Trinidad and Tobago senior team goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams maintains that there is no amount of pressure on the current squad that will disrupt the mental state of Stephen Hart’s unit as they look ahead to the CONCACAF Final Round World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Williams, the starting custodian with local club Central FC, has not played a World Cup qualifying game for T&T since last November, missing the two victories against St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala and the United States through a shoulder injury.
But he was back in the starting eleven for the recent Caribbean Cup qualifiers against Dominican Republic and Martinique.
“I think I am in a good mental position right now. The season is midway into the Pro league and we’ve played four massive games in the Concacaf Champions League so I am just hoping to make m away back not the starting team and contribute to the team on Friday,’ Williams told TTFA Media.
“Preparations for games like these are an ongoing something. It’s not just a week or two week preparation. I’ve always tried to keep myself in the right mental and physical position to be able to play in the Hex and I am quite happy to recover from the injury first and foremost.
“The amount of pressure we put on ourselves as a team, the pressure from outside cannot match up. We want to qualify for the World Cup and we know the potential we have as a group and the pressure we have on ourselves is immense but in saying that, it is not the type of pressure that will destabilise us or to make us nervous. It is the kind of pressure to motivate us and to help us to go forward and complete the objective,” he added.
The newcomer in the squad, W Connection defender Jelani Peters, spoke about his first three days with the team, describing it as challenging but enjoyable.
“It’s been a great experience so far. Most of the guys are playing outside so that’s been good for me to get the opportunity to train with them. The first session was a bit challenging but I settled in by the second day. For me this is the best set of players that have been on the national team for some time now and that makes the experience even greater for me, coming in as a local-based. I am hoping to build on this and make a worthy contribution to the team in general,” Peters said.
Hart has had two sessions with his full compliment of players at the Hasely Crawford Stadium even though Mexican-based duo Yohance Marshall and Jomal Williams and Levi Garcia had light involvement having come off the plane only a few hours earlier.
“Well the most important thing is that we have everyone here. That’s always a good sign for a coaching staff,” Hart told TTFA Media.
“The session last evening (Tuesday) was very lively, good energy and the players were consistent throughout. The next couple of days of course we will spend going over a few things with respect to the game and how we intend to go about in our approach to it.”
The T&T team trained on Wednesday evening at the Larry Gomes due the unavailability of the Hasely Crawford Stadium because of the afternoon rainfall.
During his press conference to announce his squad for the match, Costa Rica Oscar Ramírez mentioned how important it will be to counter Trinidad & Tobago’s speed in transition plays.
“They are a good team with a lot of speed and athleticism,” Ramirez said. “They have a good style and we will need to focus and be strong to close them down in the transition of their game.”
The Costa Rican team arrives at Piarco International airport on Thursday night at 7:45pm on a chartered plane. They do not have a training session scheduled for the match venue on Thursday night.