National Under 20 Football Team Head Coach Zoran Vranes on Tuesday announced a final 20-man Squad that will carry this country’s hopes of qualification for the 2009 FIFA World Youth Cup in Egypt in the CONCACAF Final Round tournament which kicks off in T&T on Friday.
The local boys went down in their final warm up encounter, 1-0 to El Salvador in Plymouth on Monday but coach Zoran Vranes remained optimistic of his team’s qualifying chances with the top two teams from the group advancing to the Finals in Egypt.
“This is the best selection that we can have with the players available to us and I think we are ready for the challenge. Again I will say that we are in a very tough group but in any case I don’t think we should expect any easy group or opposition,” Vranes told TTFF Media.
“For me what is important is that we are focused and that we take into the matches all that we have done in our preparation. We have to be strong in every one of our matches from beginning to end,” Vranes added.
New German signing Jamal Gay is scheduled in Port of Spain on Tuesday evening and will join the team in training from 4.30pm on Wednesday at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
The team will be captained by midfielder Leston Paul and includes twelve survivors from the squad which represented T&T at the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Championship in Korea. They are Sheldon Bateau, Marcus Joseph, Daniel Joseph, Sean De Silva, Daneil Cyrus, Glenroy Samuel, Akeem Adams, Robert Primus, Kevin Molino, Jean Luc Rochford, Aubrey David and Paul. Primus was part of the T&T Senior Team which toured Argentina last month prior to the 2010 World Cup Qualifier against Honduras while Adams made his Senior international debut last year.
Defender Mikeil Williams was not considered after sustaining a knee injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win in the first of two games against El Salvador in Plymouth.
“I feel confident about our chances because the guys have stepped up their game in the past few weeks and we’re just looking forward to the start of the tournament,” Paul said.
“I would say the four games in Tobago was a great help for us because we got a chance to test ourselves against similar type of opposition to what we will be facing in the tournament.
“I think the guys who were in the Under 17 team that went to the World Cup in Korea are all leaders in some way and they know that they have a standard to try and maintain. It should be a boost to have them involved with the other players we have in the team,” Paul added.
The ex-T&T Under 17 captain pointed out the importance of T&T starting the tournament on a positive note on Saturday against Canada.
“That’s our first game and it’s vital for us to start the tournament well, hopefully with a win. Every game is one for us to get full points but more importantly I feel we can put ourselves into a really good position with a win on Saturday. We are hoping too that the fans can come out and give us that support as well. Their backing is always a boost for us as players and hopefully they can come out and give us that extra bit of drive,” Paul concluded.
Canada drop friendly to Jamaica
Canada's Men's U-20 team lost its international friendly match in Sunrise last Friday, 1-0 to Jamaica on Friday night.
"It is very important we get a good recovery session on Saturday," said coach Tony Fonseca. 'The final camp has arrived and we are going to use it for fine tuning.
“We are aware of the difficulties of the competition. The opponents are very strong and we know that there is no room for mistakes. This team is ambitious and will be ready to fight for a spot for Egypt 2009. We must be mentally prepared and physically strong."
Canada is currently preparing for next week's CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship in Macoya, Trinidad & Tobago. Canada has been training this past week in Sunrise, FL. The team departs USA on March 4 before its first group match on March 7 against host Trinidad & Tobago.
Canada also plays Mexico (9 March) and Costa Rica (11 March) in group play. Jamaica and USA are in the opposite group with El Salvador and a fourth team yet to be determined. Honduras and St. Vincent & the Grenadines fight for the final championship spot on 2 March.
From the group phase, the top two teams in each group advance to the semi-final on 13 March. They also qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009. From the semi-final, the two winners first advance to the CONCACAF final on 15 March.
Team List - CONCACAF U-20 Qualifiers.
1.Glenroy Samuel (United Petrotrin), 21.Andre Marchan (W Connection)
4.Sheldon Bateau (San Juan Jabloteh), 16.Marcus Joseph (United Petrotrin), 19.Daneil Cyrus (El Dorado SC), 5.Akeem Adams (W Connection), 12.Robert Primus (San Juan Jabloteh), 2.Aubrey David (W Connection), 18.Nicholas Walker (St Ann's Rangers), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force)
8.Sean De Silva (College of Charleston), 7.Kevin Molino (San Juan Jabloteh), 14.Jean Luc Rochford (Joe Public), 6.Leston Paul (capt) (St Mary's College), 15.Uriah Bentick (St Anthonys College)
10.Daniel Joseph (San Juan Jabloteh), 9.Jamal Gay (Rot-Weiß Oberhausen), 11.Trent Lougheed (United Petrotrin), 13.Marin Manswell (W Connection), 20.Qian Grosvenor (St Anthonys College)
Technical Staff Information
Christopher De Silva (Manager)
Carl Joseph (Assistant Manager)
Zoran Vranes (Head Coach)
Hutson Charles (Assistant Coach)
Jefferson George (Goalkeeper Coach)
Otis Hislop (Physiotherapist)
Ashton Mills (Physiotherapist/Trainer)
Irvin Thomas (Equipment Manager)