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Guyana eyes De Silva; Central star in spotlight for Caledonia Bowl final

Two-time Trinidad and Tobago World Youth Cup player Sean De Silva could potentially become the target of an international tug of war as his failure to break into the “Soca Warriors” looks likely to invite bids from neighbouring Caribbean nations.

Photo: North East Stars defender Dwane James (right) tackles Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: North East Stars defender Dwane James (right) tackles Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

De Silva will be in action from 8 pm tonight for Central FC as they tackle Caledonia AIA at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain in the Digicel Pro Bowl final, which brings the curtain down on the 2014/15 Pro League season.

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team Stephen Hart is expected to announce his training squad for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament immediately after the match.

And it might be a memorable decision for De Silva’s international future as Guyana is monitoring his availability for its 2018 World Cup campaign while the versatile playmaker can also represent Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados.

Guyana coach Jamaal Shabazz, who is Trinidadian and one of the founding members of Pro League team Caledonia AIA, learnt that De Silva can represent the “Golden Jaguars”—by virtue of his grandparents’ Guyanese citizenship—and admitted his interest.

“We are very interested in Sean,” Shabazz told Wired868. “He qualifies to play for Guyana and we will love to have him if Trinidad doesn’t.

“It is not treason. This is the backlash of dual citizenship.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Sean De Silva (right) tries to flick the ball over Egypt's Ali Mohammed during the Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cup. (Copyright Khaled Desouki/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Sean De Silva (right) tries to flick the ball over Egypt’s Ali Mohammed during the Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cup.
(Copyright Khaled Desouki/AFP 2015)

De Silva represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Korea Republic 2007 and Egypt 2009 World Youth Cups for the Under-17 and Under-20 categories respectively. However, while former international teammates like Khaleem Hyland, Kevin Molino and Daneil Cyrus cruised into the National Senior Team, De Silva has struggled for opportunities.

The former St Mary’s College student made his senior international debut at 19 in a 1-0 friendly win over Panama on 18 March 2009 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.

But he had to wait another three years for his second and final cap, which came in a 3-2 friendly defeat to Finland on 22 January 2012 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

De Silva has never been summoned by Hart. At present, the Warriors are short of midfield schemers with Molino and Hughtun Hector both injured.

If Hart still ignores the “Couva Shark”, it may be an indication that De Silva is not in his immediate plans for Trinidad and Tobago’s 2018 World Cup campaign.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (centre) makes a point while midfielders Ataulla Guerra (right) and Khaleem Hyland look on during practice. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart (centre) makes a point while midfielders Ataulla Guerra (right) and Khaleem Hyland look on during practice.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The talented midfielder, who is also a dead-ball specialist, can still switch countries because he has not represented Trinidad and Tobago in a competitive senior international match.

De Silva was unavailable for comment. However, his father Chris De Silva, a former national youth team manager, confirmed that his son is aware of his options but remains focused on wearing red, black and white kit.

“Sean’s heart is set on playing for Trinidad and Tobago but he wants to play international football,” said De Silva (C). “If Hart doesn’t see Sean in his mix, then he will look at his options…

“He loves his country and he wants to play for Trinidad and Tobago but it is up to Trinidad. I do know that, whoever he plays for, he plays his heart out and always gives 110 percent.

“I’m sure he will do a great job for whoever he plays for.”

Photo: Mexico and Real Madrid star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (left) contests the ball with Guyana's Walter Moore during the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Photo: Mexico and Real Madrid star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (left) contests the ball with Guyana’s Walter Moore during the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Antigua and Barbuda are considered a rising force in the Caribbean after the “Benna Boys” stormed into the 2014 Caribbean Cup finals while Guyana caused a stir, during its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, by advancing to the CONCACAF semifinal round.

Shabazz was in charge of Guyana then and, ironically, eliminated Trinidad and Tobago along the way. England-born midfielder Ricky Shakes, who also represented the Warriors in a friendly game but never saw competitive action for the two island republic, scored the winner for the Jaguars when the two nations met.

Interestingly, Aubrey David, who was born in Georgetown, was on the bench for the Jaguars then, despite the fact that he played alongside De Silva at the World Youth Cups. David never featured in a competitive match for the Jaguars and opted to return to the Warriors.

He has since won 18 full international caps for Trinidad and Tobago and played in two Caribbean Cup finals and one Gold Cup.

The Guyana coach thinks De Silva can be another big Shakes, though, and complement the Jaguars team that recently capped Bolton Wanderers veteran midfielder Neil Danns.

Photo: North East Stars midfielder Kaashif Thomas (right) tries to close down Central FC's Sean De Silva (centre) while Ataulla Guerra looks on. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: North East Stars midfielder Kaashif Thomas (right) tries to close down Central FC’s Sean De Silva (centre) while Ataulla Guerra looks on.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I think he is very committed to the pass and is a simple and effective player,” said Shabazz, who once tried, unsuccessfully, to sign De Silva for Caledonia. “He organises the game and is in-between a defensive midfielder and a playmaker… He is a confident player but, most importantly, I like how he takes the task given to him and makes something out of it.”

