Belgium-based Soca Warriors midfielder Khaleem Hyland says he is expecting nothing less than 100 per cent from his team-mates tomorrow when the Soca Warriors entertain Panama in an international friendly at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
Speaking yesterday, Hyland of Racing Genk said, “We’ve been working hard for the past couple days in training. Obviously the coach is looking at a few new faces because the big picture is the Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifiers. I for sure would like to make it to a Gold Cup Finals and even win it as well as to play in a World Cup.
“But this is all part of that journey. I hope we can get things right and pull off a decent performance on Friday (tomorrow). The public needs to support this team now because when you look at all our opponents in Concacaf, everybody is on board with the football team and supporting them from the early stages. Hopefully we can get the same kind of love and support from our people as well.”
Hyland’s fellow Carenage-born resident and Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino also wants to see this country’s senior footballers step up to the call tomorrow.
The 24-year-old Molino, who has netted 11 goals in 29 internationals, trained with his team-mates, several of them for the first time, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo yesterday as coach Stephen Hard oversaw a lively session as the players pushed themselves for selection in the starting XI of the upcoming encounter.
Molino said the mood in the camp, which includes 11 players who will be aiming for their first senior appearance, 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 said.
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 9, Cuba (July 12) and Mexico three days later and 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.”
Today, both Hart and Panama's head coach Hernan Dario Gomez will be the feature speakers at a pre-match press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, VIP Lounge from 2.30 pm.
Khaleem Hyland weighs options.
By Shaun Fuentes (Guardian).
Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland is back home with the national senior team preparing for tomorrow’s international friendly against Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. But while he’s already thinking about the Concacaf Gold Cup in July, Hyland has to make some decisions regarding his club career as Racing Genk could soon be a club of the past for him.
Hyland has not found favour with Genk manager Alex McLeish since he took over the top job last year. McLeish was also coach of Russell Latapy at Hibernian and Glasgow Rangers.
“Things are a bit cloudy with my team at the moment. But I still have a year at Genk and with the transfer window coming up I’ll see what are the possible options and hopefully things will be better in the future,” Hyland said.
Hyland has made 75 appearances for Genk since joining the club in 2011. Prior to that he played 59 games for Zulte Waregem dating back to 2009. The 25-year-old has played in the European Champions League with Genk. Earlier this year he was on trial at English club Cardiff City.
But while he’s waiting out time at Genk, the former San Juan Jabloteh player from Carenage is hopeful of a positive year for this country.
“We have a lot in store for us this year with the Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifiers. We are building as a team and it’s good to see new faces around also as it helps to widen our pool. The game against Panama will be good test for us and hopefully we can continue to improve heading into the Gold Cup,” he said.
Kick off time tomorrow is 7pm in Couva.