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Warriors get Grenada warm-up before St Vincent W/Cup qualifiers

The “Soca Warriors” will take a local-based squad to face the Grenada National Senior Team on March 19, after the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) today confirmed a friendly fixture between the two Caribbean nations.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Shahdon Winchester (right) tries to escape from Haiti defender Jean Marc Alexandre during the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 6 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Shahdon Winchester (right) tries to escape from Haiti defender Jean Marc Alexandre during the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 6 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

The clash will serve as Trinidad and Tobago’s sole warm-up fixture before World Cup  qualifiers against St Vincent and the Grenadines on March 25 and 29, which will be played away and home respectively.

Warriors coach Stephen Hart told the TTFA Media that he welcomed the outing, which kicks off at 7 pm at the Grenada National Stadium.

“Well, it serves two purposes as, for one, I’ve been asking for a sort of local camp in which the home-based players can be looked at in a camp environment and in an international match scenario,” said Hart. “And secondly. the local Pro League will be breaking a few days well before we play our next two World Cup qualifiers. So getting these players together and keeping them active will keep players who can potentially be in the World Cup squad, game sharp and ready for the two games later in the month.”

The TT Pro League helped to facilitate the match by rescheduling its fixtures since, by FIFA law, the domestic competition is not obliged to break before March 20.

Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinals. Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship semifinals.
Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Hart is expected to select his squad later this week.

The Pro League players who were selected for the 1-0 Copa America play off loss against Haiti on January 6 are: (goalkeepers) Jan-Michael Williams, Marvin Phillip, Adrian Foncette, (defender) Daneil Cyrus, (midfielders) Ataulla Guerra, Jomal Williams and (forward) Shahdon Winchester.

It is uncertain whether Hart would also consider out-of-contract midfielder Kevan George, who was released by Columbus Crew last season.

The fixture does create an opportunity for the local-based players to shine, though.

Among the remaining Pro League talent likely to be considered on current form are: Andre Ettienne, Sean De Silva, Nathaniel Garcia, Kevon Villaroel, Marcus Joseph (all Central FC), Nathan Lewis, Jamal Gay (both San Juan Jabloteh), Jibiri McDavid, Elijah Belgrave, Makesi Lewis (all Police FC), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Kadeem Hutchinson (St Ann’s Rangers), Jerwyn Balthazar, Curtis Gonzales, Ross Russell Jr, Hashim Arcia (all Defence Force), Triston Hodge, Hughtun Hector (both W Connection) and Gorean Highley (North East Stars).

Photo Defence Force winger Ross Russell Jr (right) hustles past Central FC midfielder Darren Mitchell during 2015/16 Pro League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo Defence Force winger Ross Russell Jr (right) hustles past Central FC midfielder Darren Mitchell during 2015/16 Pro League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Hart has called for a local camp ever since he took over in mid-2013 and he hopes that the match helps the Warriors’ Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

“It’s good to have a game against (Grenada) but for me what is more important is the camp environment,” said Hart, “and giving players an opportunity so that they can push to create a bigger player pool.”

Grenada captain Shannon Phillip and fellow internationals Moron Phillip, Rickson Phillip and goalkeeper Jason Belfon are all employed by local Pro League team, Club Sando.

Compatriot Jamal Charles represents W Connection and scored four times from three games during last month’s CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers while Grenada’s second string custodian, Shemel Louison, is a San Juan Jabloteh player.

Grenada are already eliminated from the 2018 World Cup qualifying—after losing home and away to Haiti—while they are ranked 161st in the world compared to Trinidad and Tobago’s FIFA ranking of 41.

Photo: W Connection forward Jamal Charles (left) takes on an Atlantico FC defender during Caribbean Club Championship action in Couva on 24 February 2016/ (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/CA-images.
Photo: W Connection forward Jamal Charles (left) takes on an Atlantico FC defender during Caribbean Club Championship action in Couva on 24 February 2016/
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images)

But Hart said he is taking nothing for granted against the “Spice Islanders”, who won their last clashes with the Warriors in 2010 and 2008.

“They have proven to be a formidable opponent against us and I’m quite sure they will give us a good test when we get there,” said Hart.

Hart hopes to get more international friendly assignments in May, which, he suggested, will further aid the team’s World Cup campaign.

“We have the two qualifiers in March and then we have to potentially look at the FIFA dates in May where hopefully we can get at least two quality games,” said Hart. “And then there’s the Caribbean Cup, which is crucial for us getting to the 2017 Gold Cup. And of course we cannot forget the closing two semi final round games in the qualification in September.

“This is all a good step in terms of forward planning for the long journey ahead.”

Photo: Central FC attacker Marcus Joseph (centre) scores the game winner in TT Pro League action on Saturday while St Ann's Rangers defender Shakiyl Phillip (left) and goalkeeper Christopher Biggette watch on. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacker Marcus Joseph (centre) scores the game winner in TT Pro League action on Saturday while St Ann’s Rangers defender Shakiyl Phillip (left) and goalkeeper Christopher Biggette watch on.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

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.

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25 comments

  1. Ha ye would have to agree with Uncle J on that one – after all St.Vincent did eliminate Guyana in WCQs in two very close games

  2. Maybe Guyana in May then Jamaal.

  3. Guyana i’m sorryyyyy ( sung to the tune of Haiti I’m sorry by David Rudder )

  4. Even as a big supporter of the TTFA Prez, Guyana still lose out boy. We give the Caribbean rice, Walter Rodney, Clive Lloyd oh gawd man. One lil non title fight.

  5. Hahaha. I know Guyana and Trinidad close Jamaal. So I figured allyuh chickened out!

  6. So you guys chose Grenada over Guyana for the warm up game Lasana? I tell you when is not the TT Immigration oppressing Guyanese is TT teams fraid to play we. Shucks man

  7. Lasana Liburd any word when the final squad would be picked? For this match at least

  8. Yeah is men like him who made van gaal a hero for bringing on a keeper right before penalty kicks, not realizing that it was two concacaf teams that take the mighty Holland all the way,Smh, make d man get a big job yes lol

  9. Well there is not much impressive CFU opponents out there out the moment, but not sure how good Grenada is these days. Think St.Kitts might have been a slightly more sturdy opponent

  10. As a 10? In that role, I would say Marcus Joseph and Hashim Arcia probably get first picks. But who knows.

  11. Hmm interesting take. What I like about Freitas is that he plays off of Makesi so well.

  12. He would get in my all star pro league team. Not sure if he has more tools for the international game than a Sean De Silva or Nathan Lewis or Darren Mitchell though.

  13. Spanish in the mixer. Lol. But picking 18 from all those names not easy. I picked 14 above. The other keeper makes 15. Then you can just carry three additional players.
    Hope they take 20.

  14. Spanish impressed you that much huh.

  15. If I was to pick a team, I’d go with: Jan-Michaei; Cyrus, Alvin Jones/Elijah Belgrave, Triston Hodge, Villaroel; Akeem Humphrey, Hughtun Hector; Nathan Lewis/Darren Mitchell, Marcus Joseph, Jomal Williams; Shahdon Winchester/Hashim Arcia.
    But I know to pick a team is to open yourself up to cuss. So I will leave Hart to that! Lol.
    Everybody whose name you didn’t see on the bench btw. Nobody got left out. Lol.

  16. Hahaha. Wanted to throw some names up there! Lol.

  17. Lasana Liburd you almost pick d squad for Hart ,LOL