The country’s men’s national Futsal team left on Monday for San Jose, Costa Rica for a training camp ahead of the Concacaf Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, next month.
Coach Constantine Konstin finalised a 14-man squad following weeks of preparations at the indoor gymnasium of the International School Port-of-Spain.
The players first had to undergo medical screening, according to Concacaf specifications, last week at Healthnet Caribbean Limited, from which they were all declared medically fit for the competition.
The full contingent also received COVID-19 PCR Tests and was cleared to travel.
Konstin said: “This all started Feb 2020 when we had our first tryouts, then in the middle of March of 2020 we got the selection down to 35 players. And in March of 2021, we got the team down to 25.
“Today I am proud to say that we selected our 14-man team squad that will be travelling to Costa Rica and then to Guatemala to contest the qualification for the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania. We’ll have a few days in Costa Rica with two matches which we will maximise in terms of using both exercises to our advantage ahead of the competition.
“It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point but I am very proud of the final squad, all the participants, staff and teams. We had practice games with especially the Venezuelan Futsal community in T&T, as well as FFTT, 361, Captain Basil from Defence force, the Defence Force club, Club Sando and of course our TTFA Normalisation Committee and staff which have offered their support throughout,” Konstin said.
On his selection which includes a combination of some T&T senior men’s team players as well as past futsal team members, Konstin added: “The 14 players that we have selected come with an international pedigree with players like Cummings, Plaza, George, and Sean De Silva. Then we have players who are young but full of spirit and fire like Che Benny and Mark Ramdeen.
“We’ve also got some tough players like Defence Force’s Aaron Lester, King, Ollivierra and the big man Quintero and goalkeepers Kern and Andre. These players are ready to give their all for their country and families."
T&T will contest Group A of the qualifiers, alongside host Guatemala and the Dominican Republic (DR). They face DR on May 4 and Guatemala on May 5.
The tournament was originally slated for 16 teams split into four groups of four teams, but after the withdrawals of French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe, the competition will now feature 13 teams.
Additionally, all matches will now be played at the Domo Polideportivo, a venue that has a long history of hosting international futsal competitions, including the 2000 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Group A: Guatemala, T&T and the Dominican Republic
Group B: Panama, Mexico and Suriname
Group C: Costa Rica, Canada and Haiti
Group D: Cuba, United States, El Salvador and Nicaragua
T&T 14-man Futsal Squad
Che Benny (Belmont - Central FC) - ALA, Dylon King (Waterhole, Cocorite - Defence Force) - FIXO, Darius Ollivierra (Carenage - Defence Force) - PIVO, Willis Plaza (Arima) - PIVO, Andre Marchan (Beaucaro Village, Freeport- Defence Force) - GK, Adrian Welch (Glencoe- Defence Force) - ALA, Jameel Neptune (Waterhole, Cocorite - Central FC) - ALA, Mark Ramdeen (Siparia) - ALA, Sean De Silva (Cascade- unattached) - ALA, Aaron Lester (Morvant- Defence Force) FIXO, Keston George (Woodbrook- La Horquetta Rangers) - ALA, Dwight Quintero (Blanchisseuse- Defence Force) - PIVO, Keron Cummings (Diego Martin- La Horquetta Rangers) -ALA, Kern Caesar (Arouca) - goalkeeper.
(Note: FIXO- Fixed defender; PIVO- Forward; ALA- Winger)
Staff: Constantine Konstin (head coach), Paul Decle (assistant coach), Dunstan Williams (goalkeeper coach), Mark Lewis (trainer), Roger Ryan (physio), Alexandria Olton (sports psychologist & safety hygiene officer), Dr Alex Harripersad (team doctor) and Nigel Roberts (manager).