Wed, Jun

Trinidad and Tobago's Reon Moore (#13) on the move during the Course Caribbean Classic final against Guyana at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on March 29th 2022.

Trinidad and Tobago's men's football team will play Guyana in a pair of friendly internationals at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on May 13 and 15.

Coach Angus Eve says the games present the local-based players with a chance to stake their claim ahead of the Fifa 2026 World Cup qualifiers which commence against Grenada on June 5, as well as the 2024/25 Concacaf Nations League A cycle which begins in September.

Eve said a handful of new players will be given the opportunity in the two matches owing to their good form in the ongoing 2023/24 T&T Premier Football League (TTPFL) season. Defenders Sheldon Bateau, Josiah Trimmingham and Andre Raymond, who became a regular fixture at left back toward the backend of the Soca Warriors' 2023/24 Nations League campaign, have completed their respective club seasons and are expected to be involved in the friendlies.

Eve also said players such as Daniel David, Ezekiel Kesar, Isaiah Lee, Matthew Woo-Ling and the Miscellaneous Police FC pair of Simeon Bailey and Josiah Wilson will be in the mix.

"We see these games as a very important cog in the wheel of our preparations going into the World Cup campaign for 2026," Eve said, via a T&T Football Association release.

"It's an ongoing programme that we have started since I have come on board where we get some international games to get the locally based players up to speed (to) see how they perform against international opposition."

Guyana, who are coached by former T&T coach Jamaal Shabazz, gained promotion for the upcoming Nations League A campaign after topping their Nations League B group which included Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

"Guyana is also in the League A of the Nations League so it's not slouches we will be playing. It gives the local players a final opportunity to be seen outside of their league against international opposition so that we can pick the final squad. That is what these exercises are about."

In March, T&T played Jamaica in a pair of friendlies ahead of their Copa America 2024 play-in with Canada. Eve utilised a heavy local contingent in those outings and gave debuts to several players. T&T lost the first friendly 1-0, before playing to a goalless draw in the second match.

Eve says next week's venture will be similar.

Eve said meetings with TTFA president Kieron Edwards, who assumed office on April 13, have been fruitful.

"The TTFA president has been in the media saying how positive the meetings were and we think they were also positive from our end. He and his new board are committed to helping us and the country to qualify for another World Cup."

Shabazz, who hailed the Soca Warriors as "formidable opponents," praised the TTFA and the Guyana Football Federation for their huge investments with the staging of the friendly matches.

"Of course, whether it is football, cricket, hockey or rugby, when Guyana plays T&T we want to win so it's also going to be a title fight."

Kick-off will be 7 pm on both days, with tickets priced at $75 (covered section) and $50 (uncovered section).

SOURCE: T&T Newsday