Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve has made two changes to his squad before Tuesday night’s final Courts Caribbean Classic outing against Guyana at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Soca Warriors right back Alvin Jones has been recalled to the squad, after missing last week’s 9-0 rout of Barbados due to a slight knee injury, while former Naparima College left back Marvin Waldrop will get his first chance to join the team for an international affair.
Jones and Waldrop replace Keston Julien and Andre Fortune II, who returned to their clubs in Europe due to, according to the TTFA Media, ‘a prior agreement between the clubs and the TTFA’.
Julien, who competed in the Uefa Champions League this season for Moldovan club FC Sheriff Tiraspol, played for 90 minutes at left back on Friday and created a string of chances with overlapping runs—including Trinidad and Tobago’s eighth goal, which was scored by substitute Reon Moore.
Fortune played for 65 minutes in the ‘number 10’ position against Barbados and assisted on the Warriors’ second item, scored by Ryan Telfer. He was replaced by Duane Muckette in the second half.
Eve said Waldrop has been a regular player with the seniors in the ongoing TTFA Zonal Screening competition and said his inclusion tomorrow is ‘a no-brainer’ and in keeping with his intention to simultaneously blood a team for 2026.
Guyana whipped Barbados 5-0 on Sunday night and tomorrow’s winner will take the exhibition trophy at stake.
Yesterday, Guyana coach and Trinidad and Tobago native Jamaal Shabazz warned that the Soca Warriors will have a challenge tomorrow and, in a light-hearted quip, dared Eve to abandon his ‘kick ball’ instincts and try to play through the high press of the ‘Golden Jaguars’.
Eve, a former soldier, responded with a reference to Shabazz’s role in the 1990 attempted coup.
“I was a soldier in 1990 and certain people were on the other side,” said Eve, with a smile. “So basically it is a soldier coming up against a Muslimeen member, so we will see how that pans out. We won that last war and we are hoping to win this war again.”
In truth, Eve was 18-years-old and not yet a soldier when the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, with the 26-year-old Shabazz in tow, attempted to overthrow the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. But it was, presumably, not an entirely serious reference.
Ironically, Eve noted that Guyana’s ‘organised’ showing against Barbados was not vintage Shabazz.
“He normally likes to play and express himself,” Eve told the TTFA Media. “[…] He has changed his tactics somewhat and he is now playing a high press game with two banks of four and the team is very rigid in the way they play.
“[…] Jamaal has done a very good job with them… Kudos to him.”
Their cat-and-mouse routine should make for an interesting tactical battle on Tuesday.
After barely 4,000 spectators on Friday night, the TTFA has decided to allow two persons on one ticket for both the covered and uncovered stand at tomorrow’s game. Tickets remain at TT$150 (covered) and TT$100 (uncovered) at the advertised outlets and at the stadium while children 12 and under are free.
Eve suggested that the Soca Warriors will honour soca star Dexter ‘Blaxx’ Stewart who passed away today with Covid-19.
“Lift your hands and let go was one of my favourite songs,” said Eve. “He was an ambassador… the people’s champion.”