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Carlos gets armband as Saintfiet prepares for T&T debut against Nicaragua

Former World Cup 2006 midfielder and England Premier League player, Carlos Edwards, will wear the armband tomorrow when Tom Saintfiet makes his bow as Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach in a friendly away to Nicaragua.

The two nations kick off in Managua from at 8:30pm (TT time)—6:30pm in Nicaragua—on Tuesday 27 December and again on Friday 30 December.

Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The friendlies will serve as preparation for the Gold Cup campaigns of both nations. Trinidad and Tobago host Suriname and Haiti in playoff matches on 4 and 8 January respectively.

Edwards has not represented the Soca Warriors since 19 November 2013 when he featured in a 2-0 friendly win over Jamaica in Port of Spain. He told the TTFA Media that he was honoured to be given the armband and wanted to help make Trinidad and Tobago successful once more.

The 38-year-old Ma Pau Stars full back warned his younger teammates not to expect him to do it on his own, though.

“It’s a big privilege to wear the captain’s armband,” said Edwards. “Yes, I will have a bit of responsibility. I think he has chosen me because of the experience and to have me put my arms around the younger guys and lead them in the right direction.

“At the end of the day, everyone has to pull their weight. They just can’t look up to me and think I will orchestrate everything.

“I am here for one reason which is to make the country and the team successful once again.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

At present, Saintfiet has 20 players available in Managua while United States-based midfielder Kevan George should join the squad on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip missed the tour through injury while defender Tristan Hodge was dropped for disciplinary reasons.

Edwards commended Saintfiet’s work in Trinidad so far.

“So far things have been really productive,” said Edwards. “We’ve been put through our paces. He’s started off on the right foot, making sure the players are fit and ready for the game and also to have a nice little bond.

“He called the camp in the right time so that the players can get to know each other.”

Saintfiet, who spent the bulk of his career coaching in Africa and was at Bangladesh before he got the Trinidad and Tobago job, said he is looking for “a decent result” in Nicaragua,

“It’s always special and it’s an honour to be national team coach of any country and Trinidad and Tobago is naturally a big football nation,” the Belgian coach told the TTFA Media. “So it’s now […] a fresh start and we are going to use these two matches against Nicaragua to prepare our team for the Gold Cup and later on for the World Cup qualifiers.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016. Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016.
Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“It won’t be easy matches. Nicaragua is also a strong football country. In the last games of the World Cup qualifiers they beat Jamaica at home 3-2 and in the last year they also won friendly matches against Cuba 5-0 and Panama 1-0…

“Naturally you want always a good result but I don’t think at the moment that’s the most important thing. We could win both matches against Nicaragua and lose in the qualifiers for the Gold Cup and World Cup. So I would prefer to win the World Cup qualifiers and, if possible, the Gold Cup qualifiers. But, on the other side, if you play a game, you play to win.”

Trinidad and Tobago have never lost to Nicaragua, although both teams played to a goalless draw in Port of Spain last year.

Nicaragua qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup seven years ago in 2009. However, before that, their last appearance in the confederation’s showpiece competition was in 1967.

At present, Nicaragua are ranked 124th in the world by FIFA—just four places above the Dominican Republic—while Trinidad and Tobago are 78th.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Aubrey David (centre) tries to wriggle his way past two Nicaragua opponents during an international friendly fixture on 13 October 2013 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The "Soca Warriors" and Nicaragua played to a goalless draw. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Aubrey David (centre) tries to wriggle his way past two Nicaragua opponents during an international friendly fixture on 13 October 2013 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The “Soca Warriors” and Nicaragua played to a goalless draw.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Saintfiet said he will pay more attention to the performance than the result tomorrow.

“Most important for me is to see tomorrow a team which understands the tactical concept that I want,” said Saintfiet, “[and] can implement it on the pitch, play disciplined and have both offensive and defensive tasks of what I request.

“If that results in a good result I will be happy coach. And if that doesn’t result in a good result, I will be still satisfied if I see what we did in practice.”

Saintfiet took just four players to Nicaragua who featured in Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras on 15 November 2016. Three of the four-man defence for former coach Stephen Hart’s last fixture—Daneil Cyrus, Carlyle Mitchell and Aubrey David—are all available tomorrow along with attacker Trevin Caesar.

Former captain Kenwyne Jones was dropped, goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was overlooked, back-up custodian Marvin Phillip is injured and Sheldon Bateau, Cordell Cato, Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Levi Garcia and Willis Plaza are all unavailable.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) tries to escape the attentions of Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa during 2018 World Cup qualifying action in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) tries to escape the attentions of Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa during 2018 World Cup qualifying action in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago 20-man squad for Nicaragua)

Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars);

Defenders: Carlos Edwards (Ma Paul Stars), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land—Korea Republic), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Sillamae Kallen—Estonia), Daneil Cyrus, Maurice Ford (both W Connection), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica),

Midfielders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Alvin Jones, Hughtun Hector (both W Connection);

Attacking midfielders: Aikim Andrews (W Connection), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC), Nathan Lewis, Tyrone Charles (both San Juan Jabloteh);

Forwards: Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA), Akeem Roach (Club Sando), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Cornell Glen (Ozone FC Bengalaru—India).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Technical staff: Tom Saintfiet (head coach), Jamaal Shabazz (assistant coach), Lukas Wojciak (goalkeeper coach), Riedoh Berdien (trainer), Dr Terence Babwah (doctor), Dave Isaac (paramedic), Michael Williams (equipment manager), Shaun Fuentes (press officer), Azaad Khan (interim manager).

Late arrival: Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada—USA) will join the time in time for their second outing against Nicaragua on 30 December.

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140 comments

  1. Lasana Liburd please see what alvin corneal has to say about our players being denied from representing their country….we was having this conversation on another thread…Lyndon Pk Williams Keith Look Loy

    • I’m surprised when Corneal and I agree. The opening three sentences tell me all I need to know about that article.

    • Why would u be surprise to agree with him ?

    • In the opening sentences, he based his exuberance on Saintfiet on the players’ statements about their coach.
      In this case, you are talking about the players being asked what they thought about their boss by their boss’ company–and on the record to boot.
      To even fathom that any player would express anything but positivity is a stunning lack of analysis to me.
      But that’s just me. Enjoy. 😉

    • I hear you lasana, but i was specific to sanko denying club players from representing tnt….and that he shared my view, that it is the taxpayers that bear the burden of these “professional clubs”

    • I hear that Trini. Personally I would have let the players go if I was Central. I think the club was selfish.
      But they are within their rights. So I have to temper my criticism. FIFA law gives them the right to do what they did. Where they get their money is irrelevant to the law.

    • I don’t believe anyone at Central FC denied a player a chance to represent their country. The coach could have picked them for Nicaragua just as he picked Cornel Glenn. Let’s try to be fair to all involved.

  2. Someone should tell Corneal that Club Sando has been a Pro League club for a few years now. Smh

  3. Alvin Corneal’s article below is interesting – the nuance, the what’s not said, the questions . . . . . Happy are Saintfiet’s Warriors
    ALVIN CORNEAL (T&T GUARDIAN) CREATED: 24 DECEMBER 2016 HITS: 971

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    Jomal settles under Saintfiet
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    It is almost magical! Two weeks ago, Tom Saintfiet was just another name, certainly unfamiliar to the people on this side of the world. Ten days later, the chants of support from the selected players are overwhelming and high in praise of the man’s ability to do his job.
    We must respect these comments because they are now expected to show that the work which has been done under the eyes of the Belgian, must prove to be a marked improvement on what they experienced before.

    Apart from a few seconds on the TV screen during Sports News, I cannot make an assessment of any kind.

    However, the selection process continues to be much of a jigsaw puzzle where many of the key players are unavailable because of their commitment to their clubs. I am surprised at the decision coming from the European clubs, seeing that they are closed for Christmas, which should have allowed the lads to drop by and join the charge against Nicaragua twice.

    Be that as it may, the opportunity arose for the locally based players, many of whom were asked to join the squad to show their worth in the absence of the more recognised players.

    It has been very much to the benefit of the W Connection squad whose six players have caught the eyes of the new coach. Add to those names, some relative newcomers seem to have impressed such as Akeem Roach of a Super League, Club Sando, maybe the first from the league to gain selection.

    There may well have been more if the clubs were exposed to the gleaming eyes of the Belgian.

    The omission of Kenwyne Jones may well have been based upon information from the local coaching staff, as the new coach could not have made a judgement without having a look.

    The inclusion of Carlos Edwards has been making a positive impact with the Ma Pau squad and there is justification in the short term for the former EPL (English Premier League) defender.

    Tyrone Charles and Nathan Lewis, both of Jabloteh, have been given a chance to prove that they are ready for the big occasion and we wish them luck.

    And now, what of the players from the Central FC? Why have they not been included in the squad?

    Don’t tell me to ask Brent Sancho, the boss of the Club. Like many of you, I have heard the reasons why these players are not among the selectees in our national team.

    I am at a loss to know how the owners of Central FC have the right to stop their players from representing their country.

    Maybe the powers that be have forgotten that it is taxpayers’ money which is handed out to the players of the Pro League clubs.

    Should they not have some form of allegiance to the national flag? In past years, the current T&T Football Association president David John Williams may have also indulged in that practice.

    Today, he has to wear the hat of the president TTFA and demand that all players should be allowed to participate in the national team’s activity.

    Is it not simple to ask the technical director of the Pro League to reschedule the dates of matches in order to clear the period when the International friendlies are played and allow the players to fight for national honours?

    Could anyone explain the omission of Jan-Michael Williams? And finally, did the new coach have a look at the Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling within the last few matches? Goals galore and we know that he has been potent at the national level in the past.

    As to the recall of Cornell Glen, is it that the coach had seen him play in Asia of elsewhere? Or is he guided by local knowledge for some of these decisions?

    Nevertheless, the gentleman has notified us all that he will win the first two matches in the World Cup Qualifiers in March, but never mentioned Haiti and Suriname. That gives him time to get his feet wet.

    My fondest wishes to our national team during their Christmas jaunt, may they find the time to appreciate the birthday of Jesus Christ and score two victories. To my friends and readers, my wish for each and everyone to join your families during the Yuletide season and let us all pray that we can create an improved way of life for the New Year.

  4. ..And so we can”t beat a CONCACAF dead horse is what…

  5. Nicaragua ain’t even reach the CONCACAF 4th round and cutting we tail…steups

  6. Shawn Babooram u still talking about kj ??? Steups….he is a frigging waste

  7. i thought the coach say his strategy would not suit Jones all i see is long throw after long and Cyrus get push up on top hhmmm

  8. that was a ball that man play. Outside of the boot what a pass

  9. boy i now trying to figure out where he playing

  10. we are showing some energy in the second half and some fight. Apparently we need to be two down before we start to play

  11. Arcia low bullet into corner from 20 yards.

  12. Tyrone Charles free kick from about 22 yards hits the bar – 58 mins

  13. I honestly ain’t see 3 passes put together by the team while Nicaragua making 10+ in their defensive 3rd under no pressure. All that happening while we 1 nil down

  14. right now we working on playing aimless passes and defending in our final third

  15. Hard to say. Site sticking but we looking disjointed

  16. ..Can’t connect. Please post updates..

  17. It’s about time someone with sense take over d team…..N those dat saying Carlos is old….Kenwyn Jones is young n what he did?He did nun…..Carlos is old yeah…..But he has d spirit to see Trinidad n Tobago rise to d world stage again n he has d passion so y not give him an opportunity…..Let’s support him rather Dan bring him down…..

  18. nicaragua looking like them was in a training camp