T&T’s Soca Warriors  will be looking to capture maximum three points in their opening match of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualification when they face off with hosts Guatemala at the Estadio Mateo Flores from 7.06 pm (9.06 pm T&T time) tonight.

The match will be one of several throughout CONCACAF as semi-final round action gets on the way with fellow group rivals United States hosting St Vincent/Grenadines in St Louis in the other match of interest for the “Soca Warriors”.

The T&T team arrived in Guatemala City just around 3 pm local time on Wednesday and were greeted by a barrage of Guatemala media outside the La Aurora international airport.

Stephen Hart conducted a light session at around 6 pm at a nearby artificial surface pitch which was the only one made available to the visitors with lights. And the temperature dropped to 20 degrees Celsius  the evening progressed.

Hart, however, did manage to oversee a more impactful session yesterday morning on a natural grass surface before putting his team through a short session at the match venue  in the evening period. “We landed here and it’s been a bit of a hike to get to the training facilities but they were decent. The main thing now is to keep our minds focused on the game and not let little things affect us,” Hart said.

Hart said he held an  important discussion with the players and told them that everything they did at the Gold Cup and in the past was no longer relevant.  “This is a brand new Guatemala, this is a brand new scenario and I just put them in that frame of mind,” Hart added.

Skipper Kenwyne Jones has been a big talking point in the Guatemalan press, with several queries from them about whether he is fit to play. The Cardiff City forward said he’s feeling fine and ready to lead his team. “Things are running smoothly. We are trying to iron out the final bits before we go into the game. We had two great sessions and just trying to get a feel for over here, “ Jones said.

“This is a totally different competition. It’s not going to be easy for us here in Guatemala. We know what to expect when we come to these Central American countries and they are going to have that twelfth man surely rooting for them. And they are going to come hard at us seeing that we beat them in the Gold Cup.  

“It’s a bit more technical and tactical for us especially when we come away from home. We are going to try to do the things we plan to and try to come away with the three points.

“I feel great at the moment. The players are all training very hard and keeping each other on their toes,” Jones added.

Defender Radanfah Abu Bakr is also keen ahead of the encounter. “I’m looking forward to it and the camp is quite positive and we are confident we can do well in this hostile environment. It’s World Cup qualifiers and it’s a different animal this time around,” said the former Caledonia AIA defender.

The Guatemalans are smelling blood and will be gunning for Jones and his men after being blown away in the first half in July at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“We have more knowledge of T&T now, they've grown a lot since the Gold Cup, but we also have our own growth, we will now look at who is better able to face them. I know more or less how they attack, we have also seen them at least in the last five games. We have to win, play well or badly, but we have to try to win, not here but everywhere, to go to the World Cup you have to beat everyone,” said their head coach Ivan Sopegno. The hosts will look to veteran Carlos Ruiz and Marco Papa to lead their attack on the night.

T&T have not won a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala since 1989 when the Strike Squad defeated the homeside 1-0 on a Kerry Jamerson winner. Hart will have all 22 players at his disposal today with 11 reserves allowed to sit on the bench.

 Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC –T&T ), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United- T&T);Daneil Cyrus (Chicago Fire—USA), Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land—South Korea), Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Samara—Russia), Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Mekeil Williams (Antigua GFC—Guatemala), Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy—Kazakhstan), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Kevan George (Columbus Crew—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars), Trevin Caesar (Austin Aztex—USA), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire—USA), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), Keron Cummings (North East Stars – T&T);
Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City—Wales), Willis Plaza (Central FC – T&T), Jonathan Glenn (Breioablik—Iceland).


FORMER NATIONAL captains Daren Ganga, Rangy Nanan (cricket), Clayton Morris and Angus Eve (football) are among a group of 11 sporting personalities who will be inducted in the First Citizens Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will take place on November 20, from 6.30 pm, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Portof- Spain.

In a media conference yesterday, at the First Citizens Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair, veteran journalist and Sports Foundation member Dave Lamy announced that the quartet will be joined by Stern John (football), Bryan Davis, Stephanie Power, Louise Browne (cricket), Brian Harding (horse racing), Bridget Adams (netball) and Douglas Barzey (administrator).

Another Hall of Fame inductee, quadruple Olympic medallist Ato Boldon, will be the guest speaker at the event, while President Anthony Carmona and Sports Minister Darryl Smith are expected to attend.

Eve, a former midfielder/striker, has 117 international appearances for Trinidad and Tobago, the most by a national footballer, from 1994-2005.

