THE UNIVERSITY of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) men’s football team are competing in the FISU America Football World Cup Qualifiers, Merida, Mexico, which began on Friday and runs until October 25, for a chance to represent FISU America (Continental Federation), at the FISU World Cup Finals scheduled for Jinjiang, China in 2023.
According to a media release, UTT will aim to progress out of a group which includes the likes of Autonomous University of Mexico and National University of la Matanza – Argentina. UTT qualified for this international competition via the Tertiary Sport Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TSATT) national competition in 2019, but due to the covid19 pandemic, the tournament was postponed.
Under the watchful eyes of former national captain and coach, and now UTT High-Performance coach Clayton ‘JB’ Morris, a new crop of student-athletes was prepared, with training intensifying over the last six months. This preparation included intense periodisation on the field, in the gym and on the futsal court.
Morris shied away from giving expectations, but noted his team was hungry and competitively prepared despite financial constraints and other obstacles; one being no resumption of national club football. Despite these circumstances, he commended the players who put in the hard work, noting that the mood in the camp reflected one of positivity, respect and unity.
Head of UTT’s Sport and Recreation Unit, Senior Manager Ian Pritchard, tirelessly oversaw the dynamics of this trip and expressed his gratitude to the sponsors who directly and indirectly assisted with the team’s preparation for participation, such as the Office of the Prime Minister’s Sport and Culture Fund, the National Lottery Control Board (NLCB), the TT Football Association (TTFA), the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA), the Ministry of Sport and Community Development (MSCD), Republic Bank and Massy Stores.
What’s next after Mexico? … UTT’s men’s football programme is hopeful that their team will qualify for China 2023, and will also continue training at its O’Meara, Arima base with an eye on a restart to elite club football in TT. They plan to conduct further scouting of players within the SSFL (Secondary Schools Football League) and push to improve the standard at the O’Meara Ground - which is outfitted with two top standard turf fields, stadium lights, a classroom, a kitchen and a rehab room - into its own ‘Home of Football’.