Sun, Apr

Trinidad and Tobago Men's Head Coach, Angus Eve

Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team is in a “better place,” according to Trinidad and Tobago coach Angus Eve, who is preparing the team for the 2024 international campaign.

In a TTFA media release on January 25, Eve spoke of the team’s plans ahead of the crucial Copa America qualifying play-in against Canada on March 23, followed by Concacaf World Cup qualification.

Trinidad and Tobago face off against Canada in Texas with the winner advancing to Group A of this year’s Copa America alongside Argentina, Peru and Chile.

It was also confirmed on Thursday at the World Cup qualification draw in Zurich, Switzerland, that Trinidad and Tobago will be grouped alongside Costa Rica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Bahamas for their 2026 Concacaf World Cup qualification. These nations make up Group B.

Looking ahead to the upcoming international fixtures, Eve is quietly confident his player pool will receive an additional boost ahead of both competitions.

This, he said, is mainly owing to the T&T Premier Football League in full swing and ongoing pre-season football for his foreign-based charges in North America.

Eve said a meeting was held with team staff on Thursday to chart a way forward for the upcoming season.

“We had a strategy meeting where we planned our way forward. We have been speaking individually with everybody in their individual roles. This is what the collective meeting (was about), to bring back in all the data and plan the way going forward.”

Eve spoke highly of the T&T Premier Football League’s tier one and tier two competitions, which he thinks have helped improve his talent pool after the opening season, which concluded in November.

On the league’s impact, he said, “It has been tremendous and refreshing for us because every (national training) camp that we would have gone in previously the locally based players weren’t playing (regularly), and we had to do a lot of work to bring (them) up to match fitness.

“Now they are playing, the league is going well. I think it’s very competitive so we can see that the players are playing much sharper. I thought that this (second) season the boys would be playing a lot faster, and they are. So it’s good for us and we want to bring them in.”

And with the likes of surging young talents such as Toronto FC’s recently acquired Tyrese Spicer and Colorado Rapids’ Wayne Frederick II now among the potentials for a national call-up, Eve embraces these options.

Spicer stood out recently after he became the Major League Soccer (MLS) draft’s top pick via Toronto FC while Frederick II was drafted second.

Both North America-based players are in pre-season training, alongside several other T&T nationals there, and in other leagues around the world.

He added, “We have some new boys who will get the opportunity to come in the camp and work with us in that environment. We have seen a lot of nice young players coming through the league.

"The players in Canada, the players in the US are already in pre-season with their clubs so they will get a lot of pre-season matches under their belt. It’s a lot more game time and also that we have the few players in Europe, they are still in action and playing.”

For the local-based unit, Eve said a mini-camp will be held from February 8 to get them in the groove for possible selection. He closed, “I think we’re in a better place going into this round of matches because soon after, we’ll have the World Cup campaign to start.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday