Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team will kick off their challenge for the 2014 Caribbean Cup Finals against Curacao from 530pm (630pm TT Time) at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
The game will be the first of a double header with defending champions and fellow Group A opponents Cuba facing French Guiana from 8pm.
The T&T team will have their first feel of the match pitch during the warm up on Tuesday as Stephen Hart’s team was not allowed to train there since arriving in Montego Bay on Sunday. The Caribbean Football Union’s reason was that with all matches in the tournament schedule to take place at the venue, it would be unsuitable for competing teams to use the pitch so close to the start of the tournament in order to preserve the state of the pitch.
Hosts Jamaica utilized their home advantage as they were engaged in a training camp in Montego Bay up until this past weekend and were engaged in sessions on the same field.
The CFU allowed three members of the team contingents to have a walk through at the match venue on Monday evening.
T&T trains at Jarrett Park
T&T had a full session at the Jarrett Park venue on Monday morning as Hart welcomed English-based duo Andre Boucaud and Justin Hoyte while European-based duo Lester Peltier and defender Radanfah Abu Bakr also trained on Monday. Columbus Crew midfielder Kevan George arrived on Monday while Khaleem Hyland of Belgium club Racing Genk was schedule later in the evening. W Connection defender Joevin Jones missed Monday’s training due to a slight fever.
Team captain Kenwyne Jones was optimistic about his team’s state of readiness, adding that Curacao would not be underestimated.
“We have the majority of the squad that has been working for all of the past week. We had a session this morning to refresh our minds on the way that we will play going into the tournament. So far the spirit in the camp is really good and hopefully we can start off with a win,” Jones told TTFA Media.
“The qualification for the Gold Cup is the goal but firstly for us we have to believe that we can win the tournament. We are not going to underestimate the opposition. We will go out there and give them the respect they deserve but we are also going to impose ourselves and play hard. I’ve said before that it’s about time we win the Caribbean Cup again and tomorrow is a stepping stone towards that,” the Cardiff City man said.
Iceland-based forward Jonathan Glenn is among the newcomers in the team while Shahdon Winchester and Jamal Gay are back after a lengthy lay off. Leston Paul, Hughtun Hector and Cordell Cato have also recently rejoined Hart’s squad. Jones believes these players are all beginning to mesh with the rest of the line up.
“It’s been a team effort. We had to try and integrate them and of course along with the coach in terms of he plays them and what expects from all of us. I think everyone has played a good part in trying to integrate them and we’ll continue to work on that to ensure we get the finished product the way we would like it to be.”
Hart wants to win every match, knowing that only the winners of both groups will qualify directly for the final. This means that there is no room for slipping up in either of the three group encounters against Curacao, French Guiana or Cuba.
“Of course we want to start with a win tomorrow and for all three matches and then take that into the final,” Hart said after Monday’s session.
“Things went quite well this morning. The enthusiasm was good and the tackles were coming in. I like when the attitude is right from everybody.
“If you look at the make up of Curacao I think this is going to be a difficult game for us . They have a number of players coming in from Holland and of course they know they are playing Trinidad and Tobago and know the significance of the game. We will have to be in full focus and concentration,” Hart added about the opponents.
Nothing but three points is what T&T will set out to achieve.
“We’ll be going into this game with every intention off coming out with a result. We have to be disciplined and play very smart position wise and if we keep shape both offensively and defensive then I think this team will do very well,” Hart concluded