Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart will carry a depleted squad including 14 Pro League players to South America later this month when the “Soca Warriors” will battle Uruguay—who are ranked ninth in the world by FIFA—and Peru.
The Warriors, who are ranked 53rd by FIFA, face 46th ranked Peru in Lima on May 23 and then Uruguay in Montevideo on May 27. They will then head to China for a third exhibition match at Qin Huang Dao on June 3.
Only the China outing falls within the FIFA international match calendar, which allows football associations free reign to select players.
However, Hart has opted to stick with largely the same squad for all three games.
“The consideration for selection was a bit difficult mainly because the first two games do not fall on a FIFA date,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “So what I have decided to do was to go with a number of players that have looked well in the Pro League and try to mix them with players who have been utilised in the World Cup qualification.
“It was a difficult decision because you want to put your best foot forward in those games. But unfortunately because it is outside of a FIFA window a number of players were not available to us.”
Among the beneficiaries are the uncapped duo of San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis, who has 12 Pro League goals this season, and North East Stars goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel, who was playing in the domestic second tier with Matura ReUnited up until February.
They will play alongside the likes of AZ Alkmaar winger Levi Garcia, HB Koge defender Radanfah Abu Bakr and KVC Westerlo midfielder Khaleem Hyland, who headed the list of foreign-based players included in the squad.
Andre Boucaud (England), Aubrey David (Costa Rica), Justin Hoyte (England), Yohance Marshall (Mexico) and Willis Plaza (El Salvador) will fly in for the trip too alongside former Point Fortin Civic defender Weslie John, who also plays in El Salvador.
England-born midfielder John Bostock is again forced to delay his international debut due to tardiness by the England FA. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is obliged to present FIFA with letters from the other three associations that Bostock can represent, which state whether he has represented them and at what level.
The Republic of Ireland and Wales have already responded but not England, who Bostock captained at National Under-17 level. As a result, Hart decided not to risk calling up the classy box-to-box midfielder.
Central FC captain Leston Paul, a two-time World Youth Cup player, might benefit from his absence.
“There has been a lot of discussion in Trinidad and Tobago football about giving players an opportunity,” said Hart, “and this is my one sort of opportunity to bring in a number of players and see if I can get the squad to gel together and play what will be two very difficult games.”
Garcia and Hyland will not travel on to China and will be replaced by Central attacker Marcus Joseph and Republic of Korea-based defender Carlyle Mitchell.
“China have been on the up, their recent results have been very good and overall this tour will test us in every way possible, both on and off the field,” said Hart. “What this will do is give me is an idea of which players could handle the stress of playing in a very difficult situation.
“Having to play Peru and then Uruguay in Uruguay which is one of the best teams in South America is going to place a lot of mental stress on the players and you want that.
“I want to see who can handle it and adapt quickly and for myself, it is going to be a challenge because to get that squad to gel is really going to test myself and the staff.”
The Warriors will begin a live-in camp on Sunday at the Metro Hotel in Couva, although Pro League clubs Defence Force and Jabloteh remain locked in battle for second place and the sole remaining CONCACAF Champions League qualifying spot at stake.
Defence Force, who have 48 points, have one league fixture remaining while Jabloteh, who also have 48 points but an inferior goal differential, have two outings left. Hart selected Lewis from Jabloteh and Curtis Gonzales from Defence Force.
“Nathan Lewis has done well for Jabloteh in the League and now we will see if he can take his ability to another level,” said Hart. “Glenroy has been outstanding for North East and is a big factor in their rise up the table. So it’s a good for him to push for selection.
“And then of course Weslie John, who I have been following on InStat Scout, has done very well in El Salvador and I will be interested to see how he adapts.”
Soca Warriors custodian Jan-Michael Williams again misses out due to injury while captain Kenwyne Jones and key players like Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones and Sheldon Bateau are unavailable due to club commitments.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Glenroy Samuel (North East Stars);
Defenders: Aubrey David (Saprissa FC—Costa Rica), Daneil Cyrus, Triston Hodge (both W Connection), Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Weslie John (CD Universidad—El Salvador), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Andre Ettienne (Central FC), Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark);
Midfielders: Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Leston Paul (Central FC), Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo—Belgium);
Attacking midfielders: Jomal Williams (W Connection), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands), Sean De Silva (Central FC), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh);
Forwards: Willis Plaza (Alianza FC—El Salvador), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection), Makesi Lewis (Police FC);
Additions for China match: Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E Land—Korea Republic), Marcus Joseph (Central FC).
waiting to see how well Plaza takes on the responsibility to lead the line…… time for him to score some
any word on how Cummings is progressing?
Cummings has started light training. That’s it so far. Fingers crossed, he will be ready for the start of the new season in September and maybe on the national team again by the end of the year.
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Well done Glenroy Samuel anything is possible
yea Tamo Harewood…hands tied…but others getting chances…widen the pool…
Sat next to him in some pro league matches this week gone. This isn’t surprising.
Humphrey can consider himself unlucky
You get your T&T Nathan Lewis jersey yet, Kirwin? Lol.
He putting in a special order for that #27
Lol…maybe when they print it. Gonna rock the “cornrows” too
Tough luck, y’all Gabriel never got printed =D
I really don’t wanna see that hairstyle
Kirwin Weston is a happy man!
Well thanks to some good reports eh (Y) kudos
Alyuh coach have a good eye for talent Lasana & Roneil
Nathan had a “Pick me” sticker on his back lol
He really trying with our professional league players eh, and that is a very good thing eh, they cannot say that they are not getting their chances to represent our sweet country.
He didn’t have a choice this time though. Hope the Pro League players take the chance to prove themselves.
Congrats to all, especially Weslie and Glenroy…. Happy for these guys…. I know they will give it their all… Like the make up of the team….
Yes. Weslie John has had a hell of a trip to get here. Hope he does well.
He never gave up the fight….
Unfortunate that we don’t have the opportunity to use our full strength team, but that was to be expected because of the dates. Has Glenroy shown tremendous improvement? I haven’t seen him since his Caledonia days when it seems he was trying to take the mantle of El Loco from René Higuita.
Still some loco in him. He has good physical attributes and gives his all for the 90 minutes. But still room for improvement in handling and decision making.
The choices are thin. The only other prospect would have been Sheldon Clarke from Defence Force who has been decent.
Mentally, Glenroy has always been a challenge. He has a lot of unrealized potential… I am hoping he has gotten his act together…. I wish him the best
Marvin Phillip was similar to Glenroy eh, once upon a time. Hope Glenroy gets it together some day.
Marvin had a temper like Glenroy. But I think Marvin always had good fundamentals.
Oh. But I saw Marvin make many GK errors. Like ball roll through his leg, drop regulatory catches and player pounces.
I haven’t seen many of those. But I was away between 2003 and 2006 when Marvin would have been between 19 and 22. So maybe.
Can’t remember any howlers when he was with the U-17 World Cup squad.
Ok. Last one I vividly remember was when he was a T&TEC. Top notch saves, then a big blunder in the 80s. I just shook my head.
He;s more sturdy now
But Glenroy was playing “second tier” football up to 3 months ago, then he’s good enough for national duty ?
Guess we really don’t know how to manage our talent na
How many more potential nationals are there ? Wasting away
Every player makes a blunder. Even De Gea. I even saw Messi miscontrol a ball the other day. Lol. It is just about percentages to me in terms of how regular the problems happen.
But you are either technically sound or you are not.
I think Glenroy was playing second tier for reasons other than skill though. He is skillful enough to be in top tier for sure.
As for keepers, we have definitely been struggling for a while. Kelvin Jack has sent me something on that to share with Wired868 readers and I will post this week.
I think Foncette has the potential to take over.
Lasana Liburd why was Cleon john never given a fair chance ? He was impressive for 3 seasons at san juan jabloteh at that point he was in the most in form keeper I have heard ppl say he doesn’t have technique
Cleon was older than Jan-Michael and Marvin. And they got the international exposure he didn’t starting with the 2001 World Youth Cup. And Cleon just never got his shot.
Only national players get exposure. In a country where you play at a top level, essentially every team in the European competitions gets exposed to top competition.
So you can just bring in a guy like Clyne or Sturridge and not even consider it a gamble.
We don’t have that luxury. You can say the same with Nathan Lewis and Cordell Cato.
Only difference is exposure.
Marvin is the best keeper in the country but age should not have been the reason Cleon wasnt selected becuz it applies to Kelvin jack as well although he came tru the ranks of national under 23 kelvin Jack only got recognition at San Juan jabloteh in the pro league
Kelvin was a national player from under-14 level come up. And in those days, our national teams travelled a lot.
Totally different to Cleon unfortunately.
STUPES!!!! ORGANISE JOHN BOSTOCK PAPERS FOR ME PLEASE!!!