T&T senior men’s football team arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in good spirits on Tuesday night ahead of their opening 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup encounter with Panama next Tuesday.
On the back of a 2-0 defeat to Canada on Monday in California, captain Khaleem Hyland and his teammates were back on the training field as head coach Dennis Lawrence conducted a session yesterday afternoon.
Despite Monday’s loss, Hyland said there was a lot to anticipate ahead of the competition.
“The Canada game is out of the way. Yes it is disappointing to have lost the game and we were hoping to have something positive going into our first game but there were a few good things we could take out of the match which I am certain and the coach and the technical staff will take this and use it to our benefit going into the Panama game,” Hyland said.
“The main thing is we have the full squad together and it was good to see guys like Kevin (Molino) and Cordell Cato getting game time and we had Greg (Ranjitsingh) also getting his first match for us. The other thing for us is that we are tight as a group and there’s an all for one one for all mentality within the squad which we will take into the Gold Cup.”
US-based defender Mekeil Williams said he was optimistic the results would begin going in T&T’s favour.
“The performance and result against Japan were massive for us. We’ve been working hard and playing well for some time. We haven’t been getting the results but we have kept doing what the coach asked of us and the draw came. It has helped with our confidence going into the Gold Cup and I think it’s just a matter of time before the results start going our way," he said.
“The Gold Cup is like our World Cup in the region. It’s exciting for us and something we are all looking forward to. If you look back at our past two Gold Cups, especially the last one in 2015, we started well. We had the 3-1 win over Guatemala last time after losing our final warm up to Jordan.
"We have an experienced squad now with Khaleem, Molino, Cyrus and a lot of the guys who have Gold Cup experience under their belts. We all have been playing together for a long time and we have a good friendship and bond both on and off the field. The key for us is to put the final puzzle together for the matches coming up and hopefully we can get that done for Panama on Tuesday.”
T&T will also face the USA on June 22, before ending pool play versus Guyana on Wednesday, June 26.