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Trinidad and Tobago’s National Futsal Team ended their World Cup aspirations on Thursday night as they suffered a heart wrenching 5-3 defeat to Honduras in their second leg CONCACAF playoff qualifier at the BN Arena in San Jose, Costa Rica.

 

Needing to win to advance, T&T conceded two goals in the closing minute of the 40-minute match as Honduras captain Carlos Montes and Antonio Moncada converted their chances to leave T&T packing at the end of the affair.

 

Both teams had battled to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night and entered this affair with everything to play for with the winner set for a  place in the CONCACAF Final round which starts in a few days in San Jose. The United States were also eliminated on Thursday, losing 5-3 t0 Canada in the second match at BN Arena.

 

T&T had the worst possible start when Juan Hernandez’s feeble left footed attempt from five metres out attempt at goal slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Kevin Graham to gift Honduras a 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute.

 

The early blow did not keep T&T down for long as Kerry Joseph tied the scores  less than a minute later when he slipped his effort through the legs of goalkeeper Norman Vega after Jerwyn Balthazar had played him wide on the left.

 

T&T began to take control of proceedings, looking the livelier of the two teams in what was turning out to be a tense affair . Tackles flew from either side and there was not much attractive play from either team.

 

Kareem Perry should have done better with an opportunity but shot wide of the right post from close range. But he would play his part in helping T&T go ahead with a well played ball across the face of the goal from the right side which made way for Ishmael Daniel to run in and slot home from close up on the far post.

 

T&T had to endure a period of non-stop pressure from the Hondurans for the next four minutes or so and the Central Americans would eventually storm back to take a 3-2 lead with goals by Luis Rivera and Hasser Ortiz. Both goals came  inside the 15th minute of play as T&T lost concentration and stopped pressing the Honduran defence for an extensive period

T&T had it all do to but would force their way back into the match with an equalizing goal from Jameel Neptune four minutes before half time.

 

The majority of the second half was played in a cautious manner with both teams unwilling to commit in attack at the risk of being left open at the back or committing errors that would gave any advantage to the opposition.

Neptune forced Vega to save with a decent left footed effort and Balthazar also had a snap shot narrowly missing the upright around the 35th minute.

 

With the clock winding down, Bevon Bass missed a glorious opportunity to put T&T ahead with what may have turned out to be the deciding goal. Inside the 18th minute, T&T surged forward on the counter after a Honduran attack broke down. Daniel slipped wide on the right to Balthazar who in turn played a perfect low pass for Bass on the far post. But with only the already struggling goalkeeper to beat with a tap in from less than a metre from the goal, Bass miss hit with his right foot, falling in the process as the ball trickled over the touch line for a goal kick.

 

A one-minute time out was called but it was soon all over for T&T when an attempted cross from Montes took a deflection off Noel and slipped past a stranded Graham on his near left post. Honduras were 4-3 ahead in the 19th minute but there was enough time for T&T to force another great opportunity a Balthazar’s shot was partially stopped by the goalkeeper and Neptune’s desperate attempt to nail the rebound from a metre out was foiled by a last ditch challenge by a Honduran player. Goalkeeper Vega got hold of the ball and from a quick throw out, Honduras broke on the counter once again , outnumbering T&T in their half, setting up a simple close range conversion for Moncada. T&T goalkeeper Graham, who performed creditably in Wednesday’s game was tested a few times again in this encounter but could do nothing about the final two goals.

 

It was a disappointing end to T&T’s campaign after there being hopes of securing passage into the final round following the promising display in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw.

 

T&T head coach Clayton Morris was notably saddened by the exit.

“A great disappointment for us to go out in the manner in which we did but I could not ask any more of this team for the effort they put out in these two games,” Morris told TTFA Media.

 

“We saw a group of players who gave it their all for this entire campaign and they came a long way from where we were before the Caribbean finals in January. This experience will stay with them and hopefully we can push on from here and continue to strive for betterment in Futsal.

 

“We went into this game knowing that we had to leave everything out there and I think we did that. Sadly it was not enough but looking back at the game we saw where there were moments where the game could have gone either way, especially for us. We had a very good opportunity take the lead before they scored their fourth goal and then even after we were very unlucky not to get the fourth goal to tie the scores.

