Former US beach soccer player, Benyam Astorga, is expected to be named coach of the Trinidad and Tobago beach soccer team for the upcoming CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships scheduled to kick off in El Salvador from March 28 to April 5.
Astorga arrived in Trinidad on Monday and is presently going through the final stages prior to his official presentation as national team coach. The ex-US player is no stranger to the national team since he has previously acted in the role of assistant coach during the 2013 Beach Soccer Qualifiers. At that time, Alexandre Soares was head coach.
Soares is currently the coach of the Brazilian beach soccer team. Astorga, however, has chosen to remain with the red, white and black in an effort to qualify TT to the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Portugal later this year.
Trinidad and Tobago Beach Soccer Association (TTBSA) president Kyle Lequay believes this country could make a strong claim for a place in the World Cup. Lequay was in El Salvador for the CONCACAF qualifying draw earlier on Monday which saw TT being pitted in Group B alongside Mexico, Guadeloupe and Turks and Caicos. Group A of the 16-team qualifiers features hosts El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Belize and Jamaica; Group C is made up of USA, Bahamas, Barbados and Antigua/ Barbuda while Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and US Virgin Islands are in Group D.
At the end of the pool round-robin phase which runs from March 28 to March 31, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Main Draw knockout quarter-finals on April 2, then onto the semi-finals and final on April 3 and 4 respectively.
Senior team defender Makan Hislop has been tipped to join the final squad to El Salvador. The national unit is expected to comprise of former Swiss-based players Chad Appoo and David McDougall along with Miami-based Lemuel Lyons. TT Pro League’s Jameel Perry of Police FC is also currently training with the team.
TT Beach Soccer Provisional Squad - Makan Hislop, Rodney Nelson, Lemuel Lyons, Ryan Augustine, Elijah Roberts, Jesse Bailey, Victor Thomas, Shallun Bobb, Chad Appoo, Hakeem King, David McDougall, Zane Coker (goalkeeper), Benyam Astorga (coach), Yuri Chapman (manager).