Home / Volley / Global Football / Warriors face Haiti in 2016 Copa America showdown outside FIFA window

Warriors face Haiti in 2016 Copa America showdown outside FIFA window

Trinidad and Tobago will return to the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on 8 January 2016 for a decisive 2016 Copa America Centenario play off clash with regional neighbours, Haiti.

Photo: Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi (centre) dribbles between Trinidad and Tobago players Lester Peltier (far left), Andre Boucaud (far right) and Carlyle Mitchell during an international friendly in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014. Argentina won 3-0. Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina could meet again if the "Soca Warriors" qualify for the 2016 Copa America Centenario. (Copyright AFP 2014/Daniel Garcia)
Photo: Argentina captain and superstar Lionel Messi (centre) dribbles between Trinidad and Tobago players Lester Peltier (far left), Andre Boucaud (far right) and Carlyle Mitchell during an international friendly in Buenos Aires on 4 June 2014.
Argentina won 3-0.
Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina could meet again if the “Soca Warriors” qualify for the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Daniel Garcia)

The winner will advance automatically to the special centennial South American championship, which will be staged in the United States from June 3-26. Hosts Panama will also face Cuba on January 8 in a Copa America play off double header in Panama City.

However, the “Soca Warriors” could potentially find themselves handicapped as the fixture is carded for outside the FIFA international match calendar, which means that clubs are not obliged to release players to participate in the event.

European clubs, in particular, are never keen to release players for matches when not mandated by FIFA and it could create a potential headache for Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti.

At least six of Trinidad and Tobago’s current international players will be representing their teams in Europe at the time including team captain and Cardiff City forward Kenwyne Jones.

The other five players are Sheldon Bateau (KC Krylia Sovetov—Russia), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium) and Gavin Hoyte (Barnet—England).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland during their 3-1 Gold Cup win. (Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau (centre) celebrates the opening goal against Guatemala with teammates Radanfah Abu Bakr (left) and Khaleem Hyland during their 3-1 Gold Cup win.
(Copyright Jonathan Daniel/AFP 2015)

Full back Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy—Kazakhstan), striker Jonathan Glenn (Breioablik—Iceland), Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City—Wales) and winger Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia) are likely to be off-season at the time. But their respective clubs would still have the right of refusal.

Wired868 could not reach coach Stephen Hart or team manager William Wallace for comment on the predicament.

However, TTFA director of communications, Shaun Fuentes, said the technical staff anticipated the issue and will try to create a squad based around Pro League, United States-based players and players in their off-season.

“The TTFA is awaiting further correspondence from CONCACAF as to whether they will assist the respective FAs to get players release,” Fuentes told Wired868. “But management had foreseen this situation and will look to the possibility of using local players as well as MLS and other off-season players.”

CONCACAF, incidentally, had from late July 2015 to schedule the Copa America play offs and might have done so during the international match calendar earlier this month.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) takes on Nicaragua right back Joseue Quijano during friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 13 October 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Joevin Jones (right) takes on Nicaragua right back Joseue Quijano during friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 13 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Haiti played only once in October while the Warriors only finalised their friendly against Nicaragua a few weeks before the event.

Instead, CONCACAF, which is still reeling from the indictment of its suspended president Jeffrey Webb on racketeering charges linked to next year’s Copa America Centenario, carded the fixtures at a time when no team could reasonably expect to be full strength.

It might console Trinidad and Tobago football fans that Haiti would be harder hit by CONCACAF’s farcical scheduling.

Twelve of Haiti’s 23-man 2015 Gold Cup squad ply their trade in Europe, including Cyprus-based striker Jean-Eudes Maurice and talented Belgium-based midfielder Jeff Louis.

Maurice scored twice when the French-speaking islanders defeated Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 at the 2013 Gold Cup, which remains the only time that Hart’s troops have lost during regulation time in a competitive fixture after two years.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Densill Theobald (bottom) manages to check Haiti striker Jean Maurice's progress during the 2013 Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Densill Theobald (bottom) manages to check Haiti striker Jean Maurice’s progress during the 2013 Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The Warriors won their last meeting with Haiti 1-0 in July, a week before the 2015 Gold Cup kicked off. But it was not a recognised international match and Hart used eight substitutes in the warm-up affair.

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

Check Also

Warriors go up 16 points after USA win; T&T climb to 83rd spot in FIFA rankings

The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team continue to bask in the afterglow of their …

6 comments

  1. Hannibal Najjar

    ISWIS – it is what it is, and we must be ready for all eventualities and take everything into stride. We cannot hope to always have all of our pieces in place and then if we are so fortunate, pray that these “pieces” will be clicking and able to perform as we believe they could. The other thing too, is, that the other teams may be so challenged – “good for the goose, good for the gander”! What is happening to the team as we enter next month’s two WC Qualifiers is of paramount importance to me; hardly this “episode” in our competition lives. What of our $ concerns and internal strife!

  2. In complete defiance of common sense, football’s governing officials have again conspired to do something stupid.

  3. You still need permission though Nigel Myers. And some of those clubs don’t like to give it even when FIFA rules oblige them to.
    Also some teams tour during winter break.
    The technical staff is concerned from what I was told.

  4. True, the clubs don’t have to let the players go, but from a practical standpoint it should be fine. Kenwyne wouldn’t miss any matches for Cardiff. The other UK-based will miss at most one club match. Most of the other foreign-based will be either on winter break or in their off-season.