Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-17 Footballers will commence their FIFA Under-17 World Cup qualifying campaign today with a 6:30 p.m. (TT time) game against Guatemala in the opening CONCACAF Under 17 Championship match at the Estadio Francisco Morazan in Honduras.
The tournament will crown the Confederation champions at this age level, and qualify four teams to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Chile 2015. The top team from each group after round-robin play will advance to the World Cup and the other two will be determined by the results of the final day elimination matches.
The T&T team arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Wednesday following a ten-day training camp in Panama City which was supported by the Ministry of Sport. Despite suffering two losses there to Panama, the team appears to be in fairly good spirits heading into their first encounter.
The T&T team is captained by Kareem Riley. Head coach Shawn Cooper believes his current unit will rise to the challenge.
“We’ve settled in here in Honduras. The few days in Panama was a major boost for us as a playing outfit and for the staff also as we were able to fine tune and make the necessary adjustments in relation to how we will approach the matches in the tournament,” Cooper told TTFA Media.
“Generally we are in decent shape, but everything depends on how quickly we settle against Guatemala and take it from there. The first match is always vital and a good result for us will set the momentum going onto the other games” he added.
England-born midfielder Morgan Bruce of Stevenage Borough joined the team in Honduras and was expected to be involved in his first training session last evening. The rest of the team is ready to go according to Cooper.
Riley will have to rally his troops and much will also depend on the likes of St Ann’s Rangers defender Tekay Hoyce and US-based players Jerren Nixon Jr., forward Chaz Burnett, New York Red Bulls midfielder Noah Powder and Joshua Burnett.
Goalkeepers: Levi Fernandez (Naparima College/Civic Centre FC), Tyrek James (Presentation College/Civic Centre FC)
Defenders: Isaiah Garcia (Shiva Boys/W Connection), Darnell Hospedales (Presentation College/Civic Centre FC), Keston Julien (Presentation College/W Connection), Kierron Mason (Naparima College/W Connection), Shirwin Noel (Presentation College/W Connection), Tekay Hoyce (East Mucurapo/St Ann’s Rangers)
Midfielders: Isaiah Hudson (Naparima College/W Connection), Kareem Riley (Naparima College/W Connection), John Paul Rochford (Queen’s Royal College/FC 1st Santa Rosa), Joshua Burnett (Players Development Academy (USA), Shobal Celestine (Naparima College/Civic Centre FC), Noah Powder (New York Red Bulls (USA), Morgan Bruce (Stevenage FC (England), Shakeem Patrick (St Anthony’s College/St Ann’s Rangers), Kishon Hackshaw (Trinity College East/San Juan Jabloteh)
Forwards: Jerren Nixon (Philadelphia Union (USA), Jeankeon Alexander (San Juan North Secondary/San Juan Jabloteh), Chaz Burnett (Players Development Academy (USA)
Technical staff: Shawn Cooper (coach), Christopher Gouveia (manager), Muhammed Isa (Technical Analyst), Ross Russell (assistant coach), Gilbert Bateau (assistant coach), Devin Elcock (equipment manager), Roger Ryan (physiotherapist), Michael Taylor (physiotherapist).