Maturana was speaking at a media conference yesterday at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) Centennial Office, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain. Both Maturana and El Salvador coach Carlos de los Cobos had to use a translator as they were questioned about their views ahead of the match, which kicks off at 7pm. “We have a series of games which mission is to carry us to June,” said the Colombian-born Maturana. “We are also being conscious of ‘being complacent’,” he added.
Concerning his decision to use a number of young players, including three players from the 2007 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) — Jamaal Gay, Akeem Adams and Daniel Cyrus — Maturana said, “we need to open doors so that the young players can strengthen their abilities.”
He continued, “It’s a very young team but we hope that these youngsters begin to incorporate all their experiences so when the moment of truth comes, we can depend on them.” Fielding a completely new team from his last friendly, which ended in a goalless draw against Guadeloupe at the Queen’s Park Oval, Maturana stated, “It’s a logical consequence since I’m looking for the best (players), to make the team better.”
National midfielder Aurtis Whitley, in his first match for over a year, will wear the captain’s armband. “It feels good to be back in the national team,” he noted. “I don’t have to prove anything since everyone knows what I can do.”
El Salvador coach de los Cobos expressed his eagerness for tonight’s game. “We’ll try to give a good showing,” he said.
“We’ll take the game seriously,” he added. “We hope to enjoy our stay here.” Like Maturana, de los Cobos is focussing on using young players in his squad, noting that the average age of his team is 25.
Today’s match will be preceded by a women’s game, between the national Under-20 outfit and an All-Star selection, at 4.30 pm.
The El Salvador contingent arrived in Trinidad yesterday morning since their scheduled flight on Monday night was delayed.
Following tonight’s match, the Salvadoreans will have another friendly away to Venezuela on Sunday and before their CFU Stage One Second Leg match against Anguilla, on Wednesday, at the RFK Stadium, Washington DC, United States. El Salvador is virtually assured of a passage to the next round, after a 12-0 annihilation at San Salvador on February 6.
Teams; TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Glenroy Samuel, Makan Hislop, Kern Cupid, Keston Williams, Akile Edwards, Keon Daniel, Silas Spann, Kerry Baptiste, Aurtis Whitley, Justin Fojo, Jamaal Gay, Daniel Cyrus, Randi Patterson, Akeem Adams, Khaleem Hyland, Kevon Neaves, Marvin Phillip; Francisco Maturana (coach).
EL SALVADOR: Rudis Rivera, William Alegria, William Castillo, Juan Gomez, Miguel Moreno, Alfredo Pacheco, Manuel Rivas, Andres Mejia, Carlos Alfaro, Ramon Aguirre, Alexander Rosales, Shawn Henriquez, Oscar Campos, Luis Anaya, Emerson Corleto, Salvador Perez, Marvin Leiva, Jose Mendoza, Ramon Paredes, Luis Campos; Carlos de los Cobos (coach).