Trinidad and Tobago Under 17 Boys Football team will have to be at their playing best in their bid to be one of the four teams to qualify out of next year’s CONCACAF 12-team Championship for their Age Group World Cup finals to take place also next year in Chile.
At the Official Draw for the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship yesterday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago were potted in Group A for preliminary-phase competition with the USA, hosts Honduras, Jamaica, Cuba and either El Salvador or Guatemala who have a playoff in January.
Trinidad and Tobago had qualified for the February 27 to March 15th 12-team CONCACAF Championship after finishing fifth of the eight teams that contested their Caribbean Football Union’s championship in Haiti in October.
The TT lads were being backed to earn TT a third Caribbean championship title after their national women’s team and the Boys Under-20 had succeeded in the regional finals played in Trinidad.
Last month the TT men’s team also failed to make it a hattrick of Caribbean titles when beaten in the final by Jamaica in Jamaica.
The TT Under-17s, several players likely to be drawn from the just concluded Secondary Schools championship, are likely to head to Mexico for a training stint as part of their preparations for the CONCACAF Challenge.
The TT Boys Under-20 team will however be the first in World Cup qualifying action in 2015 as they are to head to Jamaica for the CONCACAF Championship, also a four-team Word Cup qualifier, in January.
Honduras Group B teams for the CONCACAF Under 17 finals are Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St Lucia and Costa Rica.
The top team from each group after round-robin play advance to the World Cup and the other two will be determined by the results of the final day elimination matches.
The new CONCACAF Under-17 Men’s tournament format has increased the number of set games to five for each competing nation, up from two in previous editions of the Championship. The new format has been created to favor development and competition.
Mexico is the defending CONCACAF under-17 champion, having claimed the title in the previous edition of the championship, in Panama in 2013.