Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Under 20 National Team lost their final training match of their seven-day training camp in Guyana on Sunday, going down 1-0 to a Guyanese Elite All Star team at the Leonora Stadium. The Guyanese outfit coached by Jamaal Shabazz, comprised of several home-based Guyana national team players currently involved in preparations for upcoming Caribbean Cup qualification.
Guyanese national team midfielder Vurlon Mills notched the game’s only goal in the 7th minute when the ball came off his shoulder on its way into the net following an incoming cross.
The game followed a 2-0 win for T&T’s U20s against Alpha United on Friday.
The team returns home today and will head for a training camp in Panama on October 7th prior to their arrival in Curacao for the Caribbean Football Union Final Round of qualification towards the CONCACAF Finals in Costa Rica next year.
The team will undergo intense preparations in Panama City at a stadium equipped with artificial playing surface as the venue in Curacao will consist of a similar outfield.
Williams spoke of the team’s narrow loss on Sunday as well as the value of the upcoming camp in Panama City.
“It was a very pleasing performance for me in this final game against the Guyanese Elite team. The players, even after conceding an early goal, showed a lot of enthusiasm and we were very organised with a lot of ball possession for large parts of the match. We also created a few decent chances on goal and overall I was satisfied with the way we handled the match. The two games served us well at this stage,” Williams told TTFA Media.
In anticipation of the upcoming Panama trip, Williams continued: “This definitely will be the most important part of our build up. It will allow us more time together as a team and we will be away from any distractions at home which will allow the coaching staff to have the players for a lengthy period and where the concentration levels will be high heading into the tournament in Curacao.
“We will announce the final squad at the end of the month and from that period no player will be allowed to play for the Secondary Schools or their clubs before we leave for Panama and then head to Curacao for the tournament. The local players will be allowed to play for the schools for this week until the end of the month and then we are asking them to refrain from taking part in any matches between month-end and the team’s departure for Panama,” Williams added.
“I think the players who are serious about representing the country understand the importance of this decision and they are committed to the cause and the ambitions we have as a country to make strides in world football,” he added.
“The Panama tour is something we are grateful for and we want to say thank you to the TTFA for organising it and ensuring also that all our overseas-based players are in the country in the first week of October before we head off to Panama.”
A schedule of matches to take place during the training camp in Panama will be announced in due course.
T&T faces Cuba in their opening match of the Caribbean Football Union Final Round on October 22nd in Curacao.
T&T, the CFU defending champions, are grouped with previous runners up Haiti, Cuba and St Lucia in Group B which will be contested at the Ergilio Hato.
Following their opening game with Cuba, T&T then faces St Lucia on October 24th and Haiti on October 26th.
Group A comprises of hosts Curacao, Bermuda, St Kitts/Nevis and Antigua/Barbuda.
The top two teams will advance to the semi finals as well as gain automatic passage to the CONCACAF Final round which will be played in Costa Rica in February. The semi-finals will be played on October 28th and the final and third place match will take place on October 30th. The top five teams from the CFU Final round will advance to the CONCACAF stage.