Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino wants to see this country’s Senior Footballers step up to the call on Friday when they face a strong Panama outfit in a friendly international at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Molino trained with his teammates, several of them for the first time, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium as head coach Stephen Hard oversaw a lively session in the evening period as the players pushed themselves as they press for selection in the final eleven in the upcoming encounter.
There are now eleven players in the T&T team that will be aiming for their first senior appearance after national under 20 player Akeem Garcia got a late call as Rundell Winchester will not be flying in to join the team having been asked by the Portland Timbers to remain there on the weekend as he seeks to obtain a contract.
Molino said the mood in the camp and training sessions has been upbeat but he knows that the newcomers will have some nerves to overcome as he recalled his early days with the senior team.
“It’s always good for new players to come in. you can always learn from a younger player or a senior player. You can encourage the younger ones and encourage them for the future. And I’ll do whatever I can do to guide them on the right path along with the other senior players and the coaches.
“I’ve always said it’s very important to get a cap early in your career so that when you go into international competition or games you will not be shell-shocked . You want to get games under your belt as soon as possible. I was lucky to get early caps under Russell Latapy at age 18 and it helped me along with my career now. I just hope the guys can live up to the challenge and expectations and listen to what the coach has to tell them and I think everything will be okay,” he added.
The Carenage-born player described the preparations as positive so far.
“I see a lot of positive things in training. We are still learning more about each other as it’s not like a club when you get to spend long periods together. We’ve just got to come together this week and work as best as we can and pick things up quickly. I think so far things have been shaping up quite well and it’s just about getting ready for the game on Friday and going out there to give a good performance and build on it for the Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifiers,” the former Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive player said.
T&T faces Guatemala in its opening Gold Cup fixture on July 9th and Mexico a few days later. Molino sees Panama as proper opponents in preparation for these clashes.
“Panama have been improving rapidly and they have a strong Central American influence and style that is similar to Guatemala and Mexico. This game will give us a good idea of what we need to do in our approach for the Gold Cup games and the qualifiers later this year.”
Tickets for the T&T versus Panama encounter cost $100 and are available at Fan Club Movietowne (POS, Trincity Mall, Gulf City Mall), All Out Restaurant (QP Oval), Heritage Sports Tobago, Ramsingh's Sportsworld, Couva, Econo Supermart and Kenny's Sports Shops. Gates at the venue open at 4pm on Friday.