Now that our Gold Cup participation has ended, what is next for the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors? The Caribbean Cup has been abolished to accommodate the Nations League, so there is no football until the Nations League next year. So we are reduced to Friendly internationals until such time. But since the top teams are involved in World Cup qualifiers, they will not be available to play matches during the FIFA window. So our best option will be to play these teams outside of the FIFA window. However the teams will most likely be depleted since their clubs will not release the overseas players, as they will not be obligated to, neither the clubs that our players are playing for. The best options for T&T are getting the European teams who would be on ‘byes’ during their World Cup Qualifying campaign. Some of these groups in Europe have groups with 5 teams, which mean at least one team will have no match to play, when the other four are playing.
The teams that will be available are the fellow CONCACAF teams who, like us are already knocked out of the World Cup qualifiers, but playing those teams may not really help our cause, although some may argue those are the teams we should be playing against anyway. Since Soca Warrior player and coach Russel Latapy is Barbados’ coach, it is expected that we will at least play Barbados during this time. As long as TTFA makes the necessary arrangements then T&T can experience friendly internationals with such teams, with the hope that the more matches we play before the start of the Nations League can only help us. Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in his latest interview with the Trinidad and Tobago Media Officer did allude to that. He hopes the TTFA move on putting things in place early and not waiting until the last minute before our next assignments. Also another important issue is the need to get a permanent coach, since Angus Eve’s interim position will come to an end soon. And having finished the Gold Cup with no more assignments in the horizon, it has basically come to an end already, unless he is still having training sessions until his time is up. We have already been relegated from League A to League B in the Nations League. Our first mission should be to get promoted back into League A, which should not be a problem based on the team’s showing at the Gold Cup.
The ball is not in the court of the TTFA Normalisation Committee. Let’s Normalise our place in CONCACAF.