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.
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.
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.
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.