Craig Harrington (pictured) was named technical director of the Turks & Caicos Islands Football Association in December 2013.
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands -- Ahead of next month’s first qualifying round in CONCACAF for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Turks & Caicos Islands technical director Craig Harrington is leaving no stone unturned in order to get past the initial hurdle.
And while his team may not be considered a favorite against St. Kitts & Nevis in their two-legged series for the right to face El Salvador in June, Harrington knows all too well that as long as you put in the hard work, the results will follow. It is in this vein that a provisional squad of 24 players has been training for nearly one month.
“It has been three good weeks of preparation so far,” said Harrington. “The group of players we have here is growing stronger and they are bonding together very well. At the moment, the atmosphere is one of optimism and a confidence in the methods and I am happy with the players.”
St. Kitts & Nevis won the only two previous World Cup Qualifying meetings between them in 2000, but Harrington places no weight in what happened 15 years ago. He’s aiming for a good result in the March 23 opener on the road, believing it will set the tone for the home leg three days later.
“Playing the return leg at home in front of our own supporters gives us an edge,” stressed the 32-year-old. “If we can come back home still in the tie then running out under the lights in the second leg, with the atmosphere in our favor, gives us an advantage.
“Of course, if a team loses big away in the first leg, having the crowd behind you won’t make the slightest bit of difference. But having a lifeline of an away goal – or even a clean sheet – to fall back on will set everything up perfectly for the home clash. You know what you have to do and you go out and do it.”
Regional footballing powers Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, as well as many other Caribbean islands, rely on the presence of overseas-based players to provide a boost and improve chances of success. Turks & Caicos will be no different as Harrington plans to call upon the country’s talent wherever it may currently be located.
“We do have players in our pool that play overseas and we are very proud of their accomplishments just like we are of the players here in the country,” he finished. “The players coming in will raise us in level, as they all play regular football at a higher level.”
Harrington also believes that with his experience and background, the plan and direction he is steering Turks & Caicos football along -- with the support of the Turks & Caicos Islands Football Association – can fulfill all objectives, including success in the World Cup qualifiers.