Trinidad and Tobago’s men football team took a beating from Jamaica in last night’s Caribbean Football Union Cup final in Montego Bay, and with it, a missed opportunity to be the third national team from the twin-island state to win a regional title this year.
Of some significance too is that the TT loss came on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the failure of the Strike Squad TT men’s team to earn the draw needed against the USA to qualify for the 1990 World Cup finals held in Italy.
The USA broke the hearts of Trinidad and Tobago with a 1-nil win on the Hasely CRwaford Stadium Ground in Port-of Spain.
In August this year in Trinidad, the TT women’s team beat all opposition to win the Caribbean women’s crown and a month later the TT Under-20 Boys team also swept off with the regional title in the tournament finals also staged in Trinidad.
The TT Boys Under-17 team finished out of the top four in their Caribbean finals held in Haiti last month, failing to land the nation triple Caribbean success and last night the TT men also came up short.
All four TT teams have however progressed to the CONCACAF next round of competition as a result of their respective placings with the women’s team already completing their CONCACAF challenge and currently engaged in qualifying for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Canada.
The TT women’s team have a December 2 home date against Ecuador in a final leg match that will qualify the winner for the World Cup.
While the TT men’s team along with the other top three finishers from their Caribbean Cup championship – Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba – are qualified for next year’s CONCACAF championship, they do not have World Cup qualifying on their schedule just yet.
But the two Boys teams – the Under-20s and the Under 17s – have CONCACAF World Cup qualifying schedules in Jamaica and Chile next year.
The Jamaican men team’s victory, 4-3 on kicks from the penalty spot after a goalless draw, was thought by the Jamaicans to be revenge for the TT women’s team beating of their women’s side in their Caribbean final in Trinidad in August.
The TT loss in last night’s final was the second straight runner up finish in the Caribbean championship as Cuba had beaten TT 1-0 in the 2012 final in Antigua.
There was disappointment all around in the T&T dressing room and at the team hotel afterwards but Hart told his players that they must take the experience with them and use it to their benefit going forward.
Jamaica’s success last night gave them the automatic ticket to the 2015 Copa America (by invitation) and the 2016 Centennial Copa America to be staged in the USA.
T&T can still qualify for the 2015 Copa America but will have to do so by finishing among the two play-off winners from the four highest finishers in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup or finish winners of the 2015 Gold Cup.
The team returns home at 11 pm on today on Copa Airlines via Panama City.