The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team will battle French Guiana for a place in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage on Tuesday night, after Cuba were ruled out of the competition today due to ‘Covid-19 related travel and visa challenges and the required Covid-19 testing regime’.
“Given the current public health situation and the ongoing need for protocols to be adhered to, the health and safety of the participating teams cannot be compromised,” stated Concacaf.
Cuba named 16 overseas-based players in their Gold Cup preliminary squad, including Norwich City (England) winger Onel Hernández and Comunicaciones (Guatemala) midfielder Karel Espino, and were expected to be strong challengers to advance past the playoff rounds. Instead, they are eliminated without kicking a ball.
Trinidad and Tobago, who pummelled Montserrat 6-1 on Friday night, will now face a French Guiana team that has not played since a 3-1 win over St Kitts and Nevis on 17 November 2019.
Roughly half of the French Guiana players were born in France but compete exclusively in the lower leagues or at amateur level. The majority of the squad are in their 30s or late 20s.
It is not expected to be a cakewalk, but if the Soca Warriors play to their level they should get into the Gold Cup group stage.
Cuba might be the only withdrawal from the Gold Cup but they were not the only Caribbean team to suffer from travel issues. St Vincent and the Grenadines turned up in Fort Lauderdale with 13 players—none of whom was a goalkeeper.
In the circumstances, ‘Vincy Heat’ might be fortunate to only lose 6-1 to Haiti.
Haiti take on Bermuda in their final playoff contest on Tuesday, while Guadeloupe face the winner between Guyana and Guatemala.
For Trinidad and Tobago, a place in Group A of the Gold Cup beckons alongside Mexico, El Salvador and Curaçao. Should the Warriors triumph against French Guiana, their next next outing will be against Mexico at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas from 10pm on Saturday 10 July.
Gold Cup Preliminary Round
(2 July 2021)
Haiti 6 (Duckens Nazon 26 pen, 59, Frantzdy Pierrot 33, Derrick Etienne Jr 37 pen, Jahvin Sutherland 72 OG, Carnejy Antoine 90), St Vincent and the Grenadines 1 (Kyle Edwards 42) at Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
Bermuda 8 (Nahki Wells 1, 14, 87 pen, Reggie Lambe 29, Dante Leverock 39, Krystian Pearce OG 60, Kane Crichlow 66, Zeiko Lewis 67), Barbados 1 (Hadan Holligan 45+1);
Trinidad and Tobago 6 (Kevin Molino 21 pen, Marcus Joseph 35, Ryan Telfer 45+2, Judah Garcia 57, Reon Moore 68, 81), Montserrat 1 (Lyle Taylor 55) at Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
(3 July 2021)
Guadeloupe 2 (Matthias Phaeton 61, Raphael Mirval 67), The Bahamas 0 at Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale
Guatemala 4 (Reiss Greenidge OG 21, Luis Martínez 54, Darwin Lom 71, José Martínez 80), Guyana 0 at Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
(6 July 2021)
Trinidad and Tobago vs French Guiana, 4.30pm, Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
Haiti vs Bermuda, 7pm, Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
Guatemala vs Guadeloupe, 9.30pm, Drv Pnk Stadium, Fort Lauderdale;
3—Nahki Wells [1 pen] (Bermuda),
2—Duckens Nazon (Haiti), Reon Moore (Trinidad and Tobago),
1—Hadan Holligan (Barbados), Reggie Lambe, Dante Leverock, Kane Crichlow, Zeiko Lewis (Bermuda), Matthias Phaeton, Raphael Mirval (Guadeloupe), Luis Martínez, Darwin Lom, José Martínez (Guatemala), Frantzdy Pierrot, Derrick Etienne Jr [1 pen], Carnejy Antoine (Haiti), Lyle Taylor (Montserrat), Kyle Edwards (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Kevin Molino [1 pen], Marcus Joseph, Ryan Telfer, Judah Garcia (Trinidad and Tobago),