Harding, according to Lamy, is “the first Trinidad jockey to ride 1,000 winners. He won the (national) championship seven times, he won the championship in Jamaica twice, he won the championship in Panama. He’s now training as a young trainer and we’ll hear more about him in that area.” Adams, from Mayaro, “has done yeoman service and (has been) outstanding in netball” while Davis “played not only for Queen’s Park and Trinidad but Glamorgan (in England). He’s also a very good administrator and a coach, and one who has made a lot of national heroes like (Sunil) Narine and (Kieron) Pollard. He should have been in the Hall of Fame long ago.” Morris was the captain of the Strike Squad team who narrowly missed out on qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. The ex-central defender now works as technical director of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT ) team. “This (awards) is going to be on November 20, the night after November 19, (but) that was not planned,” added Lamy. “We cannot forget what Clayton had to offer and he still has a lot to offer.” Another UTT sporting official is Ganga, who led TT to distinction, both in the Four Day and T20 level, during the 2000s. He also captained West Indies in three Test matches in England in 2007, and now also serves as a cricket commentator.

Browne, sister of the legendary Ann Browne-John, was “one of the pioneers of women’s cricket.

She lives abroad but she was a captain of the West Indies team as well and took women’s cricket out of the doldrums.” Barzey, according to Lamy, was a livewire of the Southern Games and an administrator in the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.

Nanan was an ace off-spinner for Preysal, where he still resides, as well as Trinidad and Tobago who has captured 366 First Class wickets from 1973-1991.

Power “was outstanding and certainly made her presence felt,” while John, who was a key member of the Soca Warriors team who qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, netted 70 goals in 115 internationals from 1995-2012, the seventh highest international goalscorer in the game’s history.

Eve, when contacted yesterday, stated, “I’m really humbled by the nomination (of) the induction. I really didn’t expect it. It came out of the blue. “I know normally in our country we honour people when they’ve already died. So this is a great honour for me and for my family, and for all the people who have supported me all these years, and really stood by me through thick and thin. I really thank God for all that he has done in my life so far.” Eve is currently the coach of Naparima College in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) and St Ann’s Rangers in the TT Pro League, as well as a part-time football analyst.

Asked if his achievement will fuel his desire to succeed in his roles as coach and analyst, Eve replied, “of course. I’ve been honoured as a player at this occasion and hopefully, down the road, they might see my work in broadcasting and in the coaching sphere, because I want to continue to be the best that I can be.” And Davis was in a modest mood when asked to comment on his achievement.

“I am honoured to be even considered that highly to be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “I never even considered that because in my whole life, which I gave to cricket, it was for the love of the game, and for no other reason.” He added, “so, to be recognised for the love I gave to cricket, I feel very proud.”


“If I can inspire one person to change their life forever I can die happy.”

This was just one of the inspirational messages that shot put champion Valerie Adams told young track and field athletes at a Talk Shop at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium, on Wednesday.

Adams, who is from New Zealand, is currently in T&T training with her friend Cleopatra Borel. Adams and Borel have been friends since the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Adams took the time to pass on some advice and told the young athletes and coaches how she got involved in track and field. Also in attendance at the Talk Shop were T&T Olympians Jehue Gordon and Andrew Lewis.

Adams said that she turned a sad time in her life to something positive following the death of her mother due to cancer in 2000. “In 2000 I was 15, and my mom was quite ill. I was watching the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and I was saying that one day I want to be there. It would be amazing if one day I could walk with the flag at the Olympics.” Adams said from that point it was her dream to compete at the Olympic Games. Shortly after Adams’ mother passed away and she used track and field as a way of dealing with her emotions.

“I took track and field as a way to get rid of my sadness and anger. In the back of my mind I said I just wanted to make her proud.”

Adams spoke about another experience when her stepfather told her to leave the house, but she never gave up on her dream and kept fighting. “Those were situations that could have made me or break me.”

The shot put champion told the athletes to hold on to one person who can inspire them but informed them that you must work hard to be successful.

Adams, who is the two-time defending Olympic champion, qualified for her first Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games. “Getting to my first Olympics that was everything, this is what we dream for. This is the pinnacle of our sport. That is the highest you can go.”

The shot put athlete said you must remain focused at the Olympics, because an athlete can get distracted at such a grand event.

Adams also spoke about the subject of drugs, diet and nutrition and mental preparation as important tools which can break or make an athlete.


The Trinidad & Tobago Gymnastics Federation wishes to congratulate Thema Williams and
Marisa Dick on their phenomenal performances at the recently concluded World Gymnastics
Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Federation further applauds both athletes on achieving the qualifying score and securing the
lone Trinidad & Tobago (TTO) spot at the Olympic Test Event - Brazil April 2016. Thema
Williams is our named gymnast with Marisa Dick as the first alternate. Trinidad & Tobago will
aspire to secure a historic place at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The gymnasts gave their all and we are very proud of their historic achievements

  • They both achieved their personal best All Around performances at a World Championship with
    Thema’s score of 52.466 being the highest for a TTO Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG)
    athlete at a World Championship event.
  • Marisa executed an original mount on the balance beam. This NEW skill is now entered in the
    F.I.G Code of Points and will be named after her, another first for Trinidad & Tobago.

The TTGF would be closely monitoring both athletes over the next six months leading up to the
Test Event to ensure readiness, consistency and progressive performances.

Unfortunately, our lone Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) athlete Joe Fox was withdrawn at the
last moment due to two major tears in his rotator cuff. We wish him a speedy recovery and look
forward to great achievements in his future.

The Federation wishes to thank the Sportt Company of Trinidad & Tobago and the Ministry of
Sport and Youth Affairs for their support and assistance to our elite athletes; and to the athletes’
coaches for their service and commitment to these talented gymnasts.

These accomplishments are theirs as well to applaud and for us, as a nation to celebrate.

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers were expected to touch down in Guatemala City at 4:00pm TT time yesterday in preparation for their key World Cup clash with the home team tomorrow.

The 22-man team departed Miami after what was a successful training camp there. Coach Stephen Hart is scheduled to hold their final training session today at the Estadio Mateo Flores Stadium, the venue where the match will be played at tomorrow evening.

An estimated 20, 000 crowd is expected to fill the stadium to spur on their team which went down to the ‘Soca Warriors’ 3-1 at the Concacaf Gold Cup earlier this year. It means that the Guatemalans will attempt to gain revenge. The TT men are also expected to face a hostile environment on their arrival.

Now all stakes are even and the Guatemalans will fancy their chances at being favourites in their home ground.

Yesterday Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau says the T&T squad is ready for the steep challenge. “Definitely there will be some nerves, as we know it’s always difficult going to these countries and for most of the players it will be the first time playing a World Cup qualifier in Guatemala. But we have enough experience within the group to cope with this kind of situation” Bateau said.

He added “We just have to focus on our game and the task at hand which is to get a result. I think we are ready for whatever they throw at us.”

The “Soca Warriors” have enjoyed a fairly impressive preparation period, gaining a 4-4 draw with Concacaf giants Mexico and beating Panama 2-1 in friendly encounters. They also played to a 1-1 tied at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo with Nicaragua following another impressive game.

Quizzed on whether he thinks T&T can come away with two favourable results against Guatemala and the United States, Bateau replied “Definitely, yes. With the squad we have, the experience, athleticism, chemistry and the results of the last few games, even though you can’t really judge too much based on the past” Bateau said.

The former Jabloteh player noted “I think we just need to put everything into these two games as we’ve done before and even more and we can come away with two positive results.”

Bateau will like to see a filled Hasely Crawford Stadium behind the “Red Army” on Tuesday November 17 against the mights of the USA.

Bateau said “I hope we can have a full stadium on Tuesday because as far as I can remember, whenever we played the US and I was there as a fan, the stadium was always filled when players like Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy were around. I would like to see that again. We need to make it our home territory and the fans need to play their part and be the extra man for us,” he added.


The world governing body for Sambo, the International Sambo Federation, has once again come to the rescue of the T&T Sambo Team by providing funding for their stay at a proper hotel in Casablanca, Morocco.

The T&T team is there to compete at the Sambo World Championships which starts today and conclude on Monday, and yesterday, a release from Jason Fraser, president of the four-year-old National Sambo Federation said the team was made to stay in a four star hotel, courtesy the ISF.

The team has been strapped for cash although the Ministry of Sports provided them with tickets to take the athletes to Morocco. Sport Minister Darryl Smith, at a launch to distribute the tickets had said that government did not have the funding to send more athletes to the championships.

Fraser, who is also a member of the international federation, explained yesterday that the team did not even have money for food and proper accomodation and therefore it was due largely to his influence that the team was given cash to provide its members with food and remove them from Hotel Anfa Port, which provided conditions unsuitable for athletes preparing for a world championship tournament, at a cost of TT$147,000.

Fraser told the Guardian it was not the first time that the TT team has had to be saved by an outside organisation. The local Sambo boss said: “It is not the first time that they have come to our aid at a world championship. They did so in Belarus in 2012, when then Minister of Sports Anil Roberts disappointed the team and in 2013 in St Petersburg, Russia.”

The Russian Sambo federation, it is understood, also provided the TT team with TT$650,000 in equipment which is being kept at a storehouse in the West. The equipment was given because of the impressive performance of the TT team a few years ago.

Fraser said he was very thankful to minister Smith for providing them with the tickets, as well as Toyota T&T and First Citizens for helping the team in off-setting some of its expenses.

Keron Bourne will be the first in the four-man team to go into action today. He will first weigh in this morning as he has four pounds to lose to qualify for the 57kg category.

Two other TT fighters—Martin Joseph and rising talent Joash Walkins—will both weigh in tomorrow morning and are expected to be involved.

The Sambo boss said he was confident T&T would be able to medal at the world championship despite having to compete against over 109 countries.

He said they could be contacted at (+0626 100347) for anyone willing to provide assistance.