… Rochford and Joseph among six T&T exclusions
Trinidad and Tobago national football team coach Angus Eve selected his 20-man squad today who will aim to win a spot at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The twin-island republic has never competed at the Olympics in football.
The national under-23 team is captained by utility player Sheldon Bateau, who is likely to be deployed at right back, while playmaker Kevin Molino and striker Jamal Gay are also expected to play key roles for their country.
Eve, whose team won its final warm-up match 6-1 against Florida outfit Clarema United on Sunday, said he was happy with his squad’s preparation.
“It turned out very well,” said Eve. “I got the chance to experiment with the guys and incorporating new guys into the set up. I think we finally have the right blend going into the tournament.”
Eve offered his regret for the six players on tour that will not take part in the CONCACAF qualifiers.
DirecTV North East Stars midfielder Jean-Luc Rochford and T&TEC midfielder Marcus Joseph were the most notable exclusions; both players participated at the South Korea 2007 Under-17 and Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cups.
Rochford, a rugged, versatile midfielder, proved himself as a player for the big occasion with Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal against the host team in Egypt while his composure was often an asset for his country.
Joseph can operate in central midfield or on the left flank while his shooting and dead ball ability often assured him of a place in the team.
St Ann’s Rangers forward Cameron Roget, who routinely made the most of limited playing opportunities upfront, was also a late omission along with injured Caledonia AIA full back Aquil Selby, his club teammate and central defender Nuru Abdullah Muhammad and Stars midfielder Kaydion Gabriel.
Other absentees for various reasons included Leston Paul, Robert Primus, Akeem Adams and Khaleem Hyland.
It says much about the depth of this crop of players that Eve is still confident of his team’s chances.
Gay, the six-foot-two Caledonia striker, will spearhead the team’s attack and can do the job on his own while there is no shortage of quality to play alongside him with his freescoring club teammate Trevin Caesar, W. Connection’s Shahdon Winchester and Seattle Sounders striker Cordell Cato.
Seventeen-year-old Connection midfielder Jomal Williams is a revelation in the centre of the park and is likely to start alongside Columbus Crew ball winner Kevan George. Versatile defender Mekeil Williams, who just joined Polish First Division club Pogon Szczecin from Connection, will boost the defence with Stars custodian Andre Marchan between the uprights.
T&T faces Mexico, Panama and Honduras on March 23, 25 and 27 respectively with the top two teams advancing to the semi-final stage. The last two nations standing will advance to the London 2012 Olympic Games, this July.
The full T&T 20-man squad is:
Goalkeepers: Andre Marchan (NE Stars), Sheldon Clarke (Defence Force)
Defenders: Sheldon Bateau (both San Juan Jabloteh), Kareem Moses (St Ann’s Rangers), Mekeil Williams (Pogon Szczecin), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Daneil Cyrus (Santa Rosa FC), Joevin Jones, Leslie Russell (both W Connection)
Midfielders: Sean De Silva (College of Charleston), Jeromie Williams (NE Stars), Kevin Molino (Orlando City), Kevan George (Columbus Crew) Micah Lewis (Caledonia AIA), Jayson Joseph (T&TEC), Jomal Williams (W Connection)
Forwards: Jamal Gay, Trevin Caesar (both Caledonia AIA), Cordell Cato (Seattle Sounders), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection)