14 Feb 2011
- Written by Shaun Fuentes (TTFF)
- Hits: 2385
Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 17 footballers will kick off their quest for a place in the 2011 FIFA Under 17 World Cup when they face hosts Jamaica in the second game of a Group C double header in their Concacaf Final round qualifying match at 3pm (4pm TT time) at Catherine Hall.
Barbados will face Honduras in the earlier game from 12 midday in a Group D contest.
The hosts are pumped up for the affair with head coach Wendell Downswell expressing confidence that his team could go all the way based on their showing in recent preparation camps which included recent matches against the United States and a 3-2 win over Haiti and 1-0 loss to Costa Rica last Thursday.
“We have prepared very well for this tournament. I am pleased with what I have seen and now we have to go into the tournament and get the best possible start against Trinidad and Tobago. I think we are capable of getting that,” Downswell told reporters.
T&T’s head coach Shawn Cooper is now overawed by facing the confident hosts in his team’s opening match.
“Our boys are ready also. We arrived here and settled in and one thing on our mind is starting the tournament on a positive note. Jamaica may consider themselves favourites naturally because they are at home and they have been preparing for this occasion but so have we,” Cooper told TTFF Media following a training session on Monday.
“I expect the first game to be a very interesting one. Both teams have a history at this level. We defeated Jamaica in their backyard to qualify for the World Cup in 2007 when Anton Corneal was the head coach and I expect Jamaica will want to make this pay back time but we also have our ambitions in place which is to start well and move on to the next round.
We have Guatemala to face later this week but right now we are focusing on the next task in front of us which is getting off on the right note against Jamaica,” Cooper added.
Team captain Duane Muckette is not feeling any major pressure even though he expects the match to be a tough one.
“We are not afraid of any of the teams including Jamaica but we know we have to be at our best. It’s going to take a really good team effort for us to advance in this tournament and I feel that once we follow instructions from the coaches and believe in our potential then we can get the result we want. We need to get a good result in this first game.
A win is what we want but we also will not want Jamaica to get three points in the first game. As captain of the team, I have to ensure all the players are relaxed and focused.
We have waited a long time for this match and now after all the preparations it’s finally here for us to go out there and perform to our best ability as a team,” Muckette added.
Last week, Concacaf rejected the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium as a game venue after the field failed to meet the required standard and was subsequently given a failing grade on Wednesday by the CONCACAF inspection team led by deputy general secretary Ted Howard.
Jarrett Park was then chosen as the second game venue and the opening game was switched to Catherine Hall to give them time to get it ready.
This also will be the first time CONCACAF will crown a U-17 champion since 1996. A format to determine the confederation's World Cup qualifiers without designating a winner was used from 1999 to 2007.