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Terry Fenwick expects well-organised Montserrat in Gold Cup qualifier
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NATIONAL men’s football coach Terry Fenwick says he expects a well-organised Montserrat team when both teams meet in the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers in early July.

T&T will play Montserrat on either July 2 or 3 in Florida, US.

The match against Montserrat will be held just weeks after T&T continue their quest in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone qualifiers.

T&T will come up against Bahamas on June 5 in Group F, followed by their final game of the first round of the qualifiers on June 8 against St Kitts/Nevis.

T&T are in second place with one win and one draw, two points behind St Kitts/Nevis. T&T eased past Guyana 3-0 in their opening match of World Cup qualifying in Dominican Republic on March 25, before being held 1-1 by hosts Puerto Rico three days later.

Only the top team in the five-team group will advance to the next round of World Cup qualifying.

Speaking to Newsday on Friday, Fenwick said, “Montserrat, we recognise (they have) multiple players from the lower leagues of the UK English divisions so we know they are going to be relatively well-organised, some good players in there.”

However, Fenwick is uncertain what players will be available for T&T and Montserrat because the covid19 pandemic is still affecting travelling around the world.

“The underlying factor here is whether their players as well as the players that we are attracting from the UK are actually going to be available because of travel restrictions…it is a difficult call at the moment.”

Several overseas-based T&T players were available for the World Cup qualifiers against Guyana and Puerto Rico including captain Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Levi Garcia and Sheldon Bateau. Daniel Phillips, an English-born player who has T&T roots, made his debut for T&T against Guyana.

Fenwick said he continues to scout players with T&T heritage who can be beneficial to the team.

“I don’t want to name any names until they actually land in Trinidad…but we have got some big players that we are speaking to, we want them involved with T&T football. We need to get back on a winning track.”

Fenwick has had his challenges arranging friendly matches during the downtime for his players since he took over as coach in January 2020. He has had to settle for matches locally including matches against local club teams and a Tobago XI.

“We are rolling from World Cup qualifiers and almost immediately into Gold Cup qualifiers. I am trying again to organise a friendly game or two, in and around these competitive games, for the players that come in, but it is not easy we have gotten no football on the ground in T&T so we are limited.”

Prior to the World Cup qualifiers in March T&T were targeting friendly international matches against Dominica, St Vincent/Grenadines and Grenada but those matches did not materialise.

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Mexico awaits in Gold Cup

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Mexico will play Trinidad and Tobago in the opening match of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage should the Soca Warriors get past the two-match qualifying stage. The teams played out a thrilling 4-4 draw in their last meeting at the 2015 tournament.

Yesterday, CONCACAF announced the full schedule for the region’s flagship men’s national team competition. This year’s edition will include a new preliminary round (July 2-6) prior to the group stage (July 10-20) and a revamped knockout stage (July 24-August 1).

Prior to the start of the group stage, 12 national teams that qualified through their CONCACAF Nations League (CNL) performances, will compete in the preliminary round (prelims) from July 2-6, 2021.

These matches will take place at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, United States and will determine the final three teams in the group stage.

Yesterday’s unveiling of the full fixtures saw the Soca Warriors with a July 2 qualifying round opener in Fort Lauderdale, USA, against a solid Montserrat team made up primarily of England-born players. Should they advance, T&T will face either Cuba or French Guiana on July 6, with the winners advancing to the main group stage and a July 10 opening match against Mexico.

This summer’s Gold Cup, the 16th edition of the competition and a key part of CONCACAF’s 60th anniversary celebration, will be played in 11 stadiums across eight US metropolitan areas. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host the competition’s final match on Sunday, August 1.

“We are extremely pleased to confirm the schedule and venues for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, which promises to be a celebration of football in our great region,” said CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani. “Twenty twenty-one is CONCACAF’s 60th anniversary year and we look forward with great anticipation to watching the best men’s national teams in our confederation compete for the Gold Cup title. With an exciting new format and the prospect of welcoming passionate fans to the stadiums for these compelling match-ups, I can’t wait for the football to begin on July 2 and to crown a champion in Las Vegas on August 1,” added Montagliani.