Would the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team treat tomorrow’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying fixture against The Bahamas as a warm-up for next Tuesday’s decisive top of the table clash with St Kitts and Nevis? Or will the Soca Warriors simply try to get the best possible result—and scoreline—in Nassau?
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick interrupted halfway through the question. He is not ready to think about St Kitts and Nevis just yet.
“We are in a transition where we are bringing in different players and a new system,” said Fenwick, at a virtual press conference hosted by the Bahamas Football Association. “So we are trying to get some cohesion… We are taking it absolutely one game at a time.”
Goal difference will not be a factor in Group F. St Kitts and Nevis now have nine points from three games, while the Warriors have four from their two outings.
Fenwick’s troops, who kick off against the Bahamas at 5pm at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, cannot afford anything short of two wins to advance to the next qualifying stage.
At Warner Park in Basseterre, the ‘Sugar Boyz’ defeated Guyana 3-0 today thanks to a first half double from striker Keith Freeman, who plays in the St Kitts and Nevis domestic league. Sawyers, who represented West Brom in the recently concluded England Premier League season, got a third for the hosts with a calm finish in the second half.
The Boyz played a 4-4-1-1 formation that saw Sawyers in a free role off Freeman, while flankers Harrison Panayiotou and Omari Sterling-James drove forward at every opportunity. Behind them were two holding central midfielders and a back four that played narrow.
St Kitts and Nevis, led by captain and El Salvador-based goalkeeper Julani Archibald, are yet to concede a goal in the qualifying series and are conservatively set up. Archibald and right back Gerard Williams are both former W Connection players.
In the Trinidad and Tobago camp, Fenwick skirted over his newfound reluctance to engage the media. His last press conference was on 17 March 2021 when he had an infamous altercation with his own media manager Shaun Fuentes.
“I have been busy working with my team,” said Fenwick, when questioned by Wired868.
Remarkably, the Englishman could not say when he will have the services of all 28 players selected for this match window. Toronto FC defender Luke Singh is training with the Canada senior team at present—he was invited as a guest player and is not on their official roster—while El Salvador-based midfielder Jomal Williams is still waiting for his passport and goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup is on compassionate leave.
“Frenderup’s missus had a baby today we are looking to see how quickly he can get over here, once his wife is comfortable,” said Fenwick.
The head coach refused to comment directly on Singh or Williams (J).
“Fingers crossed that we will have them here for the game,” he said. “[…] We are working in the background, trying to get the players onside… We are trying to get things sorted out and we are communicating with the players.”
There were smiles when talk turned to the team’s new BOL kits, as defender Sheldon Bateau said their new uniforms have ‘boosted morale’.
“There is nothing like going on to the field in a fresh uniform,” said Bateau. “The team is quite pleased with the design.”
Fenwick confirmed that team captain Khaleem Hyland arrived in Nassau this morning while defender Neveal Hackshaw joined the camp yesterday. There are no injuries in the squad.
The Warriors technical staff should have received more good news this evening as Unified Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (UFCTT) interim president Jefferson George confirmed that coaches finally received outstanding salaries in their bank accounts today.
The Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee agreed to clear off debts to coaches hired by the previous administration while the Men’s National Senior Team technical staff should receive salaries from January to April 2021.
The Warriors will hope to take that good feeling into the match tomorrow, as they look for a momentum-building result against the Bahamas. There is no more room for slip-ups.
Fenwick announced his 22-man squad tonight to face the Bahamas. Veteran Defence Force midfielder Hashim Arcia, unattached attacker Gary Griffith III, and Cyprus based attacker Nickel Orr are the three players who miss out.
(Squad with club team; age; caps/goals included)
Goalkeepers: 22.Adrian Foncette (Police FC; 32; 16/0), 1.Denzil Smith (W Connection; 21; 0/0);
Defenders: 16.Shannon Gomez (Sacramento Republic—USA; 24; 2/0), 15.Neveal Hackshaw (Indy Eleven—US; 25; 17/0), 17.Justin Garcia (Defence Force; 25; 3/0), 4.Sheldon Bateau (Mechelen—Belgium; 30; 44/4), 22.Jesse Williams (Unattached; 18; 0/0), 2.Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica; 30; 55/1), 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr (Unattached; 34; 37/2), 12.Robert Primus (FC Bengaluru Utd—India; 30; 9/0), 20.Noah Powder (Real Salt Lake—US; 22; 2/0), 13.Keston Julien (FC Sheriff Tiraspol—Moldova; 22; 3/0);
Midfielders: 18.Michel Poon-Angeron (Unattached; 20; 3/0), 10.Duane Muckette (Unattached; 25; 7/0), 19.Daniel Phillips (Watford FC—England; 20; 2/0), 8.Khaleem Hyland (Al Batin FC—Saudi Arabia; 31; 89/4), 14.Andre Fortune II (Memphis 901—USA; 24; 3/0);
Attackers: 11.Levi Garcia (AEK Athens FC—Greece; 23; 28/3), 3.Joevin Jones (InterMiami CF—USA; 29; 79/9), 5.Judah Garcia (Unattached; 20; 5/0), 7.Ryan Telfer (Atletico Ottawa—Canada; 27; 9/4), 9.Daniel Carr (FC Bengaluru—India; 26; 4/0).
Head coach: Terry Fenwick (England)
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