Sat, Feb

Trinidad and Tobago's technical staff stand for the national anthem before a Concacaf Nations League natch against Curaçao on Thursday, September 7th 2023. Left to Right: Reynold Carrington (Assistant Coach), Angus Eve (Head Coach), Derek King (Assistant Coach), Clayton Ince (Goalkeeping Coach).

Trinidad and Tobago's men’s football coach Angus Eve has made an open call to citizens of T&T to come out and support the Soca Warriors at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on Friday, as they face their biggest Concacaf Nations League A group test against Guatemala, from 9pm.

Eve made these remarks at the start of the team’s training camp at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on Monday.

Eve also announced his 23-man squad, which saw three changes from the previous international window.

Right-back Alvin Jones replaces Shannon Gomez, striker Real Gill is in for Malcolm Shaw, Noah Powder is in for Daniel Phillips, and left winger/forward Tyrone Charles dislodged Brent Sam from the team list. Both Gomez and Shaw are nursing minor injuries.

Six foreign-based players – Noah Powder, Aubrey David, Kareem Moses, Andre Raymond, Ryan Telfer and Andre Rampersad – are expected to arrive in Trinidad on Tuesday, to join Eve's camp.

T&T won their two opening group A matches against Curacao and El Salvador, and are now chasing three wins on the trot, to book a spot in the Concacaf Nations League A quarterfinals.

“I think these guys deserve your support – by what they did, the effort they’re giving. Nobody expected us to win the games. Winning, however, has boosted their confidence.

“But what people have seen with this group is their willingness to fight for the country, the jersey, and more importantly, the messages these guys are sending out.”

Eve said players and staff sometime look at comments on social media, and are taken aback by the public’s negativity. While he acknowledged they’re not a perfect team, he said patriotism and positivity go a long way.

“They (team) don’t believe the people are supporting them....We’re in a rebuilding stage. It’s young players; we have 18 and 19 year olds here.

“They’re going out there and putting their best foot forward...They look at social media – I don’t – and they see: 'We’re going to get five (goals),' and 'We’re going to get eight,' – that’s not people supporting the team.

“It’s sad for us to be thinking like that as a community, especially with these guys who really trying to do something for the country,” he added.

Among the squad are forwards Reon Moore, Nathaniel James and Tyrone Charles; midfielders Kaile Auvray, Duane Muckette, Kevon Goddard, Neveal Hackshaw, Kristian Lee-Him and Michel Poon Angeron.

The other defenders are Justin Garcia, Jesse Williams, Kareem Moses and Ross Russell Jr while goalkeepers Christopher Biggette, Jabari St Hillaire and Denzil Smith were also called up.

“This is the first day that we have the group. We still have six players to come in because they played over the weekend. Thank God they didn’t pick up any injuries so they’re good to go.

“We’re in transition. When this group of players come in, there was a little cloud over them. And I think it hampered us in the first half of the first match (Curacao), second half we were better. And we were even better in the second match (El Salvador) at home.

“They got a little more confidence and believe they should be here. Without some of the senior players who have given this country so much, this is their time to shine,” he said.

On their opponents, Eve is well aware of their threats and weaknesses and is hoping he can exploit them with a home advantage.

On Tuesday, they travel to Curacao to play the host nation, in their final group match at Ergilio Hato Stadium.

“We want to win the game and it’s not going to be an easy game. Guatemala made the Gold Cup quarter-finals, very decent unit, unbeaten in the zone so far. They have a lot of competent players, well-coached, so we’re taking nothing for the granted.

“Our first remit in this rebuilding stage was to stay in the A (League). Now that we have the opportunity to do something bigger, we’re going to try to grasp it with both hands.”

Two more wins affirm them a spot in the quarter-finals, where lies regional powerhouses Mexico, USA, Costa Rica and Canada. T&T must finish with the top two nations of group A to seal a spot in the quarters.

Trinidad and Tobago 23-man Roster

Denzil Smith (W Connection), Christopher Biggette (Defence Force), Jabari St Hillaire (Defence Force)

Aubrey David (Club Sport Cartagines—Costa Rica), Justin Garcia (Defence Force), Alvin Jones (Club Sando), Kareem Moses (FF Jaro—Finland), Andre Raymond (GD Vilar De Perdizes—Portugal), Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers), Jesse Williams (Central Valley Fuego—USA)

Kaïlé Auvray (Mount Pleasant FA-Jamaica), Michel Poon-Angeron (AC Port of Spain), Kevon Goddard (Defence Force), Neveal Hackshaw (Oakland Roots), Kristian Lee Him (IFK Eskilstuna—Sweden), Duane Muckette (AC Port of Spain), Noah Powder (Northern Colorado Hailstorm—USA), Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers—Canada)

Ryan Telfer (Miami FC—USA), Reon Moore (Defence Force), Real Gill (Club Sando), Tyrone Charles (AC Port of Spain)

SOURCE: T&T Newsday