Trinidad and Tobago’s English-based midfielder Andre Boucaud is coming to terms with the reality that this is his final chance to qualify and possibly play in a FIFA World Cup Finals.
And with that in mind, the 32-year-old player who was born in Enfield, is stressing the need for this country to make a strong start in the CONCACAF Final Round of qualifying which begins on November 11th against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. That encounter will be quickly followed by an away clash to Honduras.
The Costa Ricans are definitely one of the giants in the region, appearing in four FIFA World Cups, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2014 competition and boasting the likes of Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, Sporting Lisbon duo Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz, Everton defender Bryan Oviedo, Deportivo La Coruna midfielder Celso Borges and Saprissa defender Francisco Calvo, former teammate of T&T defender Aubrey David.
“Have no two minds about it, we are playing one of the favourites and giants in CONCACAF on November 11th,” Boucaud told TTFA Media.
“Everyone’s maybe thinking oh well they’re not Mexico or USA, but they are right up there. Obviously we are not going to go into the match intimidated by them but we have to respect what they are capable of. And they will be coming here thinking that it’s not going to be their hardest away game based on history because we’ve never beaten them in Trinidad. It’s so important that we have our best game on the day and that the people come out and stand strongly behind the team,” Boucaud said.
Nine of his 42 appearances for T&T have been World Cup qualifiers including a 2-1 win over St Kitts/Nevis at Warner Park courtesy of a last gasp Stern John winner in a 2006 qualifier. Boucaud had a nine-year gap between his appearance in that semi-final round in 2004 and his next run out for T&T in 2013 against Romania in Bucharest. He has since made 36 appearances in T&T colours.
“I was part of the team in the 2006 campaign and I’m feel honoured about that but obviously I didn’t go on to play in the final round and so this ‘Hex” means a great deal to me and the rest of the guys in the squad. This is huge for us. To me it’s bigger than the Gold Cup and maybe even the Copa because it has more worth to us. If you do well here you get to go to the World Cup whereas the Copa and the Gold Cup are just one off tournaments unless of course you win the Gold Cup and get to the Confederations Cup.
“I think every player has come to realise that this is the real deal and if we can start well at home to Costa Rica and then go to Honduras and get a good result then things are going to begin look really good for us. The most important thing is that we pick ourselves up and return to the being the team we were over the past two years up until the USA game last year. Maybe we lost a bit of momentum this year but we’ve got to find our rhythm again from the next two games,” the 32-year-old Boucaud added.
Boucaud’s career in England spans over fourteen years including time at Reading FC, Peterborough, Luton Town, Notts County, Wycombe Wanderers, Aldershot Town, York City and Dagenham and Redbridge at present.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart is expected to name his final squad later this week with players beginning to arrive into camp from this coming weekend
Tickets remain on sale at all Lotto Locations with the early bird sale running until Friday. Those tickets currently cost $300 (covered section) and $160 (uncovered section). From November 5th until match-day, tickets will then cost $350 (covered) and $200 (uncovered).
Season Passes are available at all First Citizens Bank Branches nationwide. Fans can call the TTFA season pass hotline at 270-6868 for more information.