Hart seeks to increase player pool ahead of World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Tuesday 08 March 2016
Trinidad and Tobago Men's Senior Team will face Grenada in an international friendly from 7pm at the National Stadium in St. George’s Grenada on March 19.
The friendly, arranged following discussions between Trinidad and Tobago Football Association president David John-Williams and the Grenada FA, will serve as part of the "Soca Warriors"' preparations for back-to-back FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 25 in Kingston and March 29 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.
T&T head coach Stephen Hart said he will use the opportunity to potentially increase the national team player pool, for upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the Caribbean Cup.
“Well it serves two purposes as for one I’ve been asking for a sort of local camp in which the home-based players can be looked at in a camp environment and in an international match scenario,” Hart said in a release via the TTFA media.
“And secondly the local Pro League will be breaking a few days well before we play our next two World Cup qualifiers, so getting these players together and keeping them active will keep players who can potentially be in the World Cup squad, game sharp and ready for the two games later in the month.”
“It’s good to have a game against them (Grenada) but for me what is more important is the camp environment and giving players an opportunity so that they can push to create a bigger player pool.
“We have the two qualifiers in March and then we have to potentially look at the FIFA dates in May where hopefully we can get at least two quality games, and then there’s the Caribbean Cup which is crucial for us getting to the Gold Cup. And of course we cannot forget the closing two semi final round games in the (World Cup) qualification in September. This is all a good step in terms of forward planning for the long journey ahead,” added Hart.
T&T are currently in second place with four points in the CONCACAF semi-final round group, behind to the United States on goal difference, with Guatemala third on three points and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in fourth without a point. The top two teams from the group will advance to the CONCACAF Final round of qualification towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The TTFA, via the release, extended gratitude to the TT Pro League for adjusting its fixtures to facilitate a longer period of preparation inclusive of the home-based players leading up to the "Spice Boys" Friendly and the two World Cup qualifying matches. The FIFA international window begins on March 20 but the National Team will have access to Pro League players a few days ahead the Grenada Friendly in St. George’s.
Hart will announce a squad for the Grenada encounter comprising largely of home-based players later this week.
Grenada's recent history includes twice defeating the “Soca Warriors” in CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying—the latest a 1-0 win at the 2010 Caribbean Cup in Martinique to eliminate the T&T. Grenada also defeated T&T 2-1 in 2008 Caribbean Cup in Jamaica.
“They (Grenada) have proven to be a formidable opponent against us and I’m quite sure they will give us a good test when we get there,” Hart added.
Grenada, coached by Anthony Modeste, were eliminated in the preliminary stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by Haiti last September. But the "Spice Boys" are currently preparing for qualifying matches towards the 2016 Caribbean Cup against St. Maarten on March 22 and against US Virgin Islands on March 29.
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