Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve will lean heavily on overseas-based talent at the 2023 Concacaf Gold, with just six players in his squad from the TT Premier Football League (TTPFL): Alvin Jones, Real Gill (both Club Sando), Joevin Jones (Police FC), Kadeem Corbin (Terminix La Horquetta Rangers), Marvin Phillip (AC Port of Spain) and Denzil Smith (W Connection).
The Soca Warriors open their Gold Cup campaign on 25 June against the winner from Curaçao, Saint Kitts and Nevis, French Guiana and Sint Maarten. They then face Jamaica and the United States, the defending champions, on 28 June and 2 July respectively.
Eve announced his team today, with his selections in sharp contrast to his squad for the 2021 Gold Cup when he carried 14 players who were attached to the domestic league or unattached—although the then Pro League had been closed for 15 months at the time.
Defence Force flanker Reon Moore, arguably Trinidad and Tobago’s standout performer at the last Gold Cup and a regular in Eve’s squads, is arguably the most surprising omission. The Army/ Coast Guard combination, which top the TTPFL at present, will be unrepresented at the Concacaf competition.
There was no space either for AC Port of Spain attacker John-Paul Rochford or the foreign-based pair of utility player Noah Powder (Northern Colorado Hailstorm—USA) and playmaker Jomal Williams (AD Isidro Metapan—El Salvador).
The likes of Duane Muckette, Michel Poon-Angeron, Che Benny, Jameel Neptune (all AC POS), Nathaniel James (Club Sando), and Justin Garcia (Defence Force) learned their fate on Monday when they were released—just hours after featuring in a 1-0 friendly win over Guatemala.
However, Eve can boast of a balanced, experienced squad for the upcoming tournament with the likes of defender Sheldon Bateau, playmaker Kevin Molino and star attacker Levi Garcia.
The Soca Warriors appear to be especially well served in attack, as Eve confirmed nine players who do their best work in the opposing half of the field, including the dashing, diminutive pair of Kaïlé Auvray (Sporting KC Academy—USA) and Real Gill (Club Sando).
Canada-born forward Malcolm Shaw is also included in a Trinidad and Tobago squad for the first time and will presumably vie with Ryan Telfer (Miami FC—USA) and Garcia for playing time.
The Warriors will return to Capelli Sports kit at the Gold Cup, after first using the brand in 2019—following a controversial selection process by then president David John-Williams. In a move typical of Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, the apparel deal is still undisclosed to the football membership or the media.
Capelli replace Bol as the TTFA’s kit suppliers for what is believed to be a two-year deal.
At the 2021 Gold Cup, the Soca Warriors were forced to open their campaign in training jerseys due to a Bol design that contravened Fifa Equipment Regulations. Eve’s troops would hope to avoid such embarrassment in 2023.
The full Trinidad and Tobago team for the 2023 Gold Cup is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Denzil Smith (W Connection), Nicklas Frenderup (Ranheim IL—Norway), Marvin Phillip (AC Port of Spain);
Defenders: Alvin Jones (Club Sando), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC—USA), Joevin Jones (Police FC), Triston Hodge (Hartford Athletic—USA), Kareem Moses (FF Jaro—Finland), Leland Archer (Charleston Battery—USA), Sheldon Bateau (SK Beveren—Belgium), Aubrey David (SD Aucas—Ecuador);
Midfielders: Molik Khan (Minnesota United 2—USA), Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers—Canada), Neveal Hackshaw (Oakland Roots SC—USA), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United—USA), Daniel Phillips (St Johnstone—Scotland);
Attackers: Kaïlé Auvray (Sporting KC Academy—USA), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens FC—Greece), Kadeem Corbin (TLH Rangers), Real Gill (Club Sando), Ryan Telfer (Miami FC—USA), Kevin Molino (Columbus Crew—USA), Malcolm Shaw (Atletico Ottawa—Canada).
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read head coach Angus Eve’s comments on his 23-man squad for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.