The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team players can keep their attentions firmly on the task at hand in Wrexham this Wednesday, after they were assured of a pay hike for their international friendly against Wales.
The Soca Warriors had their fees cut from US$1,000 per match for much of this millennium to just US$300 by TTFA president David John-Williams in November 2017. The low fee, coupled with late payments, prompted players to threaten a boycott of Wednesday’s friendly in Wales, which could feature Real Madrid star and four-time European Champions League winner Gareth Bale.
However, even before head coach Dennis Lawrence selected his final 22-man squad for the marquee affair for the twin island republic, John-Williams was able to hammer out a truce. The new arrangement, according to one player who spoke on condition of anonymity, is a pay structure of US$1,000 for the starting team, US$700 for players who come off the bench and US$500 for unused substitutes.
“The guys are relieved and are just hoping to get a time for the money to be paid, as nothing has been confirmed yet,” the anonymous Warriors player told Wired868. “I’m looking forward to the game. For me, it’s one of those opportunities that don’t come often; so I’m ready to rumble with one of the world’s best players.”
The national players received no assurances that the offered match fee for Wednesday’s affair would remain in place for future friendlies while a pay structure still has not been confirmed for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, which kicks off in June.
For now, the players are focused on the immediate task. They train today at Everton’s Finch Farm training facilities after an agreement between Lawrence—a former Everton assistant coach—and the Premier Division team’s club secretary, David Harrison.
The anonymous player said they have no illusions about the magnitude of the task. Wales are 19th in the world and playing at home with their entire squad in mid-season while the Warriors are ranked 93rd by FIFA and have just four players—Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers, India), Khaleem Hyland (Al Faisaly FC, Saudi Arabia), Daneil Cyrus and Lester Peltier (both Al Orobah, Saudi Arabia)—who are at the same stage in their seasons.
But the Warriors are in good spirits and will work as a team.
“It’s not going to be easy but I’m sure the guys are looking forward to the game as much as I am,” said the Warriors player. “[…] It’s going to be a big challenge seeing that a lot of us are out of season or recently started but I have no doubts about what we’re capable of doing as a team.”
(Trinidad and Tobago 22-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Central FC), Nicklas Frenderup (HB Koge—Denmark), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: Alvin Jones (W Connection), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa, Costa Rica), Daneil Cyrus (Al Orobah—Saudi Arabia), Sheldon Bateau (Sarpsborg 08–Norway), Carlyle Mitchell (Unattached), Mekeil Williams (Oklahoma City Energy FC—USA), Triston Hodge (Memphis 901 FC—USA), Ross Russell Jr (Morvant Caledonia United);
Midfielders: Kevan George (Charlotte Independence—USA), Duane Muckette, Leston Paul (both Memphis 901 FC—USA), Neveal Hackshaw (Indy Eleven—USA), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Khaleem Hyland (Al Faisaly FC—Saudi Arabia),
Attacking midfielders: Cordell Cato (Oklahoma City Energy FC—USA), Nathan Lewis (Lansing Ignite—USA), Levi Garcia (Kiryat Shmona—Israel), Lester Peltier (Al Orobah—Saudi Arabia);
Forward: Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers—India).
(Wales 31-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Barnsley), Chris Maxwell (Charlton, on loan from Preston);
Defenders: Ashley Williams (Stoke, on loan from Everton), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Connor Roberts (Swansea), James Lawrence (Anderlecht), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Paul Dummett (Newcastle), Declan John (Swansea);
Midfielders: Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Joe Allen (Stoke), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool), Harry Wilson (Derby, on loan from Liverpool), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Matt Smith (FC Twente, on loan from Manchester City), Lee Evans (Wigan), Daniel James (Swansea), Will Vaulks (Rotherham), George Thomas (Scunthorpe, on loan from Leicester);
Forwards: Rabbi Matondo (Schalke), Sam Vokes (Stoke), Tom Lawrence (Derby), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Tyler Roberts (Leeds).