T&T football coach Tom Saintfiet is under pressure as the T&T senior football team must record victory against Haiti today by two clear goals in its crucial Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Concacaf Gold Cup play-off match at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 5pm.
Nevertheless, coach Saintfiet remains optimistic that his team has the talent and skill to deliver the result that is needed to advance to the next qualifying stage from this play-off series.
A sea of red is expected to spur on the team under the Belgian coach as it go in search of a victory by two clear goals if T&T is to advance as the top team from the three-team series.
The team trained on Friday and the players took the field again yesterday afternoon at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo to fine tune.
On Friday night the Haitians gave the home team a life-line by beating Suriname 4-2 at the Couva venue, a result that came two days after the Surinamese shocked Saintfiet's men with a 2-1 victory in extra-time.
According to Saintfiet yesterday, "At the moment we know that a 2-0 or a 3-1 result will get us through. It will be a difficult task against a good Haitian team but not an impossible one for us. They are ranked 59th in the world which is higher than us. We need everyone to support the team tomorrow. We need the fans there in big numbers and pushing the team on."
In assessing Haiti's victory, Saintfiet said, "The two goals from Suriname last night were good for us. Haiti has a good squad and with some young players also. Their playmaker Sebastien Thuriere, the number 15, played in Bangladesh and he is a very good player. But we don't want to think too much about the opposition and what they can do but we have to be more concerned with our game and what we must do to finish on top of the group."
The T&T team has been weakened by the loss of four key players to injury- striker Cornell Glen, Tyrone Charles, Hughton Hector and Carlyle Mitchell which leaves Saintfiet with a headache as to what his starting team or the formation will look like this afternoon.
He is instead comforted by the fact that the players are aware of the magnitude of the match, saying "The players know what is needed. We as a team know what is needed and we will go into the game giving it our all to accomplish this."
The winner of the tournament will be determined by most points, goal differencem, most wins, most wins in regulation time, most goals scored in regulation time, goals scored away from a designated home game count double between the teams concerned and drawing of lots.
T&T last defeated Haiti in an international friendly encounter in 2015 in Fort Lauderdale,USA 1-0 through Willis Plaza's strike, but the Haitians got the better of the Soca Warriors last year, whipping them by a similar margin (1-0) in a qualifier for the 2016 Copa America Centenario in Panama City.