BEHIND the smoke and smog in the Laventille and environs, caused by the spate of violent crimes, National Under-20 goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel is a shining light.
The 19-year old Samuel left with the Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20 Football team on a three-match international friendly tour in Europe before they journey to Egypt for FIFA World Under-20 Championship September 24- October 16 in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said Ismailia.
The Trinidad and Tobago team is in Group “A” along with host nation Egypt, Paraguay and Italy.
The young Soca Warriors will open their campaign against the host team Egypt on September 24 at the Borg El Arab Stadium after which they will take on the Italians four days later on September 28 at the Cairo International Stadium.
Their last match of the preliminary round will be a toss-up against the Paraguayans on October 1 at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
The top two teams from each group will earn the right to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition. Samuel, a home grown from Block No 22 Evans Trace in Laventille has already earned the number one position as the TT custodian for the tournament following his string of impressive performances with TT Pro League outfit United Petrotrin as well as during the team’s daily training sessions.
But amidst the anxiety of competing against the best teams in the world for the top spot and bragging rights, Samuel wants to help fight the scourge plaguing his beautiful Laventille community, by being an example for others to follow.
He also wants the national community to recognise that there is also a lot of good to emerge from the Laventille area. He feels that when he steps out unto the field in Egypt he will not only be representing Trinidad and Tobago but also the Laventille community.
His mother Donna Samuel reminded all that his achievements came only because of hard work and a determination to accomplish what he wants. She is predicting that her son, a product of the nearby San Juan Jabloteh Football Club, will become one of the top international players for Trinidad and Tobago and probably the world, such is the desire and will of the lanky TT goalkeeper.
“If the players on the team are told to work on any shortfalls at home, Glenroy would make sure that it is done, even without me having to say anything.”
Samuel has been a Laventille bred and born, having attended St Barb’s Government School and later Belmont Junior Secondary School.
He represented San Juan Senior Comprehensive at Intercol level before being snapped up by San Juan Jabloteh and later Caledonia AIA.
He wishes to thank a number of people who have played critical roles in his life and his achievement in the sport to date- among them his mother Donna, father Glen Samuel, grandfather Wilfred Ballantyne, his teacher at St Barb’s Government Arnold Pierre and coach Gwenwyn Cust.
Samuel’s exploits at the Youth World Cup will be his second time, having represented the country at the FIFA Under-17 in South Korea in 2007 which Nigerians won.
At that tournament Trinidad and Tobago coach Anton Corneal returned home winless in three matches that included matches against Ghana, Colombia and Germany.