The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team will be without the services of former National Under-17 left back Keston Julien and, possibly, Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-out Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel too, when the Caribbean Cup competition kicks off in Trinidad on June 15.
Julien, who played for Presentation College (San Fernando) last season and recently left W Connection for Marabella Family Crisis Centre, leaves for the Netherlands on June 10 where he will try to follow in the footsteps of 18-year-old compatriot, Levi Garcia, who signed for Eredivisie club, AZ Alkmaar, last year.
Emmanuel’s potential unavailability is down to more worrying circumstances.
“We have a little medical issue with Emmanuel and we need to get it cleared with the doctor,” said National Under-20 Team coach Brian Williams. “I don’t want to disclose too much about the medical issue but he’s been getting some chest pains. We are looking into it because we don’t know how serious it is.
“We want to get a medical clearance because we don’t know if it’s a heart problem or something like that.”
Emmanuel, who was one of three Trinidad and Tobago teenagers selected for a training stint at Manchester City last year, has complained of chest pains before and was substituted as a result on several occasions last season with Shiva Boys.
Williams said the the entire squad hopes that “Pappy” gets a clean bill of health and can rejoin his teammates in the near future.
The Under-20 squad continued their Caribbean Cup preparations last Friday with a 2-1 loss to National Super League (NSL) team Queen’s Park Cricket Club at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
QPCC, who had previous Under-20 trialist Ethan Shim in their ranks, got a double from former WASA FC striker and ex-national youth team captain Shane Calderon while lanky Trinidad and Tobago central defender Kierron Mason got a consolation item for Williams’ troops with a long range effort in the second half.
“I think Queen’s Park gave us a good run in terms of pressuring us and the intensity,” Williams told Wired868. “We conceded early goals in the first half and I think it was more defensive blunders than anything else.”
Calderon’s opener came after a poor defensive left him with only goalkeeper Jabari Brice to beat, while he converted a devious Shim cross for his second in the 35th minute.
The Trinidad and Tobago teenagers were hustled and harried constantly but did create their fair share of chances. Their finishing was sub-standard, though, and playmaker in chief, Jabari Mitchell, who was probably the best player in “Red, White and Black” on the night, was the main culprit.
“I think we need to do some finishing touches in the final third with regards to our finishing,” said Williams. “And still we need to improve in our general offensive play (especially) the build-up from the back. I think we have a tendency to go backward.”
The Under-20s improved notably in the second half, as the fresh legs of substitutes Yohannes Richardson, Kathon St Hillaire and Quinn Rodney—among others—stretched the tiring QPCC outfit.
“The positive I can take from this game is the response that I saw from the guy,” said Williams. “They didn’t drop their heads, and again we continue to give away some of our chances in terms of goal scoring. The positives are that we had a better second half and we were able to pull back one.”
Williams, a former “Strike Squad” stand out for Trinidad and Tobago, said his squad continues to improve gradually and they hoped to benefit from a four day live-in camp at Hubert Joseph Street in Claxton Bay, which began on June 2.
Although Julien is out and Emmanuel is doubtful, Williams expects to have the overseas-based duo of Noah Powder and Morgan Bruce by Monday morning. The young Warriors hope to have a short overseas camp as well.
“The TTFA is working on a trip to either El Salvador or Grenada,” said Williams. “If we get through with that we would leave some day next week to return around the 11th.
“Most likely that decision will be made before the camp breaks on Monday.”
Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team x QPCC (4-2-3-1): Jabari Brice (GK) (Jadel Poon-Lewis 46); Isaiah Garcia (Tekay Hoyce 54), Taryk Sampson, Kierron Mason, Kori Cupid; Kareem Riley (Kathon St Hillaire 54), Shane Sandy (Yohannes Richardson 46); Jarred Dass (Micah Lansiquot 66), Jabari Mitchell, Isaiah Hudson (Quinn Rodney 59); Nicholas Dillon (Rushawn Murphy 31).