Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Senior team will have to top a CONCACAF Second Round group that includes Bermuda, Barbados and Guyana starting in September to progress to the semi-final stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
This was determined at the Draw for the Preliminary Stages which was held in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
T&T, ranked 88th on the FIFA World Rankings were not among the top six seeded CONCACAF teams which included Mexico, United States, Costa Rica, Honduras,
Cuba and Jamaica. As such, T&T will have to contest the second round (from September 2 to November 15,2011) which will be played on a home and away basis with the highest placed team on points advancing to the semi-final round (Round 3) which takes place from June 8 to October 16,2012
Round 3 is where the race becomes tougher for the “Soca Warriors” as they have been grouped with giants Mexico and Costa Rica and the winner of Group A which includes El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Suriname and Cayman Islands.
The top two teams from the four semi-final groups will advance to the final round from which the top three qualifies for the Brazil 2014. The four place team will enter in to the intercontinental playoff with Oceania.
Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones on hearing the news of T&T’s draw, remained optimistic, saying having contest Round 2 could actually work in the team’s favour.
“Well a draw is a draw. We now know what is ahead of us in order to advance in the qualification for Brazil,” Jones told TTFF Media.
“No game is an easy one in international football today. Hopefully we can get a good start and build our momentum in the second round for the semi-final stages.
By then the team would have been playing together for a few matches well and we will be in tune for the semi-final which obviously is going to be a lot tougher with Mexico and Costa Rica in our group. Our aim obviously is to move to the Final round and then force our way through to the World Cup. It’s not impossible,” Jones added.
T&T were scheduled to depart for Port-Au-Prince on August 7 for a friendly international three days later but that trip is now off due to a lack of funding.
But TTFF President Oliver Camps, while admitting that funding is currently a challenge for the Federation, is assuring that the necessary steps will be taken to ensure the team can give its best shot at qualifying for Brazil 2014.
“Firstly I must say the second round looks good for us and it will give our coach Mr Pfister a good opportunity to see his team develop a chemistry in those early matches. But the third round is where the intensity of the competition really increases and it’s going to be a difficult journey for us but certainly one which we can overcome with the right planning, preparation and execution. Of course the final round is another hurdle which I remain optimistic that we can demonstrate our capabilities fully to be among the qualifiers for the World Cup,” Camps said.
“It is rather unfortunate that we have had to cancel our trip to Haiti. The Ministry of Sport is unable to assist and currently the Federation is unable to meet those costs to take our best team to Haiti for the match. We remain hopeful that the Ministry can assist but this remains another one of our hurdles. But I want to ensure the followers of our National Team that the Federation will do what it can to ensure that we find the funding. One of our next steps will be the implementation of a proper marketing strategy to have corporate bodies on board to assist us in our quest to qualify for the next World Cup finals and to assist in our overall development program,” Camps added.
Pfister will give his reactions to the draw on his return to Trinidad next week.
The actual match fixtures will be announced in due course. (July 30,2011)
Group A — El Salvador, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic
Group B — Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda
Group C — Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas
Group D — Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia
Group E — Grenada, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize
Group F — Haiti, Antigua, Curacao, U.S. Virgin Islands
Group A — United States, Jamaica, Group E second-round winner, Group F second-round winner
Group B — Mexico, Costa Rica, Group A second-round winner, Group B second-round winner
Group C — Honduras, Cuba, Group C second-round winner, Group D second-round winner
Fourth Round (hexagonal)
The top two teams in each group will form the fourth-round group, as known as the hexagonal, which will play 10 games in 2013.
The second round of CONCACAF qualifying matches will be played on the following dates:
* Sept 2-6 — two games
* Oct. 7-11 — two games
* Nov. 11-15 — two games
The third round of CONCACAF games will be played on:
* June 1-7 — two games
* June 8-12 — two games
* Sept. 7-11 — two games
* Oct. 12-16 — two games
The final round of CONCACAF qualifying will be held on:
* March 22-26 — two games
* June 7-11 — – two games
* June 14-18 — two games
* Sept. 6-10 — two games
* Oct. 11-15 — two games
FIFA has set aside two dates between Nov. 15-19, 2013 for the fourth-place CONCACAF side to play a runner-up from Oceania in an aggregate goals, home-and-away series to determine a spot in the World Cup.
T&T to start at home to Bermuda