Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s football team will commence its 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaign in November after being seeded among the top six teams in the region by CONCACAF. The Soca Warriors, based on its ranking in August 2014, will join the US, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Honduras as the Confederation’s top six teams for Round Four.
For Round Four, the six Round Three winners will join six top seeds and the 12 teams will be grouped into three round-robin, home-and-away groups of four teams. The six group winners and runner-ups will then advance to Round Five which is the Final Round of CONCACAF qualification for the Russia 2018 World Cup Finals.
Round Four, T&T’s opening round in the campaign will, run from November 2015 to September 2016 and the Final Round will be staged between November 2016 and October 2017. qualifying three CONCACAF nations directly to the FIFA World Cup and providing a further intercontinental playoff spot for the fourth-placed team.
The match-ups and groupings for Rounds Three, Four and Five of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying will be determined at the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Draw in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 25, 2015.
TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee commented on T&T’s seeding saying he was extremely pleased to be ranked among the top six of the Confederation which he said was evidence of the progress made by the “Soca Warriors” under Stephen Hart who was introduced as head coach in June 2013 under his leadership of the TTFA.
“It’s indeed pleasant news for us that we are seeded among the top six nations in all of CONCACAF but it’s also a revelation that our journey officially begins this year based on the format and the dates released by the confederation for qualification for Russia 2018,” Tim Kee told TTFA Media.
“Therefore, while we have already commenced the planning stages for our campaign and our team has been active, finishing second in the Caribbean Cup and qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year, there is a lot to be done to ensure we continue to be on the right path in relation to our preparations for what will by all means be a rigorous qualifying campaign.
“The Team has to be adequately prepared which means there is a critical need for training camps, training matches and an overall program supported by all the stakeholders. Our national team deserves all that is required for us to be successful in the quest for Russia 2018 and rightly so, we shall make every effort to see this happen,” Tim Kee added.
National senior team head coach Stephen Hart, currently in Jamaica with the national Under 20 team, also spoke about the format, adding that intense preparations including international games would have to be a part of the national team’s program between now and the start of its 2018 campaign.
“The draw is a double edge sword. On one had we avoid the early qualifications where anything can happen, but once your games come around you have to be mindful of the fact that you are playing teams that have been playing competitive international games. That being said, it is a more favourable position to be in,” Hart told TTFA Media.