Dennis Lawrence, Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team coach, is looking to finish the year on a high, as he prepares the squad for a pair of friendly internationals against Grenada (November 11) and Guyana (November 14).
Those matches will be contested at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. At a media briefing at the Ato Boldon Stadium yesterday, Lawrence noted that, despite the failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the team will be eager to continue the form shown during the 2-1 victory over the United States, at the aforementioned venue, on October 10.
“I think it’s a perfect opportunity for us to have these two teams come and play us,” said Lawrence. “I think we want to try and finish off the year on a good, positive note and I think the two oppositions (are) going to give us that.
“We selected the squad based on availability,” continued Lawrence. “There are a number of players who have been in playoffs (in the Major League Soccer), who are involved in playing for positions in their clubs and we felt it necessary at this time that there would be no need to get involved with any battles with the clubs, so we allowed them to play. It also gives other players the opportunity to come and prove themselves in these two games.”
Lawrence revealed that the players who were not considered for selection were Joevin Jones and Kareem Moses (who are both involved in playoffs in the US), Daneil Cyrus, Leston Paul and Khaleem Hyland (who are all trying to cement places at their respective clubs). However, there is uncertainty over Canadian-born goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh, who plays for Louisville City in the United Soccer League (USL).
“Ranjitsingh is at a balance at the moment because he plays (today). So if he wins his game, that might rule him out of the international friendlies because he’ll go into the National Playoffs. I hope he wins the game for his sake.”
The national coach rubbished talks that the TT team was taking a step back by playing weak opposition teams instead of top teams from Latin America and Europe.
“We haven’t beaten Grenada for a while,” said Lawrence. “The way I view, it is until we can conquer the Caribbean again, there is no Caribbean team for me that we’re above and beyond. I welcome any game from any Caribbean opponent.”
About ex-England central defender and assistant coach Sol Campbell, Lawrence said, “Sol was contracted for the World Cup qualifying games. He would not be involved in the international friendlies. Sol lives in the UK.
“I believe to be able to do the job now, you have to be in and around, living in Trinidad and Tobago, to be more contact-based. We’re still having discussions. Sol is very, very keen and interested in being part of what we want to do going forward. It’s whether or not we’ll be able to financially afford it. We’re still working on it. But the rest of the (technical) staff remains the same.”