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Trinidad and Tobago's Kevin Molino celebrates after scoring a goal during the Gold Cup qualifier against French Guiana at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States on Tuesday, July 6th 2021.

Eve faces funding challenge ahead of King’s Cup

National coach Angus Eve is facing a challenging time ahead of the King’s Cup in Thailand at the end of the month in Chiang Mai province.

Issues of funding and players’ readiness have been at the forefront of Eve’s mind as the team gears up to face Thailand, Malaysia and Tajikistan in a four-nation tournament from September 22-25 within the FIFA Window.  

Speaking to the media via a release on Thursday night, Eve said the team may even have to be cut to suit the funding available to them.

“It’s been very difficult to be very honest, the state of affairs in the FA from a financial standpoint. The challenges we have is mainly financial, to keep camps, to keep the locally-based players going because as you know, they’re not in season, so it’s very difficult for them and when we get engagements it’s very difficult for us to select them because, although they may be doing their little gym work, they’re not match-fit to play international football at this point in time.

“So from that standpoint it is very challenging, but again, I am not one to make a lot of excuses so we tend to soldier on with the facilities afforded to us,” said Eve.

“It’s difficult for the local players, I played for most of my career here I want to emphasize that, but they’re not playing at this point in time at any competition, so it’s very difficult to select those guys. But we have guys abroad, we have some guys in Europe and the majority of the guys are in the US. It’s a challenge because the US Leagues don’t stop and some of the boys have play-offs so we can’t risk some of them not signing contracts with their teams.

“Most of them get 12-month contracts so they’re always playing for their next contract, so we have to be mindful of that.

“At the end of the day, we have the Instat programme which we employed the FA to get for us and we have been using that facility, where we can see the players real time, where we can see them in the matches, see how much mileage they run, see how their fitness is etc, so we use that facility to scout the players from abroad.

“We’re hoping that by Monday we will have the funds to pick the team. It is very limited also, it’s a very big flight, it’s a long flight, it’s a very expensive undertaking, so we may have to cut the squad even tighter. So basically, we’re hoping that by next Monday (September 12), where they’re having a draw also that we could pick the final team and put the travelling plans in place.

“It’s nearly done, it’s nearly there but it’s just that the financial constraints we have, it hampers how we want to do things efficiently and effectively,” Eve explained.

Midfielder Kevin Molino will be back in the squad after being away for more than a year, along with Leston Paul who plays for Memphis 901 in the USL Championship, Sheldon Bateau (S.K. Beveren on loan from Turkish club Samsunspor), Aubrey David (Saprissa), Ajani Fortune (USL Championship side Atlanta United 2), and Kareem Moses (Finnish club VPS), and goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup, who plays for Ranheim in Norway.

Eve said Molino who last represented T&T at the CONCACAF Gold Cup before getting injured, has now been playing consistently with his club Columbus Crew.  

In the last King’s Cup held in 2019, the Curacao team was invited to participate with the Vietnamese and Indian teams. In that tournament, Curacao won the championship with a victory over the Vietnamese team in the final.

Eve also revealed that speedy winger Ryan Telfer, Shannon Gomez, and Tristin Hodge will not be with the team due to club commitments. However, he noted that his purpose at the tournament will be to expose players and try to get a match or two against teams that have already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar.

Eve said he turned down opportunities to play friendly matches against Puerto Rico in the US and Grenada because they are teams in T&T’s confederation. 

WATCH Eve looks ahead to King's Cup in Thailand