Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Soca Warriors face Guadeloupe


FINE TUNING: Trinidad and Tobago footballers Marcus Joseph, right, Densill Theobald, left, and Khaleem Hyland, centre, during a training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. —Photo: Ian Prescott

Mark Fraser

Guadeloupe’s senior team will end a two-match tour of Tobago in early September with an international friendly against Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team on September 6 from 4.30 p.m. at Dwight Yorke Stadium.  

The 2007 Concacaf semi-finalists, Guadeloupe, will also take on a Tobago Eleven on September 4.  

 Both T&T and Guadeloupe are using the international match as preparation for 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying. Guadeloupe have already qualified for the semi-final qualifying stage and will host one of three semi-final qualifying groups. Caribbean Cup runners-up to Cuba in 2012, Trinidad and Tobago have been inactive and will only begin qualifying from October 3-6 when they host another semi-final group. 

The Guadeloupe fixture is being supported by the Tobago House of Assembly and T&T head coach Stephen Hart will use the encounter to fine tune his squad before entering the semi-final round of the regional competition. Hart  has hinted that he will use the encounter to have a closer look at more of this country’s home-based professionals. Some of them would have been in the squad for the June friendlies against Argentina and Iran.

“It is essential that we begin to prepare properly for the CFU Tournament. Other competing nations have had a head start, so we need to be focused,” Hart told TTFA Media.  

“Presently, we have quite a number of players out of the country at clubs, or on trial, who will more than likely not be part of the selection. With this in mind, my intention is to utilise a local based squad. This is an opportunity I have been looking forward to, as it’s the first time we will embark on such a programme,” Hart added.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago and Central FC goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams said the game would serve T&T well in their build-up for the Caribbean Cup qualifiers a month later.

“I’m quite pleased that we will get his opportunity to play an international friendly at home especially with the Caribbean Cup approaching so quickly,” Williams said. “The Caribbean Cup is vital for us because we finished second in 2012 and I’d love for us to take the title this time and of course we must qualify for the Gold Cup again. I think the challenge will be harder this year but we’ve been coming together well as a team and this game will be an opportunity for some of the home-based players to get good match practice as well.”

Guadeloupe are captained by former New York Red Bull midfielder Stephane Auvray and have appeared in three Concacaf Gold Cups, their last qualification being in 2011 where they lost narrowly to the United States (1-0), Canada (1-0) and Panama (3-2). They managed to reach the semi-finals of the 2007 tournament where they lost to Mexico.

“The venue is quite good and Guadeloupe are decent opponents with their style of play and they’ve also done well in the regional competitions in recent years. I’m sure our players will be eager to get on the field again particularly after all the attention and excitement of the World Cup in Brazil,” Williams added.