Trinidad and Tobago will tangle with Honduras and Martinique at the inaugural Concacaf Nations League, which kicks off this September. The Soca Warriors were pitted with the aforementioned football nations in Group C at the draw for the competition, which was held last night at The Chelsea in Las Vegas.
The three nations will square off in home and away fixtures at unconfirmed dates in September, October and November. The group winner advances to a semifinal and final round in March 2020 while the bottom team will drop into the lower tier.
The Nations League was created to increase the frequency and competitiveness of matches between FIFA member associations and involve all nations within each confederation. In Concacaf, the 41 members are divided into three tiers with the six nations from the 2018 World Cup qualifying Hex automatically drawn in League A along with Haiti, Bermuda, Canada, Cuba, Curaçao and Martinique.
Incidentally, Trinidad and Tobago’s great regional rival, Jamaica, failed to qualify for the top tier and are in League B, while Barbados, who recently hired former World Cup 2006 player Russell Latapy as their head coach, are in League C.
The group winners in each tier advance to a semifinal and final round in March 2020 with cash prizes and bragging rights at stake. The four group winners in Group B and C will automatically move up one tier while the bottom placed finishers in Group A and B drop into the lower rung.
Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence told TTFA Media that he was pleased with the draw.
“It’s a very good draw and even playing field for all as in the modern game there are no strong or weak teams. It makes for an exciting and hopefully entertaining Nations League for all.”
Trinidad and Tobago lost home and away clashes with Honduras during the 2018 World Cup qualifying series—inclusive of a 2-1 loss in Couva under Lawrence—while Martinique eliminated the Warriors from the 2017 Gold Cup qualifying series under Lawrence’s predecessor, Stephen Hart.
Lawrence led the twin island republic to a goalless draw away to Martinique last year; however, Trinidad and Tobago have not defeated either team since a 2-0 win over Honduras at the 2013 Gold Cup.
At present, the Warriors are preparing for the June 2019 Gold Cup with the Concacaf draw for the competition scheduled for 10 April in Los Angeles. Trinidad and Tobago lost 1-0 to a weakened Wales team in an international friendly in Wrexham on 24 March and are back in action on 29 May when they play Venezuela in Caracas.