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Abu Bakr joins Warriors’ injury list; Denmark-based defender will miss WCQs

Trinidad and Tobago central defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, who plays professionally for HB Koge in Denmark, will miss upcoming Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers against St Vincent and the Grenadines on March 25 and 29, due to a leg muscle injury.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (centre) walks away while Haiti players celebrate their 1-0 win in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016.  (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Radanfah Abu Bakr (centre) walks away while Haiti players celebrate their 1-0 win in the 2016 Copa America play off contest at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, Panama City on 8 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Abu Bakr started in nine of Trinidad and Tobago’s last 11 matches, although “Soca Warriors” coach Stephen Hart still has the services of central defenders Sheldon Bateau, Carlyle Mitchell and Yohance Marshall, who play in Russia, the Republic of Korea and Mexico respectively.

But the Warriors coach hopes there will be no more absences before their World Cup assignments.

“We got the news that Radanfah will not make it after picking up an injury,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “It’s not good news for us. But of course we will not let this turn into a worrying situation because there are other players in the team that can carry on the job for us.

“We already have a couple other injury concerns which hopefully will not get worse than it is. Our build up continues as usual and we will stay focused on the task ahead of us.”

At present, the Warriors are in Grenada with a team comprising of 19 Pro League players and a lone overseas-based player, Khaleem Hyland from KV Westerlo of Belgium.

Photo: Central FC defender Andre Ettienne (right) gets to the ball before a Morvant/Caledonia United player during 2015 Toyota Classic quarterfinal action. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC defender Andre Ettienne (right) gets to the ball before a Morvant/Caledonia United player during 2015 Toyota Classic quarterfinal action.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The W Connection pair of Alvin Jones and Triston Hodge, Central FC’s Andre Ettienne, Defence Force’s Jamali Garcia and Police FC’s Elijah Belgrave are all auditioning for a spot in the Trinidad and Tobago central defence.

Hart said the mood in the camp has been wonderful so far.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Hart. “I know it is a new time for a lot of the boys but they came through it quite well. They grew each day and this is something positive for us.

“Of course heading into the game is different and we will see what happens on game day. But we will monitor their progress and the senior guys are already accustomed to this kind of situation, which hopefully could aid the process for the somewhat newer players on the team.”

At present, San Jose Earthquakes winger Cordell Cato is already ruled out of the St Vincent fixtures with a hamstring injury as well as North East Stars playmaker Keron Cummings.

Photo: W Connection midfielder Hughtun Hector (centre) glides past fallen Inter Moengo Tapoe midfielder Naldo Kwasie during CFU Caribbean Club action at Couva on 28 February 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection midfielder Hughtun Hector (centre) glides past fallen Inter Moengo Tapoe midfielder Naldo Kwasie during CFU Caribbean Club action at Couva on 28 February 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

W Connection midfielder Hughtun Hector, who recently returned from a 10-month lay off due to injury, is in the squad in Grenada but still has to prove his match fitness while Orlando City playmaker Kevin Molino, who has also returned from a lengthy injury-enforced absence, is doubtful.

Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams misses the Grenada outing due to a shoulder injury but hopes to return in time to face St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Tickets for Trinidad and Tobago’s qualifier against St Vincent at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on March 29 are available for purchase at TT$300 (covered section) and TT$150 (uncovered section).

Fans can get tickets at Sports and Games and Kenny’s Sports outlets nationwide as well as Sportway (Ellerslie Plaza and Gulf City), Fan Zone (Centre City Mall, Chaguanas), Ramsingh’s Sportworld (Couva) and Heritage Sports (Scarborough, Tobago) or online at www.TTFootball.Org.

Gates open at 4 pm and patrons are advised that no coolers or bottles will be allowed into the match venue on game day.

Photo: A female Trinidad and Tobago fan (centre) phones it in during a lull in action at the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States on 17 November 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: A female Trinidad and Tobago fan (centre) phones it in during a lull in action at the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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28 comments

  1. I could see local players putting in that bit of extra effort when they think it actually could lead to a call up.
    I think we certainly need more of those sort of friendlies. Maybe four or five a year just for pro league players.

  2. Kirwin, keep in mind that the last two or three of Nathan’s goals came since the squad was announced. Team selection never pleases everyone, plus sometimes it’s more about team balance than the individual player. Look at the great season Jerrel Britto had last season and he was never called up. It happens. Nathan just needs to keep working hard and be consistent and his chance will come. The greatest challenge is having enough friendlies so players can be screened effectively.

    • I know how it goes with team selection, and the correlation between goals scored and player quality. But I thought Nathan has been performing above par even since Caledonia. I always thought he was a Guyanese so I never really mentioned it.

    • Hart like players with a certain amount of technical strength flexibility. And I think that’s why Britto was never called, and possibly why Nathan was not called

  3. I think it’s a questionable omission as well, given his goal scoring form recently. But Coach Jeffrey should apologize for those statements

  4. If I was coach and I was sure of another two or three games with locals, I’d probably take Lewis and see if he can step up. If this is my only game with the locals and I want to widen my pool for this campaign, I’d give Marcano a shot.

  5. I think it might be more of a case of Nathan Lewis or Jason Marcano. Nathan is younger and faster. But Marcano is seasoned and a better crosser. Both are in form. It is a toss up.

  6. Coaches hyping up their players for national selection is commonplace, but I think the manner in which Jeffrey is doing it is insulting.

  7. Keith Jeffrey said Balthazar should stick to Futsal yes. He might regret that the next time Defence Force plays Jabloteh! Lol.
    I never agree with denigrating a player to boost your own. Especially since Lewis and Balthazar don’t even play in the same position.

  8. I is a South man, so me eh have no time for St. Anthony’s. Haha. I wasn’t impressed with Carlyle’s shift in the Haiti game, but ah give him ah bligh because he’s usually solid and was out for a number of months. Although a few players were culpable, he played a significant role in conceding that goal. Come nah Lasana, doh bring up dat game nah.

  9. Carlyle played against Haiti and I think he will keep his place and start next to Bateau. Don’t try that St Anthony’s thing Nigel Myers! Lol.

  10. Seems as though Kareem Moses not on the radar anymore 🙁

    • I liked Kareem Moses. Good player and seems like a nice fellah too. That’s always the risk when you go away and play in a smaller league before you are established as an international.

  11. I ent worried, we have depth in defence. Yohance could slot right in.