This country’s National Senior Men’s Team will face Grenada’s National Senior Team in an international friendly at the National Athletic/Football Stadium in St George’s Grenada from 7pm on March 19th.
The game will serve as part of preparations for this country’s two upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against St Vincent/Grenadines on March 25th in Kingstown and March 29th at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Hart said the game comes at a good time as he seeks to look at players who can potentially increase the national team player pool for the rest of the Qualifying campaign as well as other upcoming international competitions including the Caribbean Cup.
“Well it serves two purposes as for one I’ve been asking for a sort of local camp in which the home-based players can be looked at in a camp environment and in an international match scenario,” Hart told TTFA Media on Monday.
“And secondly the local Pro League will be breaking a few days well before we play our next two World Cup qualifiers, so getting these players together and keeping them active will keep players who can potentially be in the World Cup squad, game sharp and ready for the two games later in the month.”
“It’s good to have a game against them (Grenada) but for me what is more important is the camp environment and giving players an opportunity so that they can push to create a bigger player pool.
“We have the two qualifiers in March and then we have to potentially look at the FIFA dates in May where hopefully we can get at least two quality games, and the there’s the Caribbean Cup up which is crucial for us getting to the Gold Cup. And of course we cannot forget the closing two semi final round games in the qualification in September. This is all a good step in terms of forward planning for the long journey ahead,” Hart added.
The TTFA also wishes to extend its thanks to the TT Pro League for adjusting its fixtures to facilitate a longer period of preparation inclusive of the home-based players leading up to Friendly and the two qualifying matches. The FIFA international window begins on March 20th but the National Team will have access to the players from the Pro League a few days ahead of it the friendly fixture on March 19th in St George’s.
Hart will announce a squad for the Grenada encounter comprising largely of home-based players, later this week.
Grenada has a pretty decent history against T&T, having twice defeated the “Warriors” in CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying action, the latest being in 2010 when they defeated T&T 1-0 at the Caribbean Cup in Martinique to eliminate them. They also completed a 2-1 win in 2008 in the Caribbean Cup in Jamaica. Those two wins came in the two most recent meetings between the teams.
“They have proven to be a formidable opponent against us and I’m quite sure they will give us a good test when we get there,” Hart added.
The Grenadian National Team meantime is currently preparing for qualifying matches in the Scotiabank 2016 Caribbean Cup against St. Maarten on March 22nd and against US Virgin Islands on March 29th. Grenada, which is coached by Anthony Modeste, was eliminated in the preliminary stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by Haiti last September.
T&T are currently in second place with four points in the CONCACAF semi-final round group, behind to the United States on goal difference, with Guatemala third on three points and St Vincent in fourth without a point. The top two teams from the group will advance to the CONCACAF Final round of qualification towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.