“Very tight”, is how national football coach Angus Eve described the schedule of matches for the Concacaf Nations League starting on June 3.
T&T is drawn in Group C of League B which also comprises Nicaragua, the Bahamas and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The winner of the group will advance to League ‘A’ where the benefits will be much greater Eve said.
Concacaf on Tuesday announced the group stage schedule that will see the Soca Warriors playing three matches in 10 days. They will open against Nicaragua on June 3 away, before returning home at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo for their second match on June 6 against the Bahamas.
Then, the “Soca Warriors” will face St Vincent and the Grenadines away in game three on June 10. Eve’s men will begin training near the end of the month as players are engaged with their respective teams, locally and internationally.
Eve, who led the T&T team to the Concacaf Gold Cup’s group phase where they lost to El Salvador but drew with Mexico and Guatemala in 2019 said: “It is a little bit tight, the schedule, everything has to be precise in what you’re doing because usually, you will have a little bit more time. It’s only a ten-day window and you have three matches in that window so we may have to have about 30 players that we will have to look at and try to use in the period of time, hence why we have been expanding the pool of players, not just the locally-based ones but also the foreign-based guys.
“So we believe that all of the guys are in season, the locally-based guys, all of them playing football, so we think we’re in a better position than we were in before. Unfortunately, the window starts on May 30 and our first game is on the 3rd away. It’s tight because we have guys playing up until May 29.”
Eve promised to take each game one step at a time, starting from the Nicaragua match.
“Each game we’re going to try to win, each game that we play, because of the importance of the tournament where the winner of the group goes into League A.
“We’re in League ‘B’ right now but we want to be in League ‘A’, so it’s of paramount importance for us to be promoted back up to League A because that brings a lot of different benefits to us from that standpoint.
“From the Nicaragua standpoint, their players are homegrown, so they would be training a lot together. We do not have that luxury of having all our players in the same space.
“Similarly, we went over there with Tom Saintfiet and lost 2-1 on an astroturf pitch. Before that, it would have been Stephen Hart if my memory serves me right, and they drew 2-2 with us, so it’s not an easy proposition, but you have to play each game.”