The T&T team will head into a training game against the Miami Dutch Lions on Monday to provide the locally-based players an opportunity at some much-needed match practice, ahead of the July 2 opening CONCACAF Gold Cup encounter against Montserrat.
Head coach Angus Eve's team was engaged in a series of intense training sessions since the team arrived in the USA on Thursday, as T&T prepare to get past the Montserratians and to stay alive in the qualifiers. Should T&T beat Montserrat, the Soca Warriors will have the opportunity to face the winner of either Cuba or French Guiana on July 6, for the right to be among the Groups at the Gold Cup tournament.
The team was recently joined by defender Aubrey David, the Deportivo Saprissa player, while other players such as defensive midfielder Khaleem Hyland (Al Batin) and attacking midfielder Kevin Molino, the Columbus Crew player who has just returned from injury, are expected over the next couple of days.
However, Eve, a former national player, will not have the services of instrumental midfielder Joevin Jones due to an injury he picked up recently. Only Friday news began circulating that the speedy Inter Miami FC player would be out of the Gold Cup and the rest of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season after rupturing his PCL, as well as suffering an MCL grade 2 strain in the left knee, during a game against Orlando City at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, USA, the same venue that the T&T vs Montserrat game will be played on.
Jones was expected to be a key component of Eve team against a Montserrat outfit that will be littered with players from the lower leagues in England and the United Kingdom.
The former T&T player who has played at least four times in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, has not yet begun to establish a style of play for his Warriors, as that will be done after today's match. "The initial reason for the camp was to get some legs under the locally-based players because they would not be in match-mood, so we're trying to get them up to some kind of match-level speed, and then the game on the 27th would add to that process.
They primarily will play that match because the guys will be flying in on that day and other days. So this game is really about the local players getting that match-fitness in, so when the foreign-based players come in, those other days we will be working on the shape, the strategies that we want to play and implement, in the first game we have against Montserrat," Eve explained.
The T&T coach, selected after the failure of previous coach Terry Fenwick at the World Cup qualifiers, has been surrounded with everything he needs to prepare the team for the Gold Cup tournament. And his players have responded with a zeal to make up for that failed World Cup attempt. Eve said: "Coming off the disappointment of the World Cup, not qualifying, you find that the guys are up for it. I've tried to impress upon them that this is a new tournament and a new game, so they have new objectives."
Watch Eve encouraged by first few days of Gold Cup camp
Joevin Jones to miss Gold Cup qualifiers for Trinidad and Tobago.
By Jeleni Beckles (T&T Newsday).
THE Trinidad and Tobago men’s senior football team received a huge blow ahead of the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers as Joevin Jones will not be available after picking up an injury.
Jones injured his left leg while playing for Inter Miami FC against Orlando City in a Major League Soccer match at the DRV PNK Stadium in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday. Jones has been one of T&T’s leading players over the past few years.
T&T will play Montserrat in the Gold Cup first round qualifier at the DRV PNK Stadium in Ft Lauderdale on Friday. If successful, T&T will play the second round qualifier on July 6 for a chance to play in the tournament from July 10 to August 1.
T&T will also be without Sheldon Bateau and Levi Garcia because they are unavailable.