Fri, Sep

STAYING LOOSE: Foreign-based Shedon Bateau, left, chats with Levi Garcia, centre, as the national men’s football team are put through their paces by head coach Angus Eve, ahead of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying round. --Photo courtesy TTFA Media.

STAR striker Levi Garcia encouraged youngsters on the T&T men’s senior football team to grab every opportunity when representing their country as it will allow them to earn professional contracts overseas.

Garcia, 25, has been one of T&T’s most consistent players for the national team over the past few years delivering quality performances.

The local footballers have been training this week as part of preparations for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup qualification tournament from June 16-20 in Ft Lauderdale, US.

Before the Gold Cup qualifiers, T&T will play Guatemala in a friendly in Pennsylvania, US on Sunday.

In a video shared by TT Football Association Media, Garcia was kneeling on one knee while speaking to Nathaniel James, Real Gill and Kaihim Thomas during a national senior men’s training session.

“Take this opportunity and let us see what could happen,” Garcia told the trio ahead of the Guatemala friendly.

“Some of them (Guatemala players) already have contracts, we looking for contacts so we have to go and outplay men and work harder (than them).”

Midfielders James and Thomas, along with striker Gill were all part of the T&T Under-20 team which took part at the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championships.

James, a former Queen’s Royal College student, has been in prolific form in the TT Premier Football League as he is the leading goal scorer which has kept Club Sando in the title race with a few rounds remaining.

Garcia urged the young footballers to make a name for themselves even if they don’t play the entire match.

“I always tell people I prefer to give everything in 45 minutes and say coachman (take me off).”

Garcia said international football is the highest level and you must remain focused throughout a match.

“This is a national team, this is not club football…national team we have to pull our weight.”

He ended his short interaction with the players by saying he hoped his words “registered” and told them “We will talk more.”

Garcia, 25, won the Greek Cup and the 2022/2023 Greek Super League last month with AEK Athens.

He was an instrumental player during the season finding the back of the net consistently. Since joining the club in 2020, Garcia has 26 goals in 90 appearances.

During the title celebrations in Greece, Garcia draped himself with the T&T flag and was joined by his family.

Eve begins Gold Cup preparation
T&T Express Reports.

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s football team head coach Angus Eve has begun preparation for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying round.

Having failed to qualify automatically, the Soca warriors will enter a pre-qualifying tournament seeking a spot in the main tournament, scheduled to take place across the United States from June 24-July 16.

The Soca Warriors get their campaign in the pre-qualifying tournament under way next week Friday when they face Guadeloupe in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Four day later, the winner of that match will square off against the victor of another tie between Guyana and Grenada, at the same venue, for a spot in the preliminary round of the 2023 Gold Cup.

Should T&T get past the qualifying round, they will enter Group D which contains Canada, Guatemala and Cuba.

T&T are no strangers to the pre-qualifying tournament, having taken a similar path to the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. T&T defeated Montserrat 6-1 and edged French Guiana on penalties following a 1-1 draw, to get into the Gold Cup main draw in which they drew with Mexico (0-0) and Guatemala (1-1), but lost to quarter-finalists El Salvador (2-0).