Angus Eve, coach of the T&T under-23 football team which leaves today to compete at the 16th Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico is expecting a few upsets. Eve will lead an 18-man squad which departs from Piarco International Airport from 6 pm.
T&T received an invitation from the organisers as a replacement for Guatemala which was withdrawn by the country’s Olympic committee for non-compliance with protocol.
Panama and Honduras, which finished behind Guatemala and ahead of T&T in the final rankings of the Concacaf Under-20 Championship in April, declined invitations to fill the vacancy in the eight-team competition which kicks off on Wednesday until October 28.
T&T is in Group A along with Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay and will face Uruguay in their opening game on October 19 on the artificial surface at the Estadio Omnilife.
Included in the T&T team are four players with senior Soca Warriors team experience in USA-based Kevin Molino, W Connection duo Joevin Jones and Shahdon Winchester as well as Caledonia AIA striker Jamal Gay.
The local squad will also be using the tournament as ideal preparations for the Caribbean Football Union 2012 Olympic qualifying final round in St Kitts/Nevis involving Cuba and Suriname from November 24 to 28.
Speaking prior to his team’s penultimate practice session at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya on Saturday night, Eve said: “We are hoping to create a few upsets in the group stage with the hope of reaching the semifinal.“Our preparations have not been great for this competition and all the other teams are expected to be better prepared than us but we are going there full of confidence.
Despite the limited preparations due to the late invite Eve, a former national midfielder and captain said going to the a prestigious tournament like the Pan American Games is a great asset to the team as it looks ahead to the CFU Second Round qualifiers for the London Olympics next year.
“We decided to accept the invite because it will provide us with much needed international matches away from home and with a chance to play some top teams. He added that tournament like this one would attract international football scouts.
Commenting on the team selected, Eve said he decided to carry the core of players who were involved in the CFU first round matches in Dominica because of the limited preparation time:
“There were a few other players like Jerrel Britto and Jomal Williams I wanted to include but they are not familiar with the system we have been playing as yet, so I expect that by the time the CFU tournament comes around at the end of next month they shall be ready.”
Despite the absence of US-based duo Sean De Silva and Uriah Bentick due to school commitments, said he expects a good showing from his team.
T&T Squad: Andre Marchan, Zane Coker, Sheldon Bateau, Mekeil Williams, Joevin Jones, Shahdon Winchester, Trevin Caesar, Aquil Selby, Leslie Joel Russell, Jamal Gay, Jayson Joseph, Marcus Joseph, Kevin Molino, Jeromie Williams, Kareem Moses, Kaydion Gabriel, Micah Lewis, Cameron Roget.
Pan Am Men’s Fixtures
Costa Rica vs Cuba, 11 am
Uruguay vs T&T , 2 pm
Argentina vs Brazil, 6 pm
Mexico vs Ecuador, 9 pm
Costa Rica vs Argentina, 10 am
Ecuador vs Uruguay, 1 pm
Brazil vs Cuba, 5 pm
Mexico vs T&T, 8 pm
T&T vs Ecuador, 10 am
Cuba vs Argentina, 1 pm
Mexico vs Uruguay, 5 pm
Brazil vs Costa Rica, 8 pm
Wednesday Oct 26
Friday Oct 28
Final & Third place playoff
U-22 men's team off to Mexico for PanAm Games.
By: Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).
Trinidad and Tobago's Under 22 men's team will depart for Guadalajara, Mexico via Panama City on Monday evening at 6pm as they look ahead to their participation at the 2011 Pan American Games.
The T&T team, under head coach Angus Eve and manager Norris Ferguson, will use these matches as preparations for the CFU final round of qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games in November in St Kitts/Nevis.
Eve has been preparing for the team for several weeks since their 4-0 win over Dominica in the previous CFU round some weeks ago. T&T senior team assistant coach Hutson Charles will also travel with the team.
Eve said he looking forward to testing the team's readiness against the likes of Mexico. Ecuador and Uruguay.
"We came in on a late invitation and maybe the preparation may not be the best in terms of match fitness because we had been following a program towards next month's Olympic qualifies but we will use this tournament as preparation in itself for the qualifiers," Eve told TTFF Media following a session at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Sunday. The games in Guadalara will be played on an artificial surface.
"It's a tournament with great opposition and it's being played in the same format as our qualifiers. I don't think we would have otherwise faced such high level opposition before the Olympic qualifiers and in that sense I think this will serve us well," added the former national midfielder.
He added that the introduction of Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino who is coming off back to back appearances for the senior team in World Cup qualifiers, Caledonia AIA striker Jamal Gay and W Connection defender Joevin Jones, should boost the team.
"Some of our players from the Colleges in the US are not going to be with us because it clashes with their academic schedule and we will want them for the tournament next month.
Guys like Uriah Bentick and Sean De Silva are out. We are also looking to add Khaleem Hyland, Jake Thomson and Robert Primus is still injured at the moment as well as Daneil Cyrus.
But the likes of Molino, Jamal Gay, who has been going well in the Pro League and Shahdon Winchester should hopefully be good cover for us," Eve added.
T&T are in Group A along with Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay and will face Uruguay in their opening game on October 19 at the Estadio Omnilife They then face Mexico on October 21 and Ecuador two days later. Group B includes Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Costa Rica.