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Saintfiet: Glen has to prove himself; Mekeil cut as T&T 23-man squad announced

Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team head coach Tom Saintfiet selected his 23-man squad to face Nicaragua today with 15 Pro League players and eight overseas-based players, including two who will join the team in Central America.

Thirty-six year old veteran Cornell Glen, as reported in Wired868, returns to the Soca Warriors fold and will join the squad in Nicaragua along with United States-based combative midfielder Kevan George. The other 21 players are in Trinidad and entered camp at the Cara Suites Hotel in Claxton Bay on Tuesday evening.

Photo: Jackson Armada FC midfielder Kevan George. (Courtesy Jackson Armada FC)
Photo: Jackson Armada FC midfielder Kevan George.
(Courtesy Jackson Armada FC)

W Connection make up the spine of the squad, as six of their current players are in Saintfiet’s team along with another two players—Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester—who are on loan at Murcielagos FC in Mexico.

From the Connection contingent, only defender Maurice Ford was uncapped by former coach Stephen Hart.

The surprise omission was another Connection past player, Mekeil Williams. Williams, who represented MLS outfit Colorado Rapids last season, can operate anywhere in the back four. However, he failed to sufficiently impress Saintfiet during their practice sessions. Ma Pau Stars midfielder Elton John and St Ann’s Rangers winger Jomoul Francois also missed out.

Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino and San Jose Earthquakes winger Cordell Cato are unavailable for the Nicaragua friendlies due to club business while Seattle Sounders winger Joevin Jones asked for time off to recover from his long season and San Juan Jabloteh striker Willis Plaza will be abroad on trial.

Europe-based players Sheldon Bateau, Khaleem Hyland, Andre Boucaud and Levi Garcia are also unavailable due to club commitments. There were no Central FC players selected after the club refused to release goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and midfielder Nathaniel Garcia for the local-based camp.

Saintfiet expressed satisfaction with his team’s preparations so far.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Tom Saintfiet (right) makes a point to paramedic Dave Isaacs during training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

“We don’t have the full squad here because there are still some foreign based players to arrive but I am very happy,” Saintfiet told the TTFA Media. “We have about 19 or 20 players in camp. I think we have a mixed group of young payers, talented players without experience in national team but also players who played a lot for the national team and are very experienced, who also have experience abroad.

“The atmosphere is good. The boys trained good last week and yesterday, and we are looking forward to prepare this team for Nicaragua [which] is also preparation for the real matches against Suriname and Haiti.”

Saintfiet’s final 23-man squad had five players—including Club Sando attacker Akeem Roach and the San Juan Jabloteh duo of Tyrone Charles and Nathan Lewis—who were not in his initial 29-man training squad.

“The reason they are invited is because they caught my eye,” said Saintfiet. “Secondly there are absences of some other players and some players can fill those vacancies. [They] fit exactly into the system I want to play and I am very happy that they are added and I hope they can adapt very fast.”

The Belgian coach said Glen will compensate for Plaza’s absence.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Cornell Glen collects his thoughts after striking the bar against Sweden during the Germany 2006 World Cup. (Courtesy www.bbc.co.uk)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Cornell Glen collects his thoughts after striking the bar against Sweden during the Germany 2006 World Cup.
(Courtesy www.bbc.co.uk)

“We will look in these friendly matches and in the coming training sessions at his quality and level and we will see what he brings,” said Saintfiet. “[Glen] has to prove in training whether he is ready for it, just like every other player.”

The Warriors depart on Christmas Day for Managua where they will face Nicaragua on 27 and 30 December before returning to Trinidad on Old Year’s Day.

Saintfiet said he has not yet named his replacement for former captain Kenwyne Jones and is likely to do so in Nicaragua.

“I have had some thoughts about it but I didn’t make the final decision yet,” said Saintfiet. “To be honest I don’t think it’s is always that important who is the captain for me. I like that the whole team takes the responsibility of a captain…”

The former Bangladesh and Namibia coach complimented the ability of the local-based players and hopes to hold another camp once the Pro League ends in February.

