Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers will be aiming to brave the less than perfect conditions at the National Stadium in Bridgetown and collect the three points up for grabs when they face Barbados in their second 2014 World Cup qualifier from 4pm on Tuesday.
After arriving here the previous day, Kenwyne Jones and his teammates had their first feel of the playing surface which left a lot to be desired on the eve of the encounter.
The playing field was heavily grassed but very bumpy and uneven with sinks in some parts. In general, the stadium is similar to Skinner Park, San Fernando with bleachers and the venue holds no more than 4,000 seats.
“It’s not the best of surfaces and it may not be conducive for good football but we are here to do a job which is to win a match and take home three points,” assistant coach Anton Corneal told TTFF Media after the session.
Additionally, it’s normal protocol for the visiting team to beprovided at least five match balls by the host association for practice but the Barbados FA passed over only one ball to the T&T team.
The T&T team always travels with its own footballs for training and it was no different on this occasion. (A host association has the privilege of selecting its own match ball once it is FIFA approved.)
All 20 players came through the session without any injuries and head coach Otto Pfister will have his full quota available for selection. So far the conditions have been humid throughout since the team's arrival here on Sunday.
“Okay we are here to play a World Cup qualifier and you have to be prepared for anything,” Pfister told TTFF Media. “We have our players here who are ready to play the game and we will approach the game like all others which is to finish the job.”
In a previous World Cup qualifier between the two countries in Bridgetown, T&T came away 2-1 winners in April, 1992. Current assistant coach Hutson Charles was on the field that day, scoring the winner in the 65th minute with Russell Latapy scoring the other in the 18th.
The other members in the T&T that day included Dwight Yorke, Leonson Lewis, Clint Marcelle, Michael Maurice, Dexter Francis, Clayton Morris, Philbert Jones, Kerry Jamerson, Dexter Lee, Kelvin Jones and Alvin Boisson. T&T won the return leg 3-0 at the Queen’s Park Oval with Marvin Faustin, Jamerson and Lewis being the scorers.
In the most recent clash between the two countries at the National Stadium in Bridgetown, T&T came away 3-2 winners in a Gold Cup qualifier in February 2005. Angus Eve scored a 74th minute winner. Current Densill Theobald is the only current squad member that played back then.
Charles was sent to Georgetown to view Barbados’s 2-0 loss to Guyana last Friday and has provided Pfister with a report.
T&T US-based midfielder Keon Daniel is expecting a rough encounter from the “Bajans”.
“A team like Barbados will do whatever they can to make life hard for us, especially in a World Cup qualifier. They know that on paper that we are supposed to be better than them but it all goes down to what happens in that 90 minutes.
But mentally we should be prepared for this and whatever the conditions, we have to put things together and get the three points.
I don’t expect the match to be easy by any means but as a professional, you prepare for things like this and we have to deal with it,” Daniel said.
Local fans can listen to the match on i95.5 fm but the game will not be shown live on television as the host Barbados FA has indicated that the arrangements for the production and uploading to the satellite which is the responsibility of the host country, is simply not in place which therefore meant that it was not possible for a T&T station to broadcast the match even if the rights had been secured.