Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 footballers will play their final warm-up encounter against Professional League outfit CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 3pm on Wednesday.
Preparing for Sunday’s away leg World Under 20 qualifier against Cuba in Havana, T&T will go into both matches without the services of striker Jerol Forbes, who a day after scoring a hattrick for Naparima College learnt that he was dropped from the National team.
According to coach Zoran Vranes, Forbes has been dropped for disciplinary reasons. The player failed to turn up for last Friday’s warm-up encounter against Vibe CT 105 W Connection at the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence and did not report to the team as to his reason for being absent. Connection won that match 2-0.
“Forbes is out because of disciplinary reasons. He didn’t come to play the game and his excuse in the end was not a good one. This is not the first time that he has failed to turn up for a session and he has to be much more honest and disciplined. These are important games for us and all the players must understand this,” Vranes told TTFF Media.
Forbes was seen sitting in the stands viewing Naparima College’s 1-1 draw with Princes Town Senior Comprehensive at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella last Friday, and also looked on as former Under 17 teammate Nkosi Blackman made his comeback for St Benedict’s College against Presentation College, San Fernando in the earlier match at the same venue, the same time the National team was in action at Macoya.
The player who scored T&T’s lone goal in a 6-1 defeat to Brazil at last year’s FIFA Under 17 World Championship, was a second half substitute in the 0-0 draw with Cuba earlier this month but failed to trouble the Cuban goalkeeper. Forbes,a member of CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh also had a stint at Manchester United and Middlesbrough earlier this year through the efforts of Pro Sports Caribbean.
Replacing Forbes is W Connection midfielder Kyle Cupid, while Joe Public’s Joel Marquis comes in for Tobago’s Devon Leacock who is out through a back injury which was news to Vranes on Monday. But the Yugoslavian-born coach also mentioned that similar action was also taken on Leacock because the player flew back to the sister-isle to represent Scarborough Secondary in a League encounter on the weekend without notifying neither National team manager George Joseph nor the Federation office.
Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick said it would be difficult to leave Forbes out of the T&T Under 20 team but warned that players need to be fully disciplined.
"It's hard to see a player of his calibre out of the National under 20 team but and we need to give these players all the opportunities to play at the highest level but at the same time we have to ensure they are well disciplined. I think it's an unfortunate situation and hopefully he will learn from it because I think he is definitely one of the better strikers at the youth level that we have around," said Fenwick, who said he was yet to decide if he will put Forbes into the Jabloteh team to run out against his national teammates today.
Vranes said the two midfielders were brought in to strengthen the midfield department. Defence Force striker Devon Jorsling is also out with an achilles tendon injury.
“We realise that the Cubans were better than us in that area so we will be trying to improve this part of our game. We are doing our best under the circumstances and I am still optimistic that we can go to Cuba and get a positive result. We were able to get a draw here and now we know them better. They will be under more pressure to get a win at home,” said Vranes.
T&T 18-man squad.
Kevin Graham, Sterling O'Brian, Terrance McAllister, Ochieng Abosi, Kevon Cornell, Kerron Benito, Joel Marquis (Joe Public).
Anton Joseph (Defence Force).
Daurance Williams, Lee Haynes, Wendell Joseph, Devon Bristol (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh).
Odelle Armstrong (Caledonia AIA).
Ellis Dyette (Arima Fire).
Roderick Anthony, Kyle Cupid (Vibe CT 105 W Connection).
Kenwyne Jones (St Anthony's College).