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Soca Warriors snag Uruguay friendly; tickets available for St Vincent qualifier

The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team will face Uruguay in Montevideo on May 27, as the “Soca Warriors” head to South America for the first time since June 2014.

Photo: Uruguay star Luis Suarez dribbles past Jordan midfielder Saeed Al-Murjan (bottom) during their FIFA Play Off match in November 2013. (Copyright AFP 2014: Khalil Mazraawi)
Photo: Uruguay star Luis Suarez dribbles past Jordan midfielder Saeed Al-Murjan (bottom) during their FIFA Play Off match in November 2013.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Khalil Mazraawi)

Two years ago, the Warriors played Argentina in Buenos Aires and then Iran in Sao Paolo, as the latter two nations prepared for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

On this occasion, Uruguay are readying themselves for the 2016 Copa America Centenario in the United States.

Trinidad and Tobago missed out on the Centenario, which pits South America against the best of North and Central America and the Caribbean, but hope to use the outing as fuel for their Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

“This is a definitely the kind of match we were looking for during the period in May,” Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart told the TTFA Media. “Following our next two World Cup qualifiers, there is a bit of a break before we resume in September. And not going to the Copa America means that we would need to set up our own matches.

“This match against Uruguay is a very good exercise and a quality test for us.”

Photo: Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi (centre) dribbles between Trinidad and Tobago players Lester Peltier (far left), Andre Boucaud (far right) and Carlyle Mitchell during an international friendly in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014. Argentina won 3-0. (Copyright AFP 2014/Daniel Garcia)
Photo: Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi (centre) dribbles between Trinidad and Tobago players Lester Peltier (far left), Andre Boucaud (far right) and Carlyle Mitchell during an international friendly in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014.
Argentina won 3-0.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Daniel Garcia)

Uruguay are ranked 11th in the world by FIFA while Trinidad and Tobago are 41st. Hart suggested that the match will be a good eye opener for his troops.

“Playing in Montevideo is also the kind of experience our players need, particularly those who may not always be exposed to these type of conditions,” said Hart. “We’ve all heard of how difficult it is to play in Uruguay which makes this opportunity even more worthwhile for us in the midst of our qualifying campaign.”

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John Williams, who signed off on outings for the “Women Soca Warriors” against Brazil, Canada and Mexico last December, said the Uruguay match is a case of the football doing its job.

“We know how important it is to secure matches against top quality opposition,” John-Williams told the TTFA Media, “and we feel very satisfied about being able to get this match arranged against Uruguay; a team that is as high as 11th in the world today…

Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (centre) blasts the ball past England goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) while defender Tim Cahill watches on during the Brazil 2014 World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Luis Acosta)
Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (centre) blasts the ball past England goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) while defender Tim Cahill watches on during the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Luis Acosta)

“This was just a case of us doing our job to ensure that the national team of Trinidad and Tobago receives this sort of timely opportunity in its continuing quest to go forward on the international football stage.”

Uruguay have won the Copa America a record 15 times—most recently in 2011—and lifted the World Cup twice in 1930 and 1950.

At present, they are second to Ecuador in South America’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table, ahead of the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

In related Warriors news, tickets are now on sale for Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup qualifier against St Vincent on the Grenadines on Tuesday 29 March 2016 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Tickets are priced at TT$300 for the covered section and TT$150 for uncovered and fans can buy them at Sports and Games or Kenny’s Sports outlets nationwide as well as at Sportway (Ellerslie Plaza and Gulf City) and Ramsingh’s Sportworld (Couva).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (left) rolls the ball through the legs of United Staes captain Michael Bradley during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland (left) rolls the ball through the legs of United Staes captain Michael Bradley during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Tobago fans will be able to purchase tickets at Heritage Sports in Scarborough from Friday while tickets are also available online from Wednesday March 9, via the TTFA’s official website: www.TTFootball.Org.

Trinidad and Tobago are locked with the United States atop their four nation CONCACAF group with four points, although the “Yankees” have a superior goal difference. Guatemala are third with three points while the Vincentians are yet to register a point.

The Warriors face St Vincent and the Grenadines in their next qualifier on March 25 in Arnos Vale.

Hart, who takes a local-based squad to Grenada for a friendly on March 19, said he is taking nothing for granted in Arnos Vale while he hopes to have a bumper crowd when Trinidad and Tobago host “Vincey Heat.”

“We were enlightened by the turn out at the USA match in November and it is our hope that the supporters will come out and get behind the team again on March 29,” said Hart. “Like I have said, nothing is guaranteed in this qualification. And even if we are to get the right result in the first game in (St Vincent), anything but a win on March 29 could possibly change the scenario heading into our final couple of games in September against Guatemala and the US.

“So we would definitely like to have the fans come out and be that twelfth warrior.”

Photo: Football fans (from left) Peter Cumberbatch, Alana Lewis and Eugene Todd answer the call to get behind the "Soca Warriors" against the United States. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Football fans (from left) Peter Cumberbatch, Alana Lewis and Eugene Todd answer the call to get behind the “Soca Warriors” against the United States.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

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