Mon, Jul


Trinidad and Tobago's Under-20 men' footballers need only a draw but they know a defeat could mean a dismal Christmas holiday for them.

So with a place in the final CONCACAF qualifying round in Guatemala next year at stake, skipper Sheldon Bateau and his men intend to finish off Suriname when both teams meet in their return leg Caribbean Football Union World Cup qualifier at the Marvin Lee Stadium from 4pm today.

The T&T squad have been in a live-in training camp for the past few days and are expected to be in prime condition for the clash which they expect to be just as, or even tougher than the first leg in Paramaribo a week ago. T&T won that encounter 2-1 courtesy of a goal by Joe Public midfielder Marcus Joseph.

Bateau, who plays for San Juan Jabloteh, is not taking his Dutch-speaking opponents lightly.

"We are going to play for a win but we will be cautious too, because I expect them to give us a strong fight. They want to win also because they still have a chance of advancing to the next round," Bateau told TTFF Media.

"We have prepared well and our confidence is good at the moment. We know that we are one game away from the final round in Guatemala so we don't intend to take the game lightly.

I think if we play to our best then we can get another win. That will put us in a better position for the remainder of the year mentally and then we can just look forward to the preparations for the next round."

Head coach Zoran Vranes added: "Well the camp has been good and my players are ready for the match. I said to them that this game is like a final in many ways.

Suriname will not play easy in this game. They want to win and we want to win. I am expecting a tough match but we are ready for it."

Meantime, once T&T progress, they will not have to face usual giants Costa Rica who were knocked out by El Salvador on Saturday.

Dustin Corea scored his third goal in four games, tallying in the 62nd minute to earn El Salvador a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica and a place in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.

El Salvador won the first leg 1-0 and will now join hosts Guatemala, Honduras and Panama in the CONCACAF finals April 3-17 along with automatic qualifiers Canada, Mexico and the United States from North America.

Cuba, Guatemala and Jamaica already have qualified with two berths still undecided in the Caribbean. Admission today is $20.