Shabazz said he was impressed with De Silva and Central coach Terry Fenwick when the Sharks eliminated Alpha United in Guyana en route to claiming the 2015 Caribbean Cup title.

He said Fenwick’s changes of tactics and personnel for the qualifying games in Guyana, dumbfounded his opponents and De Silva was a part of that in an unusual role for him as an inverted winger.

“A lot of people don’t like to give Fenwick credit but Fenwick used or six or seven different players in both (qualifying games in Guyana),” said Shabazz. “What I saw from Fenwick was an experienced coach… I wanted Alpha to win but I was proud of him.

“The way he used (defender Jamal) Jack behind the strikers to press. It was interesting.”

Photo: Caledonia AIA utility player Conrad Smith (left) strokes home against St Ann's Rangers during a previous Pro League contest. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Caledonia AIA utility player Conrad Smith (left) strokes home against St Ann’s Rangers during a previous Pro League contest.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Shabazz will be rooting against Central again tonight as the “Eastern Stallions” take on the Sharks.

Veteran midfielder Keyon Edwards and Conrad Smith will be vital if Caledonia are to get anything from the game while Guyanese poacher Pernell Schultz has 18 goals in all competitions—the third highest tally in the League—and will be one to keep an eye on.

Caledonia wingers Nathan Lewis and Guyana international Trayon Bobb can be awkward customers while captain Kareem “Tiny” Joseph and utility player Nicholas Marcano provide steel to the squad.

It is difficult to guess Terry Fenwick’s XI these days but striker Willis Plaza, who returns from suspension, should replace defender Jamal Jack despite the latter’s match winning performance against DIRECTV W Connection in Sunday’s Caribbean Cup final win.

Veteran midfielder Marvin Oliver and gifted playmaker Ataulla Guerra are both ex-Caledonia players and should be anxious for the chance to play against former teammates. While goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, winger Jason Marcano and defenders Elton John and Akeem Benjamin have been in fine form.

Photo: North East Stars utility player Kennedy Hinkson (left) pressures Central FC sweeper Marvin Oliver during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: North East Stars utility player Kennedy Hinkson (left) pressures Central FC sweeper Marvin Oliver during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Midfielders Leston Paul, Jean-Luc Rochford and De Silva, who played together at the Egypt 2009 World Youth Cup, would all be pressing for a starting place alongside them.

And De Silva might be playing for more than just the Pro Bowl.

AboutLasana 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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16 comments

  1. That’s one of the challenges we face with our league’s players technical and tactical insight. Our local guys at a disadvantage. If they we switching positions like that in a more demanding league it could have worked, but not ProLeague level

  2. I think Hart had a similar problem with Curtis Gonzales if I’m not mistaken. One minute he’s in defence, the next he’s in central midfield.

  3. Right back or defensive mid…I think he can put in a good shift in either position.

  4. Problem is where to play Elton. I think

  5. We cyah just let de man go so

  6. Oh yes Kirwin Weston Elton is superb!

  7. Interesting words from Coach Shabazz on Fenwick. I think De Silva can fit into our squad though. I think he’s a good option, as is Elton John.

  8. Goal for Sharks!!! So far your money safe Mr. Liburd! It ain’t over yet tho!

  9. So you cause that rejuvenation Lasana?

  10. I’m hoping for a great final. I have to take Conrad Smith to dinner if Caledonia wins after teasing him about his tummy.
    So let’s if Cale makes me cough up some dough! 🙂

  11. Wonferful article,. This is Sean. His Grandfather and I are so proud of him and I hope his dreams come true. He has taken lots of disappointments over the years and stands tall because he loves the game and his Country.
    He wants to play for Soca Warriors,Let’s hope he can play for his Red, White & Black.

  12. Chriistopher Camacho

    Great article. I have been following De Silva’s stellar play this season with Central FC and considered him one of the consistent and pivotal players in the team that has led to their tremendous success. Both his set piece capabilities and his playmaking and unselfish style is exactly what the national team needs. I have always found it VERY surprising that he was not called up to the national team and tested as we look to build the nucleus for the 2018 campaign. Coach Shabazz gave some very thoughtful comments on both De Silva and Fenwick and coach Hart be will served to give De Silva a serious look before we lose this potentially pivotal player to Guyana!

  13. Oh how I commend Shabazz, give credit where credit is due. That’s a grown man talking right there. I don’t know how you do it Mr. Liburd, you often bring your articles alive that I become more excited to see the outcome of these events. The bible say “who have eyes to see let them see”. Let’s hope Hart has the foresight needed to select a really good squad. These young men take so much pride in representing their country. For most if not all it’s a life long dream. I’m so proud of them regardless if they make it to the national team or not because I know they have the potentials. Wishing them all the best but just like Shabazz, I’m switching hats and rooting for #TeamCentral tonight. Awesome article! Great read!!

  14. Hmm that call up from Hart could be closer than ever now.

  15. I really hope he sticks it out for Trinidad and Tobago. I have been following him since under 17 and he has always impressed me. This will be interesting.