Trinidad and Tobago’s former Scottish-based midfielder Densill Theobald still has not rejoined the full training with his other teammates on the National team but is pushing to be fit and eligible for selection in Friday’s opening Digicel Caribbean Cup fixture against Barbados at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 6pm.
Theobald suffered a blow on the ankle in training earlier this month and has been working tirelessly on rehab with the T&T medical team headed by Doctor Terrence Babwah. He is hopeful of taking full part in the team’s final training session on Thursday evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“I’m still having a bit of pain on it but it has improved a lot in the past few days so I’m confident I will be able to play on Friday,” Theobald told TTFF Media. “The treatment has been going well and I think the responsibility is on me to get better in time to be able to step on to the field on Friday because we don’t have a greatly experienced team and I want to play a part desperately because we want to be winners.”
There were no other major injury concerns in the T&T camp. Joel Bailey is still nursing a foot problem but Abiola Clarence has recovered from a hamstring problem and has resumed full training.
Meantime, one of the lesser experienced newcomers, Hayden Tinto, wants to use this current selection as a stepping stone. The Caledonia AIA and former National Under 20 player has been giving it his all in the sessions under Rijsbergen but knows that he will have to lift his game for the next level.
“It’s all down to hard work. I believed hard work got me this selection even though I was a bit surprised but I feel I have worked hard on my game and now it’s all about trying to do what the coach wants and blend in well with the rest of the team,” Tinto added.
“I have looked up to guys like Densill and now the chance to be on the same level with him is good for me. I want to prove that I deserve my pick on this team and the same goes for all of us.”
Another newcomer, striker Darryl Roberts, with the experience of having been a member of the “Soca Warriors” during the first two matches against Dominican Republic in the “Journey to Germany” campaign, is aiming to show Rijsbergen that he has come some way since 2004 and can be a dependable striker. Roberts was also part of the mini-training camp in Miami in January under Rijsbergen and Leo Beenhakker.
“I believe that having been around some of the senior guys before meant that was showing some kind of promise and I want to strive off of that kind of experience. The other strikers like Stern John and Kenwyne Jones are not here this time so I think it’s a great opportunity for players like myself and even Scott Sealy to try and show that we have what it takes to play at this level. It is not going to be easy because it’s a new experience in a competition for a lot of us. But I think we have the right kind of commitment and attitude. This can only auger well for us and hopefully we can get it right on gameday,” said the Liberty College striker.
The T&T defense line is also lacking in experience with only Nigel Daniel and Anthony Noreiga having any kind of time around the national team. The latter is still very green to the international stage. Tobago-born Dwayne Jack did line up in the last Digicel Cup finals in Barbados in 2005 but didn’t go on to get much time in national colours since then. Nickcolson Thomas has one cap while Makan Hislop and Osei Telesford have not played a senior international game.
“I think I have been working hard towards this chance and when you have that desire it can make up for some of the lack of experience. I have trained under the coach before so he know me and I know what is required of him. Since the last time I was with the team for the Iceland game I have looked closely at my weaknesses which really was not being able to adapt to the quick pace of the game. Now that I have worked on it, I really want to make an impression and the same goes for the other guys around. I think once we can be stable and play our own game with a bit of confidence in our ability then we should be able to get the job done,” Noreiga said.