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Interactive: Should Warriors go for youth or experience at Gold Cup?

I respect the readers, contributors, commentators and bloggers on Wired868, so I am throwing out a topic for discussion which can provoke a lot of thought among the national senior team’s coaching staff.

I have not approached the job of joint national team coach with any fear of being fired although I have learnt, from the top coaches in the world, that the one sure thing about coaching is that one day you will be fired. My life has always had a portion of danger, adventure and living on the edge.

Trinidad and Tobago’s football is at a most interesting juncture.

We are out of the 2014 World Cup, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation is struggling financially and heavily dependent on Government funding and we have certainly dropped from where we were and promised to be going since 2006.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago has needed its football fans more than ever over the last 12 months. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago has needed its football fans more than ever over the last 12 months.
(Courtesy Wired868)

In a quietly and unassuming manner, Hutson Charles, as interim coach, started the rebuilding process and qualified for the CFU Finals through two preliminary rounds despite the sneers and steups from the skeptics, financial woes in St Kitts and a scary draw with St Vincent in Tobago.

Enter Jamaal Shabazz: the proverbial prodigal returned not as head coach, not as an adviser but as joint coach; an innovative solution for an immediate problem.

Hutson Charles had done well but needed a bit more experience. Shabazz had one more month left on his loan contract to Guyana. So why not bring him back and see if it could work?

Hutson and I knew each other and have had a great relationship since 1981, which is before most of the players on the current national were born.

So now, amidst steups and hysterics from my haters, we have achieved our objective to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time since 2007. We have a totally local staff too, so I feel that my trip to Guyana to prove that Caribbean coaches are ready to lead their national teams was not an exercise in futility.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Seon Power (second from left) sprints in to join the celebration as the "Soca Warriors" qualified for the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals in Antigua. (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Seon Power (second from left) sprints in to join the celebration as the “Soca Warriors” qualified for the 2012 Caribbean Cup finals in Antigua.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Wired868)

Our qualification to the Gold Cup gives us a good short term opportunity to continue to have our players exposed to the highest level of football in our region as does playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, which is vital for our clubs.

So this what I am asking the readers: In your view should we go to the Gold Cup with our most experienced squad as Leo Beenhakker did when he took Trindad and Tobago to the Germany 2006 World Cup?

Or should we take youngsters with a view of molding a team for the 2018 World Cup? Or should we go with a mixture of both?

Each position has its pros and cons since results at this stage may be just as important to us as development. Good results at the Gold Cup will elevate our country in the FIFA rankings and enable our players to get work permits for the better leagues in Europe (like England) and not Finland as some bloggers whipped me about.

I have my own views and most definitely so will co-head coach Hutson Charles. But I have learnt from the late great Lloyd Best that we can learn so much from a difference of opinion coming out of intelligent discussion.

So what are your views?

Jamaal Shabazz

Humble Servant

 

Editor’s Note: Readers can interact directly with Trinidad and Tobago co-head coach Jamaal Shabazz by leaving messages in the Comments section. Tell us why you prefer youth or experience at the 2013 Gold Cup.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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30 comments

  1. Good day brother.

    This a very brave step into the grey area of thought and decision making. I am not one of the fans who knows all of the players available or their ability, position, stats so my contribution will be simple. I am however a professional and academic with some experience in Education and HR and I have managed a Club at Zone and one year of Super League football so I understand building teams and learning.

    The human penchant for instant gratification will and has not escaped football. Fans want results NOW. But in Gold cup year without the talent to make definite assault on a final placing and in a World Cup qualifier year which T&T have not qualified to be a part of, with little money available and the politics of the TTFF/Gov’t etc. The focus must be on selecting a team that speaks to clear future measurable goals. A team with the right talent to fit into a clear philosophy and brand of National football. A team fitted with starters in all key positions and with built in equally talented subs/ reserves that cater for unavailability, misfits, injury, ‘horses for courses’ and place us in a position to challenge for every available regional title in the shortest possible time, in addition to qualifying for the next world cup.

