Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team will be looking to secure their first win and set themselves up for a smooth passage into the Caribbean Cup Finals and the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup when they face off with Dominican Republic in their opening Scotiabank Caribbean Cup Group 4 qualifier at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 7pm on Wednesday.
The Jamaica versus Suriname encounter slated for Kingston on Wednesday has been postponed due to the passage of Hurricane Matthew while CFU will make a final determination on the Haiti vs French Guiana match scheduled for the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Curacao will host Antigua and Barbuda in the other fixture on the day.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart is banking on a potent line up to get the job done as T&T needs to top the three-team group in order to advance.
“The main focus now is qualification for the two tournaments but we also have the Hex to prepare for which gives us a good opportunity as a team to come together for these two games. Teams that do not have to play in competition that are in the hex are using the dates to play international friendlies so for us we have to use these two games in a similar way,” Hart said.
He wants to see T&T out of the blocks with more urgency.
“We have to be more focused on our tasks because we have a tendency to sort of start slow when the opposition does not really requires us to be quicker. It is something I would like to address and break out of. We are not in a situation where we always do that, for instance we weren’t doing that in the Gold Cup but for the last little period or so we have and I’d like to rectify it.”
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Cordell Cato is aware that Caribbean opposition could pose surprising challenges from time to time.
“We know teams like Dominican Republic will not lie down but I think we are prepared for them. It’s good to have the majority of the squad available for this game. Everyone seems to be fit and ready to go so we’ll be looking to produce the kind of performance that will be satisfying and have us in a good position at the end of this round,” Cato told TTFA Media.
Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland is also hoping to see the hosts take care of matters on the evening.
“We know our downfalls from the last couple of games and we have to keep working on them in order to become a better team. These two games are important for us to get things right heading into the hex.
“We have played Dominican Republic on many occasions and once you give them time and space, they will be willing to put the ball down and play. They can be nippy, quick combination football so we will have to put our heads down and make it uncomfortable for them by dictating the pace of the game,” Hyland added.
Tickets are priced at $200 (covered) and $100 (uncovered) and are available at all Sports and Games, Kenny’s Sports Shops, Ramsingh’s Sportworld in Couva and Heritage Sports in Tobago. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the venue.
Round three matches are also scheduled for October 8 and 11.
The top four teams emerging from Round 3 will qualify to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup while the fifth-placed team will advance to a play-off against a team from UNCAF in a bid to earn a Gold Cup berth.
Round 3 will be followed by a three-nation, Fifth-place Play-off of the best three second-placed finishers, from November 7-15, 2016.
According to the CFU, The finals of the Caribbean Cup will be played from June 22-25, 2017.