|T&T U-17S GROUPED WITH HOSTS JAMAICA,GUATEMALA IN CONCACAF FINAL ROUND
The fixtures will be released by CONCACAF within the next week but already T&T head coach Shawn Cooper and Youth development officer Anton Corneal were looking ahead to the tournament with optimism. Corneal led the T&T Under 17 team to the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Cup after coming out of the qualifying group in Jamaica that year. T&T defeated the hosts 1-0 at the National Stadium in Kingston by way of a Kevin Molino first half goal. Molino is now a member of the T&T Senior Team.
“It’s a good group actually. Jamaica at home will be difficult but with the type of competition we have been part of in the last four weeks, I think our preparations have been spot on for this tournament especially looking at our first round group now,” Corneal told TTFF Media on Wednesday.
“There is still a lot of work to be done between now and the tournament and we need to ensure we have ourselves adequately prepared. Of the draw shows we have avoided the powerhouses of the Concacaf such as USA, Mexico and Costa Rica but the other two teams in our group will also see it that way and sometimes that can make the group ever harder because all the teams now believe they are in with an excellent chance of advancing,” Corneal added.
The T&T team, captained by Dwayne Muckette, returned last week from the Tournament of the Americas in Cali Colombia, winning three games and losing two against the youth teams of some of Colombia’s top clubs.
Cooper also believes T&T stands a good chance of advancing. In August this year T&T topped their Caribbean Football Union group with a 0-0 draw with Cuba and victories over Bermuda (2-1), St Kitt’s Nevis (8-0)
“I think it’s an excellent draw. We have done fairly well against Jamaica at this level and the tour to Colombia would have prepared us for the Spanish-speaking teams. We have been invited to return to Colombia in January and this could turn out to be another valuable training camp for us before we had to Jamaica,” Cooper added.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals February 22-23 with winners of groups A and B facing the runners-up from the opposite group. Likewise, the winners of groups C and D will play the runners-up from the opposite group with all four winners moving on to the semifinals February 25 and qualifying for the U-17 World Cup in Mexico
The four semifinalists will join Mexico as CONCACAF’s representatives at the June 18-July 10 World Cup. (Dec 15,2010)
Trinidad & Tobago