T&T Beach Soccer head coach Alexandre Soares yesterday announced a 12-member squad to represent this country at the Concacaf Beach Soccer World Qualifiers in the Bahamas next month.
Soares has been working with the local squad for the past few weeks and has as his assistant American Benvan Astorga. Both coaches have impressive backgrounds in beach soccer.
Soares has been the head coach of Brazil’s national beach soccer team, guiding them to 145 wins in 150 matches. He led them to being champions on four occasions at the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in 2006/2007/2008 and 2009. He is also a Fifa-licensed instructor.
Astorga meantime is an ex-USA national beach soccer player and also the general manager for Florida Beach Soccer club.
Soares has included former national senior team defender Makan Hislop in his final squad which also includes goalkeeper Zane Coker, Lemuel Lyons, Chad Appoo, Hakeem King, David Mc Dougall, Victor Thomas, Ryan Augustine, Shallun Bobb, Jesse Bailey, Elijah Roberts and Rodney Nelson.
All players have had experience playing in the Bago Sports Beach Soccer tournament at Turtle Beach in Tobago for the past three years. BagoSports has been instrumental in the setting up of the T&T national beach soccer team as well as the introduction of Soares and Astorga to the set-up.
Soares excited about the team’s potential
“They are a great bunch with a lot of potential. Obviously, we are well aware that this is Trinidad and Tobago’s first entry into any kind of international beach soccer tournament and it’s going to be a difficult feat in Bahamas but we are very optimistic and we will go there to give of our best and hopefully progress in the competition,” Soares told TTFF Media.
“We’ve heard lot of great things about football in T&T and then of course we knew that you were two islands surrounded by water and good beaches. That’s an excellent combination for producing good beach soccer,” he added.
T&T has been drawn in Group B with Mexico, Canada and Guyana for the group phase which runs from May 8-12. The eleven nations in the tournament were separated into two groups of four and one group of three, all of which will engage in round-robin play over the tournament’s first three match days.
The top team from each group, plus the best second place finisher, will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, May 11, the winners of which will qualify for the 2013 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti, September 18 - 28.