    Only a focus on youth sprinkled with the experience that will stand to lead, coach and mentor that youth,knowing they may very well be replace by them soon, can achieve those goals.

    Finally the TTFF President must be bold and must create an independent TTFF that is honest, transparent and financially viable. They- the TTFF must resist the temptation to run after instant results or to turn to foreign coaches as soon as money is available and the public thirst for results calls for instant changes. Coaches, staff and players alike must be set clear achievable performance criteria and be measured against these regularly to drive future selection.

  2. There is no right or wrong suggestion coming out of these discussions. Truth is that we have an abundance of talent that just needs to be harnessed. Personally i would go with a youthful side since in top teams we see young players that are hungry and disciplined. Example Aguero, Bale, Messi, El Sharaaway, Alaba, Hazard, Reus, Oscar, Kroos they can perform at the highest levels . We hardly give youths a chance at an international level and sometimes they only made the bench. Only now we can see some new exciting talents and we do have quite a few. My starting team may be deemed radical but can be ‘Barcelona like’ in the future as these players have potential to play on the highest level possible if they believe.

    J Michael Williams

    Power Mitchell Bateau Jones

    Hyland

    Molino Guerra

    Peltier Winchester Hector

    Bench:
    M.Lewis
    K.Carter
    H.Tinto
    K.Daniel
    J. Britto
    C.Cato
    J.James

  3. Hi again, reading some comments seem to suggest tasks for the coaching and technical arm, i took for granted that the age we are in and the information available that there would be no need to suggest such things. Should there be need to suggest this then we have the wrong people there, listen no coachin staff sent to any competition can say they cannot research the opposition properly, or should they be limited in this aspect if you have to do your home work then so be it.

    The staff given to the head coaches have their work cut out, they have to provide 2013 type support for the coaches in terms of preperation, a coach should only have to worry about “coaching” nothing else! it is the responsibility of his staff to solve all other obstacles which may arise prior, during and after, this tournament and come up with ready soloutions. Have we sent anyone to look at the teams coming to the gold cup, the type of players and systems needed for the first round, what will we do when we advance, or are we going there to “play”? Listen everyone on our staff should be analysing down to the equipment manager to put out a professional team, each manager has to concentrate on the task assigned to him and make the job of “COACH” simple.

  4. Recall Scott Sealy

  5. Most certainly we need a mixture of experience and youth. The experienced players still give our team a bit of credibility and worry of concern for other coaches. They might not live up to such expectations on the field. It also gives the younger players a confidence booster rubbing shoulders with the overseas players that play at a high level week in week out. The reason Leo stood out from all the other coaches we have had was his team management. Looking on as a spectator he was never worried to do the difficult thing by placing the correct team (in his opinion) on the field. The fact that we were at the biggest stage and one of our most decorated players played about 20minutes (Russell Latapy). Saying this, the like of Kenwyne Jones needs to be around the team to offer his experience. But the staff must not be afraid to place him on the bench to make the statement that it’s all about the best player for the team.

    Saying this we are on the right track. Good luck to the staff

  6. Hillan Cadena Morean

    Thank you for the opportunity to share Coach. However, to simply leave it to the vagaries of youth or experience leave other parameters unchecked. As such, i believe the factors much be approached scientifically, with the team taking stock of the teams we will be up against, the type of football or strategies these teams use, and as such, taking the right people who can conduct the task of breaking up these teams’ buildup and imprinting our own buildup that we want to control and not be forced into. As such, it is literally a functional equation for each game, using sets of players who have specific capabilities, or multiple capabilities, which make them even more valuable and adds versatility to team. Whether these persons be 17 or 32, is up to the recognition of the staff.

  7. Mr Shabazz, thank you for your response. I appreciate your candor and willingness to communicate your thoughts and philosophies regarding football to the people. This open forum is a welcomed and refreshing approach and one I hope will be continued whenever your busy schedule permits.

