National Team midfielder Densill Theobald says the crop of local-based players are raring to take on the visiting India national team in their friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on August 21.
Theobald will be one of the more senior players in the squad which is likely to feature former Birmingham City striker Stern John who has been training with the local bunch under Otto Pfister for the past few weeks.
Pfister will go with an all local squad as he assesses their readiness prior to the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign against Bermuda on September 2 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“I have seen a lot of commitment and desire from the heart from all these boys in all my training sessions,” Pfister told TTFF Media.
“And they will have their chance. I want the best team to play in the important World Cup qualifiers but these friendly matches are also important to our preparations. No player will walk in the team and once the player is good enough, he will be part of my squad,” Pfister added.
Theobald expects a good showing from the local bunch.
“I’ve been training with the local players on a regular basis for a lot of years now. I’ve been outside in Scotland and Hungary before but for most of my career I’ve been home-based and I must say that the commitment and the willingness to work hard and learn more about the game from this present set of players has been very commendable,” Theobald said
“Of course every player wants to play and with the India game now on the schedule, the guys will want to prove that they are actually good enough to do well in international football. They will want to do well enough to get into the coach’s team for the World Cup campaign and to help take the country forward,” said the Caledonia AIA player.
Among some of the regular names in the local squad include W Connection midfielder Hughtun Hector, Anthony Wolfe, Hayden Tinto, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, Kern Cupid and striker Andre Toussaint. Clyde Leon is now based in Colombia while Connection goalie Jan Michael Williams is currently on trial in Belgium.
Pfister will announce his final squad for the encounter next week.
Meantime, the All India Football Federation has dubbed their visit to the Caribbean the +ONE India Caribbean Tour 2011 which will now include a fourth match against St Vincent and the Grenadines on August 26. Their other opponents include St. Kitts & Nevis (August 17) and Guyana on August 24.
"This side has huge potential and needs to be groomed. It's necessary to expose them to play against stronger sides. I have never seen national team players playing so well," head coach Armando Colaco said. “We are really up for these games in the Caribbean which I expect to be very good experiences for us.”
Indian Striker Sunil Chhetri , said everyone is raring to go from his side. "It's not every day that one gets to play higher-ranked sides. I expect this series to be really exciting and of course we want to win all our matches in the Caribbean.”
Chhetri plays for Mohun Bagan FC in the Indian League and was offered a three-year contract by English club Queen’s Park Rangers in 2009 but had a work permit application rejected. The 27-year-old forward is rated as one of the stars of Indian football and is popular in the Asian Confederation , having scored 24 goals in 50 matches for India.
Chhetri had a stint with MLS team Sporting Kansas in 2010, scoring four goals in two preseason games and also played in a US Open Cup match versus Colorado Rapids. He also appeared in Kansas’ preseason with over Manchester United in 2010.
“He gets the game,” Kansas head coach Peter Vermes said. “He’s got a good soccer brain and is making the adaptation to the MLS. He has an unbelievable attitude. You couldn’t ask for a better guy.
He comes in and trains hard every day. You could tell when he first came over that he was here for a reason, that he wants a challenge outside of his country.”