Sat, Feb


Maturana and WarnerIt's going to be a tough grind to get to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but Trinidad and Tobago seem to have gotten the chance of a great start with their first two games against teams which, on paper, they have a chance of defeating.

Both T&T's Colombia head coach Francisco Maturana and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser Jack Warner attended the draw, which took place yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Maturana told TTFF media officer Shaun Fuentes he was elated with the schedule his team got.

"To me, Trinidad and Tobago could not get a better draw than this one and once the team remains focused and gets much needed support from all then we should be in South Africa in 2010. That is how it looks (based) on the schedule and now it is for us to make it happen," said Maturana.

The Soca Warriors begin on February 11 away to El Salvador, before hosting Honduras on March 28. T&T met El Salvador twice in friendly matches, winning a stormy game 3-1 in Washington days before the start of the CONCACAF semi-final round of qualifiers in August.

A locally-based squad also won 1-0 at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya in March.

In 2007, the teams drew another friendly 0-0 in El Salvador, while a depleted T&T line-up lost 2-1 at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Overall, Trinidad and Tobago have won four, lost three and drawn two of nine meetings with El Salvador. And in the only World Cup qualifiers between the countries, the T&T "Strike Squad" won 2-0 at home and drew 0-0 in El Salvador in the 1990 campaign.

"Between now and the first game, the team will undergo the preparations in relation to our schedule. We will try to plan it the best way because this is the final hurdle for Trinidad and Tobago. We now have in front of us the final path to South Africa," added Maturana, who also thanked Warner for keeping faith in him.

Warner, who also had a meeting with former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki yesterday, said on his return to Port of Spain this week, the national team's 2009 programme will be drawn up and finalised accordingly.

It will include warm-up international matches in relation to T&T's World Cup qualifying schedule, as well as a live-in training camp in England.