The appointment of former national player Dennis Lawrence as the country’s new national senior men’s football coach has brought a sigh of relief for many local coaches and sports enthusiasts.
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Soca Warriors faces Guadeloupe on September 6 in Tobago
T&T’s Senior Men’s team will face Guadeloupe’s Senior team in their friendly international fixture at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Tobago on September 6th from 4.30pm.
This international fixture, which is being supported by the Tobago House of Assembly, will serve as a warm-up for both teams ahead of the Caribbean Cup qualifying campaign and T&T head coach Stephen Hart will use the encounter to fine tune his squad before entering the semi-final round of the regional competition which will be played in Trinidad in October.
Guadeloupe is captained by former New York Red Bull midfielder Stephane Auvray and have appeared in three CONCACAF Gold Cups, their last qualification being in 2011 where they lost narrowly to the United States (1-0), Canada (1-0) and Panama (3-2). They managed to reach the semi-finals of the 2007 tournament where they lost to Mexico.
Hart meantime has hinted that he will use the encounter to have a closer look at more of this country’s home-based professionals. Some of them would have been in the squad for the June friendlies against Argentina and Iran.
“It is essential that we begin to prepare properly for the CFU Tournament. Other competing Nations have had a head start, so we need to be focused. The CFU is yet to establish the format of the Tournament which means we do not know which players will be available for selection,” Hart told TTFA Media.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart
“Presently, we have quite a number of players out of the country at Clubs, or on trial, who will more than likely not be part of the selection. With this in mind, my intention is to utilize a local based squad. This is an opportunity I have been looking forward to, as it's the first time we will embark on such a program,” Hart added.
T&T and Central FC goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams said the game would serve T&T well in its build up for the Caribbean Cup qualifiers a month later.
“I’m quite pleased that we will get his opportunity to play an international friendly at home especially with the Caribbean Cup approaching so quickly,” Williams said.
“The Caribbean Cup is vital for us because we finished second in 2012 and I’d love for us to take the title this time and of course we must qualify for the Gold Cup again. I think the challenge will be harder this year but we’ve been coming together well as a team and this game will be an opportunity for some of the home-based players to get good match practice as well.”
“The venue is quite good and Guadeloupe are decent opponents with their style of play and they’ve also done well in the regional competitions in recent years. I’m sure our players will be eager to get on the field again particularly after all the attention and excitement of the World Cup in Brazil,” Williams added.
Guadeloupe will also play another match while in Tobago, facing a Tobago XI on September 4. The visitors are already through to the semi-final qualifying stage as one of the hosts for another groups. Details on ticket cost and outlets will be announced in due course.