Khaleem Hyland (#8) is on Trinidad & Tobago's roster for its three-match tour starting at Peru on March 23, 2016. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images)
LIMA, Peru – Trinidad & Tobago returns to the pitch for the first since time posting two straight World Cup Qualifying victories over St. Vincent & the Grenadines in March, when it visits Peru on Monday night at the Estadio Nacional.
The Peruvians, who have four points from six World Cup qualifiers, are preparing for next month’s Copa America Centenario. T&T head coach Stephen Hart is expecting a challenge, especially with his team missing some veterans due to club commitments.
“What I want out of these games are mainly individual performances that allow me to strengthen the squad,” said Hart. “Obviously, the collective effort is important, however, in exhibition games, it is important to provide playing experience and opportunity to all involved.”
Since their arrival in Lima on Friday, the Soca Warriors have been put through their paces twice. Hart has been pleased with the facilities and his squad.
“The organization and treatment has been first class,” the 56-year-old commented. “We’ve had excellent access to facilities, which allowed us two training sessions, where the bunch was enthusiastic.”
Although team captain Kenwyne Jones, midfielder Kevin Molino and defender Joevin Jones are among those regulars not on the roster, Hart received a boost when Marcus Joseph -- who was initially selected only for a June 3 match at China --- traveled to South America.
Joseph scored Central FC’s first goal in a 3-0 win over fellow Trinidadian side DirecTV W Connection in the 2016 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship final on May 1.
Midfielder Khaleem Hyland is keen for T&T to benefit from the experience of playing in South America.
“It’s going to be a difficult game because they are at home and they will be on a high heading off to the Copa America, but we are really looking forward to the contest,” said the 26-year-old. “We are just focusing on the game at hand. It is a good opportunity, as coach has been saying, for some of the younger players to get themselves familiar with the game at this level and we will be looking to take everything we can from the outing.
“It will be important for us to stay disciplined and compact for as long as possible. We will have our work cut out but I am certain we can put on a good showing to start off the three matches.”
T&T will face Uruguay on May 27, before heading to Asia.