Permission was granted for five players from T&T Pro League outfit La Horquetta Rangers to represent the T&T Senior National team under new coach Angus Eve, at the CONCACAF Gold starting from July 2.
Rangers owner Richard Ferguson immediately said yes to a request by national team manager Adrian Romain, for midfielders Aikim Andrews and Jamal Creighton: strikers - Keston George and Isaiah Lee: and defender Ross Russell Jr to be given time off without loss of status or earning. Ferguson has maintained throughout that he never had a problem releasing his players to represent the country and has shown it by his immediate response to Romain's letter. Sacked national coach Terry Fenwick encountered difficulty as he requested the players outside of the required FIFA window.
Romain's letter stated: "Our Men's Senior National Team has qualified to participate in the Preliminary Stage of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup which will take place in the United States and starts on July 2nd with our first-round qualifier against Montserrat to be played at the DRV PNK Stadium in Ft Lauderdale, USA. Should we win that game, we advance to the Second Round of the qualification scheduled for July 6 at the same venue.
Once successful, we advance to the Group Stage of the Tournament which starts on July 10th and will run until the Gold Cup final on August 1st. I write to notify you that Aikim Andrews, Jamal Creighton, Keston George, Isaiah Lee and Ross Russell Jr have been selected in our provisional squad. The actual 23 man squad will be confirmed no later than Monday 28th June 2021 after which travel details will be finalised for those selected."
The players will add to a host of local players who have already been training with the team under Fenwick, but most of whom did not get a chance to play.
However, Eve, at a virtual press conference on Monday said as a stickler for local talent, he felt local players never got a fair chance.
The T&T Soca Warriors, recently booted out of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in only the first round, will be eager to make amends when they take on Montserrat in the opening match. Should they emerge from that match they will face either French Guiana or Cuba.
The team is expected to enter a residential camp from June 19 to 22.