Eve, Shabazz welcome two-match friendly to gauge players readiness

By Sports Desk May 09, 2024
Guyana's Jamaal Shabazz (left) and T&T's Angus Eve. Guyana's Jamaal Shabazz (left) and T&T's Angus Eve.

Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Angus Eve and his Guyanese counterpart Jamaal Shabazz welcomed the upcoming two-match friendly international series as a window to not only give new players an opportunity to strut their stuff, but also to gauge their overall readiness for the World Cup qualifiers.

The senior Soca Warriors and their Jaguars counterparts will lock horns on May 13 and 15 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, as they kick start preparations for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June, as well as the Concacaf Nations League campaign in September.

Eve pointed out that a handful of new players will be given the opportunity in the two matches owing to their good form in the ongoing 2023/24 T&T Premier Football League (TTPFL) season.

Defenders Sheldon Bateau, Josiah Trimmingham and Andre Raymond, who became a regular fixture at left back toward the backend of the Soca Warriors' 2023/24 Nations League campaign, have completed their respective club seasons and are expected to be involved in the friendlies. Daniel David, Ezekiel Kesar, Isaiah Lee, Matthew Woo-Ling and the Miscellaneous Police FC pair of Simeon Bailey and Josiah Wilson, will also be in the mix to stake a claim on a spot in the squad for the major tournaments.

"We see these games as a very important cog in the wheel of our preparations going into the World Cup campaign for 2026," Eve said, via a T&T Football Association release.

"It's an ongoing programme that we have started since I have come on board where we get some international games to get the locally based players up to speed to see how they perform against international opposition,” he added.

Guyana, guided by Shabazz, a former T&T coach, gained promotion for the upcoming Nations League A campaign after topping their Nations League B group, which included Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas and Puerto Rico. This represents their competitiveness and quality which Eve is expecting to see on show against his team.

"Guyana is also in the League A of the Nations League so it's not slouches we will be playing. It gives the local players a final opportunity to be seen outside of their league against international opposition so that we can pick the final squad. That is what these exercises are about,” Eve noted.

That said, the tactician explained that meetings with recently-elected TTFA president Kieron Edwards, have been fruitful.

"The TTFA president has been in the media saying how positive the meetings were and we think they were also positive from our end. He and his new board are committed to helping us and the country to qualify for another World Cup,” Eve shared.

Meanwhile, Shabazz believes the Soca Warriors are formidable opponents, as he praised the TTFA and the Guyana Football Federation for their huge investments with the staging of the friendly matches.

"Of course, whether it is football, cricket, hockey or rugby, when Guyana plays T&T, we want to win so it's also going to be a title fight. Trinidad and Tobago are formidable opponents, and it will provide a stern test for the home-based players vying for a spot in the final squad for our FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June,” Shabazz said.

The last meeting between the two teams at the same venue ended in a 1-1 stalemate two years ago.

Kick-off will be 7 pm on both days, with tickets priced at $75 (covered section) and $50 (uncovered section).

 

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