Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers will be cautious but will look to stamp their authority from early on when they begin their quest for qualification for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup against the Dominican Republic at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 7pm.
That will be the intent from the get go according to Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau who is among a host of first team regulars recalled for duty by head coach Stephen Hart for one of two qualifying matches which includes an away fixture to Martinique in Stade-de-France on October 11th.
The winner of the three-team group will advance to the Scotiabank Caribbean Cup semi-finals as well as the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The runner up will make it to group comprising of the best second place finishers all vying for one final qualifying spot.
When both teams last met in Couva in 2014, Kevin Molino notched a hattrick while Kenwyne Jones scored a double and Trevin Caesar scored another in a 6-0 win for the hosts in what was another Caribbean Cup qualifying fixture. In 2012, T&T squeezed a 2-1 win in Antigua and have won all ten outings between the two.
“None of these matches are easy but of course if we are on top of our game on the day then we should be able to take charge and dictate the pace of the game,” Bateau told TTFA Media.
“On paper of course we are expected to come out on top but football is changing and teams like Dominican Republic are improving and they are very hungry for success as well. The important thing for us is to show our intentions from early to control the game and stamp our authority.
This game is not just a qualifying match for the Caribbean Cup and the Gold Cup but it is also a big part of our preparations for the World Cup qualifiers in November and obviously a lot of eyes will be on us. Coach Hart will also be looking to ensure that our game is tidy and that everything is in tune with his plans for the matches in November,” Bateau added.
T&T trained twice on Monday, a brief morning session followed by a late evening session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Tickets for Wednesday’s encounter are priced at $200 (covered) and $100 (uncovered) and are available at all Sports and Games outlets, Kenny’s Sports Shops, Ramsingh’s Sportworld in Couva and Heritage Sports in Tobago.
In related news, the Caribbean Football Union announced that the 2016/17 Caribbean Cup, third-round match scheduled for October 5 between host Jamaica and Suriname has been postponed due to safety concerns regarding Hurricane Matthew.
The Caribbean Cup is a biennial competition that crowns the region’s champion and qualifies at least four teams to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In 2015, for the first-ever time, the Caribbean’s quartet of representatives – Cuba, Haiti Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago — advanced past the Gold Cup’s group stage.