Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will head to Argentina on Friday for site visits and meetings, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s two June international matches against World Cup qualifiers.
T&T’s first friendly is June 4 in La Plata against World No.3 ranked Argentina, one of the favourites for the 2014 FIFA Brazil World Cup. The Soca Warriors then travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a second match against top Asian team Iran on June 8.
A third match against Colombia has now been called off after the South Americans opted to play Senegal instead, as they prepare to face Ivory Coast in the World Cup. However, efforts are still being made to get a replacement for Colombia.
The TTFA will be represented on the pre-match tour by Kyle Aqui from its marketing division, and while in Argentina, the team of officials will visit the T&T team hotel and also the match venue. The Tourism Ministry will also shortly disclose plans for a travel package that will allow a limited number of fans to travel to Argentina to witness the match.
“This is going to be the first of a series of collaborations between the TTFA, the Ministry of tourism and the Sport Ministry,” stated Trinidad and Tobago Football Association secretary Sheldon Phillip yesterday.
“This is part of the “Beyond The Pitch Strategy” which is aimed at making the away matches an opportunity for trade and tourism. It is aimed at establishing Trinidad and Tobago as a destination point for tourism and business.”
Phillip stated as part of the package, the Tourism Ministry has been offered billboard promotions and advertising opportunities, before what is likely to be a television audience of some 10 million in Argentina, where the match will be televised. However, T&T’s second warm-up against Iran is a closed door affair that will not be televised.
While in Argentina, the TTFA/Tourism Ministry travelling party will also meet with match agent Hernan Tofoni of the World Eleven Agency, which is responsible for all of Argentina’s international matches. Tofoni confirmed that tickets for the T&T versus Argentina encounter are already on sale in Argentina and via the internet.
“We are expecting between 45-50,000 spectators at the stadium,” Tofoni told TTFA Media. “And the home fans will be very anxious and happy to see their top players together before they go to Brazil for the World Cup. All the preparation games are important for the head coach (Alejandro Sabella). The more games we play the more beneficial it will be to us.”
Argentina will face Slovenia in another friendly on June 7 before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 15. T&T head coach Stephen Hart will announce his roster for the two matches next month.