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Trinidad & Tobago (1W-0D-2L, 3 points) secured its first points in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, earning a 1-0 win over visiting Panama (1-1-1, 4) on Friday at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Kevin Molino struck for the game’s only goal in the 37th minute, when he beat goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a right-footed effort from outside the box.

The victory was Dennis Lawrence’s first for the Soca Warriors in a competitive match, since replacing Tom Saintfiet as head coach slightly more than two months ago.  Lawrence, who started in all three of T&T’s matches in the 2006 World Cup, was previously an assistant under Roberto Martinez at Wigan, Everton and Belgium.

T&T improved to 5-0-0 all-time in World Cup Qualifying against Panama, which is winless in three of its last four Russia 2018 encounters and has scored only two goals over that stretch.

Two other CONCACAF Hexagonal matches will be played later in the evening: Mexico-Costa Rica and USA-Honduras.

Results

Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Kevin Molino 37), Panama 0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

Mexico 2 (Javier Hernandez 5, Nester Araujo 45), Costa Rica 0 at the Estadio Azteca, Mexico City;

United States 6 (Sebastian LLetget 5, Michael Bradley 27, Clint Dempsey 32, 49, 54, Christian Pulisic 46), Honduras 0 at the Avaya Stadium, California.

Teams

Trinidad and Tobago: 21.Jan-Michael Williams; 11.Carlos Edwards, 25.Curtis Gonzales, 5.Daneil Cyrus, 17.Mekeil Williams; 19.Kevan George, 8.Khaleem Hyland; 7.Cordell Cato (16.Levi Garcia 64th), 10.Kevin Molino (13.Hughtun Hector 79th), 3.Joevin Jones; 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt) (20.Jamille Boatswain 83rd).

Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Aubrey David, 12.Hashim Arcia, 14.Andre Boucaud, 18.Tristan Hodge, 23.Leston Paul, 26.Willis Plaza, 27.Nathan Lewis.

Coach: Dennis Lawrence

Panama: 1.Jaime Penedo; 13.Adolfo Machado (2.Michael Amir 74th - Yellow 80), 23.Felipe Baloy (capt), 5.Roman Torres, 17.Luis Ovalle; 21.Amilcar Henriquez; 8.Edgar Barcenas (9.Gabriel Torres 63rd), 11.Armando Cooper, 20.Anibal Godoy, 19.Alberto Quintero (18.Luis Tejada 57th); 22.Abdiel Arroyo.

Unused substitutes: 12.Jose Calderon (GK), 3.Jan Carlos, 4.Roderick Miller, 7.Oscar Villarreal, 10.Alejandro Taylor, 14.Miguel Camargo, 16.Josiel Nunez, 15.Eric Davis.

Coach: Hernan Gomez.

Standings

P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Mexico  3  2  1  0  4  1  7
Costa Rica  3  0  1  6  2  6
Panama  3  1  1  1  1  1  4
United States  3  1  0  2  7  6  3
Trinidad & Tobago  3  1  0  2  2  5  3
Honduras  3  1  0  2  3  8  3

Next up on March 28, 2017 (Home team listed first)

Trinidad & Tobago v Mexico
Panama v USA
Honduras v Costa Rica

This evening, the Hasely Crawford Stadium becomes this country’s main battlefield as Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s Team face off with Panama in a CONCACAF  2018 World Cup qualifier from 7pm.

The two teams have completed their build ups to the crucial encounter and a pulsating encounter looks in Port of Spain.

T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence believes his players will need to match their opponents in every department and do better in others.

“They (Panama) will be very well organised and will make themselves tough to beat as well as being a very competitive group and we need to understand that the first thing we have to try and do is match their desire because they are a team that plays with their heart and they look hungry.

“They are a hungry bunch and we need to match that first and then whatever qualities we have got would be enough. But we have to match their intensity, hunger and endeavour to try and win games,” he said.

Lawrence said he was privileged to be part of this historical 2006 World Cup qualification but he wants the current squad to create their own history

“We were all members of the World Cup team in 2006 but what we have tried to express to the guys is that what we did in 2005 and 2006 was fantastic and is now history.

He said, “I now want these players to create their won history. I want history for these players to come and say we are here and we want to take up the mantle and we want to take T&T football to another level.

“So I have given ownership to them now. But what we have done is never to be forgotten, however at this moment in time its not really important, it’s what they do now to take us forward is what I’m interested in.”

Lawrence will name his team captain and final 23-man squad for the match today.

“We need to believe in what we are doing and we have prepared for this game and if we for whatever reason try to go away from what we are good at then we will put ourselves in a difficult situation. So the most important thing is for me to express to the players that we have to believe in what we are going to do and we have to commit to it and we have to carry it out for 90 minutes.”

Lawrence added:  “If there is any changes that need to be made it will be made amongst ourselves, but then the players are the most important thing and the intelligent ones.

“They are going to be the ones who are going to be on the pitch and they will see what is required at the moment in time and what I’m hoping is that they would make the right decisions.

“So the ownership is on to them to some point, but we are going to have direction in how we are going to try and approach the game to get a result.”

Telemundo, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Comcast, today won its lawsuit against the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) over broadcast rights.

The Spanish-speaking television network, was granted the right to broadcast T&T’s upcoming Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Mexico, after Judge Mira Dean-Armorer granted their injunction against the TTFA at the Port of Spain High Court today.

The Soca Warriors face Panama and Mexico on March 24th and 28th respectively at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Telemundo was represented by Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, advocate attorney Jonathan Walker and filing attorney Debra Thompson.

The TTFA was represented by senior advocate Reginald Armour SC, junior advocate Raphael Ajodhia and filing attorney Annand Misir.

This win for Telemundo means that the TTFA loses the right to earn increased revenue from their most lucrative World Cup qualifier against Mexico.

 

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Trinidad and Tobago United States-based duo of Kevin Molino and Kenwyne Jones are holding strong hopes of this country being able to revamp it’s World Cup qualifying drive with a victory against Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday from 7pm.

But for either of them, both into the MLS season with Atlanta United and Minnesota United, Friday’s encounter will be a strong test of character for the T&T outfit.

Molino is back in the team after last playing for the country in a 4-0 win over Dominican Republic last October in which he struck a hattrick, at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

“I’m very excited but humble about it. We have two games to take care of. First and foremost we have to take care of Friday’s game. All the guys have come in fit and ready to go and we are looking forward to the game. We will do our best to make the country proud and this is a turning point for us I believe,” Molino told TTFA Media on Tuesday.

With the inclusion of several new faces such as Jamille Boatswain, Alvin Jones, Hashim Arcia, Tristan Hodge and others in the World Cup squad, Molino said it was something he welcomed and was anticipating the team-building process.

“It’s always good to have new faces. They bring something new and I am very excited for them and happy for their call up to the World Cup squad. This is the opportunity for them to stay in the set up because the team is very competitive . I am happy to have them here and really excited to work with them and the new coaching staff,” Molino stated.

Molino is working under Dennis Lawrence and his coaching staff for the first time and is relishing the ongoing period of wearing the national olours with Lawrence at the helm

“It’s been bery professional since I came into camp. They are good leaders. They have been to a World Cup and they know what it takes to get there and I’m very excited and looking forward to the two games coming up.”

Jones, now with Atlanta United in the MLS, said he was confident Lawrence could have the players responding positively to what he wants of them over the next few days and also in Friday’s encounter.

“It’s very important and I think we are going to be working on that in all the training sessions leading up the to the game. Obviously for him (Lawrence) it’s going to be a work in progress and for us also. It’s all about the team buying into his ideas and philosophies and being able to go out and put that on display when the games comes around. I expect nothing different from him in terms of the things he is doing. I have known him for a long time and hopefully he shall have a successful stint and be able to push the team onwards to the goal ahead,”Jones said.

On the inclusion of Sol Campbell to the coaching setup, Jones commented “Sol has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the game in England and is a top class defender. Hopefully he will be a positive addition to the group. Without a doubt, when you have experience like that you have to take things on board because they’ve been through it all. He’s played in numerous World Cups and for the England national team for a long time as well as for top clubs in England. He’s going to bring invaluable experience to the team and hopefully the young defenders will be able to learn a lot off him,” Jones added.

The Panama team has opted to arrive in Port of Spain on Thursday and will have one session in the night at the match venue. Tickets for Friday’s game remain on sale at Lotto Locations across the nation priced at $350 (covered) and $200 (uncovered).

Batting superstar Chris Gayle will take no part in the four-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan starting later this month, after being left out of 16-man squad announced Saturday.

The left-handed Gayle also did not play in the three-match series against the Pakistanis last September in the United Arab Emirates, after advising selectors he was unavailable for selection.

However, the West Indies Cricket Board release on Saturday offered no explanation for Gayle’s omission from the squad which will be led again by all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.

Jamaican Gayle has been a key member of the West Indies T20 set-up and remains one of the world’s premier batsmen in the shortest format.

