The “Soca Warriors” can book their second successive CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal berth tomorrow with a win over Cuba in in Phoenix.
Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba kick off at 6.30 pm at the University of Phoenix Stadium while Mexico and Guatemala clash from 9 pm in the second game of a double header.
The Warriors downed Guatemala 3-1 in their Group C opener in Chicago on Thursday while Mexico routed Cuba 6-0.
Football wins will have to either get FoxSports2 or hunt for an online stream for the contest, though, as Sport Minister Brent Sancho conceded that the Government failed to a television feed for the Gold Cup.
Television rights for the entire competition is priced at US$100,000. However, CONCACAF dropped its asking price to US$60,000 for Trinidad and Tobago, which is the same rate offered to Haiti.
Even that was considered too much for local television stations, including State-owned CNMG and GISL.
“The Ministry of Sport cannot apply,” Sancho told Wired868. “The (relevant) TV station has to apply for the broadcast rights and then they have to approach sponsors (to sell advertising space) for it…
“My ministry cannot pay outright… I would have definitely have put money towards it.”
It might be the first Gold Cup that is out of reach for most football fans.
In the United States, the Warriors are upbeat, though, after an encouraging opening result.
“It’s always important to get off to a winning start,” Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones told the TTFA Media. “A win or even (a draw) in the next game can guarantee us going to the quarter finals once again. And I think that measures the standard and level of progress we made in the last two to three years.”
Guatemalan football fans were bitter in 2005 when the Warriors edged an understrength Mexico 2-1 to pip Guatemala to a two-legged 2006 World Cup Play Off qualifying berth against Bahrain.
Jones revealed that the Warriors received some verbal jabs about the perceived influence of disgraced ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner on Trinidad and Tobago’s football.
“Guatemala had a few digs, trying to talk about Jack Warner helping us,” said the Cardiff City forward. “But I can’t remember the last time Jack Warner kicked a ball. For us, I think we came out on the field and despite all the odds against us, showed our class.”
Warrior attacker Cordell Cato and defender Sheldon Bateau, who both scored their first international goals against Guatemala, are still beaming about their Gold Cup thus far.
“It was definitely amazing being able to come out in the first game with a win and the way the team played and being able to get a goal just topped it off,” said Cato. “I think this win means a lot more than everyone could imagine because the results leading up to the Gold Cup wasn’t the right one. But to come here and perform the way we did it was definitely what we needed.”
Bateau was thrilled too although he admitted that the Warriors lost control for periods in the second half.
“It was a great feeling to get my first goal at the senior level and be able to help the team get the three point,” said Bateau. “We lost some control in the second half but we knew we could maintain the lead and see them off.”
“Credit to the team for the way we started the game and we put ourselves in a position where we could cruise,” said Jones. “We wanted to come out and still to put pressure on them.
“Ten minutes before the first half ended and then into the second half it seemed as if we were playing against twelve.”
The Warriors hope to have an easier time against a Cuban outfit that turned up in the United States with only 16 members of their selected 23-man squad minus head coach Raul Gonzales.
Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba played to a dull goalless draw in their last meeting last November in the Jamaica 2014 Caribbean Cup group stage.
Hopefully, there will be goals this time.
(Trinidad and Tobago Gold Cup team)
Goalkeepers: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), 1.Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic), 22.Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark), 18.Yohance Marshall (Juventud Independiente—El Salvador), 4.Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen, Belgium), 17.Mekeil Williams (W Connection), 5.Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), 2.Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy—Kazakhstan), 3.Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire—USA);
Midfielders: 14.Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—UK), 8.Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo—Belgium), 15.Dwane James (North East Stars), 19.Kevan George (Columbus Crew—USA), 11.Ataulla Guerra (Central FC), 20.Keron Cummings (North East Stars);
Forwards: 9.Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City—UK), 13.Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), 23.Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), 10.Willis Plaza (Central FC), 16.Rundell Winchester (Portland Timbers 2—USA), 7.Jonathan Glenn (IBV—Iceland), 12.Kadeem Corbin (St Ann’s Rangers).
Gold Cup fixtures
(Sun Jun 12)
Trinidad and Tobago v Cuba, 6.30 pm, Phoenix;
Mexico v Guatemala, 9 pm, Phoenix.
2015 Gold Cup results
Panama 1 (Alberto Quintero 55), Haiti 1 (Duckens Nazon 85) in Dallas;
United States 2 (Clint Dempsey 25, 64), Honduras 1 (Carlos Discua 68) in Dallas;
Panama 1 (Luis Tejada 20), Honduras 1 (Andy Najar 81) in Boston;
United States 1 (Clint Dempsey 47), Haiti 0 in Boston;
El Salvador 0, Canada 0 in California;
Jamaica 2 (Gareth McCleary 13, Jobi McAnuff 48), Costa Rica 2 (Roy Miller 33, David Ramirez 37) in California;
Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Sheldon Bateau 11, Cordell Cato 15, Joevin Jones 25), Guatemala 1 (Carlos Ruiz 61) at Chicago;
Mexico 6 (Oribe Peralta 16, 36, 61, Carlos Vela 22, Andrés Guardado 43, Giovani Dos Santos 74), Cuba 0 at Chicago.