Trinidad and Tobago’ senior men’s team will close off their South American tour with a match against World Cup bound Iran at the Corinthians Training Complex in Sao Paolo from 3pm (2pm T&T time) on Sunday.
The T&T team, led by skipper Kenwyne Jones completed their final training session on Saturday evening at the same venue at which Iran is also based for its training camp ahead of their opening World Cup encounter against Nigerian on June 16th.
Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz met with T&T head coach Stephen Hart and TTFA General Secretary Sheldon Phillips after his team trained on Friday and then spoke to TTFA Media about the match.
“I am looking forward to it very much. This is a very crucial game for us,” Queiroz told TTFA Media.
“Trinidad is a team I know. I know the players. I know the quality of the players, the technique, the power and the speed. It was not possible to find another team that is similar to the problems that for sure that you will create against us. So to play this game against Trinidad and Tobago is something very important for our preparations,” the former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United added.
Queiroz who also led Portugal at the 2010 World Cup and South Africa at the 2002 World Cup,was also thankful to the TTFA for accepting the invitation to play the game in Sao Paolo. He had been in discussions with Phillips about T&T making the journey to Sao Paolo following the friendly international against Argentina
“And I want to thank the Association of Trinidad and Tobago for al their support, the availability to come here and play against us under these conditions. We will keep Trinidad and Tobago in our hearts for sure to be part of our preparations was something fantastic for us,” Queiroz added.
Iran will have Reza Ghoochannejhad of Charlton Athletic in its line up. Among Iran's blend of veterans and a new generation of foreign-raised players, the 33-year-old Jalal Hosseini is still the linchpin of the defence as well as a threat from set-pieces, according to the UK Guardian. Goals may be sourced from the Fulham midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, who featured in 21 league games for the Cottagers last season, scoring five goals in a difficult campaign.
Hart expects tough outing
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart expects Iran to be tougher than some may think.
Hart made the comments after his team’s final training session at the Corinthians Training stadium where Iran is hold its training camp before their opening World Cup match against Nigeria.
Hart will go into the match with one goalkeeper in Jan Michael Williams after Marvin Phillip returned to Port of Spain on Saturday following the death of his 10-month old son. The rest of the squad is injury free and Hart will likely make a change or two to his starting team from the 3-0 defeat to Argentina in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
“I’ve seen a couple of their matches and I’m pretty certain they will be very strong and will prove to be tough opponents,” Hart said as his team completed its final session under relatively cool conditions with the temperature at 25 degrees at 4pm.
“You’re looking at a team that is rated number one in Asia and they are heading into a World Cup. We are here to provide them with a good test and I’m sure our boys will be up for the match and will be very keen to impress and try to get a good result for the country.
“I think they feel somewhat appreciated by the people back home based on some of the reactions but we all know it was the ideal performance because we felt we could have been better but all in all there was a quite a lot of things we could take with us from the match against Argentina and we will be looking to accomplish the same things against Iran,” Hart added.
The T&T team s staying at the Bristol International Airport Hotel, located some 20 minutes drive from the match venue. There has been tight security afforded to the team with some six outriders and one Police jeep accompanying the team on the streets of Sao Paolo. And the reactions of the locals to the team has been nothing but warm with lots of smiles and friendly gestures coming from kids and adults upon sight of the T&T Team bus, all part of the World Cup-type atmosphere in Brazil less than a week before the grand event kicks off in Sao Paolo.
Defender Yohance Marshall, who produced a solid performance in the Argentina affair, is soaking it all in while on duty for the country.
“It’s been a tremendous experience so far. First in Argentina we were able to hold our own for some parts of the game and the entire experience had a lot of positives for us. And now in Brazil, everything that you think comes with a World Cup is here and it’s good that for Trinidad and Tobago, even though we are not in the World Cup, we are getting that chance to experience a bit of it,” Marshall said.
“The game tomorrow is just another important one for us in terms of it could help us a team go forward and prepare for what’s to come later down the road. We’ll be going all out to try and get a positive result,” added the Central FC player.