England-based Soca Warriors defender Gavin Hoyte was among the group of overseas-based players to link up with the T&T squad in Panama on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Hoyte who plies his trade with Barnet FC after being on the Arsenal player list until 2011, has only featured twice for the Soca Warriors, both last year, against Argentina and Iran in two friendly internationals.
Since then he has not suited up for the Stephen Hart-coached Soca Warriors and missed the 3-3 draw with Mexico last month in Utah after a mix-up in communication.
After being named in the T&T team for the match, Hoyte was asked by his club to miss the friendly just a day before his departure from London, and speaking in Panama yesterday he said he felt confident that there will not be such an occurrence again.
“I’m quite excited to be back. It’s been more than a year now since I’ve played for T&T. I’m very relieved. I don’t think this will happen again as obviously there was a bit of a mix up in communication between my manager and the coach but hopefully now it’s all resolved and I’m happy to be here. I’ve spoken to my manager and he’s very happy. I think he now knows more of what’s going on and he’s happy for me to go and play.
“I’ve been following the team and it’s good to be back and hopefully I can get back into the mix,” the former Arsenal and England youth international added.
Defender Yohance Marshall who is attached to Mexican club Murcielagos believes the two friendlies are key to the preparations for the November 2018 World Cup qualifiers, away to Guatemala on November 13 and four days later at home to USA (November 17).
“I think it’s very important to come together as a group again especially with one game being in Central America and then the other back in T&T. There are a couple new faces and it’s good for us to get that unity and chemistry going. We know the kind of opposition Panama is and they will present us with a good test. The mentality of our preparation and hopefully the results will build the confidence of the team heading into the two qualifiers in November,” Marshall said.
T&T captain Kenwyne Jones who celebrated his 31st birthday yesterday reflecting on his assist to Stern John which helped T&T to a 1-0 win over Panama to revive its World Cup 2006 campaign said, “It’s already ten years since that game here against Panama.
“Time flies but it’s great to be back and on the verge of another qualifying campaign. We’re here to prepare for the two opening matches and we’ll take it one step at a time with the hope of being sufficiently ready,” Jones said.
Thursday’s match will take place at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez at 9:30pm (TT time) and coach Hart was expected to have his first session last night at the match venue with his team, minus Sheldon Bateau, Aubrey David, Jonathan Glenn and Radanfah Abu Bakr who were expected in last night.
Thursday’s match will be broadcasted live on Flow channel 99.
Tickets can be purchased at:
The Fan Club (Movietowne, Trincity and Gulf City), Sports & Games, Kenny’s Sport Shop, Ramsingh’s, www.islandetickets.com
Cost $200 (covered), $100 (uncovered).
Kick off time for the T&T vs Nicaragua: 7pm.