Sat, Sep

Jul 10, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Trinidad and Tobago players react after the match against Mexico in a CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage soccer match at AT&T Stadium. Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Three international friendly football matches against Gambia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and El Salvador are before the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee of the T&T Football Association for acceptance.

National coach Angus Eve said the matches were part of developments made from the country's recent participation at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in which the Soca Warriors reached the group phase but failed to progress to the quarterfinals stage.

Under Eve, the T&T team exceeded expectations by defeating both Montserrat and French Guiana in the Gold Cup qualifiers, and later in Group A of the Gold Cup, they held giants Mexico to a goalless draw, lost to El Salvador 0-2 and drew 1-1 with Guatemala to conclude the group with two points, needing a minimum of five to advance.

The results came soon after the country failed to get past the opening round of the World Cup Qualifiers, despite being placed in a group with Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and St Kitts/Nevis. However, Eve's team has been praised for their performances and has received numerous calls from admirers across the globe.

On Tuesday Eve said that he received a call from Tom Saintfiet, the sacked T&T coach back in 2017, for an international friendly game: "Tom Saintfiet is now coaching Gambia and he reached out, wanting a game because it's the first time they have qualified for the African Nations Cup in January and he wants us to give him a game in November. UAE has also reached out and also El Salvador. Those are the three teams that want matches to help with their programmes," Eve said.

The El Salvadorians, are coached by former United States standout Hugo Perez, who guided his team to a 2-0 triumph over the Soca Warriors in Texas, USA in July.

The matches are scheduled to take place in September, October and November this year, but it is uncertain if Eve, the coach who is at the centre of the team's successes will be still there as the coach when the matches come around.

Eve's temporary contract will end on August 31, and the normalisation committee which is led by businessman Robert Hadad, who is the chairman, will begin the process of selecting a new coach for the men's team.

Eve told Guardian Media Sports that whether he is there as the coach or not, he is proposing that the matches are accepted, as it will give the T&T coach, whoever it will be, a good chance at development. Eve is determined to leave the team in a better position than when he got it in June before the Gold Cup.

Eve was appointed on June 12 and had just over two weeks to prepare the team before its first game on July 2 against Montserrat.

Should the match be accepted, arrangements will have to be made on whether they can be held in T&T or abroad.

It has been more than four years since the country has had an international match on local soil, partly because of the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has forced matches with Guyana and St Kitts/Nevis from being played here in March and June respectively when the government implemented the Public Health Ordinance to protect the citizens of T&T.

Eve said from a government policy standpoint, it will be difficult to have the matches played on local soil due to the restrictions, but made it clear he will welcome having the matches, if he is retained as coach, to end off the year with matches that will satisfy the starvation of the public to see its team in action once again.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian