The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) announced yesterday that the friendly international between this country's senior men's team and Belize, scheduled for Friday March 22 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, will now be played in Belize City on March 23.
This has come about following discussions between officials of the TTFF and the Belize Football Federation in Chicago, USA on Wednesday. The venue has been switched due to logistical challenges associated with travel arrangements for the Belize team.
Following the game in Belize City, the T&T squad will travel to Lima to face Peru on March 26.
TTFF president Raymond Tim Kee expressed his disappointment with the venue change for the Belize match.
Tim Kee, who was in Chicago along with senior team co-head coach Hutson Charles and team manager William Wallace, said that another pair of friendly internationals have been arranged ahead of the Gold Cup. T&T will travel to Bucharest to face Romania's senior team in a friendly international on June 4, and on June 7 will play Estonia in Estonia.
Romania are currently in 31st spot on the FIFA rankings and are captained by Shakhtar Donetsk defender Razvan Rat. They defeated Turkey 1-0 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier last October before going under 4-1 to Holland. They defeated Australia 3-2 in a friendly last month and also got the better of Belgium 2-1 last November.
Estonia, meanwhile, are ranked 82nd but achieved their best ever position on the rankings, 47th last March. They lost 1-0 to Scotland in a friendly last month and their last victory was a 2-1 win over Oman last November. They also beat Poland 1-0 last August.
"Let me say that we at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation feel a sense of disappointment over the fact that next Friday's match against Belize will no longer be played on home soil and this came about because of circumstances that were beyond our control," Tim Kee told TTFF Media. "But in saying that we felt it was necessary to ensure that the opportunity was still there for our men's senior team to be able to play an international game because we could not afford to miss out on an international FIFA date. This is of course all part of the programme for our team's build up to the Gold Cup and we wanted to ensure that this would not be a setback to the team's preparations.
"On another note I must say that we felt very encouraged by the results of the draw for the Gold Cup. It is by no means an easy group but it is one that I feel quietly optimistic about regarding our chances of advancing to the quarterfinal stage," Tim Kee added.
The T&T senior team will resume training at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Monday, with the inclusion of some of the overseas-based players for the Belize and Peru matches.