There is a big hole currently in the middle of the Dwight Yorke Stadium, but the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is confident two international matches against the Guadeloupe men’s national football team will come off, despite some concern about the readiness of the playing surface.
Guadeloupe will play twice in the sister isle. First on September 4 against a star-studded Tobago XI, coached by Roxborough Lakers coaches Marlon Topping and David Greaves, and consisting mainly of players from the four Tobago National Super League teams. Two days later, national head coach Stephen Hart will take charge of a Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s national team against the French visitors. Both matches will be played at four o’clock because of light issues at the Dwight Yorke. Yesterday, TTFA secretary Sheldon Phillips refuted suggestions that the matches were cancelled.
“That is nonsense,” Phillips declared. “There ist an issue. But it is being worked on, and later today or tomorrow, we should have a solution to announce.”
Tobago Football Association (TFA) president Raymond Allen also acknowledged there was an issue, but is optimistic both matches will come off.
Allen explained that recent work pertaining to the laying of a new athletic track has left a hole in the middle of the surface at the Stadium. He said the delay had to do with the International Athletic Federation(IAAF) having to certify the recently-laid track, before work could be done on the problem. Alleyne said other Tobago venues had similar issues.
“They are working assiduously on it, and by today or tomorrow, we will get a solution,” Alleyne said. “I am very optimistic the games are on.”
Both Trinidad and Tobago and Guadeloupe host Caribbean Cup semi-final groups in October, and are using the tour as preparation in their effort to reach the eight-team 2014 Caribbean Cup finals, which take place from November 9-19 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The 2014 Caribbean Cup serves as a qualifier for both next season’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the 2016 Copa Centro America, involving such teams as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and the United States.
Allowed to use French-born players in their squad, Guadeloupe have always provided stiff competition for T&T despite losing 1-0 (2003) and 3-2 (1999) respectively at the Central American and Caribbean Games. They have had good international results including at the 2011 Gold Cup when narrowly losing to Panama (3-2), United States (1-0) and Canada (1-0). Guadeloupe were also runners-up at the 2010 Caribbean Cup, when T&T did not qualify, and also finished fourth at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the year T&T failed to advance out of the group stage.