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.