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Finances behind Couva switch; Warriors face Dominican Republic in adopted home

The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team will launch their 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup bid on Wednesday 5 October at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva when they tackle the Dominican Republic from 7pm.

And Soca Warriors fans might as well as start thinking of the 10,000 seater Couva venue as their home away from home.

Despite early speculation that the inclement weather might be behind the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s (TTFA) decision to snub the Hasely Crawford Stadium for Couva, the Port of Spain venue’s facility manager, Anthony Blake, said that the primary reason for the shift is financial.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) gestures to fans after Joevin Jones' second goal against Guatemala during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016. Both teams played to a 2-2 draw. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (second from right) gestures to fans after Joevin Jones’ second goal against Guatemala during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016.
Both teams played to a 2-2 draw.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868

“It is mainly down to financial considerations,” Blake told Wired868. “Because it is a smaller stadium, you have a $100,000 decrease in costs to put on a game straight away, as the cost is much less for things from the generator to service staff.”

The Ministry of Sport absorbs most match day costs for international sporting events at its venues. However, the Hasely Crawford Stadium is in dire need of a makeover and, inevitably, the 22,000 seater facility would have to be closed for major repair sooner or later.

Blake explained that Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting mecca needs: water proofing, roof repairs, a refurbished media room, car park repairs, electrical work and improved drainage.

“It will be almost like building a new facility,” said Blake.

The Soca Warriors have not played a home game outside of the Hasely Crawford Stadium since their 1-0 loss to Panama in a friendly outing on 27 March 2015. And more than half of coach Stephen Hart’s games in Trinidad were played in Port of Spain.

However, the Warriors have increasingly utilised the Ato Boldon Stadium under current TTFA president David John-Williams, although he has not indicated whether this is a deliberate policy shift under his administration.

Photo: A Soca Warriors fan enjoys the action between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 27 March 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: A Soca Warriors fan enjoys the action between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 27 March 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 and Under-20 Teams both played their Caribbean Cup fixtures in Couva, earlier this year, with the Senior Team now following suit.

The senior Warriors last played competitive matches in Couva during the 2014 Caribbean qualifying series when they tallied three successive wins over Dominican Republic (6-1), St Lucia (2-0) and Antigua and Barbuda (1-0).

Russia-based defender Sheldon Bateau said the host team will not underestimate their opponents on Wednesday.

“None of these matches are easy but of course if we are on top of our game on the day, then we should be able to take charge and dictate the pace of the game,” Bateau told TTFA Media. “On paper of course we are expected to come out on top but football is changing and teams like Dominican Republic are improving and they are very hungry for success as well.

“The important thing for us is to show our intentions from early to control the game and stamp our authority… Coach Hart will also be looking to ensure that our game is tidy and that everything is in tune with his plans for the [2018 World Cup qualifying] matches in November.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kevin Molino (right) flicks his third goal past Dominican Republic goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd during the 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying round. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kevin Molino (right) flicks his third goal past Dominican Republic goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd during the 2014 Caribbean Cup qualifying round.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago team)

Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);

Defenders: Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids—USA), Aubrey David (FC Dallas—USA), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Tristan Hodge (Toronto II—Canada), Radanfah Abu Bakr (JK Silame Kalev—Estonia), Sheldon Bateau (KC Krylia Sovetov—Russia);

Midfielders: Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Kevan George (Jackson Armada FC—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery—USA);

Attacking midfielders: Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—US), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—US), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—US), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC—Mexico);

Forwards: Kenwyne Jones (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—US), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico).

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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12 comments

  1. wow our national football team playing in ‘adopted’ home… in couva,,, next thing you will tell me they got visas to come couva from pos…

  2. One more thing Lasana. I visited a Fan Zone outlet to purchase one of our Nation Team jerseys and I was informed that the item will no longer be stocked because Joma is out and the TTFA is looking for a new manufacturer. Firstly, what is this unholy matrimony with Fan Zone and the TTFA (same question I have with the TTOC)? Secondly, are they seriously doing this in the middle of our campaign to the World Cup? I need someone to explain to me why i can’t purchase the Trinidad and Tobago National football jersey in Trinidad, yet the TTFA is complaining about finances.

  3. Is the reduced occupancy of the Ato Boldon Stadium related to the obvious lack of attention placed on marketing and publicity. I am so dissapointed with the TTFA, I dont even know where to begin. If it weren’t for wired868.com, I wouldnt believe we have a national team.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Apparently the game was not well promoted. Is that complacency? Or just poor planning? I don’t know. But that was a really disappointing turnout.

  4. I may be wrong but I’m sensing some urgent need or desire by Mr. Blake to ‘re-build’ Hasely Crawford Stadium. I’ve been to both facilities [a few weeks ago] and rental costs/savings aside, I see no way Ato Boldon as a ‘facility improvement’ despite HCS issues.