Trinidad and Tobago’s national Under-17 men’s team secured the top spot in their Caribbean Football Union preliminary group with a 3-2 victory over St Lucia at the Beausejour Stadium on Sunday night.
T&T, guided by head coach Shawn Cooper, topped the group with nine points and have advanced to the CFU Final Round in Haiti next month. T&T will vie for one of five spots from the Caribbean for the CONCACAF Final round in Honduras next year towards the 2015 FIFA Under-7 World Cup in Chile. Four teams from CONCACAF will qualify for the U-17 World Cup.
T&T got their goals from Dareem Daniel, Anthony Herbert and a second half winner from Herbert as St Lucia pressed for an equalizer in the closing ten minutes of the match.
Cooper appeared pleased with the team’s progress which was witnessed by senior men’s team head coach Stephen Hart who was in St Lucia for the tournament.
“The boys saved their best performance for the last game in this group phase. We were in control of the game from the first whistle. Credit to St Lucia as they pressed us on the break with there quick counter attacking and they were a very athletic team with some quality players in there squad,” Cooper told TTFA Media.
“One of the things that made a difference between the two teams were our set pieces (corners) which also worked well in the three games and our midfield led by Captain Kareem Riley who controlled the tempo of the matches,” he added.
T&T had previously defeated Grenada (2-0) and Curacao (2-0).
The other qualified teams for the CFU final round in Haiti so far include Cuba, Martinique and Barbados and the hosts.
The 2015 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship will include 12 teams: five from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), four from the Central American Football Union (UNCAF), and three from North America. Qualifying in the Caribbean is currently underway, while qualifying in Central America will take place in coming months.
This year, a new format favoring development and competition will be introduced to the Under-17 Championship. The 12 qualifying teams will be divided into two groups of six, to play a round-robin format on the first five match days. The resulting top team from each group will earn a direct berth to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and a place in the championship match on the final day.