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.”