Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Terry Fenwick restarted training today with arguably his most seasoned group of players yet, as the Soca Warriors continue preparation for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying series.
Twelve from his 23 players were already capped at senior international level, while four players—goalkeepers Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette, defender Daneil Cyrus, and full back Alvin Jones—featured prominently in T&T’s unsuccessful Russia 2018 World Cup bid.
Enigmatic 29-year-old India-based attacker and 2009 Under-20 World Cup player Marcus ‘Lobo’ Joseph was also named in the current training squad.
The bulk of Fenwick’s roster look to be in their mid-20s with 14 of them already benefitting from some level of overseas exposure at club level. Most of the overseas-based players in the current squad are in their off-season.
Former National Under-20 Team captain Shannon Gomez, who is 24-years-old, is included and would hope to finally secure a regular spot at the senior level, after leading the ‘red, black and white’ to the 2014 Caribbean Under-20 Championship title—which is the last trophy secured by a national men’s team.
Gomez, who plays in the US second tier with Sacramento Republic, has just two senior international caps, with both earned under former head coach Stephen Hart. He joins former youth team colleagues Josiah Trimmingham, Matthew Woo Ling, Duane Muckette and Jabari Mitchell in the training squad.
After starting his programme last July with almost two dozen trainees below the age of 24, only five remain in Fenwick’s reckoning at present: Police FC midfielder Jabari Mitchell (23), W Connection goalkeeper Denzil Smith (21), former St Mary’s College playmaker Michel Poon-Angeron (19), and the duo of Jesse Williams (19) and Gary Griffith III (18), who recently joined top Northern Ireland club, Coleraine FC.
Griffith III, the son of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith II, and Williams are said to be awaiting work permits.
The Warriors have been unable to book an international practice game since Fenwick’s hiring in December 2019—primarily due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, although they did miss two international match windows during their seven-week Fifa suspension last year.
The Warriors have used their time otherwise pummelling makeshift teams across the country in games officiated by Fenwick and played against teams that are unable to train due to the current novel coronavirus regulations.
The former England World Cup defender has publicly pleaded with Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad for international match practice before their opening qualifier against Guyana on 25 March.
The Warriors, under Fenwick, are believed to favour a 4-3-3 formation, with a narrow front three, and a workmanlike midfield that focuses on fast rotation of the ball.
Fenwick is expected to name a squad comprising almost entirely of foreign-based players to start his Qatar adventure, particularly with the local leagues still dormant. However, a couple proper warm-up matches—even outside the Fifa window—would allow his local based-players to stake a serious claim for selection.
(Trinidad and Tobago training squad)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip, Adrian Foncette, Denzil Smith;
Defenders: Alvin Jones, Shannon Gomez, Justin Garcia, Jamal Jack, Daniel Cyrus, Jesse Williams, Josiah Trimmingham, Jelani Peters, Triston Hodge;
Midfielders: Michel Poon-Angeron, Matthew Woo Ling, Duane Muckette, Justin Sadoo, Jabari Mitchell;
Attackers: Hashim Arcia, Gary Griffith III, Sean Bonval, Shackiel Henry, Brent Sam, Marcus ‘Lobo’ Joseph.
Editor’s Note: The TTFA has announced an international friendly away to the United States on 31 January. Click HERE for more information.