Soca Warriors captain Kenwyne Jones will have his first session with the national team today from 4pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar following his arrival from London, yesterday afternoon.
The 29-year-old Jones arrived along with fellow English-based pros Andre Boucaud and Justin Hoyte as T&T coach Stephen Hart conducted a light session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo yesterday with 11 members of the squad who were named in the 20-man squad the 18th Caribbean Football Union Cup Group Seven semi-finals.
The four-team round-robin qualifiers kick off with a double-header on Wednesday at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva with Antigua & Barbuda facing St Lucia from 6pm followed by T&T against Dominican Republic, 8.15pm.
T&T then faces St Lucia on Friday also from 8.15pm before ending with a clash versus St Lucia on Sunday from 6.15pm.
Jones is coming off a 61 minutes display in Cardiff City’s 1-0 loss to Blackpool in the English Championship on Friday and was coming off a one-goal performance in a 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.
Coming in today will be Belgium-based duo Khaleem Hyland and Sheldon Bateau with Slovak-based winger Lester Peltier, Joevin Jones and US-based duo Cordell Cato and Kevan George also arriving which will see Hart have his full compliment of players for training on Monday.
Yesterday, 23-year-old Bateau netted his second league goal for Belgium Pro League club, KV Mechelen in the last minute to salvage a 1-1 draw with Mouscron-Peruwelz which had taken a 50th lead through Steven Lange while today Hyland’s Racing Genk comes up against leaders Anderlecht.
Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams described the current period as vital for the national team as the 2018 Russia World Cup campaign approaches with T&T facing a possible start as early as next year.
“Today was just a light session but I expect the tempo to increase over the next couple days,” Williams said.
“Obviously the coach knows what he’s about and he will want to ensure that the sessions are just in line with what he wants out of the players especially as we have three matches to play in such a short space of time,” he added.
“But in terms of the mood, I know the boys are quite keen to get on the pitch and represent the country and settle a couple scores with two of the teams that have to play and then I also recall St Lucia getting the better of us in a CFU qualifier some years ago.
“These three teams are all capable of pulling out results which means we have to be precise in everything that we do on and off the field and our approach has to be spot on. We also need the 12th man support. The fans play a key role in football worldwide and it’s the same thing for us.
We need to ensure our supporters are on board from now leading up to the World Cup qualifiers,” the former Hungary-based custodian stated. Tickets are priced at $100 (covered) and $60 (uncovered).