Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s team head coach Dennis Lawrence met with Danish-born goalkeeper Nicklas Frederup for the first time on Tuesday as the Norwegian-based goalkeeper arrived in Tehran to join the team camp at the Parsian Esteghlal hotel ahead of Thursday’s international friendly with Iran.
Frederup is eligible to represent T&T as his mother is Trinidad and Tobago-born, San Fernando to be exact, and the 25-year-old custodian is eager to challenge for selection as he aims to make his debut for the team. The other two goalkeepers in the squad are Marvin Phillip and Adrian Foncette.
“I am really anxious to be here and and to meet my new teammates today,” Frederup told TTFA Media on Tuesday. It’s good to see them face to face because I have been following them. I have been trying to join the team for a long time and I am happy now that I have gotten the opportunity from coach Lawrence. It’s a big dream for me and hopefully I can settle in and make a valuable contribution to the team.”
Also joining the T&T team on Tuesday was Saudi Arabia-based defender Daneil Cyrus while Charleston Battery midfielder Ataulla Guerra and Sheldon Bateau came in on Monday night and trained with the rest of the squad at the Iran Football Federation National Football Center.
T&T’s players have settled in Tehran following two days of training in chilly conditions as the conditions improved following consistent rainfall on Monday. This is only the third time a Caribbean nation has played in Iran after Jamaica played twice in 1998 and 2007, losing 1-0 and 8-1, and the Iranian nationals have been quite keen to get the rare chance of photographs with members of the team. Former T&T English-based defender Jlloyd Samuel played in Iran with Esteghlal and Paykan between 2011 and 2015. He tragically lost his life in a car crash in England in May.
According to Bateau, the outing provides a fantastic opportunity for T&T to get much needed match practice against a top opposition.
“Things are looking pretty good. We have been together for sometime and only a couple players are coming for the first time this year like Lester Peltier coming back in and a couple young guys. It is going to be important to finish the year on a good note and we’ve been working well. Unfortunately we lost to Thailand which I didn’t think we deserved and now just looking forward to giving a good showing against Iran,” Bateau told TTFA Media.
“It’s going to be difficult but already in training it’s been competitive. We always play to win when we play small sided games in training. We have a high level competitiveness within the team. Apart from that, it’s always a love in the camp and everyone is ready to work with and for one another,” he added.
The Kazakhstan-based defender who scored two goals at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, pointed out that the team is working with head coach Lawrence to get the best possible formula for the team heading into the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup in 2019.
“I think any transition takes time. He’s been here a while now and it’s difficult for him because we only have five days together within each window. He’ll give a little bit more information at every camp. He will not offload a lot at one time because it’s also difficult for us as players. He implements something new in every camp and it’s young and ambitious team, taking in what the coach is giving to us. Dennis has played at this level before and I myself, looked up to him when he played. When he gives information the players take it a bit differently. We can trust that whatever he gives is something we can use that can help us a team,” Bateau added.
Assistant coach Stuart Charles Fevrier meantime is hopeful of a solid showing by the T&T team.
“Personally I am very happy that we are playing opposition such as Iran. I believe that with us preparing for the Gold Cup, these are the caliber of the teams we need to be playing. I am satisfied with the efforts the boys are putting. The team has been improving. The team spirit and camaraderie is very good and I am looking forward to see a solid performance against a team like Iran. We’ve had two good sessions so far with good quality,” Fevrier said.
Lawrence will put his team through its final paces on Wednesday morning.
Kick off at the Azadi Stadium is 6pm (10:30am TT time) on Thursday and there will be live radio broadcast on I95.5FM.