Trinidad and Tobago’s Men National Under 17 team will commence their quest to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup with a Caribbean Football Union qualifying match against Grenada on Wednesday at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.
The team, coached by Shawn Cooper, held their final training session at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Saturday morning which included a training match against the National Under 20 men’s team which they lost 4-1.
They depart for St Lucia on Monday and Cooper is optimistic that they can advance to the next phase of the qualification. T&T also faces Curacao on August 22 and St Lucia two days later.
The group winner along with the top two second placed teams from the four preliminary groups will advance to the Caribbean Final round in Haiti in September. The CONCACAF Finals takes place in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in February leading up to the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Chile.
The team is captained by W Connection midfielder Kareem Riley and includes eight other Connection players, five from San Juan Jabloteh, four from St Ann’s Rangers with the others coming from Santa Rosa FC and Point Fortin Civic Centre.
Cooper expects his team to overcome their challenges in St Lucia.
“We’re going there with every intention of topping the group and moving on to the next phase. This is a good bunch with a lot of hunger to qualify and represent their country with distinction,” Cooper told TTFA Media.
“We may not have had the best line up of warm up matches but we got in a some decent sessions and a couple games against local pro teams which I think put us in a good shape for the tournament. Again we’ve been to these tournaments against the Caribbean teams before and we know that there is not possibility of taking the opponents lightly even at this early stage of the qualification,” he added.
Cooper led the T&T U17s to an impressive first round showing in 2012 with a 23-0 hammering of British Virgin Islands and 2-0 and 3-1 wins over Suriname and Guyana. T&T went onto defeat Costa Rica 2-0 in the CONCACAF Final round but lost to hosts Panama 4-2 in the decisive match.
“We had a great start in the last campaign but that’s in the past and we’re trying to instill into the boys the importance of working hard and leaving everything on the field. We must take care of our opponents and improve in every match,” Cooper added.
Enrique Changiah (W Connection), Levi Fernandez (Civic Centre FC).
Isaiah Garcia (RB - W Connection), Kendell Charles (CB - San Juan Jabloteh), Kierron Mason (CB - W Connection), Keston Julien (LB - W Connection), Shirwin Noel (CB - W Connection), Tekay Hoyce (CB - St Ann’s Rangers), Travell Edwards (LB - St Ann’s Rangers).
Kareem Riley - capt - (CM - W Connection), John-Paul Rochford (CM - 1st FC Santa Rosa), Shakhun Hanley (CM - San Juan Jabloteh), Jesse Joseph (CM - San Juan Jabloteh), Shakeem Patrick (RM - St Ann’s Rangers), Nate Brooks (CM - W Connection), Shobal Celestine (LM - W Connection).
Jeankeon Alexander (San Juan Jabloteh), Dereem Daniel (San Juan Jabloteh), Anthony Herbert (W Connection).
Shawn Cooper - Head Coach
Christopher Gouveia - Manager
Gilbert Bateau - Trainer
Phillip Dore - Sports Therapist
Devin Elcock - Equipment Manager
SCHEDULE - CFU MEN’S U-17 QUALIFIER GROUP 2
All Games will be played at the Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia
Match Day - Team A - Team B - Time Venue
August 20, Trinidad & Tobago vs Grenada 6:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia
August 20, St. Lucia vs Curacao 8:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia
August 22, Curacao vs Trinidad & Tobago 6:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia
August 22, St. Lucia vs Grenada 8:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia
August 24, Grenada vs Curacao 6:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia
August 24, St. Lucia vs Trinidad & Tobago 8:00PM, Beausejour Stadium, St. Lucia