Trinidad and Tobago national football team head coach Stephen Hart has gone for more experience in his squad for next month’s South American tour by drafting in 35-year-old right back Carlos Edwards.
Edwards, a “Soca Warriors” stand-out at the 2006 World Cup, has played just once since the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and that game was initiated described his testimonial. However, the former soldier has been asked to do a job for his country once more with Hart clearly unwilling to chance promising but uncapped DIRECTV W Connection right back Alvin Jones.
“I’m always delighted when the call comes to play for Trinidad and Tobago,” said Edwards, who has just signed a one-year deal with England Championship club Millwall. “I’m one of the older guys around now but I’ve looked after myself and I’m still able to make a contribution at a good level in England; so why not give it my best for country as well.
“I’m 35 now but I think I can still bring something to the table and make a contribution to the current squad.”
Trinidad and Tobago plays Argentina on June 4 in Buenos Aires, Argentina before facing another World Cup-bound team, Iran, on June 8 in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in his generation, is looking forward to shaking off a disappointing season by his high standards with Spanish powerhouse, Barcelona.
“As I join up with the national team, the atmosphere is completely different,” Messi told reporters in Argentina. “Lots of times in the past when I have gone back to Barcelona, I have played well. Now I am hoping that the opposite happens.
“When I return to the training ground with my teammates, with my friends, it’s going to change my mentality and it’s going to be another story.”
Football fans can still support the Soca Warriors in Buenos Aires by booking a $16,000 tour with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) at 623-9500 or through Nissicharters.com. The roundtrip package includes four nights’ accommodation with breakfast (based on double occupancy) at the Marriott Hotel as well as a city tour, fan pack, category one match ticket and ground transportation.
A rhythm section, tassa group and steelband will be part of the travelling contingent, arranged by the Ministry of Tourism, which leaves the Piarco International Airport at 1 am on June 1.
Edwards told the TTFA Media that he will be one of the happiest persons on the flight.
“The games against Argentina and Iran are on a massive scale when it comes to international football,” said Edwards. “A lot of eyes will be on the game and I think we’ve got to be ready for the challenge and there are a lot of different factors involved here both on and off the field of play.
“I’m really looking forward to these two games and again, more than delighted to be part of the squad.”
Edwards is the second call-up to the squad after stand-by and Central FC defender Yohance Marshall replaced Daneil Cyrus, who left Connection for Vietnam club Hanoi T&T last Friday. At present, the only full time full back in the national squad is Millwall’s Justin Hoyte.
Colombus Crew coach Gregg Berhalter has said he might not allow midfielder Kevan George to join the Warriors for the tour although, thus far, there has been no suggestion that George has been denied the chance to join Hart’s squad.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad)
Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic);
Defenders: Justin Hoyte (Millwall—England), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Carlos Edwards (Millwall—England), Yohance Marshall (Central FC), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Radanfah Abu Bakr (FK Kruoja Pakruojis—Lithuania), Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps—Canada), Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen—Belgium);
Midfielders: Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk—Belgium), Ataullah Guerra (Central FC), Andre Boucaud (unattached), Kevan George (Columbus Crew—US), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), Joevin Jones (W Connection), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—US);
Forwards: Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin CC), Rundell Winchester (Central FC), Willis Plaza (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (North East Stars), Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City).