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FORMER T&T central defender Brent Sancho says the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup will be tough for T&T.

The bi-annual tournament will run from June 15 to July 7 with a total of 16 teams participating at venues in the United States, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

T&T were placed in Group D alongside Guyana, Panama and United States.

The national team's first game will be on June 18 against 2018 World Cup participants Panama, who placed fifth in the 2017 Gold Cup.

T&T, who failed to qualify for the 2017 edition, have never reached a Gold Cup final. In 2015, they reached the quarter-finals under then coach Stephen Hart, but their best performance was in 2000 when they made it to the semi-finals under Bertille St Clair.

Sancho said that while the team has been defending well, more goals and more possession is crucial if they want to achieve this. The team lost 1-0 in a friendly match against Wales in March and drew 0-0 with Japan on Wednesday.

"We haven't looked dangerous, we haven't been very possessive. Possessing the ball is so important in international football, it's so important that you spend that time on the ball," Sancho said. "We haven't scored much. Gold Cup games tend to be tight. If I were to go on what I've seen, we don't really have a potent 'out there' striker. Goals win matches."

T&T winger Cordell Cato scored three goals in 11 appearances for his USL (United Soccer League) Championship club Oklahoma City for the 2018/2019 season, and Neveal Hackshaw netted twice, in 11 appearances, for Indy Eleven.

Sancho, however, commended the squad on its recent draw against Japan. He says although they gave an "average" performance, they defended well.

"To fly to Japan and play the 26th ranked team in the world and draw is very commendable," he said. "But as well as we've been defending, if one of the boys could put on their scoring boots for the Gold Cup, that would be good."

He added that it is the most organised T&T squad he has seen in years.

The squad was announced on Wednesday by his former national teammate, current coach Dennis Lawrence.

Ross Russell Jr, Willis Plaza, and Aubrey David did not secure US travel visas in time, and are unable to participate in the tournament.

T&T Gold Cup Squad

GOALKEEPERS: Adrian Foncette, Marvin Phillip, Gregory Ranjitsingh

DEFENDERS: Leland Archer, Daneil Cyrus, Curtis Gonzales, Alvin Jones, Carlyle Mitchell, Mekeil Williams.

MIDFIELDERS: Cordell Cato, Kevan George, Neveal Hackshaw, Akeem Humphrey, Khaleem Hyland, Joevin Jones, Nathan Lewis, Kevin Molino, Duane Muckette, Leston Paul, Jomal Williams.

FORWARDS: Levi Garcia, Lester Peltier, Shahdon Winchester.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday