Trinidad and Tobago's senior footballers checked in at the new Marriot Hotel and beach resort on Thursday afternoon and were greeted by the news here that Carib Brewery of St Kitts/Nevis had joined the St Kitts/Nevis Football Association in getting the local national team ready for their clash with the "Soca Warriors" on Saturday at the Warner Park Stadium from 8pm.
In a televised event, according to the St Kitts/Nevis official website, the sponsorship deal entails Carib adding a new label to all Carib Beer bottles. The new labels will highlight Caribs commitment to the St Kitts team and intends to drum up the support of its far-reaching local customer-base, for the "Sugar Boyz". Carib will also donate EC$1.00 from the sale of every case of Carib beer with the new label, to the SKNFA as Sponsorship.
The news came somewhat as a surprise to skipper Marvin Andrews and his teammates as they got ready for an evening session more so because of them knowing that T&T was known as the home of the Carib beer. But it was not enough to deter the "Warriors."
"We are here to get a job done so whether Coca Cola or Carib is supporting the opposition team, it's not going to affect us," Scottish-based defender Brent Sancho told TTFF Media.
"The coach has made it clear that we have to remain focused and his players are well aware of what is required. Added to that we have an equally important fixture at home to Mexico on Wednesday and we too will be hoping that our people will come out and back us," Sancho added.
Andrews, wearing the armband in the absence of Angus Eve, shared similar thoughts. "We are no strangers to this sort of thing. With whatever little support we may have, we are a team that can look pas this and get on with the football. At the same time, we are still hoping that the businesses and the fans can get more behind the team as we continue this qualifying campaign," said the Glasgow Rangers defender.
Lebanon-based striker Errol McFarlane jnr is expected to join the team on Friday morning while midfielder Arnold Dwarika was expected in on Thursday night. Former Bristol City utility player Anthony Rougier meantime was unable to join the squad and his place has been taken by Stokely Mason. Rougier's absence may not be such a bad thing as with him already carrying a yellow card, it then means that he will not run the risk of missing the Mexico clash. Photo at right shows T&T players in prayer.
As was the case in St Vincent and the Grenadines two weeks ago, much of the island here seems ready to get behind the hosts in their quest to defeat T&T and the venue is expected to be packed come Saturday but T&T too will have its share of fans with a chartered flight arriving on match day with special adviser Jack Warner and the Angostura Woodbrook Playboys Steel Orchestra also carded to perform at the affair.