WCup qual­i­fi­ca­tion is T&T’s main fo­cus

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC: RINIDAD AND Tobago’s head coach Stephen Hart says his top pri­or­ity is to en­sure the Soca War­riors are ad­e­quately pre­pared as they at­tempt a sec­ond ap­pear­ance in the FIFA World Cup, foot­ball’s big­gest spec­ta­cle.

T&T’s only World Cup ap­pear­ance came in 2006, when they reg­is­tered a score­less draw and two losses by the same 2-0 re­sult in three matches.

The cur­rent side is seek­ing to make its own his­tory by earn­ing a place at Rus­sia 2018 when it meets Costa Rica on Novem­ber 11, to open the fi­nal round of CONCACAF qual­i­fy­ing.

“Right now, my fo­cus is get­ting the team back to a strong level for the two World Cup qual­i­fy­ing games next month in Novem­ber,” said the 56-year-old.

T“When the time comes for the play­offs for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, then we will think about that. We still have to get the dates for those games be­cause now we are in a sit­u­a­tion where we have to play­off with the other sec­ond-placed teams.”

AL­TER­NATE ROUTE

Last month, T&T fin­ished sec­ond in the Caribbean Cup, third-round group to Mar­tinique, ne­ces­si­tat­ing an al­ter­nate route to the bi­en­nial com­pe­ti­tion.

Be­fore that mat­ter can be set­tled, the Soca War­riors want to es­tab­lish a pos­i­tive World Cup Qual­i­fy­ing tone.

“We have a lot to do now to get our­selves men­tally and phys­i­cally ready for Costa Rica,” Hart said.

“The team has shown that they have the po­ten­tial to raise the lev­els to one which

we can com­pete and win games against the top teams in the re­gion and we’ll be fo­cus­ing on get­ting back there.”

T&T are ranked 65th over­all, fourth in CONCACAF and num­ber one in the Caribbean, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent FIFA Rank­ings.

PRO­DUC­TION PER­SON­NEL

HART

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