The management and coaching staff of the National Senior Team have revealed six new additions that will be included in the team’s roster for the upcoming semi-final round of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.T&T begins its semi-final round campaign away to Cuba on August 20 and among the players invited to join the team for international friendlies before that date include Coventry City midfielder Christopher Birchall, Wrexham midfielder Silvio Spann, Clico San Juan Jabloteh defender Cyd Gray, Miami FC defender Avery John and Kansas City Wizards forward Scott Sealy. And added to that list is former national captain Dwight Yorke, who at a meeting on his request with TTFF Special Advisor Jack Warner on Monday, made himself available for National Team selection and is set to return for the qualifying campaign. Warner had hinted at this some weeks ago and while in the country last week the Sunderland midfielder confirmed his interest and availability to represent the country again.
These added names will make it a number of seventeen players on the T&T roster so far in the 2008 international campaign who were part of the 2006 World Cup squad with the rest including Dennis Lawrence, Clayton Ince, Densill Theobald, Collin Samuel, Jason Scotland, Aurtis Whitley, Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards, Stern John, Cornell Glen and Anthony Wolfe.
Team manager David Muhammad said that some of the new players called could be back in T&T colours as early as this month when T&T faces Netherlands Antilles in a friendly international (tentatively set for July 17 in Trinidad).
“I have communicated with each of these players who all expressed their absolute zeal to represent Trinidad & Tobago on the football field once again,” Muhammad told TTFF Media on Thursday evening.
“We are very confident that this enthusiasm will add an element of renewed excitement in the team as well as with the public. We are also hoping to include each of these nationals in our squads for at least one or more of the upcoming Friendly International matches within the next few weeks before the August 20th qualification fixture away to Cuba.”
Warner also revealed that during his trip to Haiti this week, talks were held with Haitian Football Federation President Yves Jean Bart over the staging of a friendly international between Haiti and T&T in Port-Au-Prince before the start of the semi-final round and details are to be worked out.
“That will be done in early August. I will talk to Digicel to ask them to sponsor the event as they have done in El Salvador and Guatemala. I am hopeful that Digicel, as sponsor as the Haitian National Team and the CFU, will accept my request to sponsor the encounter,” Warner said.
Commenting on the inclusion of the mentioned players, Warner said: “I am aware of this. I had a meeting with Dwight on Monday at his request. Dwight offered to play for the national team. He suggested some players who we should look at and we held some discussions with the coach. The coach is considering whether those players have the value that Dwight believes or not. He was happy to hear about Dwight’s availability.”
Adding that he was already aware that Birchall and Gray had already been in touch with manager Muhammad, Warner continued: “Whichever players the coach wants… he will get but I will not pick players for him nor impose any players on him.”
The TTFF Special Advisor said he continues to have faith in Maturana at the helm of the Team.
“It is expected that he will come under fire. When you try out and you build and you try different permutations… you come under fire. The only time a coach doesn’t come under fire is when he wins or qualifies. I am sure that Maturana, with his experience, is used to this and therefore I am not worried. Absolutely I will continue to keep faith in him,” Warner concluded.