Sat | Aug 19, 2017

WCup qualification is T&T’s main focus

Published:Sunday | October 30, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Stephen Hart

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC:

Trinidad and Tobago's head coach Stephen Hart says his top priority is to ensure the Soca Warriors are adequately prepared as they attempt a second appearance in the FIFA World Cup, football's biggest spectacle.

T&T's only World Cup appearance came in 2006, when they registered a scoreless draw and two losses by the same 2-0 result in three matches.

The current side is seeking to make its own history by earning a place at Russia 2018 when it meets Costa Rica on November 11, to open the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

"Right now, my focus is getting the team back to a strong level for the two World Cup qualifying games next month in November," said the 56-year-old.

"When the time comes for the playoffs for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, then we will think about that. We still have to get the dates for those games because now we are in a situation where we have to playoff with the other second-placed teams."

Alternate route

Last month, T&T finished second in the Caribbean Cup, third-round group to Martinique, necessitating an alternate route to the biennial competition.

Before that matter can be settled, the Soca Warriors want to establish a positive World Cup Qualifying tone.

"We have a lot to do now to get ourselves mentally and physically ready for Costa Rica," Hart said.

"The team has shown that they have the potential to raise the levels to one which we can compete and win games against the top teams in the region and we'll be focusing on getting back there."

T&T are ranked 65th overall, fourth in CONCACAF and number one in the Caribbean, according to the most recent FIFA Rankings.