Following on from the recent financial problems faced by the national senior men and women’s Soca Warriors, this country’s Under-20 footballers face a wait and see approach today with regards to a planned training camp and warm-up matches in Mexico.
The camp is in preparation for next month’s Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Jamaica from January ninth to 24. The main problem is funding. The team needs $750,000 to confirm participation in the camp.
T&T FA operations manager William Wallace said arrangements were being finalised to ensure the team has sufficient preparations ahead of the tournament. The TTFA is working alongside the Ministry of Sport and the Sportt Company.
The Under-20 men’s football team, recent winners of the CFU Under-20 Championship are currently involved in the first of three live-in camp and are expected to depart for Mexico on Wednesdayfor the second camp before returning home on December 23.
The players will regroup on December 27 for the third and final camp before heading off to Kingston, Jamaica to face host Jamaica, USA, Panama, Guatemala and Arabia in their Group A matches.
Speaking yesterday, Wallace said final preparations for the team’s proposed camp in Mexico were yet to be confirmed and he was hoping to have a final reply today on whether the camp was on or off.
“We are supposed to pay for accommodations and flights which have already been booked, but we still have to await the $782,000 from relevant authorities. If we dont get any positive feedback with regards the funds, then I don’t see the Mexico-leg of the camp taking place.”
Reached for comment, King noted that should the Mexico leg be called-off, he and his technical staff will have to find an alternative that can bring the same results.
“Our plans are to play two matches against Mexico Under-20 who will enter next month’s tournament as defending Concacaf and World Champions, and also play a match against a top Mexican club which will provide a good test.
With regards to the ongoing training sessions, King said he was relatively pleased with the attitude of the players.
“We have most of the guys back home with the exception of Under-17 captain Brendon Creed, goalkeeper Johan Welch and Ricardo John who are expected to join us in Mexico once we get the green-light for the camp.
National Under-20 captain Duane Muckette is expected to join us today (yesterday) while Jerren Nixon Jr, the son of former national striker Jerren Nixon Jr and Fatima College’s Leland Archer, have linked up with the group.”
The top team from each group after round-robin play advances to the World Cup, and the second and third place nations from each group advance to the final day knockout phase, with the chance to dispute one of a pair of play-in matches which will determine Concacaf's other two World Cup spots at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.