Photo: Club Sando attacker Akee Roach (left) looks to glide past fallen Central FC defender Kevon Villaroel during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 16 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Club Sando attacker Akee Roach (left) looks to glide past fallen Central FC defender Kevon Villaroel during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 16 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

TTFA president David John-Williams said, at Saintfiet’s media unveiling, that the coach will be looking for a new job in March if he does not secure four points against Panama and Mexico in 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Port of Spain. But, for now, the Belgian coach suggested that he is thinking long term.

“I believe that locally we have a lot of good players and I am looking forward already to the future,” he said. “After the league, I think there could be a huge opportunity to train a lot with the local players to make a better understanding for the needs of international football—to improve here and there and to work longer together.

“I think maybe we overlooked a bit too long the quality of the local based players and focused too much on the foreign based players who are also of a high quality. But I think we can find the ideal mix.

“Locally, there are a lot of players with the potential to go abroad and to defend their country and I hope they take this opportunity.”

The National Senior Team train twice tomorrow at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella at 9.30am and 5.30pm.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Morvant Caledonia United goalkeeper Marvin Phillip. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Morvant Caledonia United goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

(T&T 23-man squad for Nicaragua)

Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars);

Defenders: Carlos Edwards (Ma Paul Stars), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land—Korea Republic), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Sillamae Kallen—Estonia), Daneil Cyrus, Maurice Ford, Triston Hodge (all W Connection), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica),

Midfielders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada—USA), Alvin Jones, Hughtun Hector (both W Connection);

Attacking midfielders: Aikim Andrews (W Connection), Akeem Roach (Club Sando), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC), Nathan Lewis, Tyrone Charles (both San Juan Jabloteh);

Forwards: Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Cornell Glen (Ozone FC Bengalaru—India), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—USA).

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104 comments

  1. Anybody ever heard a man called Roger Milla? Thanks. (Mike drop)

  2. At de rate he going doh be surprised Latas and Yorke eh geh a call back too?!

  3. Mix experience with youth. Always a good Combination. Good to see Carlos and Cornel in the mix. Kenweyne increase your work rate and work on your finishing you have the potential to be very deadly.

  4. It look like Santifeit throwing in the kitchen sink early in he tenure.

  5. I am sure he is in awe of the talent locally. When u accustomed workif with men at the level of Bangladesh etc then nearly every pro league player going to look like international quality. I sure they could make those national sides he coached before

  6. Give d coach a chance let see wats happening 1 month let see if he is dat good we have so many good coaches around d country gone for a man from outer road I can name 1 very good one from south sando Jan stedman very good

  7. Roger miller married a trini so we have him to help with d striking with claton ince in goal would be listening games on radio AM band tooo

  8. Multiple clubs too, and not one. Sensing a personal, conflict of interest issue is basis with coach as a scapegoat. Hope I am wrong..

  9. ..This is a FIFA recognized tournament and the players may be suspended for the duration of the tournament..

  10. Allyuh… News just in. latapy Yorke and Chris birchal coming out of retirement… D whole 06 team coming back.
    Latest news: coach starting to coach rugby.

  11. Is cornell glen or tom saintfiet who has to prove himself? Lmao

  12. Many countries in CFU Concacaf and Commebol wants to play in the non Fifa dates to widen their pool

  13. It was suggested two years ago that the National Coach meet with the Pro League set a calendar for matches every two months…..the league could then stop every two months for 8 days ….allow the national coach to train for 4 to 5 days and play a friendly after. This would widen the pool and increase motivation of the local based be they pro or super league players.

  14. Age is not the problem his fitness would be the key factor an once he is fit an can get goals i see no reson why he cannot be considered.

  15. But of course he wudda be selected and never forget that my dictator president W- Connection team is like the Bayearn Munich of Germany eh, so nutten is really wrong with plenty of their players being packed on our Soca Worries team eh. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  16. I wonder if elton john was playing for W connection would he of been selected smh ?

  17. Ah had promised to eh say nutten with the circus that is now my National Team…but oh God, they keep pullin me back in!

    Lemme get this straight:

    He saw highlights of Kenwyne and a few games and decided Kenwyne was too slow, right?

    He saw Williams in training and decided he was not good enough.

    He saw Carlos play a few games and decided that Carlos was still quick enough to be a National defender?

    He saw Cornell Glenn (highlights/games?) and decided Glenn was still quick enough to make his ‘speedy’ team.

