Thu, Jul

Weak Soca Warriors chase “Gold Cup” spot.

Trinidad and To­ba­go’s se­nior men’s team will be go­ing for broke when they face Hon­duras in the team's clos­ing Con­ca­caf Na­tions League qual­i­fi­er at 6 pm TT time (8 pm in Hon­duras) on Sun­day at the Olimpi­co Met­ro­pol­i­tano, San Pe­dro Su­la, Hon­duras.

The math is sim­ple. Win and pas­sage to the 2021 Con­ca­caf Gold Cup are se­cured.

T&T went down 3-0 to Ecuador in a friend­ly on Thurs­day night in Por­tavielo but the main con­cen­tra­tion will be to­day's en­counter. T&T’s last win over Hon­duras away from home was a 1-0 vic­to­ry cour­tesy of a Stern John win­ner in Oc­to­ber 2001 dur­ing the 2002 Con­ca­caf World Cup qual­i­fiers.

“We know ex­act­ly what the task ahead is in terms of what we need to do. We are go­ing to try and win the foot­ball match which will guar­an­tee our qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Gold Cup,” T&T head coach Den­nis Lawrence told TTFA Me­dia.

“We’ve had our chal­lenges but the im­por­tant thing is we are here as a group and the play­ers main­tain that de­sire to pull of what it takes to keep mov­ing us for­ward. The game will not be an easy one be­cause why Hon­duras is at home and they will want to end on a good record and sure­ly will not make it easy for us. But in say­ing that, we have a task to take care of and we’ll ap­proach it in the best pos­si­ble man­ner to try and achieve what we need to,” Lawrence added.

The T&T team is miss­ing sev­er­al in­jured and sus­pend­ed play­ers in­clud­ing Ne­veal Hack­shaw, Khaleem Hy­land, Run­dell Win­ches­ter, Le­ston Paul, Alvin Jones, Levi Gar­cia, Mekeil Williams and Ke­van George who is al­so car­ry­ing a back in­jury, while Kevin Moli­no and Jo­evin Jones will al­so miss the match.

Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Lawrence’s squad ar­rived in Hon­duras with­out six play­ers from the Ecuador match. Up­on check-in for the de­par­ture flight to San Sal­vador en route to San Pe­dro Su­la, air­line of­fi­cials in­formed the man­age­ment team that the yel­low fever vac­ci­na­tion cards were not el­i­gi­ble to al­low trav­el for the fol­low­ing play­ers – Nick­las Fren­derup, An­dre For­tune, Daniel Carr and Du­ane Muck­ette while Ke­ston Julien re­gret­tably left his vac­ci­na­tion card in Slo­va­kia.

Hon­duras-based for­ward Jer­rel Brit­to has been draft­ed in­to the cur­rent 18-man squad.


‘We need to dig deep’
By Jonathan Ramnanansingh (Newsday).

Lawrence turning attention towards Honduras clash…

T&T men’s football team coach Dennis Lawrence remains hopeful that his squad can bounce back from Wednesday’s 3-0 loss against Ecuador and return to winning ways when they battle Honduras in their final Concacaf Nations League qualifier tomorrow.

Lawrence lamented his most recent result, just days after thumping Anguilla 15-0.

However, he believes the T&T men’s team can produce a positive result against the Central Americans but must give it their all on game-day.

“We need to dig deep, we need to come together and we need to face what’s in front of us,” he said during Thursday’s post-match interview.

“I thought we came up against a very good team. They moved the ball well, technically a very good team. When you get these moments you got to dig deep and use all your resources.

“That’s why tonight we tried as best as possible to try and use the players wisely because I didn’t want to take the risk in some of them getting on the pitch.”

Lawrence admitted however, that the journey to Ecuador was a bit tedious and may have also had a slight impact on the team’s performance. The former national defender also stressed that injuries are currently hampering the team.

According to a TTFA media release, US-based midfielders Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones “chose to make themselves unavailable” for selection even though their Major League Soccer campaign recently came to a close.

Skipper Khaleem Hyland, Neveal Hackshaw and Rundell Winchester are also nursing injuries and will be unavailable for tomorrow’s clash.

“We need to improve,” Lawrence added. “It was difficult on our boys because the journey to get here wasn’t easy.

“Physically we struggled and our physical performance didn’t help us. I’m very disappointed with Khaleem’s injury because he was only meant to play 45 minutes (against Ecuador) and was unable to even get to that. Ataullah (Guerra) had to play longer than I wanted him too so it’s a bit of a concern. From an injury front, it’s a difficult one but we need to do now is roll our sleeves, go on to Honduras and we need to find a way. That’s football.”

All in all, Lawrence remained positive and welcomed the opportunities given to younger players who got a chance to get some minutes on the pitch on Thursday.

But, if the TT squad can produce a positive result tomorrow, they will advance to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

However, if they lose, not only would they miss out on a place to next year’s Gold Cup, but they would also be relegated to the Concacaf second tier.

He noted, “I was pleased how we tactically managed the game. I wasn’t pleased the way we conceded three goals.

“I thought they were very cheap goals in particular the third one, (us) with the ball and then giving it away.”