Trinidad and Tobago may be down to fourteen players for today's Caribbean Cup semi-finals fixture against Martinique after Vietnam-based player Willis Plaza had to be taken to hospital on Thursday after complaining of feeling unwell.
A series of tests were conducted and Plaza spent most of the day at the hospital where he received Intravenous drips and was treated for hematemesis (vomitting of blood).
He returned to the team base at the Halcyon Cove Hotel on Thursday night but is unlikely to take part in today's fixture from 5pm.
Plaza scored three goals in T&T's opening round of the Caribbean Cup qualifiers in St Kitts. Already missing from the team are Lester Peltier, Hughtun Hector and the suspended Aubrey David.
Team captain Jan Michael Williams and experienced midfielder Densill Theobald have carried the current team on their backs with their leadership on and off the pitch and their never say die attitude in all of the matches played so far in the tournament.
Williams, of W Connection, believes T&T has some unfinished business to take care of.
“We want to regain the title. That is a major goal for us at this stage,” Williams said.
“We came to Antigua expecting it to be a rough challenge and it turned out that way because we lost to Antigua and then we had to go down to the wire to beat Dominican Republic but thankfully it happened and we made it to the Gold Cup. I don’t think a lot of persons expected us to even get to this stage.
We put a lot of the critics to rest but we appreciate their lack of faith in us. I’m happy that we were able to prove some of them wrong including past coaches and even past players who have been here before,” he added.
Theobald meantime, is banking on the team to keep improving leading up to July’s Gold Cup.
“Qualifying for the Gold Cup is one thing but now we must strive to improve all round and ensure we can continue to taking the football up some levels. The journey has just begun for this team.
I would love for us to win the Cup because it will bring some glory back to our football. Hopefully we can maintain our spirits and our fight tomorrow against Martinique and then in the Final on Sunday,” said the 2006 World Cup squad member.
Martinique have already won the Cup on one occasion back in 1993 and will be depending on their five France-based players as well as West Ham United’s 34-year-old forward Frederic Piquionne to help take them through to the final.
Their captain Fabrice Reuperne expects a tough encounter on Friday.
“We know Trinidad to be a tough team and they have won the titles many times before. We expect a good game. We also want to win the tournament,” Reuperne said.
“We last won the competition in 1993 and we have gone to the Gold Cup also so we are delighted to be at this stage.”
T&T defeated Martinique 1-0 in the 2010 Finals and will also recall their 7-2 thrashing of the same opponents in the 1994 Final at the Queen’s Park Oval, a game which was witnessed by the great Pele.
Current coach Charles scored a double on that day with Dean Pacheco netting a hattrick along with one each from Angus Eve and Alvin Thomas.
“Good memories as a player,” Charles said. “But tomorrow (Friday) it’s a different ball game. We must go out there and show how much we want it.”