Lawrence welcomes test from World Cup bound Panama

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence is welcoming the third international friendly to be played in a three week period after the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association secured a match with World Cup bound Panama on April 17th.

The game will be played here at the TTFA Home of Football, Ato Boldon Stadium and will be the first on home soil for the 2018 calendar.

Prior to that, T&T travels to face Guadeloupe on March 23rd and Martinique there on March 25th.

Lawrence is currently overseeing the preparations of a home-based squad and has made one addition to the provisional squad, calling up Under 20 player Judah Garcia.

Regarding the fixture in April against Panama, Lawrence said it would be good test for his squad which is expected to feature home-based players with the match being scheduled outside of the FIFA window.

“We’re obviously delighted to have obtained this fixture against a team that is going to take part in the upcoming World Cup,” Lawrence told TTFA Media.

“This should be a very good test for what is going to most likely be an all local based Trinidad and  Tobago team as the game falls outside the FIFA window. It then gives us the opportunity to keep our footballers active in the meantime with the uncertainty of what’s going to happen with the Pro League and so we are looking forward to welcoming the Panama team to Trinidad next month,” Lawrence added.

Action from the T&T versus Panama World Cup qualifier in March, 2017.

Panama has two friendly games scheduled for late March away to Denmark and Switzerland as they prepare for World Cup action.  They are in Group G of the Russia 2018 World Cup and will open their campaign against Belgium on June 18th followed by clashes with England on June 24th and Tunisia four days later.

T&T midfielder Hashim Arcia, who was in the squad for T&T’s 1-0 win over Panama in Port of Spain in World Cup qualifying last year, is also anticipating a decent contest for the hosts on April 17th.

“We are involved in a short training schedule now but it’s been going good. The players are getting fit and coming along well before the upcoming matches. It’s a good experience for me now as a player who has been involved in the World Cup squad last year to be able to pass it onto the new guys in the team now. We have an eager bunch and the guys are putting in a lot of work to get up to good level for the games ahead,” Arcia said.

“These two games are good preparation for us. Martinique are right up there with us in the rankings and also Guadeloupe has been doing well. And then to play against Panama is a really good test for us because they are now one of the top Concacaf teams and they are preparing for the World Cup. I expect them to come here and put on a strong showing which would mean it also being a good challenge for us,” Arcia added.

Photo at top shows T&T players at training at the Ato Boldon Stadium last week./TTFA Media

T&T fans at this country’s 1-0 win over Panama in 2018 World Cup qualifying action last year.