KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be hosting Trinidad and Tobago on Friday March 25, 2016 at the Arnos Vale Cricket Grounds from 3:30 p.m.
It is another fixture for the hosts in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Road to Russia qualifiers.
It is a tall order for the Vincy Heat team as it is called at home, as they were on the receiving end of a 4-nil whipping by Martinique in an International Friendly.
Many of their better players play their trade overseas, and the time playing together as a unit has been severely affected.
Added to this has been dismal showing against Guatemala (0-4), the USA (6-1), after getting past Guyana (2-all and 4-all), and Aruba (2-0 and 1-2).
The head coach Cornelius Huggins has complained of the practice time afforded his players who have to work 8 -4, and then can only get an average of one-and-a-half hours of practice daily.
The Vincentian outfit has second round matches against Trinidad and Tobago (away), Guatemala (away), and USA (at home); all of who has players on their roster who “eat, sleep, and dream football.”
Then there is the issue of public support at the March 25, 2016 game, which falls on a Christian holiday – Good Friday. Many persons including religious officials have not been in support of the game.
Even Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had his say at a press briefing on Tuesday March 22, 2016. He spoke of his Christian faith and of the traditions associated with that day, and that he would not find himself going to the game on that day.
The St. Vincent and the grenadines squad for Friday March 25, 2016 World cup qualifier is -: Roy Richards, Kevin Francis, Dorren Hamlet, (gk) Lemus Christopher, Myron Samuel, Emeral George, Akeem Williams, Shemol Trimmingham, Shandel Samuel, Shawn Benjamin, Brad Miguel (foreign based), Jarrel McMaster, (gk) Kevan Henry, Kyle Edwards, Tevin Slater, David Pitt (foreign-based), Oalex Anderson, and Jolanshoy McDowall.
The Management Team: Head Coach – Cornelius Huggins, Assistant Coach – Wesley Charles, Goalkeeper Coach – Kevin Richardson
Physio – Denis Byam, Trainer – Dale Browne, Technical Director Keith Ollivierre, Manager – Otnell Douglas
Head coach of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cornelius Huggins says that despite those losses, the national footballers are fully focused for tomorrow’s match.
The Trinidad and Tobago squad arrived here on island on Wednesday, and had their final pre-match training session at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Thursday.
Trinidad and Tobago and the United States head the Group with 4 points each after one win and a draw. Guatemala is on 3 points from a win and a draw, with St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the bottom of the standings from two defeats.
Meanwhile Trinidad and Tobago’s National Senior Men’s Team will not have the services of English-born midfielder John Bostock for tomorrow’s 2018 CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart addressed the matter, stating “It’s a situation where I misread the FIFA documentation and failed to realize that there was an amendment to the original ruling of players switching their country of choice, and because John had already played for England at the international youth level, he as the player needs to write to FIFA stating that he no longer wishes to play for England and intends to switch to Trinidad and Tobago.”
Hart added, “Our President was going over the final details to ensure all was in order and made this discovery and he advised me. It’s unfortunate but we’ve spoken to John and he understands the situation. We will now wait for feedback to see when the process is completed by FIFA, to have a better idea of when he can make his debut for us in the World Cup qualification competition.”
Bostock would have been eligible to play had it been an international friendly and not an official FIFA World Cup qualifying game.
Skipper Kenwyne Jones played in the last qualifying match at Arnos Vale between the two countries, in 2004 when Trinidad and Tobago scored two late goals to come away 2-0 winners courtesy of the strikes by Errol McFarlane.
“I do have good memories of playing here twelve years ago but it’s different times now. It’s a testament to the longevity that I have had in the squad and it’s an honour to be here. I think we have the right squad of players to get the job done. We know they (St Vincent) will try to make it uncomfortable for us but I believe once we apply ourselves in the right way and we have the right attitude going into the match then we can take care of business and wrap up the victory before heading back home to finish off the job of getting the six points in the two games.”
Speaking of Friday qualifier, Jones noted “The key for us will be playing our game and not getting flustered, keeping our focus and not allowing them to get on top of us. Of course it’s an unusual time to be playing a World Cup qualifier but we can’t let that affect us. We cannot be sucked into their game but rather we have to stick to our game plan.
“I don’t think we will have to fear them but at the same time, we will respect the task at hand and ensure that we have our act together and like I said, do what is necessary to pull off the win on the day.
“The players are all ready so it’s just about taking care of business.”
Hart added, “We have to completely manage how we play, manage the speed of the game and how we play with and without the ball.
“For me I think they are a little bit wounded. They would like to get some results out of the qualification. They are very quick team and love to play on the counter attack. They are direct and then they put numbers against you and try to put pressure. It’s important that we manage that well.”
Hart further stated, “The mood in the camp has been very good. There is a very serious sort of training aspect to it but also on the downside a very relaxed atmosphere which I like.”
There are fourteen overseas-based players in the mix – Seattle Sounders midfielder Joevin Jones, Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa, Costa Rica), Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Sovetov, Russia), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids, USA),Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery, USA), Willis Plaza (Alianza, El Salvador), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham and Redbridge, England),Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge, England),Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo, Belgium),Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC, Mexico), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar, Holland), Kevin Molino (Orlando City, USA, Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues, USA) and Kenwyne Jones (Al Jazira, United Arab Emirates).
The squad, which is captained by Kenwyne Jones, includes seven players who were involved in Saturday’s match in Grenada including goalkeepers Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette, Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva and DirecTV W Connection foursome Daneil Cyrus, Hughtun Hector, Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester.
PHOTO-: action in the world cup qualifier between st. vincent and thwe grenadines and aruba at the arnos vale grounds on Fridy September 04, 2015 (photo by robertson s. henry)