The Soca Warriors touched down in Kingston, Jamaica, at the Norman Manley International Airport close to 3.30 pm local time and headed straight to the Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, under police escort through the capital.
The 18-man Soca Warriors squad is in Kingston for Sunday’s friendly international with Jamaica at the National Stadium, known as The Office from 6 pm (7 pm T&T time).
Prior to a late afternoon training session, T&T coach Russell Latapy was scheduled to attend a media briefing at the Jamaica Football Federation headquarters yesterday ahead of today’s session ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s match, Soca Warriors and W Connection midfielder Clyde Leon, said the clash comes like a grudge match because of the history between both countries.
“We know that T&T and Jamaica matches are always big. Both in football and cricket. Both countries always want a piece of each other and we don’t expect it to be any different on Sunday. The Jamaicans will not want to lose at home and they are on a high right now because they got the win in T&T (3-1) and now they will want to complete the double before the Digicel Caribbean Cup,” Leon said.
“I know the main focus is the Digicel Cup but we need to put in a good performance and get the best possible result on Sunday.
That will go a long way in getting the people behind us and building the moral of the team. Last time we came from two goals down to draw the match here (2-2) and I believe this time we can do better. Once we believe and we give it our all then everything else should take care of itself,” Leon added.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday at former West Indies pacer Courtney Walsh’s Cuddy’z Sports Bar in New Kingston, Jamaican Football Federation president Horace Burrell boasted the Soca Warriors will receive a stern lesson.
Latapy expects 'healthy rivalry' to continue.
Jamaica Gleaner Reports.
Russell Latapy, head coach of Trinidad and Tobago's senior football team, said his side was very optimistic and raring to go ahead of tomorrow's big return friendly international match against the Reggae Boyz at the National Stadium, starting at 6 p.m.
Latapy, along members of the Trinidadian squad, arrived in the island yesterday ahead of tomorrow's big clash between two of the Caribbean's most decorated football nations.
"We are very confident," said Latapy in an interview with The Gleaner, following a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation office yesterday.
"These are two of the biggest teams in the Caribbean and there is a healthy rivalry between them," he said.
"Yes, we want to win this game like we want to win all football games," said Latapy.
"As a coach, I leave the rivalry stuff to the fans because my job is to coach a football team to the best that they can, and to their highest potential," he noted.
The Trinidadians, who are ranked 97th in the world, were beaten 3-1 by the Reggae Boyz in their previous match, which was held in Port-of Spain in August. The Reggae Boyz are ranked 76th in the world.
Expects better performance
Despite their performance in the first match, Latapy said he expects a much better performance from his players because they love playing against the Jamaicans on their home ground.
"The last time we played against the Jamaicans here (National Stadium) they were leading us 2-0 and we came back to draw that game 2-2," Latapy said. "I think that most of my players prefer to play on the grass field compared to the artificial turf back home."
The Trinidadians have included four overseas-based players in their line-up for tomorrow's encounter. They are Julius James, Cornel Glenn, Yohance Marshall and Keon Daniel.
Latapy continued: "We know that Jamaica is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them, and I am sure that they have a lot of respect for us. It is always a healthy rivalry once we play Jamaica, and we are looking forward to this game."
Latapy, who is one of Trinidad and Tobago's most celebrated footballers of all times, stated that they would be using the match as part of their preparations for next month's Digicel Caribbean Championships.
"I think that one of these teams should be the victors in the Digicel Cup and so this game is more or less to feel out each other and to have an idea as to exactly where we are and how we play as a team," said Latapy, who scored 28 goals for Trinidad and Tobago in 66 appearances.
"We had a series of games recently and we are working on different aspects of our game and things seem to be coming together," he said.
"We have time and so we are going into this game to work on our preparations for the Digicel Cup," Latapy reasoned.