For New Zealand’s football team, today’s match against Trinidad and Tobago is more than a friendly.
The teams meet from 7.15 p.m. at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain with different purposes in mind. While the visitors are preparing for next month’s qualifying play-off against the fourth-placed CONCACAF team, which is yet to be confirmed, T&T have ailing fellow “Soca Warrior” Akeem Adams on the brain, as well as their quest to win over the local fans.
Those two factors should provide enough motivation for Stephen Hart’s men, and New Zealand coach, Ricki Herbert sees T&T as worthy opponents to give his team their last international test before their play-off.
“It’s a CONCACAF team, it’s a strong team, it’s a chance to travel and fly in a day before and get used to what’s going to happen somewhere in the November window,” Herbert told the media at a pre-match press conference, yesterday, at Trotters Sports Bar, Maraval Road, Port of Spain.
“We saw them playing in Saudi Arabia and they’re a very good side.”
The “All Whites” flew in on Sunday night from a training camp in Los Angeles, USA, for their first trip to the Caribbean, short of some players who either have club commitments or are on the injured list.
“The side will look a little bit different now than how it will look in November,” Herbert admitted, “but I think it gives us a chance to try.”
With a lot at stake, though, Herbert said, the New Zealanders will give their best against T&T.
“The CONCACAF group is very strong,” he acknowledged. “We knew last time we went on to Saudi Arabia, we were undefeated and we played the reigning champions. We’ve come here because we think it will be a tough game for us.
“We’re not looking for any favours tomorrow night (today), and we’ve got things to look at and try ourselves.”