Sat, Apr

England-born Crystal Palace and Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Rio Cardines gets in some work at The University of the West Indies yesterday during the final training session before T&T begin their CONCACAF U2-0 Group D qualifying series against St Vincent and the Grenadines tonight at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, from 7 o’clock. Also in photo is assistant coach Gilbert Bateau. PHOTO BY: Robert Taylor

“They’ll see something good,” stated Brian Haynes, head coach of the National Under-20 men’s national football team, as he anticipated a good crowd turnout for the CONCACAF Group D qualifier series which begins today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

he series begins with Canada facing Dominica at the HCS from 4 p.m.. Later, a confident Haynes is expecting a strong performance as the young Soca Warriors take on St Vincent and the Grenadines from 7 p.m., before also facing Dominica on Sunday and Canada on Tuesday.

“They are ready,” Haynes declared yesterday. “In watching them train, in watching their mentality and the speed at which they are playing at now, it’s kinda making me a ‘lil bit excited. Not too excited yet.”

Just one team advances out of the group and qualifies for the CONCACAF Under-20 championship later this year. The really tough game is expected to be Tuesday’s clash against Canada. However, Haynes refused to take his first two opponents lightly.

“We want to try and win the first game so we can set ourselves up for the rest of the tournament,” he told the media at training session yesterday morning.

“Three points tomorrow, and then we look at the next,” Haynes said. “I want to make sure we take what is in front of us in the first game, get the result, then we look at the next game.”

However, while instructing his players against taking any opponent lightly, the T&T coach is expectant.

“I am confident,” Haynes said of his team topping the group.

“We are very athletic, we are very skilful, and we have good size in the defence and the midfield.”

Haynes felt a lesson was learned when T&T split a two-match warm-up series recently against Jamaica.

“I gave them reminders that we beat Jamaica the first time and the second time we played them, we let up ten minutes and give up three goals.’

Two players eagerly anticipating the tournament are Caledonia AIA midfielder Lindell Sween and USA-based striker Tyrell Moore, both having represented T&T at Under-17 level in February, 2023.

Sween openly declared his desire to join the senior men’s national team and to take what other opportunities the CONCACAF Under-20 tournament offers. Sween has the distinction of having scored when T&T went down 3-2 to Canada at the 2023 CONCACAF Under-17 tournament.

“My game has improved plenty from that tournament to this,” stated Sween, who felt he had made great improvement defensively. “I would really like to play for the senior team after this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Atlanta-based United States-born striker Moore is under no added pressure to perform, despite having a well-known father, Wendell Moore, the former national player and whose brother Shaq Moore, has represented the United States national team.

“I had a good performance in the previous tournament,” Moore stated despite having not scored. “I played really well, and I think this team that we have now, we can take it all the way.”

SOURCE: T&T Express