Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team is expected to arrive in Guatemala City just after midday on Wednesday ahead of their opening affair of the CONCACAF semi-final stage of 2018 World Cup qualification at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Friday from 7:06pm (9:06 pm TT Time).
Captain Kenwyne Jones and his teammates had their final work out at the Sawgrass Grand in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday evening with the full compliment of the 22-man squad engaged in training in the two sessions overseen by Stephen Hart and his staff on the last day of the live-in training camp.
Except for a light shower on Sunday morning, the “Soca Warriors” have trained under sweltering heat here but they have not been alone with Panama also training under similar conditions at Lockhart Stadium the United States team at Barry University ahead of their respective opening World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica and St Vincent/Grenadines on Friday.
Hart summed up the training camp on Tuesday, saying he was pleased with the way things have gone.
“It’s the first session today (Tuesday) we’ve had with everybody because of travel and so on and I thought it went well. The mood was nice, very upbeat and when necessary, it’s been jovial. But it’s been a very concentrated and very intense training so far. We have one more this afternoon which I will demand the same from them, positionally and collectively. Then we travel tomorrow. (Wednesday morning),” Hart told TTFA Media on Tuesday.
Commenting on the return of defensive duo Justin Hoyte and Carlyle Mitchell, he said: “Carlyle trained well but you can see he is very jetlagged. Justin looked very sharp in the sessions.”
Hart concluded by speaking on he intends to see through the next couple of days and what his approach has been like this week with regards to preparing for the opponent.
“We are always discussing in every training session based on what we know of Guatemala but not overly concern about their game. My main concern when I’m talking to the players is about being in control of their own game, how they approach play, being tidier with the ball and how we recover the ball. But tonight we will also look at a video of the game about Guatemala, just go over things in our mind, mentally and collectively of how we will approach the game and what we will expect, of course we don’t know what to expect down in Guatemala, but in terms of what we expect on the field,” Hart said.
Also looking ahead to the clash on Friday with a huge amount of interest is Guatemalan-based defender Mekeil Williams. The former W Connection player has three club teammates who are on the Guatemala national team in defender Jose Pinto, 33-year-old midfielder Fredy Thompson and reserve goalkeeper Victor Ayala.
“I can tell you that everyone back in Guatemala and at the club is talking about the game. We have to be mentally strong and well prepared for it,” Williams said.
“There are three players in my club who are on the Guatemala team and they have been telling me a lot of about the game. The coaches are all taking about it. They have the home advantage so it’s obviously not going to be easy for us.
“I know they will try their best to make it as hard as possible for us but I have a lot of confidence in our squad and I think once we settle down and we remain focus then we can leave there with a result in our favour,” he added.
Tickets for the upcoming World Cup qualifier versus the United States remain on sale at Sports & Games (nationwide), The Fan Club (Movietowne, Trincity and Gulf City Mall), Kenny’s (POS) Ramsingh’s Sportworld (Couva), Sportway (Ellerslie Plaza and Gulf City), Heritage Sports (Tobago), Fan Zone (Centre City Mall, Chaguanas) and online at www.islandetickets.com Gates open at 4pm on matchday with kick off set for 7:30pm. No coolers will be allowed at the event.