Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior National Team will play its first international friendly for the 2010 calendar when they travel to face World Cup finalists Chile at the Estadio Tierra de Campeones in Iquique on May 5.
This was confirmed on Thursday following an invitation from the Chilean Football Federation as they prepare to face Concacaf neighbours Honduras in their World Cup encounter in Nelspruit on June 16.
Chile, ranked number 13 on the current FIFA rankings, finished second in the South American World Cup qualifying campaign with 33 points, one behind Brazil. Coach Marcelo Bielsa’s team will also play World Cup warm-ups against Northern Ireland and Israel with two different teams in two separate cities on May 30, local media said on Wednesday.
"It’s a great opportunity for us and significant in that it would in fact be our first match of the 2014 campaign. We see the opponent as world class ranked in the top 15 teams in the world today and it should prove to be a very valuable international training affair for us,” team manager David Muhammad said.
Chile had canceled two World Cup warm up matches last month against Costa Rica and North Korea because of the earthquake that killed at least 700 people.
Bielsa has indicated that he is keen to try his team against T&T because of the two sides familiarity with each other in Concacaf.
Chile, who also meet Spain and Switzerland at the World Cup have appeared in seven World Cup tournaments and were hosts of the 1962 FIFA World Cup finishing in third place.
Bielsa used only home-based and South American-based players in Chile’s 0-0 draw with Venezuela last month. He is likely to again have the likes of Boca Juniors defender Gary Medel, Flamengo forward Gonzalo Fierro, and Argentinos Juniors forward Emilio Hernandez in his squad to face T&T as all of these players had been included against their South American neighbours.
Chile’s top European-based players include Real Zaragoza forward Humberto Suazo, CSKA Moscow forward Mark Gonzalez, and midfielder Carlos Carmona of Italian side Reggina.
T&T head coach Russell Latapy, following a break this week to accommodate the start of the Digicel T&T Pro League, will resume training sessions at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday evening. He is expected to announce his 18-man squad for the match in Iquique next week.