The Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain should be brimming with youthful verve tomorrow evening as a youthful Trinidad and Tobago squad host a similarly fresh-faced Finnish outfit in a warm-up match from 5 pm.
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The Trinidad and Tobago senior squad is preparing for this June’s Digicel Caribbean Cup in Antigua and Barbuda while Finland opens its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign this September against France.
Only two Finnish players, midfielders Daniel Sjolund and Kasper Hamalainen, have more than ten international caps each as coach Mixu Paatelainen has travelled with a young and largely home-based team.
The host nation, with an eye on the Olympic qualifying series in March, has included 10 under-23 players in its 20-man squad. Three of the remaining players, San Juan Jabloteh’s Willis Plaza, Defence Force’s Richard Roy and St Clair Coaching School’s Keon Boucher, are debutantes.
W. Connection holding midfielder Clyde Leon is the most experienced player for either side with 38 caps while T&TEC goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, DirecTV North East Stars defender Seon Power and Caledonia AIA striker Devorn Jorsling will add know-how to the “Soca Warriors”. Phillips will wear the captain’s armband in place of absent Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones.
The national senior team is coached by former “Strike Squad” stand-out Hutson “Barber” Charles and Olympic team coach Angus Eve, who remains the most capped player in Trinidad and Tobago’s history with 117 outings and 34 goals.
On the opposite bench, Paatelainen was a burly international striker in his playing days and was a teammate and close friend of local icon Russell Latapy at Scottish top flight club, Hibernian.
Marvin Phillip, Andre Marchan, Leslie Russell, Curtis Gonzales, Mekeil Williams, Seon Power, Akeem Adams, Joevin Jones, Clyde Leon, Jean Luc Rochford, Sean De Silva, Atulla Guerra, Aquil Selby, Hayden Tinto, Kevin Molino, Kendall Jagdeosingh, Devorn Jorsling, Willis Plaza, Richard Roy, Keon Boucher.