    One last thing, for years I hate that Cyrus does be ripping in practice (hence the reason why he always on the team?) and come actual game time does be ah friggin liability! Ah hate that!

    • Cyrus does rell play Mr, take it down.
      Cornel glen should not be on the team agreed. Neither of those vets should be. If he needed experience best he kept kenwyne and subbed him in on attacking midfield
      That formation should be
      3-1-2-1-3

    • Joshua Cyrus That last name Josh…biased much:) And I’ll keep it light cause it’s tooooo easy…ummm who does Daniel play for right now??

      Quick, what was his last team? I’ll give a hint, it’s not a TnT pro league team?

      Again, who does he play for right now? I rest my effin case…your ass just biased!

      He is a head case and a boom kick footballer…read my lips…THAT IS WHY HE WAS CUT BY CHICAGO FIRE!

      And please, doh waste yuh time with me coming back to defend effing Daniel Cyrus…yuh cah be serious…steups!!!!!!

      You really say Cyrus does play rell ball??? You really say that jed????

    • Not biased cause he’s not directly my family
      And I my father coached super and pro league teams so I know a bit about good formations and a lot of strategy’s

  18. Trini is trini…if u get your chance and you dont take it…then the line will be a long one…thats how is done professionally….give your all for your country

  19. Tired say it local vs foreign is a discussion on food. Doubles vs KFC.

    STEP UP OR STEP ASIDE. I could care less where you ply your trade.

  20. This is a case of you guys thinking foreign based means better. For the national team he has been poor and appeared unfit. Being dropped to me is needed he needs to be better whether the Belgian gets it or not …he needs this for him …he’s been poor.

    • Actually he wasnt there against Honduras and Costa Rica so it’s OTHERS who have been poor

    • I know … been following him since the gold cup …he’s been poor as has Cyrus.

    • Malik Johnson Very solid in qualifiers especially crucial home games vs USA and away at Guatemala. Champion in Guatemala and top 11 halfway through the season in MLS. Not sure what exactly is poor about that

    • Well you seem convinced and I’m happy for you. But I’m not …just because the team won or didn’t lose doesn’t negate how poor he’s been.

    • Malik, Simone is also Mekeil’s agent. So he won’t necessarily be the most partial person. Hope I’m not too unfair to you there Simone.

    • So only Glen have to prove himself? Just asking

    • Lol. Well, DJW did it to Tom. Tom is passing it on…

    • Well I think the guy naturally has to support his Client …not against that but when the national team has been absorbing pressure and Mekeil has been called upon after about 60 mins he’s struggled fitness wise to deal with his opponents ..that’s just a fact. Granted our poor possession and general play make him more exposed to one on one play than with his club …that’s just a fact ..I’d like to give him better news but I can’t 🙁

    • Malik Johnson So the answer is the TT Pro league players?

    • The answer is fit players …..where they’re coming from in Trini is anybody’s guest. The US team has robotic, rigid, uncreative players but every single one of them is fit …always …. subs included. It doesn’t matter who you are and what level of talent you possess if you’re not in shape you can’t perform at a consistently high level. Cyrus, KJ, Mekeil and a number of other players on our team are not at an acceptable level of fitness … hence 0-4 …0-2 and 1-3 …not tracking back…marking …..mental lapses …..physically unable to keep pace with the other team …fact !!

    • Malik Johnson Mekeil is fit. Are you saying Colorado Rapids is not keeping him fit?

    • Simone…. I say what I see … I don’t make assumptions. The kid struggles after around 60 mins. I’ll give you an example ….I went to watch Trinidad vs Mexico in the Gold Cup …fantastic game of football and Mekeil was doing well at the left back position then a he started to tire and then he was done. Mexico detected the weakness and sensibly bombarded him. His struggles dawned on me and I took note and I saw it again in a few more games. When a team is winning these struggles are negated ….when they lose it comes to the fore mainly because they’re looking for answers. Cyrus is the same ..athletic, strong .. fast after 60 done and he’s worse than Mekeil because he’s unable to keep possession. Go look at his second halves of games with the national team and see if I’m lying …TT vs Mexico…TT vs Panama …

    • Malik Johnson That was BEFORE Mekeil moved out of TT Pro league. He went to Guatemala AFTER the Gold Cup and gained fitness and then was sold to MLS

  21. I hear you.. we lost to a few countries with a “stronger” team recently, so I have stopped using these kinds of markers man..

