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National Men’s Team midfielder Andre Boucaud believes that the “Warriors” will need to settle early in Friday’s World Cup Qualifying match and will have to avoid letting the magnitude of the encounter get the better of them if they are to achieve the desired result to take them to the Concacaf hexagonal final round.

The English-born Dagenham and Redbridge player was speaking on Monday morning after completing the team’s opening session of a live-in training camp at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training pitch.

He and several of the overseas-based players were involved including US-based quartet Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids), Aubrey David (Dallas FC), Trevin Caesar (Orange County) and Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada). Also in were Mexican-based duo Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester and Estonian-based defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, South Korean-based defender Carlyle Mitchell and new call, goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh who trained alongside the local duo of Adrian Foncette and Marvin Phillip. Central FC’s Kenwyne Jones, Daneil Cyrus and Hughtun Hector of W Connection were also present at training.

The rest of the squad is expected in by Monday evening.

“It’s a massive game and everybody knows the importance of the game. I believe if we do what we were doing in the other qualifying games prior to the last three friendlies, then I think we will get the result that we need,” Boucaud told TTFA Media.

“I’ve been playing a lot of games in England on Saturdays and Tuesdays and my team is doing pretty good as we’re top of the League at the moment and I’m feeling pretty fit and ready at the moment,” he added.

Looking ahead to the affair, Boucaud says while the past two wins over Guatemala are just history now, he doesn’t think T&T needs to change it’s game approach.

“I think the key would be sticking together as usual and not playing the occasion… we need to play the game as is. We all know it’s a big game but I think if we focus on our game and how we are accustomed doing things, sticking together and pull off the result the way we can, then I think we’ll be fine on Friday,” Boucaud added.

Midfielder George, who missed T&T’s last five matches is anticipating a quick start from the Guatemalans. George says physically he’s in top shape at the moment

“It’s the best feeling in the world to play regularly for your team, and starting and playing 90 minutes. I feel like I’m in the shape of my professional life so far and I’m just happy to be back in the national squad.” George said.

“Attitude will be the key for us in this game. We need to try and finish them off quickly and give the people something to cheer and not have to leave it until the last game in the round. I think Guatemala will be the same as they were at home minus the fans. They will be nasty, they are going to come in the first 15-20 minutes and be very physical but we will be prepared for any matchup. We have to make this stadium our own so that teams will be afraid to come here and play thinking they can get a result, George added.

Fans can purchase tickets at Lotto locations nationwide priced at $300 (covered) and $150 (uncovered)

T&T opened its competitive account at the 2016 Junior Pan American Track Cycling Championships with a silver medal performance in the Men Team Sprint event as session two of day-one action rode off at the National Cycling Centre in Bal- main, Couva, on Saturday.

On their way to a historic runners-up finish, the trio of Chaquille Henry, Nicholas Paul and Jabari Whiteman shattered the Junior national record with a speedy time of 46.526 seconds in the qualifying round.

In the gold/silver medal ride off, the national squad was edged into second spot by the dominant Colombians, who made no mistake earlier in the night by capturing the Men’s Team Pursuit ahead of South American rivals, Chile.
Top-ranked local cyclist Tyler Cole was scheduled to face the starter in the 3km Individual Pursuit and Scratch Race last night.

Paul and Henry will then face off in the Men’s Keirin and while Lorezno Orosco will also participate in the Scratch.

Female racers, Jhordan St.

George and Dominique Lovell will test the starter in the 500mTT.

Meanwhile during Saturday evening’s opening ceremony, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation Robert Farrier expressed elation with as host of such an esteemed meet.

This was the first time that TT played host to a UCI-sanctioned event along the sleek Siberian spruce track which featured some of the region’s top sprint and endurance riders. 

 

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Trinidad and Tobago skipper Kenwyne Jones says his fitness level is on point and he’s raring to lead the national team in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, also issuing a signal to local fans to not wait until the team is nearing qualifying before getting on board the “Road to Russia” campaign.

Jones was speaking on Saturday as he looked ahead to the start of a live-in training camp today (Sunday) with the Trinidad and Tobago  24-man squad ahead of Friday’s encounter which kicks off at 7:06pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Both he and head coach Stephen Hart issued rallying calls as the “Red Army” attempts to secure its passage through the Concacaf hexagonal stage which commences in November.

“Don’t wait ’till we qualify. The team has been doing well for the past three and a half years, making steady progress and I believe we been giving a product for the nation to be proud of. This is a big game  just like those  of ’89 and the 2006 games,” Jones said on I95.5 FM on Saturday night. “The ticket cost is less than that of a boat ride so there is no excuse for fans not to fill the stadium.”

The current Central FC player who has played for teams such as Stoke City, Sunderland, Southampton and Cardiff City, made it clear that his T&T troops know very well what their mission is.

“I’ve already had that conversation with them (players) so they know what they rewards can be. We know that we have a lot of work to do and a long way to go still before we qualify (for the World Cup). Even though we have done so well in the group, no game is an easy game and we expect to always have a fight on our hands. I think the team is well prepared to go through the all the ups and downs as a team. We have matured over some time as a unit and I am quite confident in my group,” Jones said.

And Guatemala will be no exception when it comes to feeling the wrath of the “Warriors” particularly on home turf.

“We also have some fire in our bellies. In some way we have a recompense for Guatemala … for the way we were treated in Guatemala. Yes we know it’s all part of football but we are fired up for Friday,” Jones stated.

For the first time since 2004 when he joined Southampton from W Connection, Jones is not joining the national team camp for a World Cup qualifier following an overseas trip. His loan deal with Central FC meant that the big forward did not have to undergo long hours of flying from Europe.

“Of course there is going to be a difference but at the same time I haven’t been training with the national team so this week is still very important in terms of us coming together as a team again. I am fit but who knows, you don’t know what a game will call for. I have the advantage of not traveling long hours anymore to come to play but there is still the preparation to be done before the match.

“The fact that I am still here and playing is the most satisfying aspect of my career.Sometimes even though you still have the age and form, because of the direction of a team, things change and I’m happy that I was given the opportunity to be here still and given the opportunity to lead the team and hopefully that can continue,” Jones added when asked about his most satisfying aspect of his career to date.

Hart will begin his sessions on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium while Guatemala will undergo their sessions at the Larry Gomes Stadium before their one-hour session at the match venue on Thursday.

The National Head Coach also issued a call for the 12th Warrior support on Friday.

“It has always seems to be the one one missing element in our football and in our psyche… our set up in general,” Hart said.

“We have a tendency to like it only when things go well. It’s real life, you have good times, bad times and times when you need to to fight. And when you really suffer to get the result and then you get the result, the joy that comes from achieving that is something that personally drives me. The support of the people… we can’t say enough of how important that is,” Hart said.

Tickets are available at Lotto locations nationwide at $300 (covered) and $150 (covered). Gates at the stadium open at 4pm on Friday. Tickets will not be on sale at the match venue on Friday but once in stock, will be available at the nearest Lotto locations.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants more matches in the United States despite a chaotic Twenty20 clash against the West Indies on Sunday ending in a rain-hit no result.

Heavy rain forced the game at the Central Broward Regional Park to be abandoned with India well-placed on 15-0 off two overs in pursuit of a modest 144-run target.

The outcome completed a miserable day for the organisers who were forced to delay the start of the game by 40 minutes after technical problems caused a loss of television pictures.

West Indies, the world champions in the format, claimed the two-match series after winning the first game on Saturday by just one run.

Dhoni, whose side conceded the third-highest total of all time in the format of 245 in the opening clash, said he defintely sees a future for T20 cricket in America's crowded sports market.

"This is one place where we can come back and play cricket -- a triangular or four-nation series," Dhoni said at Sunday's presentation in comments carried by the cricinfo website.

"A tournament like that can give us more time to spend in the US. Yes, it will be a cramped schedule, but modern-day cricketers won't mind it.

"This is one place where spectators will come. The timing suits us. So it's a win-win situation. It's a good venue to continue cricket." Carlos Brathwaite, leading the West Indies for the first time after the sacking of Darren Sammy , also looked forward to returning to Florida.

"For me as a young leader to lead the players is an exciting experience. We want to remain champions and entertain the West Indies crowd. Most definitely we would love to come back here again," he said.

West Indies struggled to 143 all out in their innings with slow bowler Amit Mishra claiming a career best 3-24.

Saturday had witnessed 489 runs scored -- the highest aggregate for T20 cricket.

But the Florida pitch -- and eventually the weather -- turned its back on the strokemakers on Sunday.

Saturday century-maker Evin Lewis, again standing in for the injured Chris Gayle, mustered just seven runs before he was caught at mid-off from the bowling of Mohammed Shami.

Fellow opener Johnson Charles looked set for another 50 but was dismissed seven runs short by recalled leg-break bowler Mishra, who enticed a chance to Ajinka Rahane at long-on.

The bowlers continued to apply the brakes with Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah getting rid of Lendl Simmons (19) and Marlon Samuels  (5) respectively with the total on 76 by the 10th over.

Two overs and 22 runs later, the West Indies were six down with Ashwin having Kieron Pollard lbw for 13 and Bumrah clean bowling Andre Fletcher for three.

West Indies crawled past the 100-run mark in the 14th over; on Saturday, they were into three figures in the eighth.

Dwayne Bravo (three) tried to put his foot on the gas but his charge down the wicket was undone by a Mishra googly.

Andre Russell eked out 15 off 13 balls before he holed out off Bhuveneshwar Kumar with the score on 123.

Brathwaite (18) smashed a six and four off Mishra in the 18th over but the captain was bowled off the Indian's last ball of his impressive spell.

Shami mopped up Samuel Badree for one with two balls of the innings left.

It’s been just over six months since Levi Garcia made his senior international debut for Trinidad and Tobago which he marked with a match-winning double to lead the “Warriors” to a come from behind 3-2 victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines at Arnos Vale. And the 18-year-old from Santa Flora, now a seasoned pro in the Dutch Eredivisie is hoping to again bring his a-game for Guatemala on September 2nd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

The game, similar to the one in March, is another one in which The Red Army need a result to keep their qualifying hopes alive as a point will push T&T through to the hexagonal final stage while a victory will keep them on course for finishing the semi-final group on top of the pack heading into the closing fixture against the United States on September 6th in Jacksonville, Florida.

“It’s going to be a big occasion for us and I am seeing a tough game as well for us on Friday,” Garcia told TTFA Media “But we will be ready for it. We have an amazing team spirit and a great squad that will pull us through.

“I have not played against Guatemala before but I have seen the games and I know the Central American style so I expect they will come all out and try to stamp their authority. But we have shown that we are capable of putting them on the back foot which is exactly what we will need to do. Once we settle in early and we make sure to avoid any silly mistakes then the game will be ours,” Garcia said.

Garcia has played in all three of AZ Alkmaar’s matches so far this season and is expected to feature for them on Sunday before arriving in Port of Spain on Tuesday to join the T&T team. He also scored three goals for the club in their preseason campaign.

“I had a strong preseason and we’ve already played three games in the new season. I feel really good at the moment. I’m just very excited as always to meet up with my national teammates for these two World Cup qualifiers,” he added.

The T&T team enters a live-in camp on Sunday while the Guatemalans arrive in Port of Spain via Panama City on a Copa Airlines flight at 4:30pm.

T&T head coach Stephen Hart will begin his full preparation on Monday with the majority of the squad.

“We have a some of the players coming in on Monday and Tuesday but we’ll start some work with those that are here on Sunday evening. The important thing will be to have everyone here healthy and ready for the match. It’s nothing new to us in terms of having a full squad in maybe three to four days before a match. We’ll focus on what we need to do and manage our preparations in relation to Friday’s match in a fully concentrated mode,” Hart said.

Tickets for Friday’s match remain on sale at Lotto locations nationwide and are priced at $300 (covered) and $150 (uncovered). Gates open at 4pm on Friday ahead of the 7:06pm kick off.

West Indies defeated India by one run in a record run-laden Twenty20 clash on Saturday after piling up the third highest ever total in the game's shortest format.

Set 246 to win, India needed two runs off the last ball for a famous victory in the Florida sunshine.

But skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could only scoop a Dwayne Bravo delivery into the hands of Marlon Samuels at short third man to leave India agonisingly on 244-4.

Lokesh Rahul was unbeaten for India on 110 in just his fourth T20 match, hitting 12 fours and five sixes.

West Indies' total of 245-6 was just short of Australia's 248 against England in Southampton in 2013 while Sri Lanka's 260 against Kenya at Johannesburg in 2007 remains the highest ever international T20 total.

Evin Lewis smashed an impressive 100 and Johnson Charles hit 79 as the West Indies laid the foundations to mark Carlos Braithwaite’s first game as skipper with a victory.

The second match of two back-to-back T20s at the rarely-visited Central Broward Regional Park venue takes place on Sunday.

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