    Regarding the foreign based, you rightly stated that all players cannot get a chance all at the same time, so it is my hope that some new faces will be selected in the upcoming friendlies. As mentioned by others and myself, it will be great if Chris Birchall, Andre Boucaud, Sheanon Williams, Robert Primus etc can get a look in the upcoming friendlies.

    Oh…it is rumoured that there is some bad blood between the TTFF and Terry Fenwick. As you already know, Terry is a very good coach and has been instrumental in the development of many of our young players. Can we please let bygones be bygones and include coaches like Terry into our national setup for the betterment of our football.

    Thanks and guidance.

  8. Jamaal Shabazz

    I am not surprised by the intelligence and the passion of your comments and it stimulates thought which really excites me. I am not a true true blogger but I will try to make myself available and have Hutson Charles also address some of the issues you have raised. By way of response, I have tried to categorize the main points from your contributions.
    Participation by the people
    To quote from Pink Panther while we must see the “leadership” I think a part of management that has been taken away from the people by dictatorships is participation. We have seen people move from fighting for the people to oppressing the people all because of lack of consultation and usurping the rights of the people to forum. This is why chat rooms are so full today and social media helped produce a successful ‘Arab Spring’.
    While the Joint Head Coaches and the one with the final veto power has the final say, I think it is important for the football fans to have their say and demonstrate that interest by talking freely.
    We will not always agree but it is in difference of opinion we as coaches get to see different angles and for me it aids problem solving.

    Open to Journalists and Bloggers for Difficult Questions as Team Selection
    I think that is a fair request and I will as far as humanly possible adhere to this request. However I do not know if or when I sign a contract with the Federation, if I will be restricted in treating with the public in this way.
    The TTFF has a media department and there is a tendency to channel things via that route. However I will fight for that right to answer and pray that I do not end up like the old politicians, who promise a new way but it’s just the foxes telling us let’s runaway from the wolves.
    But bear with me remembering that sometimes it gets very hectic.
    Also I cannot promise to go too in depth as with some selections or omissions one cannot go into detail.

    Philosophy of Play
    For this staff, it is a work in progress but we have a Technical Director and we are at a moment where we need to sit down with some of the top coaches in the country and agree on training methods, especially at youth level, so that in the future we have a definite approach to the game. Both Coaches currently have bought into the philosophy based on ball possession, defending deep against tough opponents and choosing our moments to press.
    Generally also one’s philosophy has to be guided by modern tactical trends and methods of preparation, since fitness levels, amount of time spent with the players and the way they have developed also plays a key role.

    B Internationals
    B Internationals are important and certainly a way to give exposure to local and North American based players. However we need to work with the Pro League and the club owners and coaches in setting such schedules so it does not affect the integrity of the league fixtures.
    We have the greatest respect for the Pro League and we need to work with it not against it.

    Foreign Based and Foreign Born
    Where players are born has been one of the hottest issues in modern football and any half decent coach will not focus too much on where a player was born but on what he or she can bring to the table based on their eligibility. The current staff does not have an agenda for or against and we will continue to give consideration to all with the knowledge that everyone cannot get a chance all at the same time. In trying to make an omelette for the National Program we will break a few eggs and at times some of it will end up all over our fingers, hands and even faces.
    We have seen Don Leo criticized for not using our hero Latapy except for once in the World Cup and some said he failed to give the locals a chance. He did an approach that he thought was best suited for the job at hand. At the end of the day, he had the final say and ultimate responsibility for those decisions.

