A 20-man Trinidad and Tobago Senior Team will depart for St George’s Grenada on Friday to face Grenada’s Senior Team at the Kirani James National Stadium in an international friendly from 7:30pm on Saturday.
Head Coach Dennis Lawrence will complete his training camp on Friday before the team departs in the evening period following five days of training at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
“I think it was important that we come together at this time because when you look at the structure of the (Pro) league at the moment my concern is that the local based players are not really going to have much competitive football before we get to the USA match on June 8th” Lawrence told TTFA Media.
“I think it’s important to get them in together every now and again and get a competitive game.”
Regarding the inclusion of Mexican-based trio Yohance Marshall, Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester, Lawrence added “ The guys from Mexico had their season. They are now available and I think it’s important to give them an opportunity to show their worth. They will bring a bit of experience to the group and it gives us a chance to look at them and get them to understand what we want to do from now on.”
“I think the most important thing now is to get as much competitive football as possible with the league starting on May 26th is not really ideal so I will try and see how much football I can get into them before the two qualifiers,” added Lawrence.
There will be live radio broadcast of Saturday’s match on I95.5.FM.
The National Stadium was renamed after the island’s biggest sporting hero, 400M Olympic Gold Medalist, Kirani James on April 8th.
The decision to rename the stadium after James came after calls were made by Grenadians from all walks of life who considered it a fitting gesture to recognise the track star for what he has done for the country in the sporting arena. This Saturday’s affair will be the first official international match to be played since the renaming.
Trinidad & Tobago Squad
Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic Centre), Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars), Jan-Michael Williams (North East Stars).
Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Seon Power (Central FC), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC), Carlos Edwards (Central FC).
Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Jared London (Club Sando), Leston Paul (North East Stars), Hughton Hector (W Connection), Hashim Arcia (Defence Force), Keron Cummings (Central FC), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC).
Akeem Roach (Central FC), Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC), Jerrel Britto (Honduras Progreso), Jamille Boatswain (Defence Force).
Lawrence: Friendly important for fitness.
T&T Express Reports.
Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence believes international friendlies like Saturday's against Grenada in St George's will be crucial for locally-based players, as the national side continues to focus on their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Lawrence, who took over the helm of the side last January, said that with the domestic league starting late next month, it did not afford local players enough time to get themselves match fit.
T&T resume their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round in June with a clash against giants United States in Colorado.
“The most important thing is to try and get the boys as much competitive football as possible because with the league starting May 26 it's not really ideal, I would have preferred for it to have started earlier,” the former national defender said.
“But with it starting on the 26th, I'm going to try and see how much football I can get into them before we get to that game on June 8.”
A full month has passed since the national side last played together, when they went down 1-0 to Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
And while overseas-based players have returned to their active leagues, the locally-based players will not taste competitive action until a month from now, making Saturday's friendly all the more important.
“When you look at the structure of the league at the moment, my concern is that the local-based players are not really going to have much competitive football …,” Lawrence explained.
“So I think it is important to try and use this time now, to every now and then, get the men together as a group and get a competitive game for them so I think this will help the boys.”
T&T lie rock bottom of the CONCACAF qualifying standings on three points gained from their 1-0 victory over Panama last month.
But while their prospects of qualifying for next year's showpiece in Russia were dealt a harsh blow with the Mexico defeat, Lawrence said his side needed to remain focused and improve on the positives coming out of that contest.
“We need to build on where we ended against Mexico. Obviously, as I have said before, it was disappointing to come out with the defeat,” he said.
“But I think there were also positives from the two games and what we need to do is try and improve on that because the next two games [away to the US and Costa Rica] everybody knows historically is not a friendly place for us.
“We don't normally pick up points in those places but we need to go out there and we need to believe and we need to understand that we have to, some way or the other, get the results we need.”