“We will hopefully build from this and look ahead to brighter things in Futsal in Trinidad and Tobago,” Morris concluded.

Chief Executive Officer of the HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Damien O’Donohoe has denied that a decision has been made about the venue of the CPL finals.

 

Several newspapers in Guyana and Cana News Online reported on Wednesday and Thursday that authorities announced in Guyana, that the semi-finals and finals of this year’s CPL will be played in Trinidad and Tobago after Guyana lost its bid to host.

 

However, O’Donohoe said in a statement Thursday that negotiations are ongoing.

 

“The CPL is currently in negotiations with three countries who are each bidding to host the finals of this year’s CPL,” he said. “Despite recent speculation, no decision has been made regarding the venue and it is hoped that negotiations will be concluded within the next fortnight.”

 

Cana News Online reported that Guyana's Finance Minister Winston Jordan confirmed that T&T has outbid Guyana to host the Caribbean show piece, weeks after his country expressed an interest in the final matches of the CPL to bolster golden jubilee year celebrations.

 

Guyana was offering CPL organisers US $1.5 million to host the finals but reports suggest that the T&T Government offered US $1 million more.

“The CPL made a bid we reviewed it in Cabinet…we were to review it again and then we heard that Trinidad outbid us,” Jordan told reporters on Wednesday.

“Of course there will be a degree of disappointment that we are not hosting the finals…We don’t have the reserves of Trinidad first of all and Trinidad would have always been an attractive venue”.

Trinidad paid US$3.5 million to host the event last year, but this year CPL is asking for US$4.5 million.

“Trinidad bid much higher than us at this stage. We can’t match it. There is no way we can match it,” Junior Sport Minister, Nicolette Henry told Demerara Waves Online.

“If they will be generous enough to give us at a lower (figure) that’s the only way we’ll get it but in terms of money, they definitely out bid us”.

The CPL, branded the biggest party in sport, runs from June 29 to August 7.

One win away from securing the Digicel Pro League 2015/16 championship and fresh from their Caribbean Club Championship 2016 crowning – repeats from last season – Central FC wants to complete the season by successfully defending the TT$100,000 “Winner takes all” Digicel Pro Bowl.

Central, who defeated Morvant Caledonia United 4-1 in last season’s final, will begin their Pro Bowl defence against North East Stars, who the “Couva Sharks” must first face on Sunday in the league from 4pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

Central (52 points) are seven points clear at the top of the league standings, and a win on Sunday will hand coach Dale Saunders’ men the DPL 2015/16 crown with two games to spare.

“We want to fill our trophy cabinet like other teams,” said Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams. “Yes, we would like to top off the season with the Pro Bowl.

Winning the Caribbean Club Championship showed us that we can actually defend titles. I believe we have underachieved this season after winning seven titles (four of them major ones) last season. Now we want secure the league title by Sunday and then move on to the Pro Bowl.”

The Digicel Pro Bowl quarter-final round match-ups were determined by a random draw during the 2016 launch on Thursday May 5 at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain.

The quarter-final round which plays off on Tuesday May 10 will see four-time (2004, 2007, 2013 & 2014) champions W Connection against Police FC from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium followed by Central against North East Stars from 8pm. And in another quarter-final double-header, St. Ann’s Rangers will meet two-time (2005 & 2006) champions San Juan Jabloteh from 7pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium before 2012 champions Defence Force take on recently crowned Lucozade Sport Goal Shield champions Morvant Caledonia United from 9pm. Caledonia won the Pro Bowl in 2008.

The semi-final round and final are scheduled for May 13 and 20, respectively.

North East Stars captain and utility player Anthony Wolfe issued a warning to holders Central FC during Tuesday’s launch, when he said, “sometimes the hand that once served you come back to bite you as well”, in relation to the “Couva Sharks”’ sacking of coach Ross Russell last December.

Russell has since then joined North East Stars who are currently on a seven-game winning streak in the DPL, and are one of five teams vying to occupy the two CONCACAF Champions League qualifying spots by finishing in the top two in the league.

Wolfe, a former Central captain and forward, added, “Central have to wait a bit longer [to celebrating the league title]. By stopping them on Sunday (in the league) it will make it a bit easier for us on Tuesday (in the Pro Bowl quarter-finals).”

