National team assistant coach Anton Corneal resumed preparations of the National Senior Team with a 70 minute session which was a little less than intense as the majority of the home-based players attended at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Under overcast conditions, Corneal put the players through their paces, most of which involved routine work to get them back into the swing of things following the ending of the T&T Pro League season and the end of year holiday period.
Corneal was assisted by Michael Maurice with trainer Wayne Lawson, physiotherapist Ashton Mills, equipment manager Ikin Williams and manager David Muhammad also present.
“It really was a chance for them to get back into the feel of things and I planned for it to be no longer than an hour and ten minutes. We will of course get a little more intense as the sessions continue. The majority of these guys ended their season almost a month or more now and were also coming off the recent holiday weekend,” Corneal told TTFF Media.
“But they are professionals and they will fall back in because a we get closer to the game the sessions will require a lot more out of them. Of course with nine players coming from overseas it means that at least another eleven spots are up for grabs from the local pool that we have here,” Corneal continued.
The only players missing were Atulla Guerra as well as Cornell Glen who was excused and will join the preparations on Thursday.
Meantime, eight of the overseas-based players have confirmed their availability for the February 6 clash with Guadeloupe at the Queen’s Park Oval with only Collin Samuel still to give his okay. Southampton striker Stern John gave his confirmation on Tuesday and expressed enthusiasm ahead of his first appearance for T&T since October 2006 when he skippered the team in a 2-1 win over Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“Obviously since I was younger I have been playing for Trinidad and that means I’m always anticipating the chance to come home and play for the country,” John told TTFF Media. “This time especially since I haven’t played for the team in a while and as a team with the players based overseas we haven’t done much together. This means we really have to get going ASAP.”
“I think we can definitely pull things together because we still have few months before our first official World Cup qualifier and the new coach (Francisco Maturana) will be coming in a few months before that. I think we are all looking forward to meeting him and working under him. His record speaks for itself and he’s coming in highly recommended. Hopefully we will get back that close knit touch as before. We have work as best as we can with the coach. Hopefully we can all work together for what is best for the country. It isn’t so much about the players anymore but it’s about what is best for the country and our football moving forward,” John concluded.