Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team touched down in Tokyo around 9pm on Sunday night, 8am Sunday TT time and settled in before undergoing its first training session at the Paloma Mizuho Stadium on Monday evening. The Mizuho stadium is one of the venues for the 2020 Summer Olympics and the home venue of J1 League football club Nagoya Grampus.
T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence put his players through their paces for 90 minutes under relative cool conditions. US-based trio Mekeil Williams, Neveal Hackshaw and Alvin Jones arrive on Tuesday ahead of the final session at the Toyota Stadium. Kick off time on Wednesday is 7:30pm (6:30am TT time). The game will be broadcast live on I95.5FM
T&T skipper Khaleem Hyland spoke about the team’s current mindset saying that the players were ready to withstand the pressure of facing a potent host team which is preparing for the 2019 Copa America and 2022 World Cup qualifiers which begin them for them this September.
“After a tough trip to get to Japan, to now be here is great. We were welcomed with open arms by the Japanese Football Association. Hopefully the camp can be a great one for us for the couple days” Hyland told TTFA Media.
“Everyone knows Japan is a great team they have great players who play at top clubs. They work their socks off and hopefully we can go into this game with confidence like we did in most of our recent games and get a good result. This is preparation for us for the Concacaf Gold Cup and hopefully we can get a good showing with no injuries,” said the former Racing Genk player.
With T&T set to face Panama in its Gold Cup opener on June 18th in Minnesota, the Saudi Arabia-based midfielder said it was crucial for the T&T squad to let the preparation take its rightful course over the next three weeks.
“We are taking it day by day. Right now we have to focus on the training pitch. We have to the work against Japan firsrly. We’ve got to work on our strong points, fix our weak points and hopefully we can be ready for our first game on June 18th. Our group is difficult we know but in this time of football anyone can beat anyone and we have proven this before,” he said. “We did pretty much good in the last two Gold Cups and I think we have a youth in the squad and they are hungry. I am here with my experience with a couple of the guys from the past Gold Cups to share our experience to give them that confidence and belief. There is nothing better than playing and doing something you love.”
The former San Juan Jabloteh player is carrying big responsibilities as team captain but he’s wearing the armband determined as ever to lead the team.
“It’s great for me to be captain of the national team. It has always been my dream. I’ve worked my way up the ladder. It’s a honour and pleasure to wear the armband and represent my country. Hopefully i can achieve something as the captain of Trinidad and Tobago. I am just looking forward to give all that I have for my country and hopefully I can share a lot of my experience with the younger ones,” Hyland continued.
He also spoke about preparing for international football with the current technical staff.
“It’s great working with these guys. I worked with Dennis and Stern (John) playing together and I learned a lot from them in the past because I rubbed shoulders with them. It is a honour to have coaches you played with and you know they respect you and you respect them. We have one goal and everyone knows Stuart (Fevrier) knows the game inside out. We have a lot of experience and they always share information with the younger ones and make them believes in themselves. For footballers it is great to have people like this in our staff to help you and make you believe in yourselves to go out and do the job on the day,” Hyland concluded.
Hyland anticipates tough contest against Japan
T&T Senior Men's team first training day in Aichi, Japan