Eve names 24-man T&T squad; Winchester, Joseph and Rampersad are in—Muckette misses out

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve announced his 24-man squad to face The Bahamas and Nicaragua this morning with speedy forward Rundell Winchester and midfielder Andre Rampersad among his surprise inclusions.

The Soca Warriors need wins over the Bahamas and Nicaragua, on 24 and 27 March respectively, to win promotion to the top tier of the Concacaf Nations League and qualify for the 2023 Gold Cup tournament.

Trinidad and Tobago attacker Rundell Winchester (left) tussles with New Zealand captain and ex-West Ham defender Winston Reid during a senior international friendly at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in December 2013.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Winchester, 29, earned the last of his four national senior team caps as a late substitute in Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-0 friendly loss away to Argentina on 4 June 2014.

He was an unused substitute for then coach Stephen Hart at the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup. However, the Tobagonian has never played in a competitive match for the Soca Warriors.

Eve has shown a taste for attackers who can run on to long passes behind the opposing defence and, with Levi Garcia unavailable through injury, Winchester—who plays for Marsaskala FC in the Maltese second division—fits the bill.

Winchester’s call-up sees him jump ahead of the likes of Kadeem Corbin (Central FC) and Nicholas Dillon (Club Sando) in an admittedly shallow pool of centre forwards.

There was a recall too for versatile attacker Marcus Joseph, who plays in the India second tier with Mohammedan SC.

Trinidad and Tobago forward Marcus Joseph (right) tries to evade a challenge from El Salvador defender Darwin Ceren during 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup action.
(via TTFA Media)

Joseph, who lacks Winchester’s pace but possesses a rocket-launcher for a left foot, has one goal from six international appearances under Eve. His last cap came at Arnos Vale when he was a second half substitute in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-0 Nations League win over St Vincent and the Grenadines on 10 June 2022.

Rampersad, 28, is set to make his international debut after coming to prominence at Canadian Premier League side HFX Wanderers—also under Hart.

The combative midfielder arguably fills in for Neveal Hackshaw, who is inactive at present due to a snag in his move to a new US employer. Ironically, Rampersad’s own national call-up was delayed for years due to work permit issues in Canada.

Eve opted to retain just four relative newcomers who impressed in their recent trip to Jamaica, as defender Justin Garcia, midfielder Michel Poon-Angeron and flankers Jomal Williams and Kailé Auvray are in the 24-man squad.

HFX Wanderers midfielder Andre Rampersad turns with the ball during a Canadian Premier League match against Pacific FC at the Wanderers Grounds, Halifax, Canada in 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/ CA-images/ Wired868)

But defender Josiah Trimmingham and midfielder Kareem Riley (both Club Sando), left backs Jameel Neptune (AC Port of Spain) and Andre Raymond (Dumiense FC—Portugal), utility player Jesse Williams (unattached) and midfielder Matthew Woo Ling (AC Port of Spain) did not get the nod.

There was also no place for Defence Force midfield bruiser Kevon Goddard and AC Port of Spain playmaker Duane Muckette who both started for the Warriors in their last Nations League fixture against St Vincent and the Grenadines on 13 June 2023.

Neither player was selected for the recent friendlies away to Jamaica, where Trinidad and Tobago won 1-0 and then managed a goalless draw.

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Duane Muckette (right) turns away from Saint Martin opponent Christopher Despeine during friendly international action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 29 January 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Veteran defender Sheldon Bateau, who represents SK Beveren in the Belgium second division, misses out too.

Apart from Garcia (L), Eve is also without Kevin Molino and Judah Garcia through injury. However, promised teenaged midfielder Molik Khan is back in the squad after an injury-enforced lay-off.

The Warriors assemble today in Fort Lauderdale for a residential training camp before they head to Nassau on Thursday for their match against the Bahamas, which kicks off at 4pm.

(Trinidad and Tobago team)

Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip, Nicklas Frenderup, Denzil Smith,

Defenders: Shannon Gomez, Alvin Jones, Aubrey David, Leland Archer, Justin Garcia, Kareem Moses, Keston Julien, Triston Hodge,

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Molik Khan (left) tries to hold off Haiti defender Ross Appolon during Concacaf U-20 Championship action in San Pedro Sula on 19 June 2022.
(via TTFA Media)

Midfielders: Michel Poon-Angeron, Molik Khan, Andre Rampersad, Daniel Phillips, Noah Powder, Joevin Jones,

Attackers: Jomal Williams, John-Paul Rochford, Kailé Auvray, Reon Moore, Ryan Telfer, Marcus Joseph, Rundell Winchester.

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