French Guiana are an unknown quantity, and may yet prove a difficult test for eight-time champions Trinidad and Tobago when the teams meet in a 2012 Caribbean Cup Group 5 qualifying match, from six p.m. today, at Warner Park, St Kitts. The match is the first of a double-header, with St Kitts-Nevis taking on Anguilla in the second outing at eight p.m.
Not a traditional Caribbean football super power, French Guiana have nevertheless had some good results going into the tournament, including a 3-1 win over Suriname, a 2-1 loss to Haiti, a 2-0 win over Guyana and a 2-1 defeat to the same team. Largely inactive in the last eight months, the Soca Warriors will be hoping to draw on the experience and quality of their players to overcome what they lack in recent match fitness and team chemistry.
The Soca Warriors only assembled in St Kitts after midnight on Monday due to a delay in a connecting flight from Antigua. The LIAT flight heading to St Kitts encountered a problem in the air which forced the pilot to make an emergency landing back at the DV Bird International Airport in Antigua. It took another three hours before another LIAT plane eventually took the awaiting passengers to Basseterre.
T&T's recent financial woes and issues with lack of Government funding were talking points, yesterday, at a press conference held by the St Kitts Football Association involving all four participating teams.
"We're here to get a job done," said T&T head coach, Hutson Charles. "Of course there has been much happening, but like I have been telling my players, there are people there to take care of that and we have to take care of things on the field of play."
Likewise, veteran midfielder Densill Theobald expects a big effort from the
"A victory is very important for us to start the tournament. We know everything that has been taking place and as such three points is a key at this point. The spirit in the camp is still pretty good. The boys have done well in training, and the experienced bunch like myself, Keon Daniel, the captain Jan Michael Williams and Clyde Leon have been here before and we know what is required. The new guys like Hughtun Hector and Devorn Jorsling have done well in the Caribbean Cup before, so it's a matter of us putting things into perspective and taking care of these three teams."
French Guiana head coach, Steve Falgarette said his players are ready to pose a stiff challenge to T&T.
"We are here to learn but we also want to win our games. This is our first time in this tournament and we want to take everything from the experience."