Both Trinidad and Tobago Male and Female Senior National Teams take the field tonight in important qualifiers. The men are in Guatemala to kick off their world cup qualifying campaign against the hosts while the ladies are at home against caribbean neighbours St Lucia to kick-start their olympic qualifiers.
The men arrived on Wednesday in Guatemala City in good spirits and are looking forward to a good performance against a guatemalan team that they defeated in the years’s Gold Cup tournament. However, they will be playing in a sold out game of upward of 20000 guatemalan fans showing support for their home team and would expect a hostile atmosphere against an opponent that is difficult to defeat on their home turf. T&T has enjoyed a few memorable victories against the latin american team but only one of those came in Guatemala, a 1-0 result in 1989 courtesy the first of what became Kerry Jamerson’s trademark strike. The team returns home to face the USA on Tuesday 17th in another reminder of that 1989 campaign which also featured a home USA game on this week in November.
Our women on the other hand, despite being at home, would be lucky to see upward of 200 fans, as compared to the 20000 in Guatemala, at the Ato Boldon stadium tonight. Although the cover price is listed as being just $20 their game has been overshadowed by the men’s world cup qualifiers. As such, there has been barely, if any advertising visible to encourage the public to come out in support as the TTFA has focused more on the men’s home game against the USA where tickets cost as much as $300 in comparison .
In addition, the team has been wracked with injuries and withdrawals due to off the field issues, making their job just that bit harder. Tonight’s game is the first of a two- legged playoff with the second taking place at the same venue this Sunday, the 15th. The winner then advances to the final round of caribbean qualifying which begins on the 18th November. Awaiting the winners would be Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guyana. Three of these four teams then advance to an eight team Concacaf qualifying stage scheduled for next February in the USA.
Both the men and women’s team continue to struggle with payments for players and staff along with other management issues. Despite the travails off the field, the players continue to persevere and give their all on the field of play.
We wish both our teams success tonight and look forward to seeing our Triniscene and Buzzhub family at the Ato Boldon stadium in Couva supporting our lady warriors before we head off to support our guys via a tv screen. #warriorstimeisnow