Thu, Sep


FINLAND COACH Mixu Paatalainen is expecting a formidable match when they encounter the Soca Warriors tomorrow at the Hasely Crawford in Mucurapo from 5 pm.


The ex-Finnish international and former Hibernian teammate of Russell Latapy, put his team through two rigorous training sessions yesterday at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima as they gear up for the clash.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the match. We didn’t just come here without thinking about our plans and of course, our selection of opponent is based on quality.

We know Trinidad and Tobago has strong, athletic and also, quick players, and they’ve been to a World Cup, which is a great feat. So yes, I’m looking forward to a good, competitive match on Sunday,” Paatalainen relayed to the media.

Included in the visitors’ squad is young Fulham goalie, Jesse Joronen, along with promising Swedish-based duo, Kasper Hamalainen and Daniel Sjolund (Djurgardens IF); Riku Riski of Norwegian club, Honefoss BK; Juha Hakola of Ferencvarosi; Esbjerg’s Lukas Hradecky; Mikko Sumusalo of Sweden’s Malmo; and Paulus Arajuuri (Sweden’s Kalmar) as the foreign contingent boasts youth players, that Paatalainen looks to groom for the future on the heels of another failed World Cup run.

“We have a lot of good young players in the squad for Sunday including some local-based players and a few others from outside of Finland like places such as Sweden and Norway.

So far, our preparations have gone pretty well. Obviously, it’s a lot hotter here than it is for us back at home but we’re out here for our winter-break training and we’ll make the most of it,” expounded the former Kilmarnock boss.

With Spain and France waiting in the wings for Finland’s upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, Paatalainen maintained, “We’ve never been to a World Cup before but we have a good bunch of players who are willing to work hard and very eager to do well.

That’s encouraging for me and we’ll prepare as best and work as hard as possible to get ready for those games. From Trinidad, we’ll head off for another friendly against Austria. Generally, we want to be as strong as possible in these friendlies starting with Sunday’s match.”

W Connection’s midfield engine, Clyde Leon, vowed a disciplined performance from TT as he pledged, “We know this is a friendly international and once you play teams like these from Europe then you can be sure they won’t be easy to play against.

At the same time, we don’t intend to be pushed over easily. We are in a rebuilding phase and the coaches are looking at different players but we, as players, know how important it is to perform well and get a good result on the day.”

Local interim coaches, Hutson Charles and Angus Eve, will take the Soca Warriors through another training session today while the TT Under-23 team commence their Tobago training camp from tomorrow in anticipation of the Finland encounter at Bacolet’s Dwight Yorke Stadium this Wednesday from 6 pm.

TT Under-23 squad vs Finland - Sheldon Bateau (San Juan Jabloteh); Jamal Gay, Trevin Caesar, Aquil Selby, Micah Lewis, Zane Coker, Nuru Mohammad (Caledonia AIA); Kareem Moses, Cameron Roget (St Anns Rangers); Mekeil Williams, Jomal Williams, Andre Quashie, Leslie Russell (W Connection); Jayson Joseph (T&TEC); Jeromie Williams, Kaydion Gabriel, Andre Marchan, Jean-Luc Rochford, Earl Joseph (North East Stars); Sheldon Clarke, Curtis Gonzales, Fitzbert Alleyne (Defence Force); Marcus Chandoor (WASA); Kevin Molino, Qian Grovesnor, Stephan Berkeley, Bradley Welch, Michael Roopchandsingh (Overseas).