The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team have booked their first international date of 2019—and it is away to Wales at the Racecourse Ground on 20 March.
Wales, who are coached by former Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, are ranked 19th in the world by FIFA and boast of established talent like Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, Bournemouth playmaker David Brooks, Stoke City defender Ashley Williams and, last but not least, Real Madrid sensation Gareth Bale.
Wales play Slovakia in a Euro 2020 qualifier at Cardiff on 24 March and will use the Soca Warriors outing, four days earlier, as a warm-up for their competitive fixture.
The Racecourse Ground is the home venue for England National League outfit, Wrexham AFC, who have a special bond with the two island republic. Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence represented Wrexham AFC between 2001 and 2006 and once captained the team while Lawrence and fellow 2006 World Cup player Carlos Edwards are both Hall of Fame inductees at the Wales-based club.
Wrexham also once employed former Trinidad and Tobago internationals Hector Sam and Silvio Spann. And the club is rumoured to be interested in making Lawrence their new manager, although talk has gone quiet on the matter over the past week with the coach apparently more interested in remaining in Trinidad.
Lawrence’s contract expires on 31 January 2019 and, although Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams express interest in extending his tenure, there has been no formal offer from the local football body. And, a week since Wrexham’s interest in Lawrence was first reported, John-Williams is yet to call a board meeting to begin the process of a contract renewal.
Lawrence suggested to the TTFA Media that he looks forward to heading to the Racecourse as Trinidad and Tobago head coach next March.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to face Wales in the next international window in March,” said Lawrence. “The match comes at an ideal time for us which is just over a couple months before the Concacaf Gold Cup and will obviously be a very good test for our team.
“Wales have shown themselves to be a formidable opponent with good quality players under the management of Ryan Giggs; and I expect the return of the Wales National Team to the Racecourse Ground to be special. Both teams will be aiming to put on a competitive contest.”
Trinidad and Tobago and Wales faced each other once before with the European nation running out 2-1 winners in a friendly international at Graz, Austria in 2006. Lawrence played for the Warriors then while the then 16-year-old Bale—who came off the bench to become Wales’ youngest ever senior international player—set up the decisive goal for Robbie Earnshaw.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to play at the Racecourse for the first time in 10 years,” said Giggs. “We thoroughly enjoyed taking the team there for an open training session in May. The support was incredible and further fuelled our ambition to host a match at the historic ground.
“Trinidad and Tobago will prove an interesting test for us and will be great preparation ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.”
The Warriors played only six times in 2018, which was their lowest number of internationals in a calendar year since 1993.
Trinidad and Tobago have not played on home soil since a 1-0 loss to Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 17 April 2018.