Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 men’s team will get close to an additional two weeks to prepare of the opening leg of the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 World Cup qualifying series in St Vincent and the Grenadines in just under a month’s time.
Initially T&T were slated to play their opening game on July 23rs in St Vincent but the CFU later advised that due to several unforeseen circumstances, the CFU Secretariat upon the request of the host country has agreed to change the group matches schedule to August 6-13th,2012.
The winner of the four preliminary groups and the best second placed team will advance to the final CFU round in Jamaica from November 3-11, 2012. The CONCACAF final round takes place in Puebla, Mexico from February 18-March 2, 2013.
The Caribbean will have five berths in the final 12-nation round from which four will qualify for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Turkey. Mexico, Canada and USA are automatic qualifiers to the CONCACAF final round.
T&T head coach Michael McComie is currently preparing a local squad and believes his troops will be ready to grab one of the available qualifying spots in the Caribbean.
“Ideally we will would like to go into the tournament fully ready for the competition and though it appears to be extra time for us, it will not affect our program as we are still going full stride ahead with our program,” McComie told TTFF Media.
“As far as we were concerned we were preparing for our first game in early July and our players will remain focused on that target which is to have ourselves ready for international competition. The additional days will allow us to fine tune some aspects of our overall structure but as of now, we are focusing on trying to top the group.”
McComie has been keen on instilling a high level of discipline in his squad.
“We take nothing for granted from ensuring that players turn up on time for training, be ready to take the training pitch at all times together as a team, there are no earrings and phones have to be put aside allowed once you are part of our sessions and nothing related to this national team is allowed on social media networks.
So far the players are buying into this whole scheme of things and that’s a good sign. Every player wants to make this team and represent Trinidad and Tobago at the international level,” McComie added.
Striker Stern John had been training with the squad prior to his departure to England late last month where he’s attempting to restart his professional career there. He was impressed by the manner in which McComie conducted his affairs as coach of the team.
“I think Mike has been doing a really good job with the players and they seem to be buying into it. I know there have been some things said in the past about the way our local coaches handle local teams especially at the youth level but I have to say that the training was of a decent level and it certainly was a good feeling to see this.
Mike has had national teams before and he’s played at this level so I think he’s been learning all the time and will be aiming to do better as a coach than he has in the past,” John said.
“For me as a senior player, I felt good being able to pass on one or two things to the younger players who will go on to represent the country at the senior level at some point.
Obviously there is a lot of inexperience at this level and you never know what to expect when you enter these qualifying matches but they seem to be heading in the right direction and it will be interesting to see how the face up to the some of the other teams. I would particularly like to see how they match up to the other teams in Concacaf,” John said.