North East Stars striker Cornell Glen is the only Digicel Pro League addition to Trinidad and Tobago’s Caribbean Cup finals training squad while six foreign-based players have also been included as the “Soca Warriors” campaign for their first CONCACAF Gold Cup berth in six years.
At present, 27 footballers were called up to train with the national squad although 20 players will be selected tomorrow while the squad departs on Wednesday morning for the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals in Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean Cup kicks off on December 7 and the top four teams advance automatically to the 2013 Gold Cup, which begins on 7 July 2013 in the United States.
The 32-year-old Glen, who played professionally for six US Major League Soccer (MLS) teams including Los Angeles Galaxy and the New York/New Jersey Metrostars, would hope to be there after forcing his way into contention with a flying start to the Pro League season.
Glen is the leading scorer in the top flight so far this term with eight of the 18 goals scored by Stars in all competition, despite being hampered by a niggling groin strain that curtailed his playing time. He is one of two World Cup 2006 survivors in the training squad along with Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA playmaker Densill Theobald.
Defenders Robert Primus and Daneil Cyrus and attacker Willis Plaza have also rejoined the Warriors after missing the Caribbean Cup semifinal phase. Primus, who plays for FC Aktobe in Kazakhstan, was out injured while Cyrus and Plaza were on trial with Vietnam team, Song Lam Nghe.
DIRECTV W Connection owner David John Williams told Wired868.com that Plaza, Cyrus and midfielder Hughtun Hector have all decided to risk their Vietnam careers to play at the Caribbean Cup finals.
Song Lam Nghe revealed, via electronic correspondence, that the trio will only be signed after the tournament if they return to Vietnam in good health.
Twenty-two-year-old Orlando City attacking midfielder Kevin Molino is another player whose short-term career prospects depend on him emerging from the regional tournament unscathed. Molino spent much of the past two months on trial with several clubs around Europe and hopes to secure a move from the United States A’ League when the international transfer window re-opens in January.
Trinidad and Tobago’s other new foreign-based inclusions are Lester Peltier, who is employed by Slovan Bratislavia in Slovakia, and Cordell Cato from US Major League Soccer (MLS) team Seattle Sounders. Cato and Peltier are both improbably fast right wingers.
Once more, Philadelphia Union playmaker Keon “Skillachi” Daniel misses out in bizarre circumstances. At just 25 years of age, Daniel has amassed an impressive 54 international caps with 12 goals but the MLS player does not appear keen to add to them.
After cutting off all communication with the technical staff and his own agent for the duration of the semifinal phase, Daniel was tracked down by new head coach Jamaal Shabazz last week. The left-footed playmaker was in Trinidad and Tobago and, in a telephone call, he declared an interest to join the team training.
He was not heard from since.
“There is still no word from Keon Daniel,” national team manager William Wallace told Wired868. “He is AWOL (absent without leave) as far as we are concerned.”
Columbus Crew midfielder Kevan George, who represented the national under-23 squad earlier this year, will also miss out on the Caribbean Cup finals as he could not join the team in time to be assessed by the technical staff. He remains available for national selection, though, and is likely to earn his senior debut next year.
Wallace did have some good news for the Warriors as, last Friday, he finally received outstanding match fees and stipends for the players due from the Sport Ministry since the preliminary qualifying round in St Kitts and Nevis almost two months ago.
Wallace hopes to collect payments owed from the semifinal phase in Tobago by tomorrow and is anxious to also receive the relevant fees and stipends for the upcoming Antigua trip in advance.
The Warriors began training on Saturday morning and meet again from 5 pm this evening at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar. The only absentees are Peltier and Molino who both arrive from Europe today and are expected in tomorrow’s session.
The full training squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (W Connection), Marvin Phillip (Central FC)
Defenders: Kareem Moses, Seon Power (both North East Stars), Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps—Canada), Robert Primus (FC Aktobe—Kazakhastan), Daneil Cyrus (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Aubrey David (Caledonia AIA), Kern Cupid (W Connection),
Midfielders: Clyde Leon, Jeovin Jones (both W Connection), Densill Theobald, Keyon Edwards, Ataullah Guerra (all Caledonia AIA), Kevin Molino (Orlando—US), Hughtun Hector (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Cordell Cato (Seattle Sounders—US), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), Kevon Carter (Defence Force), Kendall Jagdeosingh (Chainat FC—Thailand),
Forwards: Devorn Jorsling, Richard Roy (both Defence Force), Cornell Glen (North East Stars), Jamal Gay (Caledonia AIA), Willis Plaza (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Hashim Arcia (W Connection)
Editor’s Note: Story updated to include note on Kevan George. What do you think of the Caribbean Cup shortlist?