Trinidad and Tobago’s National Futsal Men will be aiming to shake off their two recent losses to CONCACAF champions Costa Rica as they seek a place in the final round of qualification for the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup which takes place in Colombia later this year.
The T&T team closed a six-day training camp at the Costa Rican Football Federation Goal Project Training Centre on Monday during which time they played two friendlies against Costa Rica, losing 6-0 and 6-1 respectively. Despite the two losses, the spirit in the camp is upbeat with all energies being focused on their two-game series with Honduras at the BN Arena in San Jose on Wednesday and Thursday. Canada and the United States will also face off for the other spot at stake.
“The mood in the camp remains upbeat. We knew that coming here to play Costa Rica was going to be a big challenge for us but I think we came out of it with a lot of positives. The guys know what to expect now and they are just looking forward to these two upcoming matches now,” head coach Clayton Morris said.
T&T player Kareem Perry who is also a member of the T&T Beach Soccer team, said the last few days have been crucial to the team’s preparations.
“Once we apply all that coach has thought us then we can go far. The two games were hard here as it was quite easy for us playing against teams back in Trinidad but then the level of Costa Rica was much higher. The learning experience here was overwhelming. This is something we had never experience before and we needed this,” Perry told TTFA Media.
“The experience at the Costa Rican training centre has been ideal. The facilities were all available for us in one location and this served us well over the past few days.”
Looking ahead to Honduras, he added “I think we will do well once we remain focused on the task. We can now play with more intensity and passion. We have the talent to play similarly to Costa Rica but we need to adapt quickly and maintain a high level of intensity. We are going to take these lessons into our two games against Honduras.
The T&T team left the Costa Rican headquarters on Monday and took up base at the Wyndham Hotel in San Jose where it will be based for the upcoming playoffs.
At the CONCACAF championship, the winner and second-place team from each group will qualify to the semifinals of the Championship, and the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016. The winners of the semifinals will advance to the final and the two losing semifinalists will compete in the third-place match. In addition to crowning the Confederation’s champion in this discipline, the CONCACAF Futsal Championship will qualify four teams to the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Once T&T qualifies for the final round, they will open their campaign against Mexico on May 8th before facing Panama on May 9th and Guatemala a day later. The other group includes Cuba, Curacao, Costa Rica and the winner between the USA/Canada two-game playoff.
Twenty-four nations will gather in Colombia for the FIFA Futsal World Cup in September. The African contingent will feature a veteran Egyptian side but also a new champion in Morocco and debutants in Mozambique, who needed a dramatic penalty shoot-out to overcome a gallant Zambian effort in the play-off for third at the 2016 CAF Africa Futsal Cup of Nations last week.
The European contingent has some big names including Spain which pushed all the way in their UEFA play-off tie against Slovenia, Spain eventually came through to earn one of the seven European berths on offer at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.
Qualifying alongside the Spanish at the end of second legs last month were Azerbaijan, who will be making their first appearance at the world finals, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. The seventh and final slot went to Italy, who saw off Hungary in their qualifying match.