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Forget Falcao: Colombia cancels Warrior friendly

The “Soca Warriors” are set to rejig their June plans after 2014 World Cup-bound South American nation, Colombia, revealed that it will not fulfil its contract to face the Trinidad and Tobago national football team in a friendly international on June 1.

Photo: Colombia striker Radamel Falcao will not face the "Soca Warriors" in June. (Copyright AFP 2014/Leo Ramirez)
Photo: Colombia striker Radamel Falcao will not face the “Soca Warriors” in June.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Leo Ramirez)

Last Wednesday, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) announced that it had scheduled a friendly against Colombia in Buenos Aires before internationals against Argentina and Iran on June 4 and 8 respectively.

The three high-profile matches were to serve as warm up games for Trinidad and Tobago’s 2014 Caribbean Cup campaign, which starts with a round-robin qualifying series on October 6. But Wired868 was informed that Colombia coach José Pekerman has opted to face an African opponent before heading to the Brazil World Cup.

Colombia will face Ivory Coast along with Greece and Japan in Group C and Pekerman allegedly felt that the Warriors were not the ideal sparring partner; despite confirming a friendly with Trinidad and Tobago just last week.

TTFA press officer Shaun Fuentes told Wired868 that a release will be dispatched tomorrow to relay the football body’s official position.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team will not meet Colombia in June but still has friendlies against Argentina and Iran to look forward to. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team will not meet Colombia in June but still has friendlies against Argentina and Iran to look forward to.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

It is uncertain whether the TTFA will get a replacement match as head coach Stephen Hart has already summoned a squad for three internationals in just over a week and might need to trim his travelling party.

At present, Hart is in Canada with his family.

The head coach repeatedly stressed the positives of leading his Warriors to battle against the world’s best football teams. However, in an interview over six months ago, Hart told Wired868 about his wish to have a camp with Pro League players and a less illustrious opponent that will allow him to test the readiness of his home-based talent.

Matches against World Cup nations on foreign soil probably do not present the best opportunity to give extended run-outs to burgeoning talent like Shahdon Winchester (FF Jaro—Finland), Rundell Winchester (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (North East Stars) and Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force) let alone fresh faces such as Alvin Jones, Neil Benjamin Jr (both DIRECTV W Connection) and Akeem Redhead (Point Fortin Civic).

Photo: Will Stephen Hart give the likes of ex-W Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester a shot at Argentina? Or will he lean towards his more experienced campaigners? (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Will Stephen Hart give the likes of ex-W Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester a shot at Argentina? Or will he lean towards his more experienced campaigners?
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

To date, the TTFA still has not provided a long-term fixture list to the technical staff let alone the media and football fans.

There is no indication that the local football body is at fault over the Colombia pull-out though. It is unlikely that the TTFA will take action over the violation of the contract between the two parties and might try to schedule a friendly against Colombia at a later date instead.

About Lasana 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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