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Vranes urges starlets to turn professional

Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 coach Zoran Vranes invited talented teenage midfielders Khaleem Hyland and Sherron Joseph to challenge for a spot on his 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Youth Championships squad. Hyland and Joseph failed to show sufficient commitment to win a place in the squad for the ongoing CONCACAF qualifying series but Vranes revealed that the door was still open for the final tournament in Egypt.
Hyland, who represents Belgium top flight club SV Zulte Waregem, offered to play in the qualifiers but was ignored as Vranes explained he did not want to tamper with his team chemistry. Hyland's failure to train with the squad last year-even though he was not formally attached to any club-worked against him, according to the team coach.

Skillful Ma Pau midfielder Sherron Joseph was also not considered for the CONCACAF competition after his alleged repeated failures to turn up for national sessions.

But Vranes named the pair as possible additions to his World Cup squad while he also insisted that others might still force their way into his plans.

"I hope very strongly that Hyland joins my squad (for the World Cup)," said Vranes, after Friday's semi-final defeat to the United States on penalties. "I didn't close the door for several guys."

The Montenegrin-born coach is thrilled that the national under-20 team will compete in the 2009 Pro League and hopes to have as close to his full squad as possible.

Striker Jamal Gay, who signed for German second division club Rott-Weiss Oberhausen in January, and Hyland play in Europe and should be unavailable while Vranes must convince defending champions, Clico San Juan Jabloteh, to release central defender Robert Primus into his care. It is uncertain whether playmaker Sean de Silva, who is on scholarship at the College of Charleston, would be able to sacrifice several months of schooling to also join the squad.

"It is really important that we spend time together," said Vranes.

Scouts from several United States universities kept close tabs on the local starlets during the CONCACAF tournament. But, if it were up to Vranes, they would all leave Trinidad empty handed.

Team captain Leston Paul and Jabloteh and Fatima College utility player Sheldon Bateau received a lot of attention from the North American visitors but Vranes thinks they would be better off turning professional.

"If I were Paul and Bateau, I would choose football (over further education)," said Vranes. "If you miss two or three years (of high level football) at their age, it could make a big difference I think they can make it as professional footballers."

De Silva, whose father, Chris de Silva, is the national under-20 team manager, was named in the senior Trinidad and Tobago squad alongside Paul and Primus to face Panama in an international friendly on Wednesday. There was no recall for left back Akeem Adams or goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel, though, who also figured prominently in their successful World Youth Championship bid.