Dutch-based winger Levi Garcia has returned to the Trinidad and Tobago national team set up, selected among a 23-man roster by head coach Dennis Lawrence for closing 2018 World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico and the United States on October 6 and 10 respectively.
Lawrence has also included newcomers in former T&T Under-20 players Kathon St. Hillaire, a 19-year-old rising talent at MIC-IT St. Ann's Rangers and Josiah Trimmingham, a powerfully-built 20-year-old centre back who recently moved from San Juan Jabloteh to Club Sando in the August transfer window.
Meanwhile Finland-based Aubrey David and striker Jamille Boatswain, who is attached to Costa Rica's LD Alajuelense, have been dropped for the upcoming WCQs.
David and Boatswain “were suspended for the upcoming matches after violating team policy during the build-up to the last WCQ versus Honduras” stated a press release from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
It is reported that David and Boatswain participated in a minor league match before Trinidad and Tobago’s crucial WCQ against Honduras.
Both players started in T&T's 2-1 loss against Honduras on Sep. 1 in Couva but were unused substitutes in a 3-0 loss in Panama four days later which completely ended the Soca Warriors' World Cup 2018 hopes.
T&T are bottom of the Concacaf Hex with just three points. Mexico (18 points), already qualified for Russia 2018, leads the group followed by, in descending order, Costa Rica (15 points), Panama (10 points) and United States and Honduras (9 points).
The TTFA said that David and Boatswain have since apologised and volunteered to donate their match fees to a charity of their choice.
“I really want to apologise to the nation and the people I disappointed with my actions," David is quoted by the press release. “(...) and I know every action has a reaction and I have accepted the decision of the TTFA.
“I want to put this behind me and look forward to representing Trinidad and Tobago again,” concluded the PS Kemi defender.
T&T meanwhile, must travel to the city of San Luis Potosi in Mexico to take on the hosts at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras (from 9:30pm TT time) on Oct 6 before returning home to welcome USA at the Ato Boldon Stadium four days later from 8pm due to lighting problems at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Garcia, who opted out of the last two WCQs in order to fully recover from injury, said, "I am fit and ready to go for Trinidad and Tobago. I spoke to the coach and was happy to be included as I always welcome the opportunity to play for my country."
The AZ Alkmaar forward added, "I must admit it’s disappointing that we will not be going to the World Cup but we have to lift our heads and look to the future, plus we have to make a statement by playing good football in the two final games and get six points."
Trinidad and Tobago 23-Man Squad
Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Gregory Ranjitsingh (Louisville City FC/USA) and Glenroy Samuel (Morvant Caledonia United);
Daneil Cyrus (Juticalpa FC/Honduras), Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada FC/USA), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force FC), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids/USA), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando);
Neil Benjamin Jr. (W Connection), Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar/Holland), Khaleem Hyland (Al-Faisaly Harmah/Saudi Arabia), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders/USA), Jared London (Club Sando), Kevin Molino (Minnesota United/USA), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Leston Paul (Pasaquina FC/El Salvador), Kathon St. Hillaire (St. Ann's Rangers);
Trevin Caesar (Sacramento Republic FC/USA), Akeem Roach (CD Vida/Honduras), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC/Mexico).