  22. Hahahahah this man is a goat. Bringing back football pensioners. ….leaving out talent like Williams ….

  23. Smh lasana!!!!…insinuations Alvin was in the squad for the china game and Peru…its like some persons get stomach problems when young trinbagioans get their deserved opportunities…seems when u play with connection nowadays you are more foreign than local…i guess the footballing education that they have gotten from the club counts for nothing since done is around…
    Hope we dont get other players from different local clubs in the new window…and people complain of bias or think djw is attacking eveyone associated with football… when I look and see the players who have all gotten opportunities before djw came in I say well done and amazing work coach stuarty ….proving over and over that you are about development….

    Lets just say…present players Hector hughton,Alvin Jones,Maurice Ford,triston Hodge,Daniel Cyrus,aikim Andrews,
    Attached -shahdon Winchester
    Normal Williams

    Former : Ian Michael
    Marvin Phillip
    Nashik Arcia
    Marvin Jones
    Mekiel Williams
    Akeem Roach
    Youth team –
    Aubrey David…
    And sorry forgot former cpt k.jones

    Hope it’s not djw playing football for the guys and it’s because of their personal qualities that they are some of the best talents in the country and the Caribbean region….I Day good luck to all our wcfc Trinidad and Tobago players play with pride and distinction for your country no matter who is in charge be a patriot…to other trini players called or on the verge or out because of injury I say good luck to you all and keep working never give up on the most important dream of representing you ‘ll country…be the best professional that u can be..blessings…season greetings to all and I am sure the same so called agents that are bad mouthing the local boys will always be there to ride on you’ll backs….just be careful though…

    With this list I hope the problem is

  24. I think Jamal Jack, Jerrel Britto and Kordell Samuel with their experience in Central America could be worth a look

  25. So u really leave Mitchell out? Ine of the best left backs since Ancil Elcock? Wa alyuj doing with dis cricket coach?

  26. Mikeil excluded? Is he injured? No way any of the WC selected defenders can be selected ahead of him…. SMH

  27. I agreed with most decisions up until the exclusion of williams. Cant wait for the friendly to see what style we will be playing

  28. It was a surprise exclusion to me too Simone. Although I don’t know what shape he was in on the training ground.

  29. I am sure the W Conn defenders who lost 8-1 to Pumas are a better pick

  30. Was hoping to see Elton John in the squad

  31. just plain curious !!! bateau and molino missing those two games because of commitments to their ..[foreign] club…..Jan Michael ,Sean DE Silva missing because of commitment to their ..[local] club…are there commitments different???

  32. Lasana, tag meh partner who wanted Jason Marcano in the squad dey…or Colin =D =D =D

    Everyone who come can’t be wrong na

  33. am always amused by our Hippocratic ideals when dealing with local vs foreign players ..the local not getting enough chance…what you all expect if the foreign base were selected to go foreign by those who we always think knows best..on the other side of the fence should international base players be penalized for not playing local football or is it to assume we should have a quota for locals and foreign players …my take since they are all trinbagonians the 22best that can be one!!! should be on the team regardless of where they are based

  34. I can understand Bateau and Molino etc missing these games but will they be available for the crucial Gold Cup qualifiers in January ? Today they are playing a community fundraiser game in Carenage – Bateau , Molino , Joevin , Mikel guaranteed and possibly Cato too .

    They are here and not with the club teams . Surely if they are here in January they will be part of the squad ?

  35. Deja Vu! Here we go again. Another two games with a squad which won’t resemble the one that will play in the Gold Cup qualifiers. When and where will the cohesion materialize?

  36. ..This guy better win these matches against Nicaragua, which ain’t no heavyweight. His selection is erratic and lacking in visible logic..

  37. “I think maybe we overlooked a bit too long the quality of the local based players and focused too much on the foreign based players who are also of a high quality. But I think we can find the ideal mix.”

    Rubbish

  38. The team needed a shake up. That’s what happens when you lose games.

  39. If I didn’t read that it was the coach speaking I would swear it was DJW talking. It’s almost like ah parrot. He might as well get the ten percent for W Connection transactions.