DEFENCE FORCE winger Reon Moore has been included in a 20-member Trinidad and Tobago team for a pair of friendly football internationals, away to Guadeloupe (March 23) and Martinique (March 25).
The 21-year-old Moore, who joined Defence Force from North East Stars last year, is the only newcomer in the Dennis Lawrence-coached team which features nine overseas-based players and two players who are yet to find a club (unattached).
Lawrence, in a media interview following yesterday morning’s training session at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima, commented, “Reon has done well. He’s shown a good attitude.”
Lawrence continued, “Sometimes things work in people’s favour because it was going to be a tight one between he and Kathon (St Hillaire). Kathon had the opportunity to go to Czech Republic (on trials) which, for whatever reason, did not come off.
“So the squad selection was based around that. Hopefully Reon will come in and add something to the group.”
Midfielder Khaleem Hyland was the only overseas-based player who attended yesterday’s training session.
The other foreign-based selectees are defenders Daneil Cyrus and Mekeil Williams; midfielders Leston Paul, Levi Garcia, Joevin Jones, Kevan George, Neveal Hackshaw and Nathan Lewis; while the unattached duo are defender Kareem Moses and striker Akeem Roach.
“(The foreign-based players) are all going to be here on Monday and we’ll all travel on Tuesday together,” said Lawrence. “We’re going to have two training sessions (in Guadeloupe). We need to make sure that the unity is there, we need to make sure everyone understands their roles and functions.”
Ironically, there will be two sets of brothers on the team, as Nathaniel Garcia (Levi’s elder sibling) and Alvin Jones (Joevin’s younger brother) were also selected.
However, another member of the Garcia clan, Shiva Boys Hindu College’s captain and midfielder Judah Garcia, did not make the cut.
Judah, as well as his 2017 Intercol winning teammates Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney, were called up to training by Lawrence, who admitted that he plans to use them for the April 17 friendly match at home to World Cup-bound Panama.
“‘Pappy’ was a bit unlucky, (he) only completed two training sessions because he picked up a groin injury,” Lawrence admitted. “‘Quinny’ and Judah, they were very good in the group, they integrated well. I’m actually looking forward to having them being part of the Panama game. I think this one might be a bit too soon for them, but it was good to have them around the group so they can get an understanding what it’s going to take, the speed of the game (and) the thought process.”
Enigmatic attacking midfielder Kevin Molino will not be a part of Lawrence’s plans for most of this year due to a serious knee injury which he picked up a fortnight ago.
“It was a big blow to me,” Lawrence said. “I’m sorry for the boy because for the time I’ve been working with him, he’s been first-class. He’s always given me everything that I’ve asked for.”
However, the ex-national central defender noted, “In football, it’s an opportunity for somebody (to) come in and say ‘I’m going to make this position mine’. That’s what team sport is all about. I hope he has a speedy recovery. We will miss him.” Asked about the areas he’ll be looking at during these forthcoming matches, Lawrence replied, “First and foremost, we’re looking for improvement.”
He stated, “We’re going to try to make sure we’re solid defensively and organised. In the front line, it’s a shame that Shahdon (Winchester) couldn’t make it because he just signed for (Kapaz PFK) in Azerbaijan. I think it was important that we give (him) time to go in and settle. We’ve got the nine foreign (based) players coming in and the group of locals. We’re going to try and make it work.”
GOALKEEPERS: Adrian Foncette (Police FC); Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic).
DEFENDERS: Daneil Cyrus (Juticalpa FC, Honduras); Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force); Triston Hodge (W Connection); Alvin Jones (W Connection); Kareem Moses (Unattached); Mekeil Williams (Rochester Rhinos, USA).
MIDFIELDERS: Hashim Arcia (Defence Force); Levi Garcia (Excelsior Rotterdam, Netherlands); Nathaniel Garcia (Point Fortin Civic); Kevan George (Charlotte Independence, USA); Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery, USA); Khaleem Hyland (Al Faisaly FC, Saudi Arabia); Joevin Jones (Darmstadt, Germany); Nathan Lewis (Indy Eleven FC, USA); Reon Moore (Defence Force); Leