National football coach Angus Eve is expecting a confident display from 6.30 am this morning when his team takes on Tajikistan before an expected 17,000 crowd at the Chiang Mai Stadium in Thailand.
It will be the opening match of the King’s Cup which the Soca Warriors twice had very little success in. Defender Sheldon Bateau said his team will be hoping to improve on their performances and results when they last contested the tournament back in 2004 and then again in 2018.
Eve, who could only have afforded to carry 20 players on the tournament, was on Tuesday reduced to 19 as midfielder Daniel Phillips picked up a calf injury. He was forced to carry a team comprising mostly of overseas players due to financial constraints, but at a press briefing yesterday, Eve said they are hoping to put things together this tournament.
“We are in the rebuilding stage for the last two seasons, so we would be confident coming into this tournament because we’ve been doing very well in the Nations League and we want to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so we feel very confident.
“Our players are with their respective clubs and they are very fit, so we’re just hoping to put it together on the day and we can put on a good performance and hopefully we could win the tournament,” Eve said.
Eve, who took the struggling T&T team following a failed World Cup campaign last year to the Gold Cup and looked competitive, is hoping to do the same here. His preparations were hampered by the little to no cash-flow passing through the coffers of the T&T Football Association, as plans to have a live-in camp earlier this month camp for the locally-based players, shelved.
He told the local media recently that he is now desirous of playing against teams outside of the CONCACAF region to enhance players’ development. He turned down international friendly matches against Puerto Rico and Grenada in hope that his team will get an opportunity to play against a Qatar FIFA World Cup contender.
Quizzed on his thought about the host team, Eve said he is expecting a very tough contest from them.
“We haven’t seen Thailand play for a while, we know that they have a Brazilian coach, we know their style of play. The last time we were here, they played out of the back, and having a Brazilian coach we know that they would play the same type of possession-type of game, plus their game has been on the up most recently, so we know they have a good team and a team we will have to fight hard against.”