The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team will continue their World Cup qualifying preparations later this month with an international friendly away to Grenada on 29 April in St George’s.
The fixture is the only confirmed outing for the Soca Warriors before vital qualifiers away to the United States and Costa Rica on 8 and 11 June respectively.
Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence told the TTFA Media that he will use the Grenada outing to assess players on the fringe of his first team and to maintain the fitness levels of his home-based players. The game is outside the FIFA match window and clubs are not obliged to release players to take part.
“This international game will be useful in terms of it being part of the preparations for our squad ahead of the next set of World Cup qualifiers in June,” said Lawrence. “It’s a good opportunity for myself and the coaching staff to have a further look at the players who are on the fringe of World Cup team selection, also including those who were involved in the past two qualifying matches.”
Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 83rd in the world by FIFA at present while Grenada are 158th—four places lower than Barbados. The two nations met in friendly action last year when the Warriors, with a totally home-based squad, drew 2-2.
Trinidad and Tobago downed Barbados 2-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 10 March 2017 and Lawrence might suggest that the tussle with lowly opposition did his players little harm, as they went on to edge Panama 1-0 in World Cup qualifying action on 24 March before a 1-0 loss to Mexico on 28 March.
Striker Jamille Boatswain earned his place in the World Cup squad with a double against Barbados while it offered the first chance for a new central defensive pairing of Curtis Gonzales and Daneil Cyrus, who were retained for both qualifiers.
“It will be a good opportunity for us to have the players together again, particularly for those who are in off-season,” said Lawrence, “as it gives us a chance to continue implementing some of the things that we started a few weeks ago in the lead-up to the last set of games against Barbados, Panama and Mexico.”
At present, defending Pro League champions Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh are preparing for next month’s Caribbean Club Championships. However, most local teams are only just starting pre-season.
Twelve players in the Trinidad and Tobago squad for the last two World Cup qualifiers were attached to Pro League clubs earlier this year.
They are goalkeepers Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United) and Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars), defenders Carlos Edwards (Ma Pau Stars), Gonzales (Defence Force), Tristan Hodge and Cyrus (both W Connection), midfielders Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Leston Paul (Central FC) and Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh) and forward Boatswain (Defence Force).
Most Pro League players automatically become free agents at the end of each season and can choose which club they want to represent for the new term.