Both Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence and Jamaica’s head coach Theodore Whitmore are welcoming the opportunity to utilise their home-based talent in Thursday’s International Friendly at the Hasely Crawford Stadium which kicks off at 8pm.
Lawrence has selected a provisional squad that includes only three overseas-based players in Aubrey David (Finland) and US-based duo of Cordell Cato and Mekeil Williams. Whitmore also has a squad comprising of mainly Jamaican-based players with at lest five of those players being part of the squad which came second at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Some of the home-based players now coming into he setup for T&T include Kevon Villaroel of North East Stars, Julio Noel of San Juan Jabloteh, Neil Benjamin jr of W Connection, Shane Sandy of MIC IT St Ann’s Rangers, Jared London of Club Sando and Taryk Sampson and Nathaniel Garcia of Central FC, along with more seasonal national team players such as Hughtun Hector, Nathan Lewis, Marvin Phillip, Alvin Jones and Curtis Gonzales.
Whitmore expects his bunch to give a strong account of themselves in the Caribbean derby as they are all pressing for regular selection.
“It does not really matter whether it is a FIFA date, this is something we want for the local national players to have enough games for them to expose themselves, for them to expose themselves in environment like this,” Whitmore said.
“Against quality opponents like a Trinidad and Tobago, who are preparing for two World Cup Qualifying games, it gives us a chance to look at other players. We need more games like these for our local players. This is our base,” he added.
Lawrence has a similar feeling, saying “The local-based players have come in and done very well. They have applied themselves well and of course with proper international matches like the Ecuador game and now Jamaica helps to bring them up to a level so that in a situation where we need them to step to the call when we have World Cup qualifiers with the full roster available, then it will not be a culture shock or something totally new to some of these guys,” Lawrence said.
“Matches like this one on Thursday are vital for our development and getting the younger players exposed to the real challenges of international football.This then gives myself and the rest of the coaching unit that opportunity to make a proper assessment of what is available to us in terms of selection and ensuring we have the best possible team together for the qualifiers and other big international assignments ahead of us,” Lawrence added.
The Team continues preparations on Monday at the Larry Gomes Stadium. Tickets for T&T vs Jamaica are available at all NLCB Lotto Locations at $100 (covered) and $50 (uncovered) Early bird ticket purchases for the T&T versus Honduras World Cup qualifier will access the Jamaica friendly free of charge. Those tickets cost $300 (covered) and $150 (uncovered) up until August 24th. T&T will face Honduras at the Ato Boldon Stadium at 8pm on Friday September 1st.