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Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Angus Eve (left) and Guyana Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz (right) sharing a moment at the Legends vs T&T All Stars game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday, May 10th 2024.
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LOCALLY-based footballers will get an opportunity to vie for selection ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign in just over two weeks, when the Trinidad and Tobago men’s national team plays the first of a pair of friendly internationals against Guyana today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7 p.m.

The Soca Warriors and Guyana Jaguars will renew their rivalry, having not met since a 1-1 draw in Port of Spain in March 2022. Three of the last five meetings have ended in 1-1 draws, with T&T winning the other two by 3-0 margins.

T&T head coach Angus Eve thinks the two-match Guyana series gives him a rare chance to develop young players, and also allows deserving ones a chance to vie for selection to his World Cup squad.

“It’s extremely important,” declared Eve. “Every time we play in a (FIFA match) window, it is always a competition match,” he lamented. “So we don’t have opportunities to expose people inside of a window.”

He continued: “So when we get these opportunities, (it is) valuable for us to continue to widen the pool and give young players the opportunity (for selection), which we are doing in this match.”

Likewise, Jamaal Shabazz, the Guyana coach, also cherishes the chance to see his local players in a competitive environment.

“We (now) get to see the locally-based players that actually play in Guyana, “ Shabazz said. “Part of the development process is widening the pool by exposing more players to international football. So this match provides a tremendous opportunity for these guys to get some international minutes,” he added.

Eve will be having a first look at players such as Tobago’s Adriel George, Under-20 player Lindell Sween and rolific Point Fortin Civic goal-scorer Ezekiel Kesar at international level, along with some regulars and other experienced players.

“We have Ezekiel Kesar. Young (Lindell) Sween has been doing well. We exposed Michael Chaves the last time, so we want to continue to give some of these Under-20 players an opportunity to play with the senior team.”

Eve has also recalled Belgium-based defender Sheldon Bateau, whose season recently ended, and also gave a late call-up to veteran striker Kevon “Showtime” Woodley, the top-scorer in the Trinidad and Tobago Premier League at age 38. “We also have some senior guys that (we) haven’t had around for a bit, so we want to give them the opportunity to address us again, seeing that they are available. Ezekiel Kesar has been scoring a lot of goals in the League (TTPFL) and Woodley also has an opportunity. He has been scoring a lot of goals in the League and I think that he deserves an opportunity with the locally-based players.”

Like Eve, Trinidadian Shabazz is using the pair of matches against T&T to have a look at players ahead of the second round of CONCACAF Zone qualifying for the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup. T&T host Grenada on June 5, and Bahamas on June 8, while Guyana begin with a tough away match to Panama on June 7, before hosting Belize on June 12.

“The full squad supposed to get together next week, and from this process in Trinidad, we will select who are the local-based players that are going to be in that squad.”

Meanwhile, players screened this week might take note of the area where Eve hopes to have most improvement for the World Cup team. He said that he is happy at the goalkeeping positions, wide backs, and also believes he has goal-scorers.

“Defence has always been an area that we want to strengthen, especially in the centre-back position, and (in the) midfield we want to be a little more faster; we want to be a little bit more expansive. Those two areas, the spine of the team, are places we really want to strengthen,” said Eve.

UPCOMING MATCHES:

Today

7 p.m. - T&T vs Guyana, Hasely Crawford Stadium

Wednesday

7 p.m. - T& T vs Guyana, Hasely Crawford Stadium

Tickets $50 (Covered Section); only available at venue on match day

T& T SQUAD:

Denzil Smith (Club Sando FC), Christopher Biggette (D/Force), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Aaron Enill (Prison FC). Ross RussellJr (LaHorquettaRangers), AdrielGeorge (1976 Phoenix FC), Robert Primus (Police FC), Andre Raymond, Brent Sam (D/Force), Daniel David (La Horquetta Rangers), Duane Muckette (AC PoS), Ezekiel Kezar (Point Fortin Civic Centre), Isaiah Lee (La Horquetta Rangers), Shervhonez Hamilton (Club Sando), Simeon Bailey (Police FC), Kevon Goddard (D/Force), Jamal Jack (Club Sando), Josiah Trimmingham (Montego Bay Utd), Josiah Wilson (Police FC), Alvin Jones (Police FC), Justin Garcia (D/Force), Liam Burns (AC PoS), Lindell Sween (Caledonia AIA), Matthew Woo Ling (D/Force), Michel Poon Angeron (AC PoS), Sheldon Bateau (SK Bever), Kevon Woodley (Morvant Caledonia).


SOURCE: T&T Express