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|U20S & U17S DRAW MEXICO AND COSTA RICA|
Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 and Under 17 teams will both have to do battle with Mexico and Costa Rica in their respective qualifying campaigns for the upcoming World Cups.
T&T U-20 head coach Zoran Vranes, in an immediate response to the draw, admitted that his team ended up in the harder of the two groups.
“I must accept that we have the harder group. Costa Rica is always a very difficult team and we know how good Mexico can be as well as Canada has a very good youth system,” Vranes told TTFF Media.
“But at the same time we have to do our best and I have the feeling that it is not beyond us to advance as one of the top two teams from the group. This group of players have played against some of these teams before at the Under 17 level and they qualified for the last Under 17 World Cup. This means that it’s nothing strange to us but we will have to play to our best ability to get to Egypt.”
Vranes leaves with the U-20 team for a ten-day training camp in Brazil on Sunday which is costing the T&T Football Federation USD95,000
“This trip is very important to us because some of the teams we are playing there will be similar to Costa Rica and Mexico in terms of their style. A lot of work will be done to get the boys ready for the tournament and I am certain we will return to Trinidad ready to take on the other teams,” Vranes added.
The U-20 team will be without the services of striker Jam Gay who opted instead for a trial at German Second Division team Rot-Weiss Oberhausen and is expected to accompany the team on a trial in Portugal.
Team manager Chris De Silva said every effort was being made to get the best T&T team together for the tournament.
“Jamal decided to take up the offer of the trial even though coach Vranes advised him that it would still be possible to go overseas after our team made the trip to Brazil and subsequently play the tournament. But he rang us up from London saying he was on a plane to Germany. There was nothing we could do but wish him well. At the same time we have had a few of the players based in the US back with us now and every effort is being made to ensure we have the best possible squad ready for the qualifying matches,” De Silva said.
The CONCACAF U-20 Championship will determine the confederation’s four qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 from September 23 - October 16, 2009
U17s draw with hosts Mexico
Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 17 footballers will have to face off with hosts Mexico in one of its CONCACAF Final Round Matches in April.
Following the draw on Thursday, T&T ended up in Group B alongside the hosts, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The fixtures will be determined later this month with the matches carded for Estadio Caliente in Tijuana from April 21-May 2.
T&T U-17 Head Coach Anton Corneal, who guided the previous T&T team to the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Championship, was optimistic despite holding the feeling that T&T will have a mountain to climb in Tijuana.
“It’s evident that the group is a tough one but we know what is before us now and that means that we’ve got to prepare as best as possible. It brings a whole different picture to the trip to Colombia now because the players themselves will know what they are preparing to face in Mexico,” Corneal told TTFF Media.
“It’s an Under 17 tournament and in youth football, anything is possible because again it’s the first time most if not all of these players from the various teams will be playing in a competitive international tournament. In the past we’ve held our own against Mexico and we also did well against Costa Rica in 2007 even though we lost that game. This time around we will work do our best to go even further and make this happen for us. Guatemala cannot be seen as underdogs which means for us every game has a lot at stake and that will be the message to my players,” Corneal said.
The top four nations will qualify for the FIFA Under 17 World Championship in Nigeria from October 24 –November 15, 2009. (Jan 15,2008)