T&T, Jamaica to use friendlies as prep for Copa America playoff, CNL semis against Canada, United States

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in action during last year's friendly series. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in action during last year's friendly series.

Trinidad and Tobago's senior Soca Warriors will up the ante on preparations for their upcoming Copa America qualifying assignment, when they tackle Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in a two-match friendly series on Friday and Sunday.

The games which are scheduled to be played at the Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, and the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, are both set to be contested at 4:00pm Trinidad and Tobago time. Both games will assist Angus Eve and his Soca Warriors in gauging their readiness for the upcoming Copa America qualifying encounter against Canada, scheduled for March 23.

They will also assist Heimir Hallgrimsson, and his Reggae Boyz, who are also in preparation mode for their Concacaf Nations League (CNL) semi-final engagement with United States set for March 21.

Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica met three times last year, twice in friendly matches in Montego Bay, and those were followed by their Concacaf Gold Cup clash in June. The Soca Warriors won the second friendly 1-0, after the first match ended goalless.

However, Jamaica came away comfortable 4-1 winners in the Gold Cup group stage meeting.

Jamaica were also responsible for sending Canada into the Copa America playoff match, by virtue of the away goal rule, after they rallied to secure a 4-4 aggregate scoreline in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal in November.

Like Canada, Eve's Soca Warriors also missed out on an automatic place at the 2024 Copa America, as they lost 2-4 on aggregate to United States, despite winning the second leg 2-1 in Port of Spain.

Since then, Eve has backed his team to remain competitive and, by extension, build on that momentum from the win against United States.

“Like the US team, the Canada team is built up the same, (with) a lot of European-based players. Some of the players (are) playing in the MLS (Major League Soccer), some playing back home, but most of the players are playing in Europe and they are playing with good teams,” Eve assessed in a recent interview.

“But we think we can go in there; we think we can compete with anyone right now and we want to show that. We want to show that confidence that we could go out on the park and compete with anyone,” he added.

Eve believes that with the right application, the team will compete strongly against Canada, as well as in the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, which promises to be both demanding and exciting.

“We just have to be tactically aware. A coach can only give instructions. When the players go out there, they have to have the mindset to play the position, to play the role that the coaches give them to the best of their ability because, a coach could never tell a player what to do for every second of every minute of a game,” he reasoned.

"We will use those games (against Jamaica) as the final two warm-up games going into the CONMEBOL playoff match and when that happens, then we will pick that final squad,” Eve declared.

The winner of the playoff between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, will join Jamaica, United States, Mexico, Panama and either Costa Rica or Honduras, as the Concacaf representatives at the prestigious Copa America, which will be hosted in the United States from June 20 to July 14.

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