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Warriors face either Guyana or Barbados in Gold Cup play-offs, avoid Guatemala

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team have avoided tricky potential clashes with Guatemala and French Guiana as they try to book their place at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup through the play off route.

Instead, the Soca Warriors will play the winner between Guyana and Barbados next June in a last bid to qualify for the confederation’s showpiece tournament through the backdoor. Only one team from Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago will get to the Gold Cup.

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)

Coach Dennis Lawrence’s troops find themselves in this position after finishing bottom of their Concacaf Nations League group behind Honduras and Martinique.

At present, Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 104th in the world by Fifa while Barbados and Guyana are 162nd and 166th respectively.

Not that the Warriors can afford to take either potential opponent for granted. Lawrence has faced Guyana twice as head coach and drew on both occasions. The Warriors had to come from behind to hold Guyana 1-1 in an international friendly at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 14 November 2017 and then again at the 2019 Gold Cup when they finished 1-1 once more in Kansas.

Trinidad and Tobago defeated Barbados 2-0 in an international friendly, two years ago, in Lawrence’s first game at the helm. However, Barbados, now coached by Trinidad and Tobago Hall of Fame playmaker Russell ‘Little Magician’ Latapy, have enjoyed an upswing in fortune since then and would not be short of motivation.

Photo: Then Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 coach Russell Latapy (centre) shouts instructions at his players during 2017 Under-17 World Cup qualifying action in Couva on 17 September 2016.
Haiti won 2-0.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Lawrence’s only win as coach in the last 14 months came against Fifa’s lowest ranked nation, Anguilla.

Barbados and Guyana will face each other next March with the winner tackling Trinidad and Tobago in the June Fifa match window.

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