The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team won their first warm-up match in Georgetown this afternoon. But it was against Guyanese club team, Alpha United, rather than the Guyana National Team, as initially suggested by a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) release.
W Connection midfielder Jabari Mitchell and Moses Jaikeran scored the goals as the young Soca Warriors pulled off a 2-1 win against an Alpha team that had not played a competitive match in at least two months. Guyana national player, Daniel Wilson, scored for Alpha.
And, despite the rust, Alpha are likely to be the most match-ready opponents that the young Warriors face in Guyana, as their second affair on Sunday comes against an “Elite All Stars” team from the Guyanese league, which is in its off-season.
“We were happy for the trip [from] the Trinidad team, [as] it gives the Guyana team an opportunity to kickstart its local-based national [squad],” Shabazz told Wired868. “We let them play Alpha first as [they are] the team that is most ready now and they have nine national players.
“Then it will be Elite All Star team, which is really local-based players [for the Guyana Senior National Team]. [The Guyana FA’s decision to not call it a national team] is really just to protect the integrity of the national team.”
Arguably, the National Under-20 Team could have gotten stiffer competition right in Trinidad, as the current Caribbean champions, Central FC, and runners-up, W Connection, are both active in the CONCACAF Champions League while Defence Force played its first outing of the new Pro League season last week.
National coach Brian Williams has just 18 players to choose from after Shiva Boys Hindu College standouts Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney failed to catch their flight and were playing against San Juan North in Bourg Mulatresse when the Warriors checked in at the Piarco International Airport.
So far, neither the TTFA nor representatives of the players have made a public statement on their absence.