PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC– New Zealand football team is eagerly anticipating their showdown with Trinidad and Tobago when the two teams meet in a friendly international here tonight.
The players were scheduled to arrive in Port-Of-Spain Sunday night from Houston, USA, where they drew a training fixture against MLS club Chivas on Saturday.
“We’re all set for our first trip to Trinidad and Tobago and the match itself has a lot of significance, not just for us in preparing for the World Cup play-off but also for Trinidad and Tobago and Akeem Adams,” said New Zealand’s press officer Seamus Marten in reference to the Trinidadian defender fighting for his life in Hungary following a heart attack.
“We were very sorry to hear of his circumstances”.
New Zealand, the Oceania World Cup qualifying winners, is preparing to play the fourth-placed CONCACAF team in a home-and-away play-off.
The winners will qualify for the 2014 World Cup Finals, in Brazil.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Trinidad and Tobago, we saw them in Saudi Arabia last month and they’re a very good side,” said New Zealand head coach Ricki Herbert.
“More importantly, it’s CONCACAF opposition on their home soil, and we’ll be able to see how we go travelling in a couple days before the match.”
The Soca Warriors were scheduled to have their final training session at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar last evening.
Head coach Stephen Hart says preparations have been intense as players try to stake a claim for a spot in today’s starting eleven.
“You can see the intensity and the willingness to work hard throughout which is what we want from the players,” Hart said.
“Despite this being a friendly, the players realise it’s an important preparation game for us because, again, we are building for the 2018 World Cup campaign”.