Wolfe said finishing second in the league and winning the Pro Bowl is the focus of North East Stars, a team he considers eager to achieve.

Speaking during the launch of the Digicel Pro Bowl – the final tournament on the Pro League calendar – TT Pro League chief executive officer Dexter Skeene reminded all that with the right mind-set and attitude the sky is the limit at the League.

The League has thrived

Skeene said the Pro League has the capabilities and talent to make it one of the best professional leagues in the CONCACAF region.

“The League has not only survived, it has thrived,” said the Pro League boss. “As I stated in a recent article, key performance indicators show that that our clubs are the best in the Caribbean region by winning the CFU Club Championship [another time] and as a result, they have qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League [yet again]. Congrats to W Connection for qualifying and congrats to Central FC for winning the CFU Club Championship.”

“We have the best players and best coaches in the CFU region.

“Another factor is the competitiveness of the Digicel TT Pro League. With three rounds to be completed, five clubs are in contention for the first two spots.

“Another factor is the marketability of players and performance at the national level. We have seen the selection of local players as well to the national team, performing with distinction at the international level, bringing us to within a few points of qualification for the second round of qualification for the World Cup (2018).”

Skeene added that more players have moved to foreign clubs during the past year, which he said, signifies that the management of clubs has improved in the business of professional football and clubs are equipping themselves with the necessary skills and personnel to run a successful professional football business.

He said the League provides the platform for the next generation of national footballers and coaches, with young local coach such as Dale Saunders, Ross Russell, Marvin Gordon, Keith Jeffery, Angus Eve, Earl Jean, Dean Pacheco and Richard Hood are making names for themselves, adding that the Digicel Pro League has afforded the coaches the opportunity to work in a professional environment, day in, day out, honing their skills like the Zinedine Zidanes and Diego Simeones of the world.

The Pro League calendar runs from September to May and Skeene reminded that new ownership groups and clubs are expressing genuine interest to align with the league. He also said, with regard to sponsorship, the amount of partners continue to grow. But assured current corporate partners that the League's view is one of exclusivity.

“We want to make sure that we build relationships with corporate partners,” said the Pro League CEO. “…and afford them the brand platform to meet their strategic objectives. This is to say that our existing partners have treated the league with respect. We will certainly discuss with our current partners the mutually beneficial opportunities.”

Full remaining Pro League fixtures including the Digicel Pro Bowl

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Friday May 6, 2016
Round Three Match Day Eight
Ato Boldon Stadium
Club Sando vs San Juan Jabloteh—6pm
W Connection vs Defence Force—8pm

Mahaica Oval
Point Fortin Civic vs Morvant Caledonia United—6pm

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Sunday May 8, 2016
Round Three Match Day Eight
Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
Central FC vs North East Stars—4pm

Larry Gomes Stadium
St. Ann's Rangers vs Police FC—4pm


Digicel Pro Bowl 2016
Quarter Final Round
Tuesday May 10
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Police FC (D)—6pm
Central FC vs North East Stars (A)—8pm

Hasely Crawford Stadium
St. Ann’s Rangers vs San Juan Jabloteh (C)—7pm
Defence Force vs Morvant Caledonia United (B)—9pm

Digicel Pro Bowl 2016
Semi-Final Round
Friday May 13
Ato Boldon Stadium
A vs D
B vs C

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Tuesday May 17, 2016
Round Three Match Day Nine
Ato Boldon Stadium
Central FC vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6pm
Club Sando vs W Connection—8pm

Hasely Crawford Stadium
Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic—7pm
Defence Force vs Morvant Caledonia United—9pm

Barataria Recreation Ground
San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars—6pm

Rescheduled Round Three Match Day Seven fixtures
(Date, venues and kick-off times to be decided)
San Juan Jabloteh vs Central FC
W Connection vs St. Ann’s Rangers

Digicel Pro Bowl Final
Friday May 20

Ato Boldon Stadium

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Men’s Futsal Team will have it all to play for in Thursday’s second leg CONCACAF playoff qualifier after keeping themselves in the race for a Final round place with a well played 1-1 draw with Honduras at the BN Arena in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday. 

