TRINIDAD and Tobago's men’s futsal team will begin their Concacaf Futsal Championship campaign on Tuesday when they tackle the Dominican Republic in a Group A fixture, at the Domon Polideportivo de la CDAG, Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The group stage began on Monday with the Dominican Republic facing hosts Guatemala. TT and Guatemala will square off in the final Group A match on Wednesday.
Group B will comprise of Mexico, Panama and Suriname; Group C will feature Canada, Costa Rica and Haiti, while Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua and United States will participate in Group D.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for May 7, the semi-finals will take place on May 8 with the third-place match, and final, set for May 9.
The semi-finalists will all earn spots to the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.
TT, under the guidance of coach Constantine Konstin, were beaten 7-1 and 8-2 by Costa Rica last week, in a pair of warm-up matches, in Costa Rica.
However, TT player Sean De Silva is hopeful that the squad can get things right in time for their opening qualifier.
Reflecting on the training camp in Alajuela, Costa Rica, De Silva said, “It was a really fantastic opportunity for us to be out there. Not just the facilities were fantastic but we did some off-the-field sessions, mental preparations, mental readiness and getting to face top opponents from Costa Rica, who we can only have learnt so much from.”
De Silva, the former men’s football team midfielder, continued, “It was a fantastic camp and I think we’ve improved a lot (after) the two games, and we’ll continue improving.”
Despite the pair of heavy defeats in Costa Rica, De Silva mentioned, “Everybody knows we’re down to the business end of things. There is really good chemistry amongst all the players on the team but there is a seriousness right now. We know what we want to achieve.”
He continued, “It’s going to be difficult but it’s not impossible. We know what we need to do to attain it, so I think everyone is on the same page.”
De Silva knows it will not be an easy task against the Dominican Republic as well as Guatemala.
“We’re in the same group as the host nation who are, historically, very good at futsal,” he said. “They have a professional league, they are ranked really high in the FIFA standings, as well as the Dominican Republic, who also has a professional league.”
“We know once we finetune certain things, it’s a job that can be done.”
TT squad – Che Benny, Dylon King, Darius Ollivierra, Willis Plaza, Andre Marchan, Adrian Welch, Jameel Neptune, Mark Ramdeen, Sean De Silva, Aaron Lester, Keston George, Dwight Quintero, Keron Cummings, Kern Caesar; Constantine Konstin (coach), Paul Decle (assistant coach), Dunstan Williams (goalkeeper coach), Mark Lewis (trainer), Roger Ryan (physiotherapist), Alexandria Olton (sports psychologist/safety hygiene officer), Dr Alex Harripersad (team doctor), Nigel Roberts (manager).