T&T Soca Warriors were expected to return home last night from Curacao, where they spent an extra three days training after losing a friendly encounter against that country on Friday night, 1-0 at the Sentro Deportivo Korsou in Willemstad, as both teams continued preparations for upcoming tournaments.
Speaking on the weekend T&TFA president, Raymond Tim Kee stated he was still awaiting money which was promised to him by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to offset the Soca Warriors Gold Cup preparations which is expected to continue next Tuesday with a friendly encounter away to Jordan.
But Tim Kee’s claims were dismissed by Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho who said the local federation had already spent 90 per cent of the $9 million promised in the Cabinet note which was promised to by acting Minister of Sport, Ruper Griffith and Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar last November.
This after the Soca Warriors were on the verge of boycott of the Caribbean Football Cup final against Jamaica in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
T&T came up short in the final to the Reggae Boyz, losing 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw, but on return home were feted by Persad-Bissessar who committed to funding the team’s Gold Cup preparations.
But contacted yesterday following another training session with his 19-man squad in Willemstad, an disenchanted Hart said he was very much concerned with what has been going on in the local media over the past couple days with regards the T&T Football Association’s request for funding from the Ministry of Sports, for the national team’s Gold Cup preparations still outstanding.”
He added, “Right now I am very disappointed to hear about what’s taking place because we are suppose to be preparing for our next international friendly against Jordan with our departure set for later this week (June 11) and we are not sure what is going on.”
“So all we can do here (in Curacao) is continue to focus on our training and when we return to Trinidad we will know much more about what is taking place.”
Meanwhile, in anticipation of the national team’s departure for Jordan, Hart has summoned Chicago Fire defender Joevin Jones to link up with the team and is expected to add to his 37 caps at Al-Hassan Stadium.
Jones arrived in T&T on Saturday night and will miss the Fire’s re-scheduled game against the New England Revolution on June 13 at Gillette Stadium.
T&T is scheduled to play two more international warm-ups against 1998 Fifa World Cup semifinalist Croatia and then against Haiti ahead of its Gold Cup opener with Guatemala on July 9 in Chicago, but they are also yet to be confirmed.
National Senior Men’s team head coach Stephen Hart has announced a 21-man squad that will travel to Amman to face Jordan’s Senior Men’s Team in an international friendly on June 16th.
Hart will conduct a final training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium today following the squad’s return from Curacao on Tuesday. The squad leaves for London tomorrow afternoon and will overnight there before departing for Amman on Friday.
The T&T head coach has included further overseas-based pros to the team from the one that lost 1-0 to Curacao last Friday in Willemstad.
Coming in is US-based player Joevin Jones, Cordell Cato as well as Belgium-based defender Sheldon Bateau, Slovakia-based winger Lester Peltier, Kazakhstan-based defender Aubrey David and English-born defender Gavin Hoyte.
Hart said: “We will continue to build towards the Gold Cup over the next few days. The game against Jordan allows me to evaluate players that have not seen national duty since the Caribbean Cup Finals last year. After this I will have a better idea of the 22-man squad for the Gold Cup.”
Jordan meantime, is preparing for its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign as well as the 2019 Asian Cup. They will play their first Group B qualifier against Kyrgyzstan on June 11 before playing Asian Cup champs Australia, Tajikistan, and Bangladesh.
“Playing a team like Trinidad and Tobago which previously qualified to the World Cup will help our team in the upcoming phase,” Jordan’s head coach Ahmad Abdul Qader said.
Trinidad & Tobago Squad
Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic).
Mekeil Williams (W Connection), Kaydion Gabriel (Central FC), Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen, Belgium), Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire, USA), Gavin Hoyte (England, unattached), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Aubrey David (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan).
Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—UK), Leston Paul (Central FC), Khaleem Hyland, Ataullah Guerra (Central FC), Sean De Silva (Central FC), Keron Cummings (North East Stars), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes, USA), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia).
Shahdon Winchester (W Connection), Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City—UK), Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force), Willis Plaza (Central FC).