T&T got an equalizing goal from Kerry Joseph in the 24th minute and could have stolen a last gasp winner after Kareem Perry’s close range effort was blocked Honduran goalkeeper Norman Vega and Jerwyn Balthazar’s follow up attempt was also deflected to safety in the closing stages of the match.

Both teams will battle each other from 7:30pm TT Time on Thursday with the winner advancing to the CONCACAF Finals towards the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia. If the scores are locked after the regulation 40 minutes, then there will extra time comprising of two 5-minute halves. If there is still no winner, there will be penalty kicks starting with three kicks per team.

In Wednesday’s contest, Honduras took the lead against the run of play in the seventh minute, with Juan Hernandez and Oscar Lopez exchanging passes on a quick surge forward and Lopez collected a return ball before slotting home from close range with T&T outnumbered at the back. Their goal came after T&T had the better of the early opportunities, their closest being an effort by Joseph which crashed off the right far post. Ishmael Daniel also fired over bar with only the ‘keeper to beat while Balthazar should have also done better with two efforts from good positions with the goal in clear sight but his shots lacked venom. 

T&T goalkeeper Kevin Graham pulled off several good saves on either side of the half as Honduras put T&T under pressure at different points of the match with their number 10 Hernandez being their most lively player on the evening.

T&T leveled the scores in the fourth minute of the second half when Jameel Neptune of Morvant Caledonia United, fought off a couple strong challenges and played line to Joseph who slotted home on the near post from a tight angle on the left of the goal. 

Honduras enjoyed a good period midway through the second half but then T&T came back into it and began to take charge in the closing eight minutes or so.

Kareem Perry had a powerful right footed shot from about three metres out which whizzed past the upright and with the clock winding down his effort was kept out by the legs of Honduran captain Carlos Montes after Perry had eluded a defender and the advancing goalkeeper. The ball rebounded into the path of Balthazar but his powerful drive was also stopped by a Honduran inches off the goal line with the goalkeeper in no man’s land.

In the other qualifying match played in San Jose yesterday, the United States and Canada played to a dramatic 4-4 draw. Canada came from three goals down to take a 4-3 lead before the US snatched an equalizer on the final play of the game.

T&T Starting 5 – 1.Kevin Graham (GK), 3.Cyrano Glen, 8.Jerwyn Balthazar,9. Kerry Joseph and 5. Noel Williams 

Subs: 2. Adrian Pirthysingh (GK), 4. Bevon Bass, 6. Ishmael Daniel, 7. Jameel Neptune, 10. Colin Joseph, Kevaughn Connell, 12. Kareem Perry, 13. Jamel Lewis, 14.Keston Guy (GK)

Head Coach: Clayton Morris.

The National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva will be the hub of some good cricket action this Friday, as the 2016 Secondary School Cricket League (SSCL) T20 Finals takes places.

Two-time champions Cedros Secondary School will face Holy Name Convent Port of Spain in the Girls decider, while Barrackpore West Secondary will oppose Carapichaima East Secondary in the Boys title match.

The Girls match will bowl off at 2.30 pm while the Boys final will start four hours later. 

The launch of the respective finals took place at the Marriott Hotel, Invaders Bay, Mucurapo yesterday and SSCL president Surujdath Mahabir praised the support of PowerGen, who have been sponsoring the SSCL for 20 years. 

Mahabir said, “20 years is a tremendous and historic achievement to have one body as a sponsor. It has helped us grow as a sporting body. We are 53 years old.” The former Trinidad and Tobago off-spinner stated, “all of the players from Trinidad who were part of the three historic victories (by the West Indies men’s, women’s and Under-19 teams this year) would have learnt their cricket at the secondary schools level, with PowerGen’s sponsorship. 

Concerning the Boys final, Mahabir said, “we have two great teams who have performed well. Caps (Carapichaima) being the giant-killers knocking out the finalists from last year, Barrackpore we always know (are) a good team. 

“We expect a good crowd,” he continued. “The venue now is a little bit of a concern (because of) the rains. Hopefully it will ease up. Everything is in place. 

We are looking forward to a exciting game.” He said in the event that the weather prevents the matches from concluding, the games will be rescheduled. 

“I want to invite everybody in Trinidad and Tobago to come and support schools cricket, where everyone starts their career,” Mahabir said. 

Carapichaima will be looking to avenge defeat to Barrackpore in the 2014 final. 

Their captain Dejourn Charles said, “come Friday, we’ll be a little bit more aggressive when we play against them. 

We’ll be looking to go and win on Friday.” Barrackpore skipper Jeron Maniram, speaking about his inexperienced squad, noted, “everyone that’s new stepped up. It’s a good team, very hardworking. 

There is a lot on my shoulders for the past two seasons because most of the senior players have left.” He went on to say, “they do have a better team than us on paper, and experienced as well. 

With regards to the Girls final, Cedros skipper Ronniella Ramsaroop admitted that her team will be vying for a hattrick of titles on Friday. “We have to work hard and we’ll be victorious.” Her opposite number Saarah Olton stated, “I’m very proud of my team and I hope we come out victorious on Friday.” About the challenge of Cedros, Olton noted, “I think we have a good chance and we are coming out hard. We want to be victorious and we want to be champions.” Admission for Friday’s action is $20 while persons under the age of 12 will be allowed free.

WI Sports will be showing the action LIVE!!!

 

 

Newsday

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Futsal Team will face off with Honduras in their opening leg of a two-game series at the BN Arena in San Jose from 5:30pm (7:30pm TT Time) on Wednesday in their CONCACAF Final round qualifying play off.

 

T&T, under head coach Clayton Morris, have been in Costa Rica for a week preparing for their qualifiers and the team completed its first victory since here when they trounced local Costa Rican Futsal League club Joma Futsal 6-3 in its final training match in San Jose on Monday night.

 

T&T got a hattrick from captain Jerwyn Balthazar, two goals from Point Fortin Civic Centre player Bevon Bass and one from Noel Williams to outscore the local team.

 

T&T went ahead on two occasions in the first half but Joma were head and head with them, pulling a goal back each time T&T took the lead. They got their goals from Luis Barnes and Daniel Carerra and also got a third item from Christopher Diaz in the second half.

 

But T&T took firm control of proceeding after the break through Bass and Balthazar before Williams netted the sixth item near the end of the match. Generally it was a more encouraging display from T&T which had been beaten 6-1 and 6-0 respectively by Costa Rica last week.

 

Honduras meantime, faced Costa Rica in a closed-door match on Monday and lost 4-2 to the reigning CONCACAF champions. In its Central American qualifiers, the Hondurans defeated El Salvador and Nicaragua 5-2 and 6-2 respectively but lost 6-4 to Panama and 6-2 to Guatemala.

 

Looking ahead to the encounter, Morris said the latest victory was a definite moral booster for this team which got to this stage after finishing third in the Caribbean Championship in Cuba in January.

“This victory is definitely a confidence booster. I am so happy we got to play this third game. They were not as good as the Costa Rica national team but they definitely give us a good match. I was happy to see us scoring six goals before we conceded six in each of our games against Costa Rica. But this time we were able to get the goals and we were also able to correct some of our mistakes,” Morris told TTFA Media.

 

“We have worked hard for the past three months coming into this playoff. The stage is now set for our guys to go out and put it into practice. Our next objective is to get past Honduras and into the Final round and then achieve our ambition of qualifying for the World Cup in Colombia,” he added.

 

In the latest Futsal world rankings released this month, T&T stand in 59th position while Honduras are not ranked in the top 100. Guatemala is the top ranked CONCACAF team in 24thth spot with Costa Rica 26th, Cuba 29th, United States 41st and Mexico 49th.

T&T are ahead of England (60th) and Sweden (61st). Brazil, Spain and Russia are the top three ranked Futsal Teams in the world in that order.

 

Futsal is a five-a-side indoor game, played in 20-minute halves on a surface no larger than 25 by 42 metres (and no smaller than 20 by 38) for international matches. Goals measure three by two metres. Unlike 11-a-side football, goals may not be scored directly from the kick-off and are no offsides and there is unlimited substitution. The clock is stopped every time the ball goes out of play and each team team is entitled to a one-minute time out in each half.

 

The winner on aggregate in the two games between T&T and Honduras will advance. There is no home or away goal ruling. United States and Canada are also facing off in a qualifying leg in San Jose this week.

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