Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers were expected to touch down in Guatemala City at 4:00pm TT time yesterday in preparation for their key World Cup clash with the home team tomorrow.
The 22-man team departed Miami after what was a successful training camp there. Coach Stephen Hart is scheduled to hold their final training session today at the Estadio Mateo Flores Stadium, the venue where the match will be played at tomorrow evening.
An estimated 20, 000 crowd is expected to fill the stadium to spur on their team which went down to the ‘Soca Warriors’ 3-1 at the Concacaf Gold Cup earlier this year. It means that the Guatemalans will attempt to gain revenge. The TT men are also expected to face a hostile environment on their arrival.
Now all stakes are even and the Guatemalans will fancy their chances at being favourites in their home ground.
Yesterday Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau says the T&T squad is ready for the steep challenge. “Definitely there will be some nerves, as we know it’s always difficult going to these countries and for most of the players it will be the first time playing a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala. But we have enough experience within the group to cope with this kind of situation” Bateau said.
He added “We just have to focus on our game and the task at hand which is to get a result. I think we are ready for whatever they throw at us.”
The “Soca Warriors” have enjoyed a fairly impressive preparation period, gaining a 4-4 draw with Concacaf giants Mexico and beating Panama 2-1 in friendly encounters. They also played to a 1-1 tied at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo with Nicaragua following another impressive game.
Quizzed on whether he thinks T&T can come away with two favourable results against Guatemala and the United States, Bateau replied “Definitely, yes. With the squad we have, the experience, athleticism, chemistry and the results of the last few games, even though you can’t really judge too much based on the past” Bateau said.
The former Jabloteh player noted “I think we just need to put everything into these two games as we’ve done before and even more and we can come away with two positive results.”
Bateau will like to see a filled Hasely Crawford Stadium behind the “Red Army” on Tuesday November 17 against the mights of the USA.
Bateau said “I hope we can have a full stadium on Tuesday because as far as I can remember, whenever we played the US and I was there as a fan, the stadium was always filled when players like Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy were around. I would like to see that again. We need to make it our home territory and the fans need to play their part and be the extra man for us,” he added.