    In conclusion the ball is now in the court of Hutson and myself and I have opened up this avenue because in some cases we will not be chained by traditions. Sir Alex or Mr Guardiola or any of the top coaches in the world need not use such a forum as I have opened. Nor do they have to bless it for us to give it credence.
    We are a free people coming out of colonialism and can innovate and come up with our own ideas of reaching the people and gaining consensus and even advice.
    Feel free to agree or disagree.
    Jamaal Shabazz
    humble Servant

    • well i have read a lot of comments about our national team,and some of these truly make a lot of sense. it is also good to see the present coach reaching out to the public about the public’s views. anyway, the public needs to understand that you may go the stadium and see a player perform brilliantly but then u have to take into consideration the opposition he played against, whether it was a strong team or a weak team, before you leave saying why he is not on the national team…
      another problem i notice over the years with our national team is they pick an 18 or 22 man squad but if they have an injury and have to draft a player outside of the original team, for what ever reason that player always comes in and plays in front of players that were on the original 18 or 22 man squad. that shows that our coaching staff, after picking a team, don’t have confidence in the rest of the squad they sat down and pick.
      now we asking for youths to be on our national team, i have no problem with that, but the fact remains where are our youths playing? some of them same youths you’re calling for don’t even play for their respective clubs on a regular basis to gain the experience and we want to send them to the gold cup? really think about the other countries that will be in the gold cup and they have players playing in some of the biggest leagues, so we have to be very careful about the percentage of youths that we take to the gold cup and not forgetting we haven’t been to the gold cup for a long time.
      and i must end by saying i hope the coaches get all the resources needed going in to the gold cup and the administration stays out of player selection and for the players who are selected to truly play for the red, white and black.

  9. This is something refreshing to see and I’m grateful for the forum. I must first congratulate the coaches for the hard work they have put into this team so far. However there is still a lot of work to be done. Sitting in the stands watching the Peru game, I was very impressed by the organization of the team on the pitch as well as the willingness to attack and run at the Peruvians when the opportunity arose and the attempt at movement on the field. We certainly created enough chances in the game to escape with a win or at least a draw.
    Heading to the Gold Cup, i think while we have a few budding youngsters. It would be foolish to ignore that the team is crying out for experience. Now this doesn’t guarantee that they will all be starters but it would improve the level and quality in the team as well as ensure the trading of valuable knowledge. Mr Shabazz now i understand that you are trying to implement a national selection policy, however i believe that our player/talent pool is too limited to select players primarily because of who they play for or because they are currently without a club as most Professionals will generally keep themselves fit when out of contract. I refer in particular to the likes of Jason Scotland, Chris Birchall, Collin Samuels and Jake Thompson. These players have played at extremely high levels of football and deserve, if available, at least an opportunity to prove if they are worthy of making the cut rather than it be left to speculation.
    Now I know many eyes have been raised at my suggestion of Scotland but the 33yearold while maybe unrealistic for 2018 is still active playing in the English 1st division for his new club Barnsley where he has so far scored 3 goals in 3 appearances. Worth a shot? I certainly think so and i believe that with enough interest in his services the striker will be tempted out of international retirement. So in general, we do need a lot of experienced players in key positions however we should ensure that the youngsters like Hyland, Guerra, Jones (Joevin) are continued to be nurtured and again good job so far guys.

  10. I think we need to pick the best players. If we win some games it will help raise our profile again as well as our FIFA rankings, which will help the younger players move abroad in the future.
    In my opinion, there’s no sense picking a lot of young players just because they are young. What if some of the players dont progress? Then that plan would be a waste of time and our FIFA ranking would plummet. I agree with the previous user who stated that we should call up some of the foreign born players. As you have stated, the player must have pride when he wears the shirt and i believe Birchall epitomises this. He may have skipped the Carib cup but every time he wears the shirt he plays as hard as any local based or foreign based player. If possible Sheanon Williams is a must, he plays all four positions in the back four and it is actually a surprise that the US hasn’t capped him yet. Boucaud has played well in league 1 this season and i believe we’d all agree that League 1 is of a higher standard than the pro league, he deserves a call up.

    I do believe that there are some young players that should be incorporated. I don’t get to watch the pro league so i have judged these players on their performances in the pan american games, CONCACAF u23 and champions league. Winchester, Mekeil Williams, Joevin Jones, Cyrus, Cato and possibly Kevan George if he receives playing time with the Crew this year, should be there.

    The pro league players i would include are Joevin Jones, Ataullah Guerra, Daneil Cyrus, Jan-Michael Williams, Marvin Phillip & Cleon John. These are players who have impressed me in the champions league, carib cup and friendlies.

    Here is my 23 man roster for the 2013 Gold cup:

    Goalkeepers
    Jan-Michael Williams
    Marvin Phillip
    Cleon John

    Defenders
    Sheldon Bateau
    Carlyle Mitchell
    Daneil Cyrus
    Mekeil Williams
    Jlloyd Samuel
    Sheanon Williams
    Robert Primus

    Midfielders
    Carlos Edwards
    Kevan George
    Ataullah Guerra
    Khaleem Hyland
    Keon Daniel
    Lester Peltier
    Joevin Jones
    Andre Boucaud
    Chris Birchall

    Forwards
    Kenwyne Jones
    Shahdon Winchester
    Darryl Roberts
    Cordell Cato

    As of today the average age of this team is 24.4. So there is indeed a lot of youth in this team.

    As for Keon, i know his inclusion will be controversial however we lack creative MF’s in fact only Keon and Guerra are concacaf quality in my opinion.

  11. I think we should go with a mixture of both youth and experience as the older heads like say Carlos for example would be able to guide the Sheldons & the Daneils who are the future of the team.
    I also believe we need to look at calling more of our overseas based players, while I understand that the TTFF is low on funds and this would make scouting next to impossible, we need to call the birchalls and the thompsons who know what it means to wear the shirt and bleed for it and let that be a lesson to the Keon Daniels out there that only if u are willing to to work would u be called to play!

  12. Sherron Charles

    In my personal opinion, there should be a mixture of youth and experience. My reason for this is that even though we’re in transitional period discarding the veterans (even the ones who realistically can’t contribute in 5 years) would put strain on our young players. The older heads can mentor them and also make the younger ones fight harder for international caps. One who has to work hard for his reward will treasure it more when he receives it.

    What need to be established 1st is which veterans are worth keeping. Certain Questions should be asked e.g. is this veteran model professional who we would younger players looking up to? Is he heads and shoulders above what is available locally? Just to mention a few. Bottom line is that there must be long term reason why certain veterans should be kept around. Youngsters, around the age of 18, who are hot prospects now but should be approaching their prime in 2018
    should be granted spots on the Gold Cup roster to get tournament experience even if they are not granted any playing time

  13. I think we should go with a side primarily of youths…I.e our core should be centred around at least 6-7 youth players and do not disrupt this spine for 2yrs. This would allow the boys to form great team chemistry and build the necessary platform to launch for 2018 and return to our rightful position: Caribbean Kings

  14. i believe it has to be a mixture of both youth and experience but more importantly players who are competent in the positions that they selected for and as Jamal said in the Peru post match players who have proven that they have a hunger to represent the national team.

    we also need from the public the understanding that part of rebuilding is losing and that we can learn from those mistakes.

    the media also has to Point out the positives first and negatives last and from the coaches and players to understand that the media has to call a spade a spade.

    good job Jamal and Hudson all the best

  15. Peace be upon you , Leo had quality talent and experience available to him brother your talent pool is limited in terms of experience unless you give the unknown’s the experience, trust me follow France START OVER, do not build on that old house demolish it prepare the foundation and move on. We must ask ourselves what do we expect from the gold cup 1st, 2nd, fourth, second round exit, where do we realistically see our country placing with this crop of players, prepare them for 2018 brother, give them the exposure they need for big tournaments, so when we meet these same teams in qualifers we are not overwelmed playing infront big crouds. Take that first step in this long journey. Insha Allah.

