Lower league United States-based defender Kareem Moses earned a surprise recall to the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team today after coach Dennis Lawrence found himself shorthanded at the back, just two days before the Soca Warriors face Mexico in 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras in San Luis Potosi.
Moses, who is 27, has not represented Trinidad and Tobago in four years while his senior international career to date consists of one start and six substitute appearances—four of the outings were in friendly matches.
At present, Moses is employed by North Carolina FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Lawrence, according to TTFA Media Consultant Wayne Cunningham, felt it necessary to summon Moses after “an untimely blow” from FIFA with the extended suspension of defender Alvin Jones, who received a straight red card during last month’s 2-1 qualifying loss to Honduras at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The FIFA disciplinary committee, according to the TTFA release met on the issue of Jones’ suspension on 28 September. Yet the Warriors still travelled to Mexico unaware of the matter since—again according to Cunningham—team manager Richard Piper was unable to get confirmation before they left Trinidad on Monday 1 October.
“This has compounded an already dicey situation for the T&T Coach,” stated the TTFA release, “with players recovering following the weakening effect of a virus plus the day to day monitoring of defender Mekeil Williams already on his plate.
“With these factors in mind and after some deliberation, the coaching staff opted to call in former North East Stars defender Kareem Moses into the squad.”
If Williams does not recover in time, Lawrence could find himself with just six available defenders on Friday of whom only three—Daneil Cyrus, Curtis Gonzales and Kevon Villaroel—have playing experience at this level.
If, as suggested, Lawrence prepared for Friday’s contest with Jones rehearsing for the right back role, then the fresh start promised for the upcoming qualifiers seem to be haunted by some of the same managerial issues as the unsuccessful campaign he is trying to consign to memory.
Jones was the only natural right back in Lawrence’s 23-man squad although Williams, Cyrus and Gonzales have all played there before.
Notably, Moses’ inclusion saw him elevated over not only Carlyle Mitchell and Radanfah Abu Bakr but also the North East Stars pair of Yohance Marshall and Julius James.
The 31-year-old Marshall won 10 caps under former coach Stephen Hart and scored a memorable equaliser against Mexico in a 4-4 draw at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup while he also played for 90 minutes in a 3-0 friendly loss to Argentina in 2014. He also played professionally in the Mexico second division between 2015 and 2017.
Last week, North East Stars coach Derek King complained that National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John taunted his players during a Pro League contest and told them they were not good enough to represent their country. Lawrence promised to investigate.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Greg Ranjitsingh (Louisville City FC—USA), Glenroy Samuel (Morvant Caledonia Utd);
Defenders: Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids—USA), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Kareem Moses (North Carolina FC—USA), Daneil Cyrus (Juticalpa FC—Honduras), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando);
Midfielders: Leston Paul (CD Pasaquina—El Salvador), Khaleem Hyland (Al-Faisaly Harmah—Saudi Arabia), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada—USA), Jared London (Club Sando);
Attacking midfielders: Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United—USA), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Neil Benjamin (W Connection), Kathon St Hillaire (St Ann’s Rangers), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands);
Forwards: Shahdon Winchester (Murciélagos FC—Mexico), Trevin Caesar (Sacramento Republic—USA), Akeem Roach (CD Vida—Honduras).