Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 Men’s Team will enter a live-in training camp on Tuesday ahead of their Caribbean Football Union Final Round of World Cup qualifiers on Friday against Curacao at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The team, under head coach Derek King and assistant coach Dale Saunders, will train this week at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and Larry Gomes in Malabar as they fine tune ahead of the Caribbean Finals which will see double header matches played at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva and the Hasely Crawford.
T&T’s other group opponents, Cuba and Suriname, will face off in the opening match on Friday from 5pm at the Port of Spain venue. T&T will then clash with Suriname at 6:15pm on Sunday and Cuba on Tuesday from 7:15pm at the Hasely Crawford.
The four teams in action at the Ato Boldon are Dominican Republic, St Kitts/Nevis, Haiti and Aruba. That group gets going on Saturday with St Kitts taking on Dominican Republic from 4:00pm and Aruba facing Haiti at 6:15pm.
King is optimistic that his team will be ready for the challenge ahead. The likes of Central FC midfielder Levi Garcia, who was standout against Guadeloupe, Kadeem Corbin, Shannon Gomez, Kishun Seecharan and Martieon Watson are some of the players King will be depending on to lead the team forward.
“I think right now we are maybe 90 percent there. The game on Saturday against the Guadeloupe Senior Team was a really good test for us and we saw that the players were able to compete well and came away with the draw. It was a match that we could have come away with the victory and there were positive signs for us,” King told TTFA Media.
“This week we will focus a bit more on organization and how we intend to play against our opponents in this tournament. I was quite pleased with the maturity shown by the players against Guadeloupe and being able to stay organized during the match. Hopefully we can take this into the tournament and go on to book our place for the Concacaf finals,” he added. The CONCACAF Final round takes place in Montego Bay in January with hosts Jamaica already through to that stage which leads to the 2015 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Finals will include a field of twelve teams: five from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), four from the Central American Football Union (UNCAF), and three from North America. Qualifying in Central America and the Caribbean is currently underway. The tournament will crown the Confederation champion at this age level, and qualify four teams to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.
Mexico is the two-time defending CONCACAF under-20 champion, having claimed the title in Puebla, Mexico in 2013 and in Guatemala City in 2011.
This year, a new format favoring development and competition will be introduced to the Under-20 Championship. The twelve qualifying teams will be divided into two groups of six, to play a round-robin format on the first five match days.
The resulting top team from each group will earn a direct berth to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, and a place in the championship match on the final day. The second- and third-place teams from each group will be re-seeded into a four-team table, based on points obtained during group play. The top team from that table will play the fourth-ranked team, and the second-ranked team will face off against the third-ranked nation, with the winners of each of those two final-day matches securing one of the two remaining tickets on offer to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.