AS TT await their opening match at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday against Panama, former Jamaica defender Ricardo Gardner is tipping both TT and Jamaica to push themselves to the limit in this year’s edition of the competition.
Gardner says it about time both teams carry the Caribbean’s hopes at the competition and further into the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
"It’s great for our region to see Jamaica, TT and so many other Caribbean teams involved in the Gold Cup,” Gardner said in a recent interview.
“It’s now just up to us to take advantage of this opportunity and stamp our authority in the region. It would be great to see one of these teams go on to win the Gold Cup. Jamaica has gotten to two finals and now it would be good to see more teams from the region making it that far and going all the way."
The former Bolton Wanderers player, who has 111 international caps, said he would fancy seeing both TT and Jamaica in Qatar 2022.
“I think definitely the potential is there. We just have to keep working and developing as a football nation and making use of the opportunities like the Gold Cup and the Nations League and just keep building. (I) would be great to see these countries together at the next World Cup,” Gardner added.
TT defender Daneil Cyrus, in a separate interview, is eager to see TT take charge from the onset.
“We have to be switched on from the start. All now we are focused on Panama but when we get on the pitch we have to settle early and take the game to them. Our first game is the most important at this time because the group looks tough on paper but we know what we are capable of,” Cyrus said.
“The main thing is for us to start fast and maintain the pressure on the opponent. The moment we lapse we know we can get punished. So far we have been working some serious sessions to correct our weak areas and to try and polish up where we need to. Tuesday’s match is a big moment for us. I have close to 80 caps already but there are some first timers in the team who I know are very anxious to play in the Gold Cup and they will be looking to make the most of it,” Cyrus added.
TT face Panama in the first game of a double-header on Tuesday at the Allianz Field in Minnesota. USA take on Guyana in the second fixture on the night.