The excitement that engulfed the football fraternity on Tuesday with the announcement of the T&T versus USA friendly match on January 31, has now subsided.
On Thursday afternoon, new US President Joe Biden announced during the signing of ten executive orders, one of which to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has claimed over 400,000 lives in that country, that a 14-day quarantine period will be mandatory for anyone entering the country.
This means that the highly fancied football clash between the two nations in Orlando Florida, USA will have to be postponed or cancelled.
As the news of the quarantine hit the local football fraternity, new acting general secretary of the T&T Football Association Amiel Mohammed said the Normalisation Committee (NC) will now have to return to the negotiating table with the US football authorities.
Mohammed told Guardian Media Sports soon after the announcement that: "President Biden has just issued his orders, so we will be in communication with our corresponding officials with US football officials to evaluate if and how the new policy affects our planning moving forward and we will update everyone as soon as we get a confirmed position from them."
The match was expected to be used by T&T ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in March, and for the USA- for the Concacaf Nations League Final Four in June, the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September for the host.
According to the order: "Anyone flying to the US will be required to present a negative coronavirus test before departing and quarantine on arrival. In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America," said Biden.
T&T is set to face Guyana in their opening match on March 25. Coincidentally though, the game was expected to be held under strict COVID19 protocols, with a release on Tuesday last stating- "At the MNT vs. T&T match, fans will be required to wear face coverings at all times while on stadium premises except while actively eating or drinking. A socially distanced stadium seating manifest has been designed to keep fans in place and within their own parties of four or less."
Mohammed further explained that the NC will now have to communicate with US Soccer, saying: "US Soccer has a very detailed and stringent COVID19 plan and COVID-safety plan that the T&T national team would have been subjected too and fully participated in such, but now we will have to have communication with them based on the new development."
Other COVID19 safety precautions that were set for the match include:
• Adequate spacing between the field of play and ticket purchasers has been arranged.
• Each occupied row will have a maximum of two parties (each comprised of four or fewer people), allowing each party to access the aisle closest to its seats without stepping over another party.
• Every party will have at least six feet of space between it and other parties.
• Tickets will not be issued for the first two seats closest to the aisle.
• Reserved seating only, general admission will not be allowed.
• Mobile-only tickets
Concession stands will have cashless payment. No bags, including clear bags, will be allowed. Ticket holders will have a preferred gate to enter the stadium based on their ticket location.
The 23-man national training squad continued their preparation yesterday.
The training squad comprises - Marvin Phillip, Adrian Foncette, Denzil Smith, Justin Garcia, Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones, Josiah Trimmingham, Jelani Peters, Jamal Jack, Daneil Cyrus, Shannon Gomez, Jesse Williams, Michel Poon Angeron, Matthew Woo Ling, Duane Muckette, Hashim Arcia, Justin Sadoo, Gary Griffith III, Jabari Mitchell, Sean Bonval, Shackiel Henry, Brent Sam and Marcus Joseph.