras (1-3), to be joint bottom of the six-team final round table with USA.
Costa Rica heads the standings with maximum six points while Mexico is next with four points, the same as Panama followed by Honduras, a point behind.
Speaking following a training session at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, on Wednesday, Lawrence, who was appointed last month after the short-stint of Belgium Tom Saintfiet, who was in the job for 35-days and four matches after he replaced sacked Stephen Hart, said he was looking forward to the players performed following the training camp.
The scorer of the all-important goal away to Bahrain in November 2005 to seal T&T’s lone appearance at a Fifa World Cup Finals (2006), the 42-year-old Lawrence who will be in charge of his first match since being appointed in February said, “It’s going to be exciting for players to take to the pitch and show their worth. I think it’s going to be exciting for the players as the work we have done over the time should have prepared them for a game of this magnitude. I am looking forward to it and to see how much the boys have taken on board over the past couple of weeks we have been working.”
However, missing out today will be Tyrone Charles, Nathan Lewis, goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, and defenders Carlyle Mitchell, Radanfah Abu Bakr and Julius James.
Charles and Lewis are away with their club San Juan Jabloteh at the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship qualifiers in St Vincent, while Mitchell and Williams are sidelined through injury, and Bakr (Estonia) and James (USA) are away seeking professional contracts.
The squad is made up of seven uncapped players in Jamille Boatswain, national futsal striker Jameel Perry, Jared London, Taryk Sampson, Jesus Perez, Akeem Humphrey, and Jomoul Francois while among the notables are World Cup veteran, 38-year-old Edwards, who is eight matches shy of 100 national appearances, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip (59 caps), defender Daneil Cyrus (63) and midfielder Hughtun Hector (40).
Keron Cummings (13), Curtiz Gonzales (11), former Under-17 and Under-20 Youth World Cup captain Leston Paul (nine), Sean De Silva and Hashim Arcia, both with six and Triston Hodge (five) are the others to have featured at least five times.
Lawrence said, “The idea is to make sure that everybody gets a good portion of the game because I think it’s only fair to give them the opportunity to present themselves for selection for March 24th and 28th.”
Yesterday, the T&T team held a final training at the Couva venue, and was expected to be joined by assistant coach and former England captain and defender Sol Campbell following his arrival from Europe yesterday afternoon.
T&T will go into the clash with the Bajans, boasting an impeccable record of 17 wins, nine draws and two defeats, coming in August 1976 (2-1), in a Fifa World Cup Qualifier and 1-0 in at CFU Cup qualifiers in 1997.
Since 1997, T&T has gone 13 matches without defeat against Barbados, winning the last four as well, including the last two 2012 World Cup qualifiers, 2-0 and 4-0 in 2011.
Tickets for tonight’s match will be on sale from 4pm at the venue and are priced at $50 (adults) and $20 (children).