Fri, Apr

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick acknowledges fans in the stands during warmups before an international friendly soccer match against the United States, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.  (Associated Press/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

PLANS for the T&T men’s football team’s forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone First Round Group F qualifiers, against the Bahamas (June 5) and St Kitts/Nevis (June 8) are being affected by Government’s latest covid19 restrictions.

With an upsurge of covid19 positive cases, T&T coach Terry Fenwick acknowledged on Thursday that there is uncertainty over the St Kitts/Nevis fixture if it will be played in T&T or abroad.

The 3-0 victory over Guyana, on March 25, was contested at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal, the Dominican Republic, after the Ministry of Health decided not to allow the T&T Football Association (TTFA) to host the match in a hot-bubble environment.

Fenwick said in an interview on Thursday, “It’s very difficult times for us. We’re trying to resolve things with the (FIFA-appointed) normalisation committee.

“As far as my players are concerned, we’re on ‘lockdown’ so it’s very difficult,” continued the T&T coach. “A lot of guys are demoralised, there is no football in Trinidad and Tobago at the moment. With the (restrictions), it’s making things more difficult.

“What can we do? We’re trying our best, we’re trying to prepare properly, as best we can, for the World Cup qualifiers in one month (time).”

Concerning the venue for the St Kitts/Nevis match, Fenwick said, “We’re waiting on Government to find out where the game (will be played), whether or not it will be in Trinidad or overseas.”

St Kitts/Nevis lead the five-team group with six points from two games, followed by T&T (four), Panama (one), Bahamas and Guyana (zero apiece). Only the group winners will advance to the Second Round.

With regards to the overseas-based T&T players, Fenwick said, “I’m in touch with most of the players. I’m keeping an eye out from a distance.”

He continued, “Across the board, everywhere is struggling because of the outbreak of covid19 virus and the different strains that are now hitting different countries. It’s trying to plan ahead so we can get the players available, for when we have these competitive games coming up in early June.”

Experienced attacking midfielder Kevin Molino may miss both qualifiers due to a hamstring injury sustained in pre-season training, in March, with his MLS (Major League Soccer) club Columbus Crew.

“We’re keeping in touch with his club to see how his (recovery) is going,” Fenwick said. “Nobody better than Kevin will recognise that.”

Asked about foreign-born players who have expressed interest in playing for T&T, the T&T coach replied, “We’re working on them. Coming out of the UK or North America, to Trinidad, it’s about 14 days quarantine. Because of the recent outbreak, it’s very difficult for us to look too far forward, with the strains that we’ve got.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday