13 Sep 2012
- Written by Lasana Liburd (Wired868)
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The State-owned National Lottories Control Board (NLCB) belatedly stepped in on the weekend to rescue the Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 football team’s two-match series against the Canada national under-20 side.
The Trinidad and Tobago team is preparing for November’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifying competition in Jamaica but was forced to scrap the carded tour last week due to a lack of funding.
On Saturday evening, according to a Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) release sent yesterday, the NLCB handed over funds for the overseas tour and, by Sunday morning, a team was airborne and heading to Fort Lauderdale.
Trinidad and Tobago played the Canada under-20 team at Lockhart Stadium on Sunday night, just a few hours after touching down, and again on Tuesday morning at the Sunrise Holiday Inn Training Complex. The local side lost both games 2-0 and 2-1 respectively.
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Caleb Clarke scored a double in the first game while Defence Force striker and national senior team player Devorn Jorsling got T&T’s lone goal from a free kick in the second encounter.
The Canada side included several Europe and MLS-based players including the Toronto FC duo of Quillan Roberts and Oscar Cordon, Queen’s Park Rangers duo Michael Petrasso and Dylan Carreiro and midfielders Mauro Eustáquio and Jorgo Nika, who are based in Portugal and Germany respectively.
It is debatable as to what benefits the national under-20 team—or Trinidad and Tobago’s football on the whole—was able to achieve from the tour, though.
Several of the national under-20 players were unable to travel as they do not hold US visas. National team technical director Anton Corneal told the TTFF Media that visas were not pursued because the administrative staff felt the trip was off.
“Several of our under-20 players were without travel visas,” said Corneal, “and we did not pursue it last week when we heard the trip was off. So it meant we were forced to find players at the last minute to travel.”
For the under-20 players forced to stay home under such dubious circumstances, it is presumably a painful introduction to life as a Trinidad and Tobago player.
In their place, a hodge-podge of players from the national under-17 and senior team were assembled as well as one or two players that reside in Florida.
National under-20 players like captain Duane Muckette and Xavier Rajpaul played alongside senior players like the Defence Force trio of Devorn Jorsling, Aklie Edwards and Akeem Adams and under-17 players Brendon Creed and Martieon Watson. The US-based duo of Bradley Welch and David Williams were also included.
The touring national technical staff was just as eclectic as national under-20 coach Ross Russell was accompanied by interim senior team coach Hutson Charles, national under-17 coach Sean Cooper and his technical director, Corneal.