Trinidad and Tobagos fixture with St Kitts/Nevis at Warner Park, from 8pm on Saturday has been billed a historic affair by the hosts because of the fact that they will be meeting the Soca Warriors for the first time in a World Cup qualifying match.
As such, a capacity 5,000 is expected at the venue and the Sugar Boyz as the team coached by Lenny Lake is fondly referred to, has spent the last few days with a sport psychologist getting themselves mentally prepared for the clash with coach Bertille St Clairs team.
Lake has gone through the paces with his team which boasts of Malaysian-based professionals Ian Lake and veteran striker Keith Gumbs, Canadian-based Darryl Gomez and former T&T-based George Yellows Isaac. And President of the St Kitts FA, Peter Jenkins said that the local FA and the team has gone all out to prepare themselves for the event, so much so that sponsors such as Carib and Courts among others have thrown their support behind the team which has also signed a kit deal with L-Sporto, formerly providers for the TTFF.
His Excellency the Governor General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, Minister of Sport Jacynth Henry-Martin and Minister of Tourism Dwyer Astaphan have all pledged to wear replica St Kitts/Nevis shirts at the match as well which will precede an after match party with live band Nu Vibes at the venue with the locals already anticipating a win.
But skipper Marvin Andrews and his experienced troops wont be overawed by all the hype as a chartered flight of T&T fans including TTFF special adviser Jack Warner and members of the Angostura Woodbrook Playboys Steel Orchestra will be arriving on the morning of the match.
While its always an aim to come away with at least a point when you are away from home, we want full points from this game and we intend to go all out for it, Andrews told TTFF Media following a training session on Friday morning.
With St Clair running the team, technical director Lincoln Phillips is also here supporting and has warned that it would be silly for the Soca Warriors to underestimate any opponent at this stage of the campaign.
Take the Euro Cup for example. Portugal had players who were satisfied and Greece had players who were hungry and look who came out winners. So if we go out there happy with what we have already and St Kitts turn out more hungry than we are, then it could be a tougher ball game than we anticipate, Phillips said. I think the longer we take to score, the more confident they (St Kitts/Nevis) will get so its important that we get two goals in early and destroy them. It could be a similar story when we face the bigger guns where we may have to frustrate them and then go for the kill, he added as T&T look ahead to facing Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium next Wednesday.
St Clair will no doubt hope for his fourth consecutive win of the campaign at which his team is yet to concede a goal with wins over Dominican Republic and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Sure a win is what we want, he said. Hoping for anything else would be a strange thing. We have done our preparations and we intend to get the job done here.
With four potential goalscorers led by Birmingham Citys Stern John, in form Errol McFarlane, Dundee Uniteds Jason Scotland and American-based Cornell Glen to choose from, St Clair will be pleased to face a tricky decision while Clayton Ince and Kelvin Jack are both reliable custodians. The rest of the line up with Andrews, Brent Sancho and Dennis Lawrence all seasoned campaigners in the back line with midfielders Arnold Dwarika, Brent Rahim, Silvio Spann, new Joe Public signing Marlon Rojas and English-born midfielder Andre Boucaud as well as Southamptons Kenwyne Jones all capable of performing their roles, T&T seemingly has it all down on paper and will be keen to get it right on the pitch. Hugo Castillo of Guatemala will carry the whistle with his assistants also from that country.
T&T Eleven To Come From: Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra), Kelvin Jack (Dundee) Stern John (Birmingham City), Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham), Brent Sancho (Dundee), Arnold Dwarika (Beijing Guoan), Errol McFarlane (Al Nejmeh), Stokely Mason (Jabloteh) Brent Rahim (Falkirk), Andre Boucaud (Peterborough), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton), Jason Scotland (Dundee United), Cornell Glen (NY/NJ MetroStars), Denzil Theobald (Arima Morvant Fire), Marlon Rojas (Joe Public), Silvio Spann (W Connection) and Derek King (Joe Public).