New Central FC attacker Marcus Joseph, teenaged North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw, United States-based forward Trevin Caesar and England-born defender Gavin Hoyte will join the “Soca Warriors” in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday August 30, in preparation for their international friendly against Mexico on September 4.
All four players were already capped by Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart and now have opportunities to earn a squad place for the upcoming Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Warriors will face Mexico without captain Kenwyne Jones or central defender Sheldon Bateau who were both influential in their quarterfinal finish at the July 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Hart told the media that Jones and Bateau are both likely to switch clubs before the European transfer window swings shut between August 31 and September 2, depending on the respective association. And, as such, they asked to remain with their employers so as to be ready to complete possible moves.
“(Our training camp) is right in the middle of the transfer window and both players might potentially be on the move,” said Hart, “and have asked to be excused.”
St Ann’s Rangers attacker Kadeem Corbin is on trial in Belgium and unavailable. Stars utility player Dwane James is trying out too and trying to secure a deal with top Costa Rican champion club, Saprissa.
In the case of Central FC playmaker Ataulla Guerra and Slovakia-based winger Lester Peltier, Hart merely decided to try someone else.
“You only have so many (team places),” said Hart. “I would like to see some options.”
There were only six Pro League players in Hart’s 20-man squad and only half that number are currently active in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Warriors’ two goalkeepers, Jan-Michael Williams and Marvin Phillip, are firmly entrenched in the squad on merit while Hart kept faith in North East Stars playmaker Keron Cummings, who scored twice against Mexico at the Gold Cup.
Hackshaw, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at last month’s Pan American Games in Toronto, managed to secure a team spot despite being in pre-season with Stars.
“(Hackshaw) is not active but he is one of the young players I would like to keep an eye on,” said Hart. “He plays in one of the positions we want to increase competition for.”
The Warriors’ camp is expected to be funded by the Ministry of Sport and Sportt Company while the match organisers will pay for Trinidad and Tobago’s airfare and accommodation from September 2.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Sheldon Phillips said the local football body has been allowed to sell the broadcast rights for the international at home.
The Warriors’ 4-4 draw with Mexico, last month, was described as one of the Gold Cup’s most exciting games of all time and the rematch will be shown on ESPN.
Gold Cup golden ball winner and PSV Eindhoven playmaker Andrés Guardado and Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez were both included in a full strength Mexico team to face Trinidad and Tobago.
However, Phillips said the TTFA will not get a cut off the international television deal or the gates.
“For a team that is ranked 56th, it is a normal arrangement,” said Phillips.
The fixture will be Mexico’s 18th match in this calendar year and “El Tricolor” will follow it up with a game against Argentina in Arlington, Texas.
In contrast, the September 4 friendly will be Trinidad and Tobago’s eight game this year and the squad will be immediately disbanded as the TTFA failed to agree terms with Bolivia for a friendly in Trinidad on September 7 or 8.
Hart’s contract as head coach expired just before the Gold Cup and he suggested that he hoped to have guarantees regarding the development of his squad before he agreed to an extension.
“We still have to sit down and sort out the contractual situation,” said Hart. “The association has a contract on the table. It is just about wording and so on.
“But it is not just about me. It is about the program (for the team).”
The Warriors are due to play a 2016 Copa America play off contest with Haiti before their World Cup qualifying campaign begins in November.
However, team manager William Wallace revealed that CONCACAF still has not set a date for the Copa contest.
At present, the Mexico team is steered by interim coach Ricardo Ferretti after former boss Miguel Herrara, who helped El Tricolour to the 2015 Gold Cup title, was sacked for assaulting a journalist.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Caledonia AIA);
Defenders: Gavin Hoyte (Barnet—England), Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Mekeil Williams (Antigua GFC—Guatemala), Daneil Cyrus (Chicago Fire—USA), Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy—Kazakhstan);
Midfielders: Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Kevan George (Columbus Crew—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars);
Attacking Midfielders: Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), Marcus Joseph (Central FC), Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire—USA), Keron Cummings (North East Stars);
Forwards: Willis Plaza (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (Austin Aztex—USA), Jonathan Glenn (Breioablik—Iceland), Rundell Winchester (Portland Timbers 2—USA).
Goalkeepers: Moises Muñoz (Club America), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca);
Defenders: Paul Aguilar (Club América), Oswaldo Alanis (Guadalajara), Miguel Layun (Watford—England), Rafael Marquez (Hellas Verona—Italy), Hector Moreno (PSV Eindhoven—Netherlands), Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad—Spain), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres);
Midfielders: Javier Aquino (Tigres), Jesus Manuel Corona (FC Twente—Netherlands), Jesus Dueñas (Tigres), Carlos Esquivel (Toluca), Andrés Guardado (PSV Eindhoven—Netherlands), Javier Güemez (Club America), Hector Herrera (Porto—Portugal), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon);
Forwards: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United—England), Raul Jimenez (Benfica—Portugal), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad—Spain),