The Trinidad and Tobago men’s hockey team will be looking to play warm-up matches in Berlin, Germany, before the start of their campaign at the 2018 Men’s Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany.
The 12-team tournament will be contested from February 7-11 and features the hosts, continental qualifiers Iran (Asia), South Africa (Africa), Austria (Europe), Australia (Oceania), as well as the remaining six highest ranked teams from the continental tournaments – Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium (Europe) and Kazakhstan (Asia).
Trinidad and Tobago booked a spot in the World Cup after winning the Pan American Indoor Cup in Georgetown, Guyana in October.
TT coach Raphael Govia, speaking to Newsday on Sunday, said, “It’s crunch time. It’s just a little bit of December and then the month of January, and we’re out of here. So what we’re hoping to do is get into Berlin as early as possible, and do warm-up games against clubs and some of the international teams up there.”
TT, in an attempt to stay active, will be playing a few matches against a President’s XI squad before they leave for Germany.
“We’re going to introduce some more practice games with a combined President’s XI from now on, just to keep the guys sharp all the time,” said Govia. “So far, that’s basically it. We haven’t pinpoint any external international competition coming from abroad to help warm us up.
“Things (are) going on target. Players coming out, players now starting to get back into the swing of things. We know the type of competition we’re going into.
“It’s going to be a difference to the Pan Am Indoor Qualifiers because we know we’re going to play elite teams from Europe.”
How committed have the players been towards the sessions, even though it is the festive Christmas period?
Govia said, “We’re now swinging into the real pace of the Christmas season so I think the fellas are going to be pretty much disciplined and they’re going to try and give as much time to training as possible.
“You leave that part of it on them to do their due diligence and be disciplined.”
About support from the TT Hockey Board (TTHB), the Sports Ministry and the corporate sector, Govia replied, “The support is there. We got support for the qualifiers in Guyana and we expect to get the same support for the World Cup in Berlin, come February.”
At the World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago will feature in Pool A, along with Germany, Australia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Poland, while the Pool B teams are Austria, Belgium, Iran, Russia, South Africa and Switzerland.