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Carlos gets armband as Saintfiet prepares for T&T debut against Nicaragua

Former World Cup 2006 midfielder and England Premier League player, Carlos Edwards, will wear the armband tomorrow when Tom Saintfiet makes his bow as Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach in a friendly away to Nicaragua.

The two nations kick off in Managua from at 8:30pm (TT time)—6:30pm in Nicaragua—on Tuesday 27 December and again on Friday 30 December.

Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Ma Pau Stars right back Carlos Edwards (right) takes on Morvant Caledonia United attacker Kordell Samuel during Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 22 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The friendlies will serve as preparation for the Gold Cup campaigns of both nations. Trinidad and Tobago host Suriname and Haiti in playoff matches on 4 and 8 January respectively.

Edwards has not represented the Soca Warriors since 19 November 2013 when he featured in a 2-0 friendly win over Jamaica in Port of Spain. He told the TTFA Media that he was honoured to be given the armband and wanted to help make Trinidad and Tobago successful once more.

The 38-year-old Ma Pau Stars full back warned his younger teammates not to expect him to do it on his own, though.

“It’s a big privilege to wear the captain’s armband,” said Edwards. “Yes, I will have a bit of responsibility. I think he has chosen me because of the experience and to have me put my arms around the younger guys and lead them in the right direction.

“At the end of the day, everyone has to pull their weight. They just can’t look up to me and think I will orchestrate everything.

“I am here for one reason which is to make the country and the team successful once again.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Daneil Cyrus (left) tries to hang on to Costa Rica attacker Christian Bolanos during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 11 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

At present, Saintfiet has 20 players available in Managua while United States-based midfielder Kevan George should join the squad on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip missed the tour through injury while defender Tristan Hodge was dropped for disciplinary reasons.

Edwards commended Saintfiet’s work in Trinidad so far.

“So far things have been really productive,” said Edwards. “We’ve been put through our paces. He’s started off on the right foot, making sure the players are fit and ready for the game and also to have a nice little bond.

“He called the camp in the right time so that the players can get to know each other.”

Saintfiet, who spent the bulk of his career coaching in Africa and was at Bangladesh before he got the Trinidad and Tobago job, said he is looking for “a decent result” in Nicaragua,

“It’s always special and it’s an honour to be national team coach of any country and Trinidad and Tobago is naturally a big football nation,” the Belgian coach told the TTFA Media. “So it’s now […] a fresh start and we are going to use these two matches against Nicaragua to prepare our team for the Gold Cup and later on for the World Cup qualifiers.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016. Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (second from left) welcomes new National Senior Team coach Tim Saintfiet (second from right) during a press conference at the Marriott Hotel on 7 December 2016.
Looking on is new general secretary Justin Latapy-George (far left) and technical director Muhammad Isa.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“It won’t be easy matches. Nicaragua is also a strong football country. In the last games of the World Cup qualifiers they beat Jamaica at home 3-2 and in the last year they also won friendly matches against Cuba 5-0 and Panama 1-0…

“Naturally you want always a good result but I don’t think at the moment that’s the most important thing. We could win both matches against Nicaragua and lose in the qualifiers for the Gold Cup and World Cup. So I would prefer to win the World Cup qualifiers and, if possible, the Gold Cup qualifiers. But, on the other side, if you play a game, you play to win.”

Trinidad and Tobago have never lost to Nicaragua, although both teams played to a goalless draw in Port of Spain last year.

Nicaragua qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup seven years ago in 2009. However, before that, their last appearance in the confederation’s showpiece competition was in 1967.

At present, Nicaragua are ranked 124th in the world by FIFA—just four places above the Dominican Republic—while Trinidad and Tobago are 78th.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Aubrey David (centre) tries to wriggle his way past two Nicaragua opponents during an international friendly fixture on 13 October 2013 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The "Soca Warriors" and Nicaragua played to a goalless draw. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Aubrey David (centre) tries to wriggle his way past two Nicaragua opponents during an international friendly fixture on 13 October 2013 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The “Soca Warriors” and Nicaragua played to a goalless draw.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Saintfiet said he will pay more attention to the performance than the result tomorrow.

“Most important for me is to see tomorrow a team which understands the tactical concept that I want,” said Saintfiet, “[and] can implement it on the pitch, play disciplined and have both offensive and defensive tasks of what I request.

“If that results in a good result I will be happy coach. And if that doesn’t result in a good result, I will be still satisfied if I see what we did in practice.”

Saintfiet took just four players to Nicaragua who featured in Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Honduras on 15 November 2016. Three of the four-man defence for former coach Stephen Hart’s last fixture—Daneil Cyrus, Carlyle Mitchell and Aubrey David—are all available tomorrow along with attacker Trevin Caesar.

