Former Trinidad and Tobago co-head coaches Hutson “Barber” Charles and Jamaal Shabazz kept faith with the majority of its 2012 Caribbean Cup squad after selecting 18 players into their 35-man preliminary squad for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.
Shabazz will not be with the team in the tournament, though, as the Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA coach declined the opportunity to work as assistant to new head coach Stephen Hart. Charles accepted a demotion to assistant coach while the rest of the staff remains the same apart from Leo Beenhakker’s inclusion as director of football.
The notable two absentees from the Caribbean Cup are Slovan Bratislava winger Lester Peltier and Defence Force forward Richard Roy while DIRECTV W Connection attacker Hashim Arcia, Chainat FC winger Kendall Jagdeosingh, San Jose Earthquakes attacker Cordell Cato and Columbus Crew midfield hardman Kevan George also miss out.
Caribbean Cup captain and St Ann’s Rangers goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams made his first appearance for Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 during a 1-0 loss to Estonia last week. Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA midfielder Densill Theobald wore the armband against Estonia, though.
Perhaps the technical staff is keeping its options open in terms of its final two custodians as North East Stars’ Cleon John forced his way into contention with a superb Pro League season while Central FC’s Marvin Phillip is another serious contender.
In defence, the Warriors are blessed with an abundance of talented young central defenders like Connection’s Daneil Cyrus and Vancouver Whitecaps’ Carlyle Mitchell. However, the recent reluctance to serve by foreign-based players like Robert Primus and Sheldon Bateau could leave an opening for an outside shot like former national under-20 team captain Radanfah Abu Bakr.
The team is short of options at left back as Caledonia’s Aubrey David has not always looked comfortable this year while Connection’s Joevin Jones plays closer to the opposing goal in the Pro League.
Anyone see Hughtun Hector play recently?
The versatile Vietnam-based midfielder can be an asset on his day with his accurate delivery from wide areas and his mature decision making as a playmaker. But the TTFA’s reluctance to pay his airfare for friendlies makes his role uncertain with a fresh-faced offensive midfield brigade headed by Ataullah Guerra, Kevin Molino and, possibly, Jones.
Khaleem Hyland’s talent is unlikely to be overlooked for a central midfield role, although he represented his country just once this year, and the trio of Theobald, Chris Birchall and Andre Boucaud might be battling to play alongside him.
Theobald, incidentally, is on 92 international caps at the moment.
Not too many pure wingers though. Defence Force speedster Kevon Carter is almost a certainty for his incredible acceleration but other alternatives like Darryl Roberts, Keon Daniel and Kevin Molino seem to prefer more central roles and are, arguably, more useful just behind a striker too.
Upfront, North East Stars striker Cornell Glen has quickly made himself indispensable to the squad and his contribution might only be limited by nagging injuries. The field is wide open behind him, though.
Stoke City’s Kenwyne Jones is easily Trinidad and Tobago’s most recognisable present player and was captain during the country’s short-lived 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. But there is little sign yet that the staff knows exactly what to do with him.
Defence Force poacher Devorn Jorsling is a man who knows the way to goal but Trinidad and Tobago often plays too deep to make the most of his ability while the gangly Jamal Gay has often been useful when he featured.
Shahdon Winchester is a late addition and would hope that his low centre of gravity and clever movement earns him the nod while Willis Plaza might be hampered by earning his trade so far from home in the Vietnam league.
Hart will get the final say on the Gold Cup squad and these are the young men he must choose from:
(T&T Preliminary Squad)
Marvin Phillip (Central FC), Jan-Michael Williams (St Ann’s Rangers), Cleon John (NE Stars);
Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver—Canada), Kareem Moses (NE Stars), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Vostok—Kazakhastan), Robert Primus (Aktobe FC—Kazkhastan), Daneil Cyrus (W. Connection), Seon Power (Chainat FC—Thailand), Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen—Belgium), Carlos Edwards (Ipswich Town—England), Justin Hoyte (Middlesbrough—England), Aubrey David (Caledonia);
Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk—Belgium), Densill Theobald (Caledonia), Andre Boucaud (Notts County—England), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Clyde Leon (W. Connection), Chris Birchall (Port Vale—England), Keyon Edwards (Caledonia), Ataullah Guerra (RoPS—Finland), John Bostock (Toronto FC—Canada), Hughton Hector (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union—US), Joevin Jones (W. Connection), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—United States), Darryl Roberts (Samsunspor—Turkey), Jason Marcano (Central FC), Kevon Carter (Defence Force);
Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force), Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City—England), Shahdon Winchester (FF Jaro—Finland), Willis Plaza (Song Lam Nghe—Vietnam), Jamal Gay (Caledonia), Cornell Glen (North East Stars).
Editor’s Note: Story updated to include uncapped Toronto FC midfielder John Bostock in the Trinidad and Tobago preliminary squad and Stephen Hart as head coach.