MONDAY’S scheduled warm-up match, between the T&T football team and Miami Dutch Lions, was called off on Sunday night for covid19 safety reasons, according to a media release from the TT Football Association (TTFA).
The media release stated, “The players of Dutch Lions did not undergo the necessary PCR covid testing prior to the match. Therefore, the T&T medical team advised against playing to avoid the risk of any members of the T&T team contracting the virus going into the (Concacaf) Gold Cup qualifier against Montserrat on (Friday at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US).”
The media release added, “All necessary covid protocols continue to be followed by the T&T team contingent with members undergoing two sets of PCR testing since the start of the residential training camp in Boca, all returning negative results.”
Experienced central midfielder Kevin Molino and defender/midfielder Neveal Hackshaw joined the team camp in Florida, US on Monday, while captain Khaleem Hyland, Andre Fortune, Jelani Peters, Triston Hodge and Ryan Telfer joined on Sunday.
Denmark-born goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup is the only member of coach Angus Eve’s 26-man squad yet to arrive in Florida, but he is expected to do so on Tuesday.
Veteran goalkeeper Marvin Phillip is back in the squad, having missed this month’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone First Round qualifiers against the Bahamas and St Kitts/Nevis.
The 36-year-old Phillip, in an interview with the TTFA Media on Sunday, said, “(The Gold Cup) is the second-highest tournament for us. We all know World Cup is the highest.”
The winners of the TT-Montserrat game will face the winners of the July 3 tie between Cuba and French Guiana on July 6, for a spot in the Gold Cup.
Eve was hired as coach on June 15, after Terry Fenwick and his assistants Derek King and Kelvin Jack were fired after the failed World Cup campaign.
“With the local guys, he’s getting a good response, in terms of what he wants from us,” said Phillip on his new coach.
He continued, “The onus is (on) us to bring back our football to a much-respected level, and to have the fans back on our side.”