‘Warriors’ set to battle St Vincent in Kingstown
The stage is set in Kingstown for this country’s Senior National Men’s Team to resume their 2018 World Cup qualification quest as they face off with hosts St Vincent and the Grenadines in their third CONCACAF Semi-Final round qualifier at Arnos Vale from 3:30pm.
Team T&T arrived in Kingstown shortly after 4pm on Wednesday on a Caribbean Airlines charter and were whisked away to the Buccament Bay Resort hotel, some 45 minutes away from the capital for their stay on the island.
The main order of business – three points in the third match of the campaign.
“We’ve come here to put ourselves in a better position as it relates to qualifying for the final round. I think if we can assert ourselves and put the hosts on the backfoot and take charge of the game then we can come away with three points from here before heading back home for Tuesday’s match in Port of Spain,” Hart told TTFA Media after an early morning session at the Buccament Bay training field on Thursday.
Hart was scheduled to conduct the mandatory 45-minute pre-match session at the game venue later on Thursday. And while he will have English-born midfielder John Bostock involved in the training, he will have to do without him in the match as the necessary clearance has not been given by FIFA to make Bostock eligible to play for T&T in an official FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Skipper Jones played in the last qualifying match at Arnos Vale between the two countries, in 2004 when T&T scored two late goals to come away 2-0 winners courtesy of the strikes by Errol McFarlane.
“I do have good memories of playing here twelve years ago but it’s different times now. It’s a testament to the longevity that I have had in the squad and it’s an honour to be here. I think we have the right squad of players to get the job done. We know they (St Vincent) will try to make it uncomfortable for us but I believe once we apply ourselves in the right way and we have the right attitude going into the match then we can take care of business and wrap up the victory before heading back home to finish off the job of getting the six points in the two games,” Jones said on Thursday.
“The key for us will be playing our game and not getting flustered, keeping our focus and not allowing them to get on top of us. Of course it’s an unusual time to be playing a World Cup qualifier but we can’t let that affect us. We cannot be sucked into their game but rather we have to stick to our game plan. I don’t think we will have to fear them but at the same time, we will respect the task at hand and ensure that we have our act together and like I said, do what is necessary to pull off the win on the day.”
“The players are all ready so it’s just about taking care of business,” Jones added.
Hart added: “We have to completely manage how we play, manage the speed of the game and how we play with and without the ball.
“For me I think they are a little bit wounded. They would like to get some results out of the qualification. They are very quick team and love to play on the counter attack. They are direct and then they put numbers against you and try to put pressure. It’s important that we manage that well.”
“The mood in the camp has been very good. There is a very serious sort of training aspect to it but also on the downside a very relaxed atmosphere which I like,” Hart added.
Game time is 3:30pm. Fans can view the match live on Flow Channel 99. T&T will play in their traditional Red strip.
There are fourteen overseas-based players in the mix – Seattle Sounders midfielder Joevin Jones, Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa, Costa Rica), Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Sovetov, Russia), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids, USA),Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery, USA), Willis Plaza (Alianza, El Salvador), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge, England),Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge, England),Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo, Belgium),Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC, Mexico), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar, Holland), Kevin Molino (Orlando City, USA, Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues, USA) and Kenwyne Jones (Al Jazira, United Arab Emirates).
The squad, which will be captained by Kenwyne Jones, includes seven players who were involved in Saturday’s match in Grenada including goalkeepers Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette, Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva and DirecTV W Connection foursome Daneil Cyrus, Hughtun Hector, Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester.