Lawrence calls up “Pappy” and Quinn for senior training squad; laments Pro League woes

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Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel was included in the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team training squad for the first time this week, as the Soca Warriors prepare for their first outings of 2018 away to Guadeloupe and Martinique on 20 and 23 March respectively.

Emmanuel was the only current National Under-20 Team player drafted into coach Dennis Lawrence’s 17-man local-based training squad although the Warriors coach also found room for another Shiva Boys student in young winger Quinn Rodney, who is now at W Connection.

Photo: Shiva Boys’ Hindu College midfielder Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (left) celebrates his opening goal during Coca-Cola National Intercol final action against San Juan North Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December, 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

There might have been a third player from the 2017 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) competition but St Anthony’s College student and National Under-20 Team forward Jaydon Prowell declined the invitation as he is preparing to head overseas for a trial.

“These are players that I think would be potentially able to help Trinidad and Tobago football [in the future],” said Lawrence. “[…] These are the players who I felt could come in and push for a spot. It also is good for them to come in and be around the senior players.”

Lawrence, who addressed the media at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, also announced new call-ups for Central FC defensive midfielder Rhondel Gibson and Defence Force winger Reon Moore, alongside regulars like Point Fortin Civic custodian Marvin Phillip and W Connection defender Alvin Jones.

However, he spoke at length too about the issues within the cash-strapped Pro League and their impact on the National Senior Team.

The Pro League was initially scheduled to start in early March but CEO Dexter Skeene announced his resignation from the struggling body last Friday and there is now not even a proposed launch date although Skeene spoke vaguely in an interview with Wired868 last week of a possible mid-April start-up.

Photo: W Connection defender Triston Hodge (centre) beats Club Atlético Pantoja attacker Jonathan Faña (right) to the ball during Caribbean Club Championship action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 4 February, 2018.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

“This is a tricky situation that we find ourselves in because the Pro League season hasn’t started [and] most of the clubs are a bit unaware now [about] what is the position with the Pro League,” he said. “So in terms of our training preparation, we are at a disadvantage straightaway—for our local players in particular. Most of them have been active in their own private and personal way but sometimes it is not sufficient.

“So we are putting together a group to see if we can get them as best prepared as possible [with] what I would say is a microwave pre-season to be ready for these two games.”

The financial uncertainty around the Pro League has caused an exodus of local talent in the last two seasons with close to 30 players from Trinidad and Tobago’s unsuccessful 2018 World Cup qualifying series now playing abroad. At present, most of the Warriors play in second and third tier competitions in the United States or more exotic locations like Honduras, El Salvador, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.

Owing to the timing of Trinidad and Tobago’s clash with Guadeloupe, Lawrence expects to have only his foreign-based players on match day.

The head coach dismissed the notion that either team would be straightforward opposition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to hold off Grenada midfielder Shandon Baptiste (second from left) during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago have not lost to Guadeloupe since 1989 although their last two outings ended in draws in 2007 and 2008. Martinique have always offered stern tests, though, and, two years ago, the French islanders defeated the Warriors in extra-time in a result that had damaging repercussions for then coach Stephen Hart.

Lawrence, who led the Warriors to draws against Grenada and Guyana last November in Couva, suggested that his players now have to earn the right to be favourites again—no matter the opposition.

“I think if we look at it over the last few years, I don’t think there is any difference between us and a Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe [or] Martinique,” he said. “They are all very competitive games for us. What we need to do first and foremost is instead of talking about our superiority over them, we need to go on the football field and show our superiority over them.

“I think to play the likes of these opposition is exactly where we are at. We need to now go out and demonstrate on the football pitch that we are superior to these teams and that is the aim.”

Lawrence stressed too that the fate of the Pro League is “massively important” to the future of the National Senior Team.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence (centre) makes a point to midfielder Hashim Arcia (left) during international friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 24 August, 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“The national team is as good as your league and at the moment the Pro League, in particular, is struggling,” said the Warriors coach. “I think the Super League is a bit more stable at the moment…

“The Pro League was introduced in 1999 and […] it is no coincidence that […] we have been regularly making the Hex [since then]. It just shows the importance of the Pro League.”

(National Senior Team 17-man local-based training squad)

Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Andre Marchan (Defence Force), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic);

Defenders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Alvin Jones, Triston Hodge (both W Connection), Kareem Moses (Unattached), Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando FC);

Midfielders: Tyrel Emmanuel (Shiva Boys HC), Nathaniel Garcia (Point Fortin Civic), Rhondel Gibson (Central FC), Kevon Goddard (W Connection);

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right-back Alvin Jones (right) smashes a long-range free kick towards the USA goal during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 10 October, 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Attacking midfielders: Kathon St Hillaire (St Ann’s Rangers), Reon Moore, Hashim Arcia (both Defence Force), Quinn Rodney (W Connection);

Forwards: Akeem Roach (Unattached).

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About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at 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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  1. Can we challenge marijauna testing?

  2. What is de latest with Pappy? Haven’t heard about him in a while.

  3. When the ex president Tim Kee is reinstated once more again Them really good yes steeuuppss

  4. I can remember when America national soccer team lost every game in 1990 World Cup. Subsequently 99% of friendly matches were against European teams. Maybe it in part, they were host of 1994 World Cup. Our process to build has always and continues to be Caribbean soccer countries. When are we gonna change that

  5. “Dog” is home training with the National Team, passing on his knowledge to the next generation of national footballers.

  6. Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team training ahead of Guadeloupe and Martinique Friendlies

  7. ExtraTime TV’s Andre Sooklal and Kevon Campbell give their view concerning the senior team call-up of Shiva Boys’ Hindu College midfielder Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel

  8. That “PAPPY” have “HEART” He never gives up until the game is over…He is very skillful in the midfield area with very good vision…GREAT SELECTION…

  9. While I endorse trying out new players , I think coach Lawrence had enough time to see our players over an estimated 2 yr period .. we hav a new concacaf league coming up , and I hope and pray that when those matches arrives , he still doesn’t need time to assess new players , but rather be settled on a best 22 man squad by then .. the period between now and then should be used to scout for players , not in the heart of a tournament

  10. Truth…we can’t take those teams lightly anymore

  11. A big fat steups..last year he picked a couple youths from the under 20 team Shane Sandy and others and what happened after…we just going in circles yes

  12. Btw the pro league is rubbish since inception. More people are at community cricket. Lasana Liburd you never asked Skeene why we maybe the only football league on planet earth where the teams are not community based and named?

    • Well, teams like Caledonia, San Juan Jabloteh and Club Sando are named after communities. Connection are the Savonetta Boys…
      None of those clubs play in their home communities though and I don’t know if any have a real community outreach program.

      • Point Fortin Civic too. And you have Guaya and Santa Rosa in the TTSL. But it’s not nearly as meaningful as it used to be in the old days before Jack Warner deliberately mashed it all up.

        Think of Maple and Malvern and Colts and Providence and TECSA and Blackpool. Only TECSA actually carried its community name but there was no doubt where the major support for the other teams came from, community name or no community name. There were organic links between the teams and their communities.

        Busloads of supporters used to come to Tacarigua to support Civic Centre in the Eddie Hart League (NON-PROFESSIONAL, mind you!) and busloads of people from Tunapuna used to go to Point to back TECSA. Can we go back there? I have very serious doubts…

  13. Pappy is the most talented midfielder i have seen in youth football in terms of touch and vision maybe since the days of dwarika and co in malick…the youth has stellar vision…hope his alleged heart troubles dont curtail his career and hope he works real hard

    • This selection not justified this player been injured half of the season not taking away anything away from him . To say he is the best since dwarika is a huge statement SSFL have produced many good midfielders if not better the standard of school football now to a couple years ago have dropped drastically , basically now anybody can make a national youth team they just have to be disciplined !

    • He isn’t the same sort of player as Dwarika but he is very talented. My only complaint is I feel he hasn’t advanced like I thought he would over the last two or three years. He hasn’t added enough to his game in that period although he still has time.
      Anybody remember Dwarika’s development?
      Between 18 and 24, he seemed to be twice as good every new season. He could have been a phenom.

    • Lasana Liburd again Dwarika’s issue was discipline but very good creative footballer

  14. I real happy for those two young men. It should be more too, cause i find our senior players get comfortable. Its a good look. But our football needs revamping from the ground up. From school level come right up.

  15. Brian, it was just pointed out that Quinn Rodney remains a student at Shiva Boys so that was our error. I hope he has some A’ level passes coming then and I’m glad that W Connection is finding a way to work with full-time students, especially considering the fragile financial state of the Pro League right now.

  16. Is this the same Dennis who vowed that he is not interested in any player who is not attached to a Pro team yet last year he had unattached players on his team and in this current squad he also has unattached players in addition apparently he thinks only W Connection players are capable of representing T&T while he continues to ignore the likes of Kwesi Cesar currently playing in Orlando Fl ,Andre Fortune currently playing in North Carolina, Bradley Welch Orlando Storm in Fl and many others whom he is aware of and refuse to call them because they are playing in the lower
    leagues in the US which is better than someone who is not playing in any league as with the case with many of the players he named in this squad if they are not playing how can he judge their match fitness ,at a minimum the players in the US are
    currently playing on a high enough level.

  17. there should be a couple of matches with a SSFB team and the senior national mens team…and bet ur bottom dolar…d school boys would easily beat , humble and shame our senior mens team…who play with little or no heart….

  18. for all d rs past the SSFL have been prudcing lotsa of talented players that we have lost…yet we have so much players on d senior national men’s team that obviously doesnt want to play for T&T….its time we draft in new young talented players ….get rid of the old and those who dont wanna give it 100%….enough is enough…time for youth…

    • d US played an under 17 guy in d last set of WC qualifiers …he even scored against us…he plays for Dortmund…yet we still dont wanna play our young talented boys…its a colonial tig with Caribbean people…1st tell Told Machel…he to youg to soca…then held back Lara for yrs b4 he played for WI…while sachin was playing for India at age 16 and beating up d world…its our culture to suffer and stifle the youths…

  19. This is a good move. The Trinidad & Tobago players would dominate for 25mins and then lack of fitness slows them down. Football is fitness of high intensity.

  20. The Trinidad and Tobago PRO league is at its worst probably since inception, the T& T Super League seems to have teams that are on par with the PRO league and have convincingly beaten some of them but yet no players are looked at from there. However we chose from the Secondary School football League. Unless and until they fix the selection issues around the BEST players in the country and not just the W Connection and Central players our football will continue to go downhill.

  21. Pappy better start hitting de gym and gain some upper body strength, so he doh end up like Corbin.

  22. We have to change the mind set in lots of people. Very powerful opening statement.The Caricom Sportman and women they do not know. History and Geography plays a big part. Perceived riches is not the game. Mental thoughness is the answer.

  23. Quinn ain’t a teenager eh? He’s 20 turning 21

  24. Y not rest d national team and hire Shiva for national duties

  25. If watch Lawrence style he is trying whole new players. If they don’t work. He calls another set.

    • Many of these players were called up before I believe.

    • He doesn’t exactly pick on form in my opinion. And that gets him in trouble.
      For instance he kept picking Keron Cummings when he wasn’t playing last year. But now Cummings played in Caribbean Championships and he picks some new guys who aren’t playing.
      I agree with him that the players he picked have good potential but I’d wait until they are active to give them that call up.
      Still I’m happy for Pappy and I hope he impresses. I’ve always admired his potential.

  26. Glad to see the SSFL players being called up. Curious as to why not a single Super League player though..

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