Trinidad and Tobago’s National Beach Soccer team will commence a ten-day training camp at Turtle Beach Tobago on Saturday as they continue preparations for the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship and World Cup qualifiers in the Bahamas next month.
Under head coach, American-born Benny Astorga, the team will be joined by several World-rated Beach Soccer players during the Tobago training camp.
The T&T team will also enter a residential training camp in Barbados and Guadeloupe before arriving in the Bahamas for the competition.
Astorga was in high spirits ahead of the team’s upcoming programme.
“So far preparations have been nothing short of amazing. We have received everything we requested from the TTFA to ensure that the team has the best possible preparations,” Astorga told TTFA Media.
“We are really looking forward to this training camp in Tobago because it will afford us the opportunity to play some games against some of the top beach soccer players in the world today and also they will be passing on their knowledge to us during this period.
“We have been together training for a lengthy period and now this next couple of weeks will be used to put the finishing touches on our team and getting ready for the qualifiers. We have a lot of experienced players who have been to the qualifiers in previous years and who have gained a lot of experience in foreign leagues,” Astorga added.
Among the European players who will be engaged in the training camp Tobago include Ramiro Figueiras Amarelle who is the captain of the FC Barcelona Beach Soccer team and also a FIFA Beach Soccer instructor, Spain National Beach soccer player Llorenc Gomez Leon and Italian beach soccer international Dario Ramacciotti among other players.
These players will provide match scenarios, situational training and a transfer of knowledge to the T&T players during the camp which runs until February 5th. The T&T team will then be hosted by the Barbados Football Association for a warm-up tournament from February 10-12 before traveling to Guadeloupe for a five-day training camp from February 13th.
All CONCACAF qualifying matches will be played at the Malcolm Beach Soccer Facility.
The tournament will serve as the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifier for teams from North, Central America and Caribbean which are members of CONCACAF, where the top two teams will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup also in the Bahamas.
Bahamas will also host the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and are automatic qualifiers. Should Bahamas and/or Guadeloupe (non-FIFA member) advance to the CONCACAF final, the next eligible highest-placed team will qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
T&T faces Antigua/Barbuda on February 20th, US Virgin Islands on February 22nd and the United States on February 23rd.
Fifteen teams will take part in the CONCACAF qualifiers. The top two finishers from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, while the third- and fourth-placed teams will continue playing in placement matches over the final three match dates.
Caribbean Football Union (CFU): Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands
North America: Canada, Mexico, United States
Central American Football Union (UNCAF): Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama