National football team coach Dennis Lawrence is anticipating a fierce rivalry between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, in a friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 8 pm today.
However, the ex-TT central defender is looking ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Zone Final Round qualifier against Honduras, which will be staged at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on September 1.
During a media conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, ahead of last evening’s training session, Lawrence said, “The boys have prepared well. I think they all understand what the game means, even though it’s all part of the preparation for the Honduras game.
“I think everybody understands the fierce rivalry between Jamaica and Trinidad (and Tobago),” continued the 43-year-old TT coach. “I think (the game) is going to be a very good contest, and a good test for the boys in preparation for the Honduras game.”
Lawrence noted that the players are keen to face Jamaica, who finished as runners-up at last month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup – they lost 2-1 to the hosts United States in the July 26 Final.
“I think with games like these (it) is less work for me, from a motivational point for the boys,” said the national team’s coach. “I think its more about controlling the boys and making sure that they play the game in the right spirit. I think the boys are well up for it and all motivated and looking forward to the game.”
Yesterday, it was revealed that defender/midfielder Joevin Jones left his Major League Soccer (MLS) club Seattle Sounders, allegedly without authorisation, to return home to join the training squad.
But Lawrence made it emphatically clear that Jones will not join his brother Alvin in the line-up for today’s game.
“Joevin, as of now, will not be part of that game,” Lawrence noted.
“I think we all understand that we need to have written confirmation from his club that he is allowed to play the game, and that hasn’t happened. So Joevin will not play any part of the game unless something changes.”
Trinidad and Tobago will be looking to end a three-game losing streak, having been beaten away to the United States (2-0 on June 8), Costa Rica (2-1 on June 13) – both in World Cup qualifiers, and Ecuador (3-1 on July 26).
Asked what will he like to get from this game against Jamaica, Lawrence replied, “I think if we can get a victory, that’ll be good. But I think (what’s) most important is to make sure that the boys physically understand some of the things that we’ll work on for the Honduras game. If I can see that in (today’s) game I’ll be happy.”
Today’s game does not fall on a FIFA international date, therefore it will be a mostly local-based squad available to Lawrence and his technical staff.