Tue, Jun


The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation will continue its talent identification sessions for  Under 20 Men players at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 8am on Tuesday.

A total of one hundred and sixty five players have been looked at by a coaching panel that includes former national goalkeeper Michael McComie, former UK-based professionals Anthony Rougier and Clint Marcelle as well as another ex-goalkeeper Ross Russell, who like McComie , has served on past national teams coaching staffs.

For Tuesday’s session McComie is inviting all players born in 1993 who have yet to attend a session, to show up for an opportunity to be assessed before a final pool is selected to prepare for the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 qualifiers later this year.

“The first couple session was good in terms of the turn out of the players which shows there is an interest from the players.

The biggest challenge we are facing is addressing the pace at which the players are playing at. Some of them have been playing at a slow pace and we need to work on getting them to play at a quicker pace for the international level,” McComie told TTFF Media.

“We have seen a good bunch in terms of talent and skill level and we are working on addressing their attitude towards the training and playing in general.

We’ve had open screening for the past two weeks and then for the upcoming sessions we will be looking at the last group of Under 17 national players and then combine them with the new players we have selected from this new bunch towards selecting a pool of about 35 players to go into full scale preparation.”

In terms of what McComie and his fellow coaches are looking at from the players, he explained “We are looking at their application to the training and their off the ball movement.

What we cannot coach the players  is the willingness to work hard, run and move at a constant pace and that is what will make the difference when it comes to selection. We’ve put them through the paces in terms of passing and movement and then we put them into competitive games to have a look at them.

At this stage we are not coaching them too much but instead we are looking at them in a natural playing environment to assess their speed of thought and play.”

McComie also touched on the interaction between the current coaches and some of the stalwarts in the local game such as Leroy De Leon who was involved in last Thursday’s session at the Ato Boldon Stadium,

“There’s a wealth of experience among the coaches now who recently came out of competitive football but are still involved in the game. We have a lot of fresh ideas and we can also now identify with some of the older or senior past players and coaches like Leroy De Leon and Bertille St Clair.

We can now lean on these coaches for that bit of advice that we did not really have happening before . It’s a nice arrangement from the federation and it’s something that we are excited about,” he ended.

T&T will enter the Caribbean leg of qualification from July 23-31 in a group hosted by St Vincent/Grenadines along with Suriname and Guyana.

The winner of the four preliminary groups and the best second placed team will advance to the final CFU round in Jamaica from November 3-11, 2012. The CONCACAF final round takes place in Puebla, Mexico from February 18-March 2, 2013.

The Caribbean will have five berths in the final 12-nation round from which four will qualify for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Turkey. Mexico, Canada and USA are automatic qualifiers to the CONCACAF final round.