Trinidad and Tobago’ senior men’s team will close off their South American tour with a match against World Cup bound Iran at the Corinthians Training Complex in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 3pm (2pm T&T time) this afternoon.

 The team, led by skipper Kenwyne Jones completed their final training session yesterday evening at the same venue at which Iran is also based for its training camp ahead of their opening World Cup encounter against Nigerian on June 16th.

Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz met with T&T head coach Stephen Hart and TTFA General Secretary Sheldon Phillips after his team trained on Friday and then spoke to TTFA Media about the match. “I am looking forward to it very much. This is a very crucial game for us,” Queiroz told TTFA Media.

“Trinidad is a team I know. I know the players. I know the quality of the players, the technique, the power and the speed. It was not possible to find another team that is similar to the problems that for sure that you will create against us. So to play this game against Trinidad and Tobago is something very important for our preparations,” the former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United added.

Queiroz who also led Portugal at the 2010 World Cup and South Africa at the 2002 World Cup, was also thankful to the TTFA for accepting the invitation to play the game in Sao Paulo. He had been in discussions with Phillips about T&T making the journey to Sao Paulo following the friendly international against Argentina.

“And I want to thank the Association of Trinidad and Tobago for all their support, the availability to come here and play against us under these conditions. We will keep Trinidad and Tobago in our hearts for sure to be part of our preparations was something fantastic for us,” Queiroz added. Iran will have Reza Ghoochannej had of Charlton Athletic in its line up.

Among Iran’s blend of veterans and a new generation of foreign-raised players, the 33-year-old Jalal Hosseini is still the linchpin of the defence as well as a threat from set-pieces, according to the UK Guardian.

Goals may be sourced from the Fulham midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, who featured in 21 league games for the Cottagers last season, scoring five goals in a difficult campaign.

Meanwhile, T&T coach Hart expects Iran to be tougher than some may think. He made the comments after his team’s final training session and will go into the match with one goalkeeper in Jan-Michael Williams after Marvin Phillip returned to Port of Spain yesterday following the death of his ten-month old son.

The rest of the squad is injury free. Hart will likely make a change or two to his starting team from the 3-0 defeat to Argentina in Buenos Aires on Wednesday. The T&T team s staying at the Bristol International Airport Hotel, located some 20 minutes drive from the match venue.

There has been tight security afforded to the team with some six outriders and one Police jeep accompanying the team on the streets of Sao Paulo. And the reactions of the locals to the team has been nothing but warm with lots of smiles and friendly gestures coming from kids and adults upon sight of the T&T Team bus, all part of the World Cup-type atmosphere in Brazil less than a week before the grand event kicks off in Sao Paulo.


Warriors face secretive Iranians
By Ian Prescott (Express).

IRAN want no World Cup opponents to see what they do this afternoon against Trinidad and Tobago in their final warm-up match, before the Brazil 2014 FIFA tournament begins on Thursday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Word is, the Iranians turned down an offer to make the match a public one and earn some money. They will also not allow it to be televised.

Instead from 3p.m. T&T time, the teams will kick off on the training field at the Arena Corinthians training ground, for basically a closed-door affair. 

While press from the two countries are allowed to view the match, word yesterday was that no one would be allowed to broadcast the match.

The atmosphere at game time therefore, will be nothing like it was last Wednesday when T&T took on Argentina in Buenos Aires. And for the game this afternoon, T&T coach Stephen Hart is contemplating a few changes.

Some players who did not play during the 3-0 defeat to the Argentines might get a run. The Soca Warriors will also have to lift themselves after the death of the child of reserve goalkeeper Marvin Phillip who might have played tonight, but instead left for home on Friday.

“I want us to possess the ball more and use the ball better,” Hart said of his plan for Iran. 

He has great respect for the Asian champions, having seen a tape of them in recent action. 

“They are very quick,” Hart said. “They look like a team that can play.”

Still, the T&T coach expects his charges to have a greater share of the ball against Iran than they enjoyed against Argentina, one of the favourites to win the World Cup.  Iran are expected to be fitter, but closer to the level of the Caribbean team.

T&T captain and Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones thinks that matches against Argentina and Iran can only build up the relatively young Soca Warriors who are at a rebuilding stage. Jones felt that once the current group of footballers mature, T&T will have a good national team.

“The potential of this team is great,” Jones declared. “We had (in the past) a lot of older, more seasoned players who were more mentally astute, and now we have a bunch of young, upcoming footballers that need to mature in the game.” 

This afternoon, the national captain hopes the Soca Warriors hold the ball a lot more and make less mistakes.

“With games like these, it will help them to lean from mistakes and be better,” Jones said. 

Expressing the same sentiments as Jones was Belgium-based Racing Genk midfielder Khaleem Hyland who said: “This level is fast. You have to think fast and you have to play fast.”