Former captain Kenwyne Jones was dropped, goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was overlooked, back-up custodian Marvin Phillip is injured and Sheldon Bateau, Cordell Cato, Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Levi Garcia and Willis Plaza are all unavailable.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) tries to escape the attentions of Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa during 2018 World Cup qualifying action in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) tries to escape the attentions of Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa during 2018 World Cup qualifying action in San Pedro Sula on 15 November 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

(Trinidad and Tobago 20-man squad for Nicaragua)

Goalkeepers: 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 (both W Connection), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica),

Midfielders: Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Alvin Jones, Hughtun Hector (both W Connection);

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

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

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Aikim Andrews (right) forces his way past Haiti defender Stephane Lambese during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Technical staff: Tom Saintfiet (head coach), Jamaal Shabazz (assistant coach), Lukas Wojciak (goalkeeper coach), Riedoh Berdien (trainer), Dr Terence Babwah (doctor), Dave Isaac (paramedic), Michael Williams (equipment manager), Shaun Fuentes (press officer), Azaad Khan (interim manager).

Late arrival: Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada—USA) will join the time in time for their second outing against Nicaragua on 30 December.

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140 comments

  1. It’s being reported that the link is geo restricted, so it not working for people in Trini. Try http://azulyblanco.co/cha?id=1

  2. Nicaragua leading 1-0. Its the 15min right now

  3. Carlos legs tho…Jah! Can we lobby for shorter shorts for him? Armband length?

  4. if this side lose 2 nil dey lucky….

  5. Jan Michael being dropped is total madness

  6. good selection for skipper, Always exited to see my brothers in action despite whatever, but from here moving forward we need consistency and positive results.

  7. How good is Cornell Glen still?

  8. TT Radios & TV stations only cares about their bank accounts…they do not give back to the citizens…period…

  9. Such elderly players? .. what’s going on here?

  10. Aye aye! And I bounce him up in El Pecos last week and told him “congratulations”! I guess I was prophetic 😉

  11. thanks Nigel Myers..ent de President did say we go see all tnt matches live on TV ??…

  12. Supposedly it will be streamed at http://www.canal6.com.ni/, but we wouldn’t know for sure until later.

  13. We need a captain that leads with hard work ethic

  14. I’m hoping Nigel Myers can give us word on that. 🙂

  15. Carlos is a seriously underestimated player and leader
    However, I would have liked seeing him operate from central mid field.

  16. It”s about time for a capitan to guide the ship love it go carlos make t n t proud

  17. Question – which would you prefer: scoring 3 goals but losing 3-4 or conceding none in a 0-0 draw?
    Of course TT scoring while not conceding is the ultimate outcome with which we will all be happy.
    Oops but then again we are all Trinbagonians – even if we win without conceding, we’ll find something else to be unhappy about lol.
    Anyhow TT’s first problem is we are conceding too many soft goals. Our defensive mechanism (not merely the back four)needs to be more effectively coordinated. And our transitioning from defense to offense and vice versa needs to improve with a significant reduction in unforced errors. These in a nutshell are the technical challenges the coach needs to fix immediately.
    Also, if TT are to be more potent in attack, our wingers (Cordel Cato and Joevin Jones, although not in squad for Nicaragua matches) need to alternate their one-dimensional runs down the flanks by also cutting in and employing more diagonal plays to add to their square crosses.
    Indeed they need players to make attacking off-the-ball blind-side runs to meet the crosses. Because when a player or two attract attention down the centre, attackers running on to crosses on the far (blind) side usually presents more unchallenged opportunities at goal.
    All in all, the team needs to be more sharp in transitioning to close down their opposition when the opponents are in possession.
    That’s where fitness, awareness, timing and not losing individual and collective team shape comes into the picture.
    If the coach, trainer and players can get it right on the field of play then bingo!
    If everything click, and TT begin to consistently score 1 or 2 or 3 goals without conceding, i guess only a few might still be unhappy…

  18. ..I was impressed with Carlos’ acceptance speech as captain..
    We need to score goals..even if we lose 3-4…

  19. Carlos still playing? That’s great new though. Loved him

  20. All of this is water under the bridge (the interviews with players saying the vibes positive, new captain, the whole debacle with the new coach etc.)….all I want to see if results, then we can talk…

  21. Good choice for captain.. just for some good results now

  22. Carlos Edwards?????????????? Well ok, then!

  23. #Veterans. Sure experience is nice but……

  24. I think Carlos doesnt only bring experience and depth to the team…but possesses the leadership qualities.

  25. This coach continues to surprise me. Actually he’s changing my opinion about him.

  26. No surprises there. He was the obvious pick.

  27. Hey might recall Yorke and Denis Lawrence just now