TT, in the early stages of preparation for 2010 World Cup qualifiers this year, will travel to Puerto Rico to meet that country’s national team in a friendly match on Saturday, January 26.
The match has been confirmed by assistant national team coach Anton Corneal and will provide “a good opportunity” to see home-based prospects ahead of the February 6 friendly international in Port-of-Spain against Guadeloupe.
None of the invited nine overseas pros named to face Guadeloupe will be in the squad that travels to Puerto Rico next Thursday.
“This match comes as a good chance to see the players in action so early in the year. It means too that we can give some of the younger players a chance against a country that is working feverishly to lift its football,” Corneal said.
Even without their frontline (professional) players, Trinidad and Tobago, ranked 78th in the world and third in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), are considered huge favourites to outgun the Puerto Ricans, rated 196th in the world and 21st in the CFU.
Corneal conducted a training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday morning and other practice sessions are slated for the remainder of the week.
US-based pro Scott Sealy is coming off a quad muscle injury and will not make the trip.
After a solid 2007 season for the Kansas City Wizards in US Major League Soccer (MLS), Sealy is banking on a quick enough return in time to be on the squad for the upcoming 2010 World Cup qualifiers, which begin for T&T on June 14/15 against the winner of the Bermuda/Cayman Islands first-round fixture.
The Puerto Ricans begin their World Cup campaign against the Dominican Republic.