  16. In typical Jamaal Shabazz style, he has requested the opinion of the general public with regard to the composition they would like to see taking the field for our national team. I had a chat with an amazing person two weeks ago and she said that the fans must also pay their dues. If they want to be a part of the process and talk as they like to, then they should be paying their money to come out and see the local boys, because most of them who like to talk don’t like to pay to see the same local boys play.

    Well that aside, I would use wisdon and say a combination of both. Why? Because experience, coupled with youth makes for a much better cocktail than youth alone or experience alone. The two may be able to feed off each other. Experience will know the play, youth will play the play.

    And I will stick in here that I do pay my dues and go out to the matches, so I feel confident that I can make a contribution to this discussion.

  17. We need a proper mix of both. The young guns need the experience going forward for us, but the young guns alone can’t do it, they need the experience to guide them, so a proper mixture of both, and this Gold Cup could very well be a nice experience for Trinidad and Tobago’s football. We should also not just focus on development but trying to make a note to get us some International recognition.

  18. I’d just like to say well done, Mr Shabazz!! It’s very refreshing that you seek the opinions of the supporters, and I’m sure this will help to put a positive vibe on their opinions. Of course, you guys will make your own decisions, but I do hope you will continue the dialogue and maybe explain one or two of your choices. As you say, a coaches job is always temporary (even Sir Alex would be under threat after a bad season!), but you can prolong your tenure by gaining the support of the fans. Your selection decisions are tricky as the best players to represent T&T at the old Cup will probably be too old for 2018. Personally, I would be selecting my 2018 first 14 and then supplementing them with the experienced guys for the Gold Cup. But, hey, what do I know? But like many others, I’d like to see you take another look at Birchall, as I believe his work rate will be a positive example to the youngsters. (Of course, I’m tempted to list a whole load of Sharks, but you’ll get to see them up close on Saturday lol)
    Keep up the good work and the interaction!!

  19. Depth is an area of our men’s national team that needs improvement, especially if some of our more influential players like Hughtun Hector might be absent from the Gold Cup. Players like Andre Boucaud (Notts County), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union), Kamani Hill, Robert Primus and Cordell Cato should be called up for the next round of friendlies to determine whether or not they can positively impact the team. Leave no stone unturned coach!

  20. I believe when going into a competitive match/competition we must choice our best team possible/available. We are too small to be choosy. Countries that are much bigger with more resources than us are spanning the globe for players, so who are we?
    Look at ALL players possible who can represent the country including foreign born. Look what Jamaica just did in Mexico. Who feels proud? ALL Jamaicans, those living at home and abroad.
    Remember whether trini or foreign born when these players put on the red white and black they are AMBASSADORS of Trinidad and Tobago
    On the other side depending on the coaches’ objectives, you can incorporate players you are looking at in friendlies.
    Finally Mr Shabazz I hope after the final team is selected you are open to both the journalist and bloggers about why certain players were picked and certain players left out. I personally find the TTFF and its coaches do a poor job in explaining their selection process and always giving us a spin why certain players were left out.
    Tell us the truth !!!! A player has a injury one day and playing for his club a few days after.
    Anyway Mr Shabazz best of everything to you and Mr Charles as you all prepare a team for the Gold Cup. There is no doubt in my mind that you give of your best for T&T. If it’s good enough? We’ll see.

  21. To Mr. Shabazz and Mr. Charles

    We the fans of the Trini Supporters Group would firstly like to thank you for steadying the sinking ship that was the TnT team and at least taking us to our first gold cup in years.

    Now down to business. The Gold Cup is a chance for our players to be part of a competitive tournament and live in a camp of competitive nature. This is key to restoring hunger and pride to the players that don the sacred red black and white, especially for the younger players who will shine the beacon to the future (firstly 2018)

    This tournament will show the inexperienced players a first hand look at many things such as how a team lives together , fights together, be together through a tournament of greater magnitude than say the Caribbean Cup where lets face it the level isnt that organized on and off the field. Some of these boys will see massive stadiums, crowds, consequences , passions they have never seen before.

    I propose to have a long sighted vision with this Gold Cup. Keep the core together and some of the experienced pro’s who hearts are in it 100%.. I repeat who hearts are in it 100%.. I speak of Kenwyne Jones with my barely subtle statement. Mr Jones has hardly shown any effort, care or pride towards his national team since arguably Beenhakker left when Jones was still hungry and itching to play.. Now we see a comfortable player with no ambition, collecting his cheque every week at Stoke and going home with ease and no care to pushing himself to the next level. Now we all know Jones has the capacity to be unplayable when he is fully up for it for club and or country. Beenhakker spent his pre match talk in Bahrain solely on him screaming Are you ready to run till you bleed in what is described as the most hair raising pre match discussion under his fruitful reign. What does it say? Beenhakker trusted 10 out of 11 players to give their all and didnt even have to ask them to but he had his doubts on a then “hungry” Jones to give his best and only used his motivation on him. He is a special case Kenwyne Jones and it is sad to see he has settled in 3rd gear most his career.

    Now I understand his call up due to a lack of strikers currently and he will give us some star quality when the team sheet is announced and maybe strike fear in our opposition. Please find a way for him to just give as much as he can for his country and really dig deep and be the premiership player he is supposed to be..and this does not mean award him with captaincy to boost his motivation.. its been tried under Pfister and failed miserably

    Jan Michael if fit and in FORM should be the captain. He is the example of leadership and I’m very happy with his reign as skipper thus far.

    As to who should be called up I do remind you we will need experience and leaders out there and one man who has given 110% for this country and been treated to hell and back post 2006 is Chris Birchall. A player who will be a great leader and friend to the younger inexperienced players. It is fair to reward Birchy a return to the national side for himself and the thousands of fans that want him to come back to give us that steel and heart in the engine room.

    Also I would like to see Joevin Jones used as a left back as he is naturally better suited there and will give us a real threat going forward as well. Sheldon Bateau and Cyrus are Center Backs and nothing more. They are not technically gifted enough of tactically disciplined to be playing right or left back. They will be very exposed at a higher level. Also Keyon Edwards as much as he is tidy in the pro league , another one that will be exposed at a higher level as we saw vs Peru and he isnt young enough to mould for the future. I rather a 23 year old get the exposure to learn from it now and help us later on when it really counts.

    Many of the notable u23 players should be around the squad as they will be the ones for the future campaigns .. players such as Sean De Silva, Leston Paul , Jean Luc Rochford, Jake Thompson etc . Invite them to upcoming friendlies and have a look afterall those are what friendly games are for… Have Mr Tim Kee set up a couple B Internationals and use local based, college based, US based players to expand your pool and selection list

    If you were to ask us to select a squad I would possibly pick a 23 of :

    JM Williams, M.Phillips

    C.Gonsalves, A.David, R.Primus, S.Power, C.Mitchell, D.Cyrus, S.Bateau J.Jones

    C.Edwards, K.Carter, L.Peltier, D.Theobald, K.Hyland, L.Paul, C.Birchall, A.Guerra, K.Molino

    K.Jones, D.Jorsling, R.Roy, J.Gay

    • I agree with this! Andre Boucaud (Notts County), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union), Kamani Hill (Colorado Rapids), Robert Primus, Cordell Cato, Meikel Williams (FC Fyn) and any other player who is willing to bleed for the Red White and Black should also get a look before the Gold Cup.

    • Totally Agree 100%!!!!!!!

      • In order to pick the best players you have to determine who are the best. Jamaica is doing their due diligence by giving every player an opportunity to show their worth in friendlies. And though they may collect licks in a few friendlies they are able weed out the sheep from the goat and play their best team in tournaments that count. e.g. Jamaica’s team that almost beat Mexico in Azteca last week.

        Don’t be a victim of the system Shabazz. You have to be objective in your selection of the team and give every player a chance to show their worth before the Gold Cup. You and coach Charles are doing a good job with what you currently have, but better can be done and there are more players to be seen.

        I agree that Andre Bocaud who is doing well for his new club and the American Sheanon williams who is a good right back are some of the players who should be called up for the upcoming friendlies.

        Stay positive!

  22. Saw some positives in Peru game such as building the play out of the back, instead of long balls out of the back, There has to some synergy between the national team’s philosophy and the philosophy of the teams players are recruited from. W-Connection maintains an affinity for playing a 4-3-3 system. Most of the other teams in the pro-league prefer a variation of zonal 4-4-2 formation. For me the philosophy of play has to first be declared to would be contributors to better advise the coaches’ selection. And thank you Jamaal Shabazz for an oppportunity to contribute. It was once said to me by a Brazilian coach, that the entire Brazilian population contributes to the selection of their national team…. by indicating who should NOT make the team!

  23. It has to be a mixture. A competition is not the place to undertake development of players, because results are of paramount importance. You need a couple of experienced players to help smooth the transition of the youngsters into such an environment. Other than Carlos Edwards, Kenwyne Jones, Densill Theobald, Darryl Roberts, Seon Power, and Jan-Michael Williams, none of our current crop of players have experienced the Gold Cup. If we can help it, we don’t want to just send a bunch of newbies. We should take this opportunity to do what we failed to do with 2006 Warriors, which was to foster a meaningful exchange of knowledge between them and the up and coming players.

  24. First off I would like to THANK you Mr Shabazz for the opportunity to participate in the process of helping rebuild our Senior National team! Secondly, based on what I saw last Wednesday, I think that the Coaching team is already on the right track…while the result was not what we would have liked, I think most fans would have appreciated what we saw by way of team play and interaction! Having regard to this I believe that a combination of youth and experience should be the approach for the forthcoming Gold Cup! A commendable performance there, helps our ranking and opens doors for our players, not to mention should we actually WIN the Gold Cup, a place in Confederations Cup awaits! I always say if you must dream, DREAM BIG! There is one concern I would like addressed tho. While it is the Coach’s perogative to select the team, I have noticed certain players have NOT been selected, players who, in my humble opinion deserve at least a look-in by the coaching team… now these players ALL share ONE common element, they are foreign-BORN – Christopher Birchall, Jake Thompson, Andre Boucaud, (recently recalled J. Lloyd Samuel was actually born IN San Fernando).
    So is it a case of only Trini-born players now on the radar or am I merely seeing a conspiracy where there is none, and it’s just a massive coincidence that these players have been left out? I wish to point out that we similarly dismissed Ricky Shakes as being “not good enough” and as Mr Shabazz in particular will know, T&T were literally poisoned by the same player as his goal against us helped knock us out of Brazil 2014. So I urge the powers that be to NOT shoot T&T football in the foot once again! I would hope that we will ALWAYS select our BEST team, and that EVERY player with a Trini-Passport will always be eligible for National selection. Blessings and Best Wishes to Team T&T!!!

  25. well i think the most obvious answer anyone wud say is to have a mix. i went to the last game against peru and i’d be honest, i was very impressed with the way the team played. my exact comment to another fan during the game was ‘eyy u kno since we out of 2014 qualification this cud work as a blessing as we can really mould these guys into form for 2018 qualification’. but i liked mostve the guys that day.. the exception as harsh as it may be was kenwyne jones. but when i thought some of the old guys were gone thru, it was nice to carlos with sum nice touches.. so i was thinking u cud probably take a look at one or 2 of those guys again.. even chris birchall.. or collin samuel.. silvio spann if those guys are still around? see how it goes. good luck

  26. I believe that we should go with a mixture of both…….The experienced players could act as a guiding light for the youths and those same youths hopefully those same youths could pass it on to the younger generation which would give us a chance of qualifying for 2018