He averages 35 from 50 T20 Internationals with two hundreds and has already plundered nearly 10 000 runs in T20s overall.

Gayle last appeared for West Indies in the Twenty20 World Cup in India last April when he helped the Caribbean side win an unprecedented second title.

Also missing from the squad is experienced all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who played in the last series in the UAE.

He was extremely critical of the WICB following the Windies’ 3-0 whitewash in the UAE, contending their abrupt firing of head coach Phil Simmons had demoralised the unit.

The 33-year-old underwent surgery last January for a hamstring injury sustained in the Australia Big Bash and has been recovering since.

Also missing from the Windies’ last outing are batsman Nicholas Pooran and Johnson Charles, while marquee all-rounder Andre Russell is unavailable due to a doping whereabouts suspension.

Batsman Lendl Simmons, who missed the last series through medical reasons, has returned and joins other seasoned campaigners in off-spinner Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Carter and Jason Mohammed have forced their way into the squad, presumably based on their form in the recent one-day series against England.

They are two of three new faces with left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul a surprise inclusion after having not suited up for West Indies in two years.

He oddly makes it into the squad ahead of fellow left-armer Sulieman Benn who snatched 18 wickets in the recent Regional Super50 but has once again been ignored by selectors.

Impressive all-rounder Rovman Powell, yet to make his T20 debut, has retained his place in the squad.

Test and one-day captain Jason Holder has also kept his place in the squad despite having not played a T20 in 16 months.

West Indies face Pakistan in the first T20 on March 26 at Kensington Oval before clashing in the remaining games at Queen’s Park Oval from March 30 to April 2.

SQUAD — Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Samuel Badree, Jonathan Carter, André Fletcher, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Keswick Williams.

Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Dennis Lawrence has announced his 26-man roster for the upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifiers against Panama and Mexico on March 24th and 28th at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Lawrence made the announcement following a practice match among the current home-based players in the provisional squad at the Hasely Crawford training pitch on Saturday morning.

The squad includes thirteen home-based players and thirteen overseas-based players all heading to a residential camp on Monday. Already arriving and taking some part in Saturday’s session was European-based duo Khaleem Hyland and Radanfah Abu Bakr and India-based forward Willis Plaza.

Lawrence spoke about the squad selection following today’s session.

“I think it was important to assess the local group to see what was available. I think the local based players have responded very well to what we asked of them. We prepared them physically, mentally and tactically we tried as best as possible. We had to try and incorporate the players from abroad so we had to select based on the positions that were needed and required for what I want to do. In the end we put together a group that will give us the best possible chance of getting the result against Panama,” Lawrence told TTFA Media.

The former Everton assistant coach explained how he went about choosing the overseas-based players.

“With assessing the overseas based players, one of the things that was important was finding out how much game time they’ve been getting at the moment and their physical condition because obviously the boys that play in the MLS, their season is only two games in.

“We managed,by use of our contacts in the US, to speak to some of the personnel at the clubs and get physical data on the players which helped us a lot because we knew what physical condition they were in coming into our camp. It all then came back down to what I want to do and what I think is best for the team and we made the selection based on that,” Lawrence added.

“The players that worked with me locally had a head start on the players that were abroad because I had more contact time with them and I think a lot of them understand exactly what we are trying to do. which I believe was important. I think in this case it’s going to be the other way around where the local players are going to be the ones leading and I am hoping the players that come from abroad can just come in and it will be easier for them to integrate with the local players and their knowledge of what has been happening in the preparations so far and it should help us to gel together for the game.”

Lawrence touched on the programme for the next few days leading into Friday’s encounter at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“The programme is going to be focused on integrating the group as quickly as possible, to try and get on track and see how quickly we can go and execute what we want to do on the 24th. The work starts immediately as the players arrive. We had three of them here this morning and I think it was important for them to do some physical work and get the fight out of the legs. During the next couple of days in camp we are going to be doing sessions on the training pitch, sessions on the tactics board and doing match analysis on the opposition and ourselves with it being all geared up towards the game on Friday,” Lawrence stated.

Carlyle Mitchell and Tyrone Charles were not considered due to injury. Sheldon Bateau is suspended from the match versus Panama but will be eligible for the Mexico encounter.

Tickets for the two World Cup qualifiers are on sale at Lotto Locations nationwide priced at $350 (covered) and $200 (uncovered). Tickets for the two T&T Senior Women friendlies against Venezuela on March 26th and 29th are priced at $100 (adults) and $50 (children) and will be on sale at the Ato Boldon Stadium on gamedays.

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