Eve names 35-man training squad; Rochford, “Fingers” called up—Joevin, “Ballpest” overlooked

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus today named a 35-man training squad, comprised almost entirely of local-based players, as he ramps up preparations for next month’s Copa America Playoff against Canada.

Eve’s players will enter camp from 5 to 8 February and they are expected to play a practice match against the Men’s National Under-20 Team during that period.

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve directs proceedings from his technical area during Concacaf Nations League A action against Guatemala in Port of Spain on 13 October 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

The National Under-20s, led by coach Brian Haynes, are preparing for the Concacaf Under-20 World Cup qualifying series, which kicks off in Port of Spain from 23 February.

For the senior Soca Warriors, 2024 looks to be a busy year with the 2026 World Cup qualifiers also kicking off. And Eve looks open to widening his pool for what lies ahead with a large training squad.

There were recalls for Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, AC Port of Spain attacker John-Paul Rochford and Terminix La Horquetta Rangers forward Isaiah Lee.

There was a surprise call-up too for 33-year-old Police FC defender Robert Primus. Primus played in two World Youth Cups for Trinidad and Tobago in 2007 and 2009 and debuted with the senior team as a teenager in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Defence Force forward Brent Sam (left) takes on AC POS defender Robert Primus during Caribbean Cup action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 28 September 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

However, a series of knee injuries dogged his adult career.

1976 FC Phoenix forward Mickaeel Jem Gordon, uncapped at 29, also got a summons to the national camp.

But Eve again overlooked in-form veteran Police FC midfielders Joevin Jones and Keron Cummings, which might seal their fate at senior international level.

Jones, 32, is in stellar form in the TTPFL Tier One but criticized the head coach at the July Gold Cup and, along with former captain Kevin Molino, has not been invited back since.

Police FC midfielder Joevin Jones (right) runs at TLH Rangers midfielder David “Fingers” Daniel during the TTPFL Knockout semifinals in Diego Martin on 11 July 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Cummings, 35, hoped his domestic performances would prove that he is better than his younger rivals in attacking midfield. But Eve opted to try upcoming talent instead like Rangers playmaker David “Fingers” Daniel and Defence Force midfielder Kaihim Thomas.

He also retained most of his core local-based players like defender Justin Garcia and flanker Reon Moore, who were among 10 Defence Force players, Club Sando attacker Real Gill and the AC Port of Spain duo of Duane Muckette and Michel Poon-Angeron.

There was no call-up for veteran Rangers forward Tyrone Charles while AC attackers Kadeem Corbin and Che Benny arguably pay the price for inconsistent performances this season.

AC POS captain Duane Muckette (left) tries to get away from Defence Force midfielder Justin Sadoo during TTPFL action at the Arima Velodrome on 24 June 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“It’s a great chance for us to get some of the guys together as group again because as you would have seen, the majority of them would have returned to their clubs and have been very active in the local league since November,” Eve told TTFA Media.

“There are few regulars in this squad but we also took the opportunity to invite some players who we believe have been showing up and performing for their clubs in the local premier league.”

Eve hopes the camp sets the right tone for a busy international year for the Soca Warriors.

Trinidad and Tobago flanker Real Gill (left) tries to hold off USA full back Sergino Dest during CNL action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

“There is a lot of international football coming up with the Copa America qualifier being the most urgent assignment,” said Eve. “But of course there are the World Cup qualifiers following soon after in June. These sort of windows where we can have some time with the players available are extremely important for us.”

There were also first-time invitations for 21-year-old Germany-born forward Keenon Erfuth and 26-year-old Denmark-born forward Marc Gangia. Both play semi-professional football in their respective countries.

Erfuth qualifies to represent Trinidad and Tobago through his Trinidadian mother while Gangia’s father is Trinidadian.

TLH Rangers midfielder David “Fingers” Daniel (right) tries to escape from the grip of a Morvant Caledonia Utd defender during TTPFL action at the Arima Velodrome on 13 May 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago training squad:

Kaihim Thomas, Reon Moore, Jamali Garcia, Christopher Biggette, Jabari St Hillaire, Kevon Goddard, Justin Garcia, Brent Sam, Nathaniel Garcia, Justin Sadoo (all Defence Force), Duane Muckette, Michel Poon-Angeron, Liam Burns, John-Paul Rochford, Isaiah Leacock (all AC Port of Spain), Real Gill, Shervohnez Hamilton, Kai Moos, Jamal Jack (all Club Sando), Luke Phillips, Denzil Smith, Justin Cornwall, Mark Ramdeen (all Point Fortin Civic), Alvin Jones, Robert Primus, Adrian Foncette (all Police FC), David Daniel, Ross Russell Jr, Isaiah Lee (all La Horquetta Rangers), Mickaeel Jem Gordon (1976 FC Phoenix), Rhondel Gibson (Eagles FC), Keenon Erfuth (VFR Neumunster—Germany), Marc Gangia (Dalum IF—Denmark), Jonathan Assue (unattached).

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