T&T faces Anguilla in friendly at Ato Boldon

Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men will face Anguilla in a friendly international, the first of two, ahead of their crucial CONCACAF Nations League qualifier versus Honduras in San Pedro Sula on November 17th.

The game kicks off at 6:00pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Head Coach Dennis Lawrence has had a squad in training for the past eight days for the matches coming up which includes a second friendly away to Ecuador on November 14th.

The last en­counter be­tween the teams was six years ago in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, a 10-0 win in which Ja­mal Gay net­ted a beaver-trick and Keon Daniel hat-trick at Warn­er Park Sta­di­um, Bas­seterre, St Kitts/Nevis.

Speak­ing be­fore his team’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion at the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Mu­cu­rapo, yes­ter­day, Lawrence said the prepa­ra­tion for the match had been good.

“The boys have come in and they have shown good en­thu­si­asm and good spir­it and I think it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand the rea­son why we have the An­guil­la friend­ly.

And im­me­di­ate­ly when we looked at the sit­u­a­tion, we know the play­ers that were in­volved in the USL in the USA, those in Cana­da and In­dia, we knew their sea­son go­ing to fin­ish prob­a­bly two and a half weeks to three weeks be­fore the Hon­duras match,” he said.

“So it was im­por­tant that we got them home as quick­ly as pos­si­ble to keep them ac­tive and train­ing gives you one as­pect, but we al­so know the im­por­tance of get­ting that match fit­ness, so we ap­proach An­guil­la, who we need to say thank you to for tak­ing the fix­ture.”

Many fans had ques­tioned why T&T de­cid­ed to play against such a low­ly-ranked side at this stage, es­pe­cial­ly since they need a stiffer chal­lenge head­ing in­to their Na­tions League match.

Yes­ter­day, Lawrence of­fered, “Why An­guil­la, be­cause they play on­ly one game in the next Na­tions League win­dow, which is on No­vem­ber 19. Ma­jor­i­ty of the oth­er teams play two games, so it al­lowed us to play An­guil­la in this friend­ly so we can keep the boys up to some sort of match rhythm in prepa­ra­tion for the Hon­duras game.

“We have the ma­jor­i­ty of the boys here, one or two are miss­ing who are go­ing to meet us in Ecuador.

“An­dre For­tune at the end of his sea­son, he then went on to a tri­al at an­oth­er MLS club which we al­lowed him to do be­cause I think it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand that it is his fu­ture and he needs to look af­ter it. But for the rest, Ataulla Guer­ra, Le­ston Paul, Mekeil Williams, Alvin Jones, Du­ane Muck­ette, they are all here. Then we man­aged to get some of the boys from In­dia ear­ly, Daneil Cyrus, Mar­cus Joseph, Aubrey David, so we have a lot of the boys here, that al­lows us to play this game against An­guil­la and that’s the think­ing be­hind the whole process go­ing in­to the Hon­duras game.”

Lawrence said they de­cid­ed against play­ing a Pro League team be­cause he be­lieves in “play­ing an un­known team that will come here and make it dif­fi­cult for us.”

“In football, we cannot take any team for granted. There are things we worked on in training that we think can help us against Honduras. Majority of the boys are here, we trained for the last eight days and we are going to play this game very seriously because they are going to make life difficult for us.”

After the Anguilla game, TT will play a friendly game away to Ecuador on November 14 before the all-important clash against hosts Honduras three days later, in the Concacaf National League.

Lawrence said, “We knew the situation we were going to be in with regards to the players in the MLS and USL in USA that their season was going to be finished before the Honduras game so we had to find a way to keep them active.”

He further explained, “We started a training camp and part of the training camp is to have a full competitive game so we approached Anguilla who agreed to play the game and it is going to give the boys match fitness for the Honduras game.”

Tickets cost $40 and are available at the venue today.