The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team have agreed to face Thailand in friendly international competition in Bangkok on 14 October, just a month after they tackle the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Spain.
Thailand are ranked 122 in the world by FIFA, which is 31 places lower than the 91-ranked Soca Warriors. Both nations met once before in 2004, with Thailand winning 3-2 at home against a Trinidad and Tobago squad that complained of jet lag.
TTFA president David John-Williams, who is also the owner of Pro League club W Connection, suggested that the Thailand outing offers a “tremendous opportunity” for players to put themselves in the shop window.
“It is very important that the TTFA maintains playing in the FIFA international windows for its National Senior Team,” John-Williams told the TTFA Media. “Despite the trying times, we have been able to negotiate friendly internationals. The upcoming Thailand game in October gives us the opportunity to play in the Far East and we all know that the Asian-Thailand-Chinese market is a growing market.
“So it’s a tremendous opportunity to stamp our name outside there and have some sort of recognition in playing these teams. Coach Dennis Lawrence, I know, is excited about that upcoming friendly. It’s a long journey but I think it’s worth the while.”
Lawrence echoed his football president’s sentiments, although he stressed that his immediate priority is a good showing against the UAE next week. UAE have a global FIFA ranking of 77 and, like Trinidad and Tobago, are a one-time FIFA World Cup finals participant, after competing at the Italy 1990 tournament.
“I’m delighted with the Thailand fixture as I think it gives us another opportunity to test ourselves against a different type of opposition,” said Lawrence. “[…] We have now planned our fixture for October and we are already working on the November one.
“[…] But I think before we get to the Thailand one, the most important thing is to travel to Spain, get there safely and go in and put in a performance […] that will hopefully give us a winning result against the UAE. Because we need to now step up our preparation and I’m looking forward to both fixtures.”
How Trinidad and Tobago’s activity compares to four Concacaf rivals:
(Games in 2018)
Trinidad and Tobago: Guadeloupe (1-0), Martinique (0-0), Panama (0-1);
Haiti: Argentina (0-4);
Jamaica: South Korea (2-2), Antigua (1-1), St Kitts and Nevis (3-1), Antigua and Barbuda (2-0), Grenada (5-1), Barbados (2-2);
USA: Bosnia (0-0), Paraguay (1-0), Bolivia (3-0), Republic of Ireland (1-2), France (1-1);
Panama: Denmark (0-1), Switzerland (0-6), T&T (1-0), Northern Ireland (0-0), Norway (0-1), Belgium (0-3), England (1-6), Tunisia (1-2).
(Upcoming fixtures in 2018)
Trinidad and Tobago: United Arab Emirates, Thailand;
Haiti: Saint Maarten, St Lucia, Nicaragua;
Jamaica: Ecuador, Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Suriname;
USA: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, England, Italy;
Panama: Venezuela, Japan.