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Judah, Jordan and Semper on U-20 squad for Guadeloupe tourney; Latapy: “Players technically above average”

Shiva Boys Hindu College student Judah Garcia was part of an 18-man Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-20 Team which left Piarco International Airport this morning for the six-nation Guadeloupe Invitational tournament, which runs from 18-21 May.

Garcia, who debuted for the senior Soca Warriors against Panama last month and is the 2017 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) MVP, is one of three players from the National Intercol champion school in the side, goalkeeper Denzil Smith and defender Jabari Graham being the other two.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College playmaker Judah Garcia (left) prepares to shoot during SSFL Premier Division action against Signal Hill in Tobago on 5 October 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Presentation College (San Fernando) flanker Jordan Riley, Trinity College East attacker Kishon Hackshaw, San Juan North utility player Brandon Semper and the St Anthony’s College quartet of forward Jaydon Prowell, goalkeeper Jabari Brice, defender Derron John and Jesse Williams are among the top schoolboy performers included in the squad.

However, the young Warriors are without St Augustine Secondary midfielder Rivaldo Coryat, Shiva Boys maestro Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and St Anthony’s midfield engine Jodel Brown.

Head coach Russell Latapy revealed that he was obliged to leave a few important players at home.

“Because exams are going on right now,  there are a lot of players who I would have loved to take on this trip but unfortunately I cannot,” Latapy told the TTFA Media. “But it is a fantastic opportunity for some of the other players to stake a claim for their pick for the tournament in November.”

The Invitational tournament splits its six participants into two groups, with Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Martinique in one bracket while French Guiana, Haiti and hosts Guadeloupe are in the other.

Trinidad and Tobago open their campaign against Costa Rica on Saturday and then face Martinique on Sunday. The winners, runner-ups and table-proppers will face each other in the final day of competition on Monday 21 May.

Photo: Trinity College East midfielder Kishon Hackshaw (right) runs at Holy Cross defender Jaylon Mark during Intercol East Zone quarterfinal action at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 8 November 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the team and the coaching staff to see where we are in terms of our preparations,” said Latapy. “We are definitely looking forward to it.”

Despite the absences, Latapy’s squad is not short of international experience. Smith was a stand-out performer with Trinidad and Tobago’s previous Under-20 squad while QRC playmaker John-Paul Rochford, Brice, Williams, Semper, Hackshaw and Prowell all played for Latapy at Under-17 level two years ago.

Trinidad and Tobago will officially get their Poland 2019 Under-20 World Cup qualifying campaign under way in November when the two-island republic play in the regional competition.

Latapy failed to steer his Under-17 team beyond the group stage of Caribbean competition in 2016, despite having home advantage. However, he had less than a month to prepare his squad in that instance.

The former Porto icon and 2006 World Cup player has had more time to mould his side this time around and he insisted that the talent is there. Their development, he said, is still a work in progress.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national youth coach Russell Latapy (background) looks on at a National Under-17 training session in September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“We have a bunch of talented players as we always do in this country,” said Latapy. “What we were lacking and what we are trying to work on is the tactical side of the game in relation to where the ball is and what the positional play will be. We have been improving on it so far and we just need to keep working at it.

“We have a squad of players that technically are above average but we know playing with the football in the modern game is not enough. You have to learn and know how to run off the ball, how to create space, how to close spaces down when you are not in position.”

“We have worked with the boys for some time. We are fairly happy with where they are right now from when we took the squad… The development of these players is important—and not only as football players but as men.”

Trinidad and Tobago U-20 squad: Jabari Brice, Denzil Smith, Jesse Williams, Kerdell Sween, Jabari Graham, Derron John, Brandon Semper, Shakeem Joseph, Anthony Samuel, Shem Clauzel, Judah Garcia, Darnell Hospedales, Darnell Charles, John-Paul Rochford, Isa Bramble, Jordan Riley, Kishon Hackshaw, Jayden Prowell.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago substitute Jaydon Prowell (second from right) tries to get past Haiti midfielders Obenson Laveille and Jean Danley (right) during 2017 Under-17 World Cup qualifying action in Couva on 17 September 2016.
Haiti won 2-0.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

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23 comments

  1. This team can win the World Cup maybe in the next eight years. Russell is just behind the G.O.A.T then someways Messi. His coaching ability maybe a little better than Wenger’s in his later years.

    If the Technical Committee is still the selection process used then the Coach has to use the human resources provided to him.

    If Russell coaches team USA then T&T may never get out of concacaf. A trini coach Shabazz showed this by taking Guyana and putting it on T&T a while back. Skills and ability of a T&T player is heavily underutilised.

  2. If it’s Trinidad and Tobago under 20 how come aren’t there any persons from Tobago on the team, there are quality players here who can be included in the team, to name a few Akil Frank duvaughn daniel aka Du Vee Jabari Francis, Che Richards, Kerry McDonald and many others who if given a chance will stand out just the same, may even perform better as well, so come on those on the selecting panel give Tobago a fair chance, equal rights and justice for all

    • It is a very good point. But it isn’t necessarily that Latapy is biased. Probably that nothing is in place to get those boys here to train.
      The TTFA should use part of its money to ensure the talent in Tobago is developed and utilized too.
      It is good that we always be reminded of that.

    • Lasana Liburd that’s so true, I have seen many of these boys play being a part of signal hills coaching staff in the goal keeping department and I have seen most of these boys both from Trinidad and Tobago play and we boast players who deserve to be on this team

    • There favouritism in our football for yes now,that’s why it is at a low

    • Marcus Sayers indeed system needs revamping

    • The last team that did proper scouting might be the side with Daneil Cyrus. That team played two World Youth Cups in 2007 and 2009.
      The truth is current teams don’t even find a way to get the poorer kids from rural Trinidad to training. Much less Tobago.

    • Lasana Liburd it’s very sad the state that we have reached and we are not a poor country, but they choose to do otherwise with funding instead of investing in development of our sports programmes thus enabling us to compete we other countries at a high standard

    • Frank, Francis and Mc Donald are all a year too old, they are my age…this team is not the national u20 team yet the u20 World Cup is next year so you need to be u19 this year to play in the u20s next year, and no you can’t just play in qualification , in fact qualification is a u19 tournament that’s why I said they aren’t the u20 team yet as of now they are the national u19 team.

  3. Can we really compare ourselves to the USA and other country’s tho? I’m a youth coach myself and someone who does commentary on youth games and the reality is we are light years behind in the technical and tactical aspects of the game and sadly since clubs are not getting the job done, most of the bull work is left up to national coaches to get players up to scratch, So do we need more time? hell yeah, we need all the time possible to fill the deficiencies at the youth level, we don’t have the luxury of comparing ourselves to any other nation at the moment. I love the aspects that he has highlighted as the week areas, which means he’s on the right track, however, its a difficult job changing old and deeply ingrained bad habits so good luck to them

  4. What do we consider a lot of time for a team to be training together here in trini?