Trinidad & Tobago to host Panama in friendly

(ABOVE) Trinidad & Tobago poses for a team photo prior to its meeting with Jamaica in the 2014 Caribbean Cup final.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Trinidad & Tobago will welcome Panama to the Hasely Crawford Stadium for a men’s international friendly on March 27, the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association announced Thursday.

The match will be part of both teams’ preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will take place throughout the United States in July.

“We are extremely grateful for this game,” said Trinidad head coach Stephen Hart.  “It is an opportunity to play a CONCACAF team that I consider one of the top 5 in the region.  They have invested wisely in their football and let’s not forget they were finalists at the Gold Cup in 2013, losing narrowly to the host nation USA.”

Hart expects to have his team in camp as the T&T Pro League concludes on March 20.

“March is the only official FIFA date until June so Panama will be the first phase of preparations for the Gold Cup,” he noted.  “Finally I can use the game to evaluate local based players, whom through their performances, deserve the opportunity to display their ability in an international setting and fight for selection.”

Trinidad & Tobago earned a Gold Cup place after finishing as runner-up to Jamaica in the 2014 Caribbean Cup.