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T&T land Oct friendly away to Thailand; plus how Warriors’ activity compares with rivals

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.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder and captain Khaleem Hyland (left) tries to keep the ball while United States captain Michael Bradley (background) and Christian Pulisic watch on during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 10 October 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

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.”

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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.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence gestures to his players from the sidelines during international friendly action against Grenada at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“[…] 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).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (centre) tries to escape the attentions of Guyana midfielder Brandon Beresford (left) while Soca Warriors coach Dennis Lawrence looks on during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 14 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

(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.

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