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National Team News

Category: National Team News

Trinidad and Tobago to host CONCACAF Gold Cup runners-up Jamaica in Port-of-Spain in independence friendly

​Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Ataullah Guerra, left, prepares a shot during a 2-0 win over Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Trinidad on Nov. 19, 2013.

Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica will renew their rivalry on August 24 when the Caribbean heavyweights meet in an international friendly from 8pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium as the Soca Warriors continue preparations for the final phase of CONCACAF qualification towards the FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia.

At stake is bragging rights and former giants of the game Dennis “Tallest” Lawrence and Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore against each other for the first time in the capacity as head coach of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica respectively.

“This is Soca versus Reggae at its best,” declared Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams via a media release by the local governing body.

“The Jamaicans are on a high at the moment and we know they always come hard when they have to face Trinidad and Tobago. We think that it is an excellent opportunity for our team to get just the kind of workout they will need before Honduras. It’s Tallest versus Tappa for Caribbean bragging rights. We want a packed house on August 24 to witness this Caribbean derby in Port of Spain,” said John-Williams.

The TTFA release further stated: “John-Williams also relayed that both the T&T and Jamaica governing bodies are discussing the possibility of turning the encounter into an annual affair to mark their respective Independence with Jamaica celebrating its Independence on August 6th and T&T to do so on August 31st and additionally both countries also playing for the Captain Horace Burrell Challenge Cup in memory of the deceased for Jamaica Football President.”

Jamaica, fresh from their runners-up finish behind the United States in the just-concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing narrowly (2-1) to the Americans on July 26 after defeating Canada and Mexico in the quarterfinal and semi-final respectively, should provide a solid test for the Soca Warriors.

Whitmore is expected to try and avenge the Reggae Boys’ previous 2-0 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago when both sides locked horns in a friendly in Port-of-Spain on Nov. 19, 2013.

But for Lawrence, the former Wigan Athletic and Everton assistant coach, the focus will heavily lean towards World Cup qualifying preparations as T&T, bottom of the CONCACAF Hex, must face Honduras (at home on Sep. 1), Panama (away on Sep. 5), Mexico (away on Oct. 10) before completing against the United States (at home on Oct. 10).

“This game comes at an ideal time for us in preparation for Honduras,” Lawrence told the TTFA media. “Jamaica are in a good moment after coming off a very positive showing at the Gold Cup and they will come here looking to maintain that form which means they will give us the kind of test we are looking for at that stage of the preparations—a week before we face Honduras.

“We (resume) training on August 14 for the matches coming up and this will obviously be a critical period for us which we are all anticipating a great deal,” ended the 2006 World Cup defender.

Tickets for the T&T versus Jamaica friendly will become available at all NLCB Lotto Locations nationwide and cost TT$100 (covered stands) and TT$50 (uncovered).