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T&T U-17s drawn with Mexico, Jamaica and Bermuda; one win will take Warriors into KO stage

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-17 Team could get within 90 minutes of a Peru 2019 FIFA World Youth Championship spot with just two wins from four qualifying matches, which includes fixtures against Bermuda and, possibly, Haiti.

The junior Soca Warriors, ranked 10th in Concacaf in their age group behind regional neighbours like Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti, should not have felt too hard-done by the draw today, which placed Trinidad and Tobago in Group E with Mexico, Jamaica and Bermuda.

Only one team from that quartet will be eliminated at the group stage, which means T&T can get to the knockout stage with just one win.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 playmaker Josiah Edwards (right) tries to escape from Republic Bank XI defender Nathan Guy (centre) while his teammate Keron Manswell looks on at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
Edwards will represent St Anthony’s College in the SSFL Premier Division this season.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Whether the inactive junior Soca Warriors can manage even that much is another question entirely. The National Under-17 outfit have not trained since April 2018 while their last international game was on 17 August 2017, when they lost 8-1 to Jamaica at the Concacaf Under-15 Championship.

At present, the Under-17s—who were previously coached by Russell Latapy—do not even have a technical staff in place. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) Board of Directors is expected to discuss their fate in a meeting tomorrow.

TTFA president David John-Williams has not responded to questions on the status of the National Under-17 Team for the past three months.

Today’s Concacaf draw saw the confederation split in two with 19 nations competing in a qualifying round from 16 March while the top 16 seeded youth teams enter at the final stage from 1 May.

The four group winners from the qualifying round advance to the knockout stage of the Concacaf Championship along with 12 from the 16 teams in the final round. And the four semifinalists qualify automatically for the Peru Under-17 World Cup.

Photo: The T&T National U-15 Team pose at the 2017 CONCACAF Championship.
Those players are expected to make up the spine of the current U-17 Team.
(Back row, left to right) Darian Bradshaw, Justin Araujo-Wilson, Adriel George, Jean-Heim Mc Fee, Marc Wharfe, Cephas St Rose.
(Front row, left to right) Randy Antoine, Josiah Edwards, Jaiye Sheppard, Jabari Lee and Kernel La Fon.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Trinidad and Tobago open their campaign against Bermuda on 1 May at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida while they tackle Jamaica and Mexico on 3 and 5 May respectively.

One win from their three group matches will see T&T pitted against the Group G runner-up, which is likely to be either Haiti or El Salvador. A second triumph could put the junior Soca Warriors into the quarterfinals where they could face Mexico again with a World Cup place on the line.

If Trinidad and Tobago finish as Group E runners-up—which would require a result against Jamaica—they could end up challenging Honduras for a World Cup place instead at the Round of Eight.

The TTFA Board should rule tomorrow if the Under-17 Team will get a chance to chase their World Cup dreams at all.

At present, the John-Williams-led football body does not have a technical committee or a technical director—the latter, Anton Corneal, downed tools last month due to broken financial promises from the TTFA—while several national coaches are unpaid.

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96 comments

  1. Fear but if we keep laird bk what will change

  2. Easy Marvin Raeburn we are just trouble shooting here based on the situation that we are in. I believe we are all on the same page but we can only make suggestion while we troubleshoot.

  3. What do we expect to accomplish with stupidity like that

  4. I like to think logically… our 1st game is 1st May [9 weeks away] Based on time TTFA can – 1. Do Zonal U17 trials in [2 weeks] [East, North, South/Central, Tobago] ensuring guys have pedigree, US Visas, SSFL experience, possible Tour [Club or Country in 2017 or 18…some Clubs/Zones went USA/Canada/Europe] 2. Selected players added to U15 pool currently in training [5 weeks training] 3. April 15th select team from best of U17 & U15 to represent [2 weeks team preparation] Not ideal but 9 weeks [2+5+2] for good chance to find quality to win 2 games and progress further.

  5. it seems 2 me dat we only have 2 national teams the Men Senior team n the Boys U14 cus these is the only team training

  6. The first paragraph excites until you reach the part about oh btw, we haven’t been training. Lol