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birchall16.jpgTrinidad and Tobago’s Senior Footballers will resume training on Friday ahead of next Wednesday’s friendly international against Panama at the Marvin Lee Stadium from 6pm as they continue preparations for the August 20 CONCACAF World Cup qualifier away to Cuba.
The team, under head coach Francisco Maturana, will face off with the Central Americans and then journey to Port-Au-Prince for another friendly international against Haiti carded for August 10. Also tentatively scheduled is a friendy against El Salvador in Washington, USA on August 13.

Maturana will for the first time since taking over as T&T coach, have the chance to see English-born midfielder Chris Birchall in T&T colours. Both Birchall and US-based defender Avery John (Miami FC) will arrive on the weekend to join the team for Wednesday’s friendly against Panama. Birchall last played for T&T in a friendly international against Austria in November 2006 while John’s last appearance was against Panama the previous month that same year. The former Port Vale man netted a double for Coventry in a  5-0 win over Nuneaton Town in a preseason fixture on Thursday.

“Obviously it’s a delight to be recalled to the Trinidad and Tobago national team. It’s always my intention to play and I’m looking forward to it after the lay off,” Birchall said.

“I’ve never tried to turn my back but obviously now I want to try and maintain a regular spot in the team and contribute to the team’s cause to get to South Africa. I strongly believe we have a good chance to qualify again and I would love to be part of it. It’s good to see the coach having a look at some of the other guys again and hopefully we can get it right and have a good go at Cuba and the other teams in the semi-final round,” he added.

Among the other players in Maturana’s squad for Wednesday’s encounter include Marvin Phillip, Cleon John, Makan Hislop, Cyd Gray, Gyasi Joyce, Keyeno Thomas, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Aklie Edwards, Khaleem Hyland, Densill Theobald, Kerry Baptiste, Anthony Wolfe, Cornell Glen and Andre Toussaint. Kevaughn Connell has also been invited while Aurtis Whitley and Keon Daniel are nursing niggling injuries and will be in the final squad depending on their physical status after the weekend. Sunderland midfielder Dwight Yorke and other UK-based pros will join the team inside the week leading up to the August 20 World Cup qualifier against Cuba.