THE SHIVA Boys’ Hindu College pair of Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney were included in a 17-member Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team training squad, to prepare for forthcoming international friendlies away to Guadeloupe (March 20) and Martinique (March 23).
Making this announcement was coach Dennis Lawrence, during a media conference yesterday at the TT Football Association (TTFA) boardroom, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
Emmanuel and Rodney played key roles in Shiva Boys’ title success, in the 2017 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Intercol competition; Emmanuel scored both goals as Shiva whipped San Juan North 2-0 in the final at the aforementioned Couva venue.
Two other new recruits have been called up – defender Rhondel Gibson of Central FC and winger Reon Moore of Defence Force.
Asked if he is trying to integrate a few SSFL players into the national men’s team, Lawrence replied, “These are two who were identified throughout the Secondary Schools League last season.”
He added, “These are the players that can come in and push for a spot. I think it’s good for them to be around the senior players.”
The local-based players will leave Trinidad on March 18 and return home on March 24.
“I think this is a tricky situation that we’ve found ourselves in because the Pro League season has not started,” Lawrence pointed out. “The clubs are a bit unaware, at the moment, what is the situation with the Pro League.
“In terms of our training preparation, we are at a disadvantage, for the local players in particular. The preparations could have started a bit earlier but, for different reasons, we (were) unable to do it.”
Members of Central FC and W Connection were involved in Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship matches, with varying results, last month. Central FC, who played in the Dominican Republic, advanced to the Final Round while W Connection, at home, were eliminated.
Lawrence, who admitted viewing the three respective CFU matches played by both Central FC and W Connection, noted, “The W Connection players and the Central FC players had a bit of an advantage, they were able to prepare for the CFU games. It’s not an ideal situation but we’re going to try as best to see how we can help the local players to see if they best be prepared for it.”
There has been some debate over the quality of opposition TT will be facing later this month.
Lawrence, the former TT central defender, acknowledged, “Over the last few years, I don’t think there is any difference between us and Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe and Martinique. I think these are all very competitive games for us.
“We need to go out and demonstrate on the football pitch that ‘we are superior to these teams’. That is what we need to try and accomplish. The players need to understand that.”
A few of TT’s overseas-based players will be involved in club duties on the weekend of March 17 and 18, and will have little or no time to train with the TT team before the Guadeloupe match.
“It’s a bit of a tricky situation but I’ve got a clear idea which players I’ll use in the two games,” the TT coach admitted.
Since TT’s last pair of matches, against Grenada and Guyana respectively, Lawrence noted, “The main thing for me was putting together programmes. I was involved with the grassroots programme, I was asked (to help) with the women’s Under-20.”
Training team (clubs/schools in brackets) – Hashim Arcia, Curtis Gonzales, Andre Marchan, Reon Moore (Defence Force); Adrian Foncette (Police); Nathaniel Garcia, Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic FC); Rhondel Gibson (Central FC); Kevon Goddard, Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones (W Connection); Kathon St Hillaire (St Ann’s Rangers); Josiah Trimmingham (Club Sando); Kareem Moses, Akeem Roach (unattached); Tyrel Emmanuel, Quinn Rodney (Shiva Boys’ Hindu College).