Boyz coach Hallgrimsson braces for 'tough, physical' Trinidad
Reggae Boyz Head Coach Heimer Hallgrimsson (right) makes a point during Friday's training session at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.Photo: Paul Reid

CATHERINE HALL, St James — Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says his team will be expecting a "tough physical game" when the Reggae Boyz take on Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago at the Montego Bay Sports Complex today, starting at 6:00 pm. This will see the Icelander's in his first game as head coach on Jamaican soil.

Hallgrimsson, who coached the team in a few overseas assignments last year, would not divulge his starting team for the first game of the two-match series but told reporters at Friday's final training session at the match venue that winning the game would be one of the points of "emphasis" while also making sure that the coaching staff sees as many players in meaningful playing time as possible.

He hinted that today's starting team could be built around the local players who he had worked with for a longer time and who he said "know what we want".

The Trinidad and Tobago team that arrived in Kingston and were expected to train at the match venue Friday evening is expected to be "physical maybe intimidating".

"So, it's gonna be a tough match. From statistics I think everything is equal; the wins between Trinidad and Jamaica, I think it's all equal so it's going to be an equal match, for sure," said Hallgrimsson.

Winning today's game before Tuesday's second encounter at the National Stadium, the coach said, was one of the aims of the team as they look ahead, especially with the qualification for the CONCACAF Gold Cup coming up.

"Yeah, that would be the aim for all our games, to win, of course. It's the kind of preparation for the Mexico match. It's a preparation for the future as well," he said, but added "so we're not solely just focused on winning the match. We would like to see some players and we will rotate the team for sure, so we can only focus on the score in the game because afterwards we don't want to only see 11 players play, we like to see most of the players take some part in in these matches and see them play and give them give them action time."

Hallgrimsson said they were taking everything into consideration as they observed the players and their attitudes on the field and off.

"It's about performance but for me is more to see all the players, give them a chance to stake a claim and be in the next squad against Mexico, for example, and then in the Gold Cup in the summer — so we'll have to give everyone a run out, at least.

"But it's not only about what you do in the 90 minutes or in the 50 minutes you get. It's about also how you behave in the squad, how you behave and in the hotel, how you (you know) participate in the training session and in the meeting," he noted.

The coach said the limited time with some of the players, especially those coming from overseas, had not been enough and said he was "not comfortable" with everything after Thursday's session at Catherine Hall.

"Of course you would like to have a longer preparation but I think yesterday [Thursday] went well. I think they were quick from our meeting before the session and then the session, it went quite well," said Hallgrimsson.

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

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