Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica Prepare
The Trinidad & Tobago under-17 national team will have at least five warm-upmatches over the next few weeks before they open the FIFA Under-17 World Championship against Croatia on 13 September.
The Junior "Soca Warriors," who recently returned back home from visits to Germany and France on Wednesday, will play a trio of full international friendlies in the days leading to the opener, against Antigua & Barbuda's youngsters on 1 September, the Paraguay under-17 national team on 4 September and Oman's U-17s on 7 September.
T&T will also face off against their senior national team counterparts on 24 August, while playing an all-star team from a local tournament on Sunday 19 August. Matches against local professional clubs will also be arranged.
"The European tour was, as expected, a great lesson for the boys. We playedagainst older ones and it gave us a hard time," said TTFF Technical DirectorRené Simoes. "This is better than beating weak teams and then maybe notimproving towards the World Cup games. Beating weak opposition may give usgood propaganda but in the future will cause us a lot of unhappiness."
Meanwhile, two daily training sessions, tours of some of the hottest places in Central America and the Caribbean, and friendlies against local sidesmake up the work schedule for the Costa Rican under-17 national team, whoopen against Iran on 15 September.
The ticos recently took a trip to Puerto Rico, where they played three matches against local sides. Costa Rica had a rather easy time of it, starting with a 5:1 victory, and following that with wins of 9:0 and 3:0.
Despite the low level of competition that they faced, Costa Rica U-17 coach Juan Diego Quesada feels that the tour of Puerto Rico was beneficial because it served to unite the team and give the players experience in playing in a climate similar to what they will have to deal with in Trinidad & Tobago.
In the weeks leading up to the trip to Trinidad, Costa Rica will host a four-team tournament that will include the U-17 national teams from Ecuador, Argentina, and one team that is yet to be determined.