The “Soca Warriors” will officially start preparations for their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign today when they face the Panama senior international football team from 7 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The Panamanian outfit, which is the fourth ranked team in CONCACAF, brought a full-strength squad with 16 players who compete in leagues across North, Central and South American and Europe. Eight players from the travelling party have amassed 50 or more international caps while MLS goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and Costa Rica-based midfielder Gabriel Gomez each have made over 100 international appearances.
In contrast, Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart will use today’s contest to blood new recruits with 18 Pro League players in his 22-man squad.
Racing Genk (Belgium) midfielder Khaleem Hyland, who has 44 full international caps with three goals, will captain the Warriors who also have Orlando City (US) midfielder Kevin Molino, Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, KV Mechelen defender Sheldon Bateau and Central attackers Ataulla Guerra and Willis Plaza in their ranks.
Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 captain Shannon Gomez leads four teenagers into the squad while North East Stars’ utility player Dwane James, who is also Molino’s elder brother, and San Juan Jabloteh attacker Tyrone Charles are among the more exotic debutantes.
Tickets for Trinidad and Tobago’s clash with Panama will cost $100 and are available at Fan Club (MovieTowne POS, Trincity Mall, Gulf City Mall), All Out Restaurant (Queen’s Park Oval), Heritage Sports (Tobago), Ramsingh’s Sportsworld (Couva), Econo Supermart and all Kenny’s Sports Shops.
Children under-12 are free and coolers will be allowed in the uncovered section.
Trinidad and Tobago 22-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic);
Defenders: Aikim Andrews (W Connection), Justin Hoyte (Millwall), Shannon Gomez (W Connection), Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen), Mekeil Williams (W Connection);
Midfielders: Dwane James (North East Stars), Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk—Belgium), Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars);
Attacking midfielders: Tyrone Charles (San Juan Jabloteh), Ataulla Guerra (Central FC), Kevin Molino (Orlando City—US), Akeem Garcia (W Connection),
Strikers: Willis Plaza (Central FC), Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic).