Joevin Jones joins preparations
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence welcomed German-bound Joevin Jones into his training session on Tuesday at Larry Gomes as the “Warriors” continued its preparations for Thursday’s International Friendly against Jamaica at Hasely Crawford Stadium at 8pm.
Jones turned up on Tuesday morning, joining the rest of the 21-man squad. However, according to Lawrence there is no confirmation that the player will take part in Thursdays match. Jones took full part in the 90-minute session and says he was eager to be part of the preparation for the all-important World Cup qualifier against Honduras at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday September 1st.
Also joining training on Tuesday was Finnish-based defender Aubrey David while Colorado Rapids defender Mekeil Williams is unavailable but is expected to join the squad next week for the Honduras encounter.
Defence Force defender Curtis Gonzales said the spirit in the T&T camp was very upbeat ahead of the showdown with the Reggae Boyz.
“The spirit is very upbeat. We have had good preparations so far. We know how important it is to get it right for the Honduras game and the rivalry with Jamaica is massive. I have never played against them (Jamaica) but I have heard lots of stories and I am feeling honoured to be part of the team that will take them on on Thursday. I expect the match to be a rough one,” Gonzales told TTFA Media.
W Connection winger Neil Benjamin jr is still looking for his international debut. He is hoping to get the nod from Lawrence on Thursday.
“It’s a great feeling to be on the national team now as coming out from the Benjamin family, I am the first one to actually make it onto the senior team. I’ve been welcomed with love and respect in this squad so the feeling has been great,” said Benjamin, whose father Nicholas is a former St Benedict’s College forward and uncle, Glen is a former National Under 20 player.
“We have to stay together as a team and keep working just as we have been doing for the last few days. The sessions have been of a very high intensity and you have to be sharp and ready for anything that comes your way. It really is making a difference in my development as a home-based player for when it’s time to go back to the club level,” Benjamin added.
The Jamaica teams comes in at 7:45pm on Tuesday and will train on Wednesday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. The T&T team will also train at the match venue on Wednesday evening. Tickets for the encounter remain on sale at all NLCB Lotto Locations priced at $100 (covered) and $50 (uncovered) and will also be on sale at the venue on Thursday. Tickets for the World Cup qualifier with Honduras are also on sale at Lotto locations and a purchase of these tickets will allow free access to T&T versus Jamaica, using the same ticket.
T&T 21-man squad for Jamaica match
Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic), Adrian Foncette (Police FC).
Maurice Ford (W Connection), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Taryk Sampson (Central FC), Shane Sandy (St Ann’s Rangers), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Aubrey David (PS Remi—Finland).
Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Jared London (Club Sando), Nathaniel Garcia (Central FC), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force FC), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Neil Benjamin Jr (W Connection), Tyrone Charles (Club Sando), Julio Noel (San Juan Jabloteh), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA).
Rundell Winchester (North East Stars), Marcus Joseph (W Connection).
Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA).
Soca Warriors, Reggae Boyz timely clash.
By Alvin Corneal (Guardian).
Over the years, whenever Jamaica and T&T faced off on the football field, the encounter was never considered an international friendly. Both countries saw the game as an “official” friendly and played with the intensity of a truly competitive match.
On this occasion, it will be an ideal contest for the Warriors, seeing that they will face Honduras with the determination to get the three points at stake, a factor which could be the only result to keep them on the road to Moscow.
I can recall ten occasions when I was among the national teams of the past, to deal with the “Reggae Boyz” and it was never easy.
It was always my belief that the countries had the greatest respect for each other and may well have supported one another if either witnessed the other in competition with other teams.
I do recall some of the excellent players over the years such as the great Gerry Alexander, a brilliant central defender whose talent was rated with many of the good one in the English League. Then there were names like Lindy Delapenha, Syd Bartlett, Walter Chevannes and Allan Skill Cole, who were replaced by those who excelled in the English Premier League (EPL) in more recent times.
Today, the Jamaican national team is divided between the overseas players and the local lads, a factor which may have stifled the locals in many cases.
With Theodore Whitmore being given an extended contract as head coach, following his team’s outstanding results in the Gold Cup, there is no doubt that he will go all the way to earn victory away from home.
In a strange way, these two teams bear resemblance tactically, where their skilled players develop the formula for any tactically prepared game.
Both teams give preference to starting their build up from the back four and start the search of their talented midfielders.
Like the Reggae Boyz, Kevin Molino, Khaleem Hyland, Leston Paul or/and Sean De Silva will expect to receive the ball in midfield positions in order to start the speed machinery of Willis Plaza, Cordell Cato and Jamille Boatswain.
In recent times, the Jamaicans have had maximum use of the very talented Darren Mattocks, a tremendous workhorse and has an absolute greed for scoring goals.
The chemistry of the Reggae Boyz has been impressive in the Gold Cup, although the quality of some of the opponents were weakened because of their country’s desire to rest their key players for World Cup such as Panama, Honduras, the USA and Costa Rica.
Nevertheless, T&T coach Dennis Lawrence has himself admitted that unforced errors tended to be their biggest problem while a solid defence which sometimes fail to communicate well against speedy forwards.
I would hope that Lawrence would entertain the thought that a friendly or two against the Pro League teams may sharpen these weak areas and bring the level of determination which is needed for victories in the next few games.
I thought that the decision to play against Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain was ideal for the local team to get used to the speed of the surface, especially during the rainy season and also to learn everything about the current condition of the major stadium.
Honduras, however, will find that the venue for which they are accustomed will now be the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. This does not allow any opportunity for home advantage.
I believe that it will be a game that is worth seeing and will provide the Warriors with stern competition. Good Luck Warriors.