The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) might be forced into a last-ditch alteration of its promotional material for upcoming friendlies against Barbados and Guyana, after Barbados coach and Soca Warriors legend Russell Latapy pulled out of the tri-nation series.
The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team plays Barbados on Friday 25 March in Port-of-Spain and then tackles Guyana on Tuesday 29 March, while the two guest teams square off on Sunday 27 March. All three matches kick off at 7pm in the Hasely Crawford National Stadium.
The TTFA has marketed the three games, dubbed the Courts Caribbean Classic, as a clash between three Trinidad and Tobago international coaches: T&T’s Angus Eve, Guyana’s Jamaal Shabazz and Latapy. However, the Barbados Football Association confirmed today that ‘Latas’ was afforded personal leave and will not attend.
Latapy’s place at the helm of Barbados’ technical staff will be taken by assistant coach Fitzgerald Carter.
Barbados travel with a 20-man squad comprising totally local-based players, although—like Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago—their domestic leagues have been dormant since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Guyana’s squad is more of a mixed bag. Shabazz selected overseas-based players although flanker Tyrell Ondaan, who competes in the Romanian second division, is the only player who gets regular minutes for his club.
However, the Golden Jaguars are without a half-dozen regular players, including classy England-based defender Terence Vancooten and forward Emery Welshman.
The Soca Warriors, who defeated Guyana 3-0 last March under head coach Terry Fenwick, will start as heavy favourites then. And after a chastening January trip to Bolivia, where the Soca Warriors lost 5-0, coach Eve will expect a chance to play on the front-foot in the coming days.
The most eye-catching of Eve’s call-ups is dynamic AEK Athens FC flanker Levi Garcia who is expected to form an attacking trident with Defence Force winger Reon Moore and Columbus Crew 2 forward Ryan Telfer.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 101st in the world by Fifa and 11th in Concacaf while Barbados are 163rd/18th and Guyana are 175th/24th.
Goalkeepers: Kishmar Primus (Barbados Defence Force), Liam Brathwaite (UWI);
Defenders: Lemar Catlyn (Ellerton Utd), Shay Prescod, Honor Bradshaw, Ricardio Morris, Ramon Manning (all unattached);
Midfielders: Hadan Holligan (Weymouth Wales), Ackeel Applewhaite, Jomo Harris (both Paradise), Nicoli Brathwaite (UWI), Darico King (St Andrew Lions), Akeem Hill (Barbados Defence Force), Nadre Butcher, Mario Williams, Jamaal Watson-Cummins, Kevon Lucas, Azarel Croney (all unattached);
Forwards: Armando Lashley (Paradise), Keon Atkins (Deacons).
Goalkeepers: Akel Clarke (Mt Pleasant FC—Jamaica), Alex Murray (Santos FC);
Defenders: Shemar Fraser (Police FC), Kevin Layne (Mt Pleasant FC—Jamaica), Samuel Cox (Unattached), Marcus Wilson (Western Tigers), Jeremy Garrett (Guyana Defence Force);
Midfielders: Clive Nobrega (Eagles Utd), Neil Danns (Maccesfield Town—England), Javier George (Unattached), Nathan Moriah-Welch (Bournemouth FC—England), Leo Lovell (Dem Amstel), Ryan Hackett, Jobe Caesar (both Guyana Defence Force), Quincy Adams, Daniel Wilson (both Western Tigers), Pernell Schultz (Police FC);
Attackers: Tyrell Ondaan (FCU Craiova 1948—Romania), Omari Glasgow (Fruta Conquerors), Jamal Pereira (Dem Amstel), Kelsey Benjamin (Guyana Defence Force), Trayon Bobb (Western Tigers), Jamanine Beckles (Santos FC).
(Trinidad and Tobago)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Unattached), Denzil Smith (W Connection);
Defenders: Samory Powder (University of Detroit Mercy—USA), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Unattached), Jesse Williams, Mekeil Williams (both Pittsburgh Riverhounds—USA), Kareem Moses (Vaasan Palloseura—Finland), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica), Leland Archer (Charleston Battery—USA), Triston Hodge (Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC—USA), Keston Julien (FC Sheriff Tiraspol—Moldova);
Midfielders: Neveal Hackshaw, Noah Powder (both Indy Eleven—USA), Justin Sadoo, Kevon Goddard (both Defence Force), Andre Fortune II (Nomme Kalju FC—Estonia), Duane Muckette (Unattached), Judah Garcia (AEK Athens B FC—Greece);
Attackers: John-Paul Rochford, Nicholas Dillon (both unattached), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens FC—Greece), Ryan Telfer (Columbus Crew 2—USA), Reon Moore (Defence Force), Jabari Mitchell (Police FC).