Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Olympic team will kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2016 Olympics with a Group 4 Caribbean Football Union Qualifying match against Suriname in Puerto Rico on June 24th.
The fixtures, released by the CFU show TT in Group F along with hosts Puerto Rico, Suriname and the winner of the Dominica versus St Vincent/Grenadines tie.
Only the winner of the group will advance to the CFU Final Round in August from which the top two teams will move on to the CONCACAF Final round in the United States in October. TT’s Olympic team began preparations at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday morning under head coach Zoran Vranes.
The former TT Senior team and Under 20 head coach believes TT can move into the CONCACAF phase but wants his players to know the qualification campaign will be no easy task.
“Well you can see it’s not going to be an easy ride at all. Only one team will come out of our group and we are playing away from home. Okay, we know all of these teams from the past but football is always played one the day,” he told TTFA Media.
“But our players have the experience and the capability to beat these teams. They will have to focus from the start and take that through to the entire campaign. Qualifying for the Olympic games is a great achievement and every country wants to be there. This is like a World Cup because the football tournament at the Olympics has a lot of significance as well,” Vranes added.
The CFU also released the fixtures for the Women’s Olympic qualifiers. Trinidad and Tobago are in Group 2 from August 21st to 25th. TT will open the group against Cayman Islands on August 21st. They will also face St Lucia on August 23rd and Antigua/Barbuda on August 25th.
The winners of the four preliminary groups will advance to the CFU Finals in October. The top three teams will then enter the final CONCACAF round which will involve a final eight teams from which the top two will advance to the Olympics.
June 24: Suriname vs Trinidad & Tobago
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago vs Dominica / St. Vincent & Grenadines
June 28: Puerto Rico vs Trinidad & Tobago
T&T Olympic Men’s Provisional Squad
|#||First Name||Last Name||D.O.B.||Club|
|3||Aaron||Enill||04-06-95||San Juan Jabloteh|
|4||Christopher||Biggette||17-02-96||St. Ann’s Rangers|
|5||Josiah||Trimmingham||14-12-96||San Juan Jabloteh|
|10||Leland||Archer||08-01-96||College of Charleston|
|14||Kion||Joseph||13-06-95||North East Stars|
|17*||Neveal||Hackshaw||21-09-95||North East Stars|
|18||Duane||Muckette||01-07-95||University of South Florida|
|21||Brent||Sam||18-04-96||San Juan Jabloteh|
|22||Kadeem||Corbin||04-03-96||St. Ann’s Rangers|
|23||Jesus||Perez||11-09-95||North East Stars|
|26||Dario||Holmes||09-02-94||San Juan Jabloteh|
|27||Glen||Sutton||04-07-94||Pt. Fortin Civic Centre|
|29||Shackiel||Henry||02-04-94||Pt. Fortin Civic Centre|
|30||Keane||Mc Ivor||06-10-93||Robert Morris University|
|31||Greg||Ranjitsingh||18-07-93||Louisville City FC|
|32||Caleb||Sturge||25-12-95||San Juan Jabloteh|
|37||Jelani||Peters||St. Ann’s Rangers|
|38||Akeem||Redhead||06-08-93||Pt. Fortin Civic Centre|
Olympic team invites 39 trialists; do-or-die Caribbean group awaits.
By Lasana Liburd (wired868).
Recent Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team call-ups Shannon Gomez, Neveal Hackshaw, Jomal Williams and Akeem Garcia were all included in a 39-player shortlist for the National Olympic team, which began training yesterday morning at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
The team will be coached by Yugoslavia-born Zoran Vranes, who recently led Central FC’s Pro League squad and helped Trinidad and Tobago to its last FIFA appearance at the Egypt 2009 Under-20 World Cup.
Trinidad and Tobago starts its Olympic campaign against Suriname on June 24 and there is a possibility that the young “Soca Warriors” could face a squad packed with Netherlands-based professionals. The Suriname Football Association is attempting to get its Parliament to allow dual citizenship for its Dutch expats in time for the senior Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Puerto Rico will not be an easy opponent either on its own turf. And only one team will advance from the group.
Vranes told Wired868, on Tuesday, that he was misinformed about the Olympic team’s fixtures and might have declined the offer to coach if he was properly advised. However, he is optimistic about the challenge ahead.
“It’s not going to be an easy ride at all,” Vranes told the TTFA Media. “Only one team will come out of our group and we are playing away from home. Okay, we know all of these teams from the past but football is always played on the day.
“Our players have the experience and the capability to beat these teams. They will have to focus from the start and take that through to the entire campaign.
“Qualifying for the Olympic Games is a great achievement and every country wants to be there. This is like a World Cup because the football tournament at the Olympics has a lot of significance as well.”
Shiva Boys Hindu College winger Levi Garcia, who is due to sign for Netherlands top flight club AZ in November, is also on the Olympic shortlist, which is comprised mostly of Pro League talent and also features six overseas-based players.
Apart from Garcia—who is attached to Central FC but has opted to train alone until he heads for Europe—St Anthony’s College playmaker Matthew Woo Ling and former Club Sando winger Keeshun Seecharan are the only local-based recruits who do not currently play in the Pro League.
Ten of the selected Under-23 players are attached to defending champions DIRECTV W Connection including speedy winged attacker Neil Benjamin Jr, utility player Alvin Jones and the Naparima College duo of Martieon Watson and Jabari Mitchell.
Four notable omissions were Club Sando midfielder Akeem Humphrey, Dallas FC youth goalkeeper Johan Welch, Defence Force winger Akeem Roach, St Ann’s Rangers forward Nicholas Dillon and United States-based midfielder Andre Fortune Jr. However, there is believed to be some flexibility towards squad additions in the next few weeks.
Welch was the undisputed first choice custodian for the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 and Under-17 Teams although his performances were far from spotless. Dillon and Fortune both played at the Caribbean stage of the Under-20s ultimately unsuccessful World Cup campaign while Roach is considered one of the Pro League’s more promising young players.
Humphrey, whose rugged, athletic performances were key assets for the last National Under-20 Team, is either a baffling omission or an oversight.