T&T/Belize clash shifted again
Trinidad and Tobago's troubled friendly international football match against Belize is now definitely on, but has been moved back to Belmopa after the Soca Warriors refused to play on a substandard ground in Belize City.
The match will now take place tomorrow from 10 p.m. (T&T time), at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan, Belize.
The Belize match was shifted for the second time after T&T refused to play on the MCC Grounds because of the shambolic conditions at that venue. T&T announced the decision on Wednesday, forcing the Belize Football Federation to hold an emergency meeting, which resulted in a decision to shift the game to the FFB Stadium.
The stance taken by the T&T players and staff was supported by Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president Raymond Tim Kee.
After roughly 40 minutes of training at the MCC Grounds, head coach Hutson Charles was forced to call off the session because of the poor field conditions. Charles immediately stated that his team would not hold another session on the ground nor would they play the friendly international there. The venue has no dressing rooms, inadequate fencing and poor lighting.
Belize FF (FFB) president, Ruperto Vicente and other Federation officials were present at the venue, and tried to convince the T&T staff to reconsider their decision. However, there was no backing down from the Soca Warriors. The Belize media were also on location and recorded an announcement by team captain Densill Theobald that the T&T team would not play if the venue was not changed, as the MCC was unsuitable for international football.
The decision by the FFB to change the venue was perhaps the best news this week for the T&T team, following a less-than-smooth past couple days in which the team almost skipped the trip due to inadequate match fees, which was subsequently resolved, difficult travel arrangements, which saw the team arrive in two groups, and luggage that arrived late in Belize from Miami.
"There is a God and when you do good and you mean good, he knows and he helps you," Theobald told TTFF Media. "We simply could not play an international game on such a ground. This is not amateur football and I hope this stance we took helps to benefit others, including the Belize FA. They must try to follow a high standard as hosts. If we were to have them at home, they would be well accommodated and they would get maybe the best playing facilities."
About 100 Trinidadians live in Belize, and some are expected to attend the match, which is a warm-up for both teams ahead of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in the United States. Belize face USA in their opener, while T&T will meet El Salvador in their first encounter on July 8 in New Jersey.