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Sun, Aug

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COACH Professor Rene Simoes yesterday announced an 18-man squad to represent hosts Trinidad and Tobago in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship from September 13-30.

At a media conference hosted by Clico at Hilton Trinidad, Simoes named the players from a list of 25 individuals who were in training.

Captain Roderick Anthony will lead the T&T team in their two final preparation matches before the start of the competition.

Team 2001 will face the Paraguay Under-17s, who were expected to arrive here last night, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 1 p.m. tomorrow.

And they will take on the Oman Under-17 team, one of the 15 teams which qualified for this month’s Fifa tournament, at the same venue from 1 p.m. on Friday. Admission for both matches is $10 anywhere.

In his address yesterday, Simoes said trimming the squad was a difficult exercise.

“Today when I had to drop seven players is another painful time for the coach because we are human beings and we have feelings,” the Brazilian lamented.

Simoes said he wrote to the seven players, commending them for their efforts and dedication and urging them to continue developing themselves and aim for selection on the national under-20 team.

Part of the letter drew an analogy with a famous footballer’s rise to success.

“Many years ago, a young player was turned down from one of Brazil’s teams, Vasco da Gama. He persisted and believed in himself enough to keep on trying. He learnt from his experience and strove for his dream. Many years later this player was voted the best athlete of the 20th century. His name is Pele.”

In his turn at the podium, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner encouraged Clico, which has invested some $700,000 a year in T&T football since 1998, to continue backing the sport.

“If you (Clico) are satisfied with this investment, and there is every reason to be, don’t stop, give us another four years,” Warner declared. “Professor Simoes has a six-year programme which begins today with these young players. As I said before, as it was in the beginning, so it shall be in the end.”

Warner added that pan, the national instrument, which will be used to play the national anthems of the 15 visiting teams, will also benefit from the world tournament because more than 200 million people are expected to view the opening ceremony and the matches to follow.

The Football Confederation president also announced that former national assistant coach Jimmy Blanc has been put in charge of a scouting programme which will begin soon.

Warner added that State-owned Petrotrin has agreed to allow the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) the use of facilities at Forest Reserve as a base for national teams.

“Professor Simoes has asked for Jimmy Blanc to head a scout team and also, too, Eddie Hart. And I say Eddie Hart for spite, so faint...collapse,” said UNC supporter Warner, raising laughter from the audience as he referred to the opposition PNM MP.

The Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 squad, with their respective schools in brackets:

Roderick Anthony (captain) and Jerol Forbes (Naparima College); Ochieng Abosi, Terrance MacAllister (El Dorado Senior Comprehensive); André Alexis, Nkosi Blackman, Devon Bristol, Lee Hayes, Devon Leacock, Kerwin Belgrave (reserve goalkeeper), (St Benedict’s College); Julius James, Kenwyne Jones, Jan-Michael Williams (St Anthony’s College); Jamal Hamid, Kerron Phillip (Arima Senior Comp); Makan Hislop (Signal Hill Senior Comp); Cyrone Edwards (QRC); Khalil Mathura (St Mary’s College); Marvin Phillip (Presentation College).

Technical Staff:
Rene Simoes (head coach), Julio Cesar Leal, Ken Orie, Glenford Thomas (assistant coaches), Francisco “Chico” Santos (goalkeeper coach), Alfredo Montesso (trainer), Dr Anyl Gopeesingh (doctor), Carlton Samuel (physiotherapist/masseur), Michael Fough (paramedic), Lloyd Andrews (equipment manager), Russell Tesheira (team administrator), Douglas James (assistant team administrator).