TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’s senior men’s team will open their 2022 account with an international friendly away to Bolivia on January 21 at the Estadio Olimpico Patrio in Sucre.
According to a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) release, the game, though outside the FIFA international window, is expected to provide valuable match practice for the Soca Warriors as head coach Angus Eve gears his team towards CONCACAF Nations League qualifying later this year. The friendly is set for a 5 p.m. kick-off.
Bolivia is expected to use the encounter as preparation for the back-to-back South American World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Chile on January 28 and February 2.
Commenting on the upcoming exercise, Eve emphasised the value of the match at this period in the team’s program. “It is really good to be back on the pitch. The enthusiasm of the players, everyone that we called out here today was present, The enthusiasm was really good,” noted Eve. “We had some young players in the mix like Nathaniel James, Jesse Williams, Malik Khan and these boys, so it is a good blend of the senior players along with the young players.
“It (the game) is probably coming a little early for us because we have not been playing football but it’s an opportunity we had to take to give the players a bit of experience because the last three (FIFA ) windows we weren’t able to play with all the stuff that is going on behind the scenes and now that we have gone into a new year, things are hopefully looking brighter with the TTFA and they have gotten this game for us and we just couldn’t say no. This is an opportunity to give the players a much-needed run-out and to have us playing football again at an international level,” he explained.
Eve said the long-term target for the Warriors is qualification for the 2026 World Cup. The former T&T national said the TTFA has assured him that the national squad will be engaged in games every time FIFA has an international window this year. Eve further emphasised it is crucial to ensuring T&T rise up the rankings, so they could enter the Nations Cup in the A bracket and not have to play qualifying competitions as they did for the Gold Cup and the World Cup.