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Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team head coach Tom Saintfiet has been in the country for a week now and held his first meeting with a few of this country’s overseas-based professionals who are currently in the country.

Saintfiet will conduct his first training session on Thursday at the start of a non-residential camp before switching to a residential camp ahead of the team’s departure for Nicaragua for two international friendlies against that country’s senior national team on December 27th and 30th.

Saintfiet described the meeting as important and well received ahead of the preparations. He also previously spoke to team captain Kenwyne Jones and Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau and Khaleem Hyland.

“I had a meeting today with few of the professional players from overseas and of course some of the others were excused because they are still with their respective clubs. The idea behind this was to have a brief introduction and to explain to them what the programme will be like over the short holiday period ahead of these upcoming matches,” Saintfiet told TTFA Media.

“I was able to introduce myself and talk about my plans for the next few weeks. It was a fruitful meeting and we are looking forward to starting camp later this week, first a non-residential camp and then next week we will change to a residential camp before heading off to Nicaragua,” he added.

“I am here now for a week and the last few days I have had the chance to see a few games in the local Pro League and also the National Super League which has allowed me to get a better impression of the local game and also the country on a whole.

“I’ve had many discussions with some of the local coaches and members involved in local football and all these things will help me become better prepared for the preparation phase of the team leading up to the qualifying matches in January and March,” stated Saintfiet who attended Monday’s “Big Four” final between Naparima College and Presentation College, San Fernando and the Pro League fixture between W Connection and Central FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Among the players who met with Saintfiet on Monday was Estonian-based defender Randanfah Abu Bakr who is currently back home on a break. He spoke about the discussion with Saintfiet.

“It was brief and I thought it went well. He basically re-introduced himself to us and outlined his qualifications and even shared some of his more personal background information,” Abu Bakr said.

“Within that he dispelled some of the (negative) rhetoric that has been circulating about him. He seemed to have a pretty good idea about us in terms of where we play and played and described himself as a disciplinarian. At the same time he appears very personable, positive and optimistic,” the former Denmark-based defender added.

“The meeting was interactive. He did invite opinions, questions, feedback and ideas about, for example, the scheduling of our training camp for the upcoming friendlies and Gold Cup playoff games considering it’s a holiday period. He emphasised finding a balance between allowing guys their family time and putting in the necessary work to get the results . He’s clearly ambitious and said he’s looking forward to working with the group,” Abu Bakr concluded.