Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence named eight uncapped players in his 20-man squad to face St Vincent and the Grenadines on Sunday afternoon, as he retained his adventurous selection policy at the helm of the Soca Warriors.
The Trinidad and Tobago outfit are scheduled to depart for Kingstown tomorrow for Sunday’s encounter, which will be played at the Chilli Field from 3.00pm. The affair will be the Warriors’ last outing before they tackle Martinique away in the Concacaf Nations League on 6 September.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 101st in the world by FIFA—albeit 75 places higher than the ‘Vincy Heat’. Lawrence’s team are on an eight-match winless streak with their last triumph coming almost a year ago against the United Arab Emirates on 6 September 2018.
The dire run of form has not prompted Lawrence to lean towards experience, though. Central defenders Malik Mieres (Morvant Caledonia AIA), Justin Garcia (Defence Force) and Nicoholas Thomas (Club Sando) are all uncapped at international level as well as right back Isaiah Garcia (W Connection), defensive midfielder Aaron Lester and winger Jelani Felix (Defence Force) and attacking midfielders Jabari Mitchell (Club Sando Uprising Youths) and John-Paul Rochford (FC Santa Rosa).
Mieres, Garcia (I), Mitchell and Rochford all have national youth team experiences.
The eight senior debutants apart, Lawrence also selected eight players with five caps or less.
Those players are Munroe Community College forward Isaiah Lee (1 cap), San Juan Jabloteh left back Jameel Neptune (1 cap) and winger Kathon St Hillaire (3 caps), W Connection winger Neil Benjamin (2 caps), Deportivo PF midfielders and brothers Judah Garcia (2 caps) and Nathaniel Garcia (5 caps), Club Sando utility player Akeem Humphrey (2 caps) and Defence Force winger Reon Moore (2 caps).
It leaves Lawrence relying on the quartet of goalkeepers Adrian Foncette (Police FC) and Marvin Phillip (Central FC) and defenders Daneil Cyrus (Al-Orobah FC—Saudi Arabia) and Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force) to offer experience.
There were no call-ups for Caledonia defender Radanfah Abu Bakr or Club Sando attacker Trevin Caesar, while Club Sando left back Kemuel Rivers, Defence Force midfielder and captain Jerwyn Balthazar and the Cunupia FC duo of forward Kevon ‘Showtime’ Woodley and midfielder Dwane James were also omitted.
In the case of Abu Bakr and Caesar, they offer form and international experience while Woodley and James rank among the outstanding players in the ongoing Ascension Invitational Tournament.
Neither Phillip, Benjamin nor Lee are playing competitive football at present since they are not attached to Ascension teams.
Lawrence did not select any player from Terminix La Horquetta Rangers although the latter team declined to release players for national training earlier this year.
The Rangers squad, which plays its opening Ascension Invitational match from 6pm tomorrow at the Phase Two Ground in La Horquetta, includes a host of former or current national youth and senior team players such as Tyrone Corbin, Keron ‘Ball Pest’ Cummings, Kadeem Corbin, Kevon Goddard, Aikim Andrews, Ross Russell Jr, Glenroy Samuel and Kishon Hackshaw.
Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2 on their last trip to St Vincent in 2016 under then head coach Stephen Hart. However, the Warriors’ overall record there is mixed with three wins and as many draws since 1979.
(Trinidad and Tobago 20-man Roster)
Goalkeepers: Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Marvin Phillip (Central FC),
Defenders: Malik Mieres (Morvant Caledonia AIA), Daneil Cyrus (Al-Orobah FC—Saudi Arabia), Curtis Gonzales, Justin Garcia (both Defence Force), Nicoholas Thomas (Club Sando), Isaiah Garcia (W Connection), Jameel Neptune (San Juan Jabloteh);
Midfielders: Judah Garcia, Nathaniel Garcia (both Deportivo PF), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando), Aaron Lester (Defence Force);
Attacking midfielders: Neil Benjamin (Deportivo PF/W Connection), Jelani Felix, Reon Moore (both Defence Force), Jabari Mitchell (Club Sando Uprising Youths), Kathon St Hillaire (San Juan Jabloteh), John-Paul Rochford (FC Santa Rosa);
Forward: Isaiah Lee (Munroe Community College—USA).