Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart has challenged newcomers to stake individual claims to the “Soca Warriors” squad, as a new-look outfit prepare to face Peru in international friendly action tomorrow from 9.30 pm (TT time) in Lima.
It will be the first of a three match tour, which also includes fixtures away to Uruguay and China. The match is expected to be beamed live on Flow channel 99.
Hart only has the services of five starters from Trinidad and Tobago’s last World Cup qualifying contest against St Vincent and the Grenadines on 25 November 2016, which ended in an emphatic 6-0 win, as the match falls outside the FIFA international match window.
In contrast, Peru, who are preparing for the Copa America Centenario, are expected to be full strength.
Hart, who travelled with 15 Pro League players after the inclusion of Central FC forward Marcus Joseph, hopes to see some compelling auditions.
“What I want out of these games are mainly individual performances that allow me to strengthen the squad,” Hart told the TTFA Media. “Obviously the collective effort is important, however in exhibition games it is important to provide playing experience and opportunity to all involved.”
The Warriors faced Peru twice in 2013 and lost 2-0 in Couva and 3-0 in Lima.
Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, defenders Curtis Gonzales, Daneil Cyrus, Aubrey David and attacker Joseph are the only players in the squad who travelled to Peru, three years ago.
Stand-in captain and Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland expects a tough challenge.
“It’s going to be a difficult game because they are at home and they will be on a high heading off to the Copa America,” said Hyland. “But we are really looking forward to the contest… It is a good opportunity, as coach has been saying, for some of the younger players to get themselves familiar with the game at this level. And we will be looking to take everything we can from the outing.
“It will be important for us to stay disciplined and compact for as long as possible. We will have our work cut out but I am certain we can put on a good showing to start off the three matches.”
(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), Alvin Jones, Daneil Cyrus, Triston Hodge (all W Connection), 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), Marcus Joseph (Central FC), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh);
Forwards: Willis Plaza (Alianza FC—El Salvador), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection), Makesi Lewis (Police FC).