Helping hand: Haynes, Wall welcome warm-up series boost ahead of Concacaf U-20 tournament

By January 25, 2024
Brian Haynes (left) and John Wall Brian Haynes (left) and John Wall

Much like his Jamaican counterpart John Wall, Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Brian Haynes is in the process of trying to find the best possible squad to parade at the upcoming Concacaf Under-20 Men’s Championships.

As such, the three-warm up matches between the two is a welcome addition to up the tempo of their preparations, as it not only promises good competition, but more importantly, will give both coaches a better indicator of the quality of respective players ahead of the tournament, which serves as a qualifier to next year’s FIFA Under-20 Men’s World Cup in Chile.

The young Soca Warriors will face their young Reggae Boyz counterparts at 6:00pm on Thursday at St James Police Barracks, and again at 4:00pm on Sunday and February 1 at the Larry Gomes Stadium. Haynes is expecting players to put their best foot forward, especially with spots up for grabs.

“It’s going to be games against a team from the Caribbean first of all with the kind of play that we’re accustomed to. But at the same time, it’s quality games and we are going to have to come with our best effort to show these guys that we can play, not only play but to win because as far as I’m concerned that’s what is going to bring the crowds to the stadium,” Haynes told TTFA Media

“We are going to work hard and try to win games. I expect these matches to be well contested so that it serves its purpose in this phase of our preparations,” he added.

For the upcoming tournament, Trinidad and Tobago will host Group D which includes Canada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines. If what Haynes has seen in preparation so far is anything to go by, then he is expecting a good showing in the tournament.

“I’m at a point where I can start to see what the team is going to look like. Everybody is not here as yet but all the players who are here at the moment in T&T are doing what they are supposed to do,” Haynes shared.

“I’ve seen improvements in the defending, into the midfield and when we go forward and as far as I’m concerned, all those are things that we still need to sharpen up. We haven’t been good on finishing. One goal in a game of 90 minutes is good so far but we need to improve in getting more goals,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Jamaicans for their part, will contest Group F with Bermuda, Grenada and Martinique in St Kitts and Nevis, and Wall is pleased with how things have progressed so far, as he looks ahead to the warm-up fixtures.

“Trinidad has been treating us good, we have had two trainings so far, we like to create an environment as similar as possible to tournament conditions. We have a lot of things to cover in terms of our attacking and defending but the main reference is the first game (against Trinidad) and from there we can map our way forward,” Wall said.

“I know Brian Haynes is pretty seasoned and experienced and I think we should respect them but at the point where we have to play our own game and start building the foundation for what we want to do in the tournament from this point on. So, for me, it makes a whole lot of sense that the JFF allowed us to come here as part of the process of getting prepared for St Kitts and Nevis,” he added.

After round-robin play in the Concacaf qualifying opening round between February 23 and March 2, the group winners will progress to the Championship round to join the six pre-seeded nations – United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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