THE Trinidad and Tobago Olympic men's football team had its third overseas camp postponed, just ten days before going into the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico.
The Under-23 Soca Warriors do not have visas, or have confirmed flight, accommodation or funding for its trip to Puerto Rico.
Further, neither the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) nor the Ministry of Sport could provide funding for Zoran Vranes, Trinidad and Tobago's Serbia-born T&T national Under-23 football team head-coach, to travel to Grenada to scout opening Pan Am Games opponents Puerto Rico.
Responding to direct questioning, manager David Muhammad confirmed certain information and also painted a dim picture surrounding the talented young team.
“Tonight (Thursday) we were supposed to send our coach to Grenada to look at the Puerto Rico team play. Nothing,” Muhammad declared. “Up to yesterday, we (the team) were supposed to go to Panama. It was cancelled again. Not a single international game for this team.”
Vranes took control of a talented team containing most of the players that won the 2014 Caribbean Under-20 Championship. Players included in the team are Akeem Garcia, MVP Kadeem Corbin, North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw, Shannon Gomez, Jomal Williams, Martieon Watson, Brendon Creed, Josiah Trimmingham, Levi Garcia, Akeem Garcia, Kadeem Corbin, Kevon Goddard, Jabari Mitchell, Aikim Andrews and Alvin Jones.
The Under-23 “Soca Warriors” begin their 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship campaign in a Caribbean qualifying group on June 22 against Puerto Rico.
T&T are placed in Group F along with hosts Puerto Rico, Suriname and St Vincent & the Grenadines. But according to Muhammad, coach Vranes' already late preparation is further compromised by lack of warm-up matches.
“This is the third trip that has been cancelled with this team. We have had no camp. We are preparing for trips then it gets cancelled because the Ministry of Sport says it has no money.”
Muhammad said without a camp the team has had to train all around the country at all the local stadiums. They had also won five warm-up matches against local Pro League teams going down 4-2 only to the senior national team.
“When we were supposed to go to Antigua the other day they had us booked on four different flights across two different days,” Muhammad added. “The reason is because every time we book they (Ministry of Sport) don't pay. We lose the booking and have to re-book again. When they re-book again, we lose the flight again. I'll be darn if we have to go to Puerto Rico like that.”