The Trinidad and Tobago national football team sporting many new faces left Trinidad early Friday morning for Guadeloupe, where they will face that country’s national team in a friendly international on Saturday 24 March 2007.
National team coach Wim Rijsbergen, although refusing an on camera interview spoke with ‘ttproleague.com’ at length about his goals for this trip and also about his plans and strategies as he looks forward to the CONCACAF Gold Cup later this year.
When asked about the number of young inexperienced players in his squad, the former Dutch defender stated, “In keeping with my long-term mission of having the best players available to represent Trinidad and Tobago for the World Cup campaign I am using these games as an opportunity to give a number of local players a chance to prove themselves at the International level”.
He went on to explain, “A player may look good in training and among other local players, but may not be able to step up to the International level or the Caribbean level for that matter, this is why I am trying out as many good young players as possible so as to get a pool of players to work with in the future”.
Coach Rijsbergen said that although he is expecting a good result in Saturday’s game his main concern was to see the team play constructive and attractive football, explaining, “Most of the guys were on pre-season training with their club, which entails more strength and endurance training than ball work and so may not be match fit, but I still expect them to give a good account of themselves”.
Coach Wim Rijsbergen also spoke about some of the off the field issues that were affecting his team preparations, “There are a number of things that have hindered the teams’ preparation for the Gold Cup, one was the cancellation of training by the TTFF recently, another is the continued rift between some players and the TTFF and another of the conflicting interest between local clubs and national duty”.
He stated that he hoped that all issues would be settled shortly and the teams’ preparations could proceed smoothly. The former Dutch defender and manager Sam Phillips also took the opportunity to thank the local Pro League coaches and management for releasing their players on short notice.
Rijsbergen through out the interview looked relaxed and his interaction with the players showed that the team although young in age and experience seemed to be gelling.
Marvin Phillip (North East Stars), Jan-Michael Williams (W Connection).
Seon Power (Joe Public), Nickcolson Thomas (W Connection), Keyeno Thomas (Joe Public), Dwayne Jack (San Juan Jabloteh), Nigel Daniel (San Juan Jabloteh), Glenton Wolfe (North East Stars).
Khaleem Hyland (San Juan Jabloteh), Kwame Wiltshire (Joe Public), Romauld Aguillera (United Petrotrin), Christian Baptiste (Defence Force), Keon Daniel (United Petrotrin), Trent Noel (San Juan Jabloteh), Kerry Baptiste (Joe Public), Silas Spann (Joe Public).
Gary Glasgow (Joe Public), Andre Toussaint (W Connection), Abiola Clarence (unattached).