Fri, Sep

Lee Him, Powder on Eve’s team for Guatemala friendly.

New-found players, midfielder Kristian Lee Him of Swedish (IFK Eskilstuna, Sweden) and defender Samory Powder of Hudson Valley Hammers in the United States were chosen on coach Angus Eve’s 22-man team to face Guatemala in an international friendly encounter on Sunday at the Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA.

According to Eve, who spoke to the media at the team's final training session at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on Thursday said, the players fit into a category of players who either have not been seen and who have been knocking on the door. Players who have been doing well in the local league, and then some guys who have been on the radar and doing well for their teams.

And also, youngsters who wanted to give some international experience too, such as Real Gill of Club Sando and Kaihim Thomas of the Defence Force in the T&T Premier Football League, both of whom have played with the u-20s and now have an opportunity to be seen at the senior level.

Eve said the game against the Guatemalans will jumpstart the country’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers, for which he needed all hands on deck, ranging from the players, the staff, the TTFA, the government, the media, corporate citizens and the local football membership.

He said, for far too long, there has been talk about wanting to qualify for the world cup, but he has always questioned if that is so. “Are we really preparing? From the Ministry of Sports, the Sports Company of T&T, it’s a challenge to even get a pitch for us to train on, so there are lots of things that we have to go into and deal with. It’s not just the staff or the TTFA, because this is a country thing,” Eve explained.

The T&T team, which includes AEK Athens striker Levi Garcia, Sheldon Bateau of SK Beveren in Belgium, Kaile Auvray of Sporting Kansas in the US and Andre Raymond of Dumiense FC in Portugal, has been going through a period of structuring, gelling and building camaraderie as they prepare for their opening Gold Cup pre-qualifying tournament match against Guadeloupe next Friday in Fort Lauderdale.

And four days later, if they win, they will face the winner of the other qualifier between Grenada and Guyana on June 24 at the same venue.

Should the Soca Warriors prevail in this encounter, then they will qualify for Group D which will feature regional giants Canada, Guatemala and Cuba. The last time the Warriors met their Guatemalan counterparts at the Gold Cup was in 2019 in a game that ended 1-1.

In the Gold Cup, the team, taken over by Eve following a failed World Cup qualifying campaign under Terry Fenwick, also held Mexico to a goalless tie before being beaten by El Salvador 2-0.

Eve said: “Although this is the Gold Cup, it is a stepping stone for the World Cup qualifiers, so we still have to develop the younger players, keep bringing them through, keep giving them opportunities so they can excel and be comfortable at this level.”

“So this is just a stepping stone in that direction, and giving the players this game against Guatemala, who is a very good outfit and showing faith in them, will only auger well for their confidence.”

He assured that their intention is to play against the best team in the CONCACAF region, saying: “ If you want to play the best teams in CONCACAF, you will have to build gradually to reach where you want to be. Canada didn’t qualify for a world cup for about 30 years and now they have a League and all these things are going on. We just started back our league, and we’re taking baby steps but we will get there eventually.”

Eve also touched on Nicaraguan player Richard Rodriguez who played illegally against T&T in their opening CONCACAF Nations League match against T&T in Managua in June last year, which the Nicaraguans won 2-1.

It was rumoured that Eve and the TTFA were in the process of filing a protest to CONCACAF, as it could enable the Soca Warriors’ an automatic qualifying spot to the Gold Cup. However, he said yesterday that the final decision rests in the hands of the CONCACAF and not them.

Meanwhile, Che Benny, one of the players who has been knocking on the door for a place on the team said he was delighted to have earned a spot on the team, having worked in the past and throughout the TTPFL so far. He told the media that his quality will be a tremendous help to the team.

Garcia, who missed the last two rounds of the Nations Cup that eventually saw T&T being pipped for the top spot by Nicaragua in Tobago on March 27, said he is glad to be back to help provide motivation and encouragement for the team.



1 Marvin Phillip (AC Port-of-Spain), 21 Denzil Smith (W Connection).


3 Sheldon Bateau (SK Beveren), 4 AlvinJones (Club Sando), 5 Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers), 6 Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando), 7 Andre Raymond (Dumiense FC, Portugal), 8 Justin Garcia (Defence Force), 9 Jameel Neptune (Defence Force), 10 Samory Powder (Hudson Valley Hammers, US), 11 Stephon Marcano (Ventura Fusion, US).


12 Daniel Phillips (St Johnstone, Scotland), 13 Duane Muckette (AC Port of Spain), 14 Kaile Auvray (Sporting Kansas, US), 15 Real Gill (Club Sando), 16 Justin Sadoo (Defence Force), 17 Michel Poon-Angeron (AC Port of Spain), 18 Kaihim Thomas (Defence Force), 19 Che Benny (AC Port of Spain), 20 Kristian Lee Him (IFK Eskilstuna, Sweden).


21 Nathaniel James (Club Sando), 22 Kadeem Corbin (La Horquetta Rangers).


Eve calls on nation to support Trinidad and Tobago football.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).

A WEEK before the Trinidad and Tobago men’s senior football team kick off their 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup qualification tournament campaign head coach Angus Eve made a plea for all stakeholders to join forces and support local football as it will take a collaborative effort.

T&T held their final training session at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on Thursday ahead of their international friendly against Guatemala on Sunday in Pennsylvania, US. T&T are using the match in preparation for the Gold Cup qualification tournament which starts on June 16 in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, US.

A 22-man squad was named on Thursday for the Guatemala match. After that match, a team will be chosen for the Gold Cup qualifiers.

Speaking to the media before training, Eve said, “For this phase, we talking all about commitment. We want the guys (players), not just the guys but the staff, the FA (TT Football Association), the press, T&T. We keep talking about we want to qualify for World Cup, but are we really preparing? (We need support) from the Ministry of Sports, Sports Company. It is a challenge just for us to get a pitch to train on. It is a lot of things that have to be in (place to succeed).”

The T&T coach reminded people of the joy sport gives a country.

“It is not just the technical staff or the TTFA to qualify for the World Cup. This is a country thing because when you see people driving down the bus route and all over the place celebrating the country feels good about it and we need everybody on board.”

Eve also called on corporate T&T to get behind T&T football more. “As a nation, if we say we want to qualify for a World Cup we need corporate citizens, we need everyone on board.”

Eve also highlighted the situation in which Nicaragua possibly fielded an ineligible player in a Concacaf Nations League match last year. In June 2022, Uruguay-born Richard Rodriguez played for Nicaragua against T&T in Managua, Nicaragua.

If FIFA rules in favour of T&T in the incident the Soca Warriors will have enough points to get promoted to Concacaf Nations League A and qualify for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Discussing the incident, Eve said, “I know in the press also they are talking about the Nicaragua player. We don’t have the final say on that, that is Concacaf.”

He said when a situation like this arises, the local football community must also be present. “What has been lacking is the total support from the other fractions of football. Not just the TTFA to make representation, but the South zone, the East zone (etcetera) and the people who have been vocal when it is time to call an election. We need those people to support that some wrong might have happened…and we need that support from them also not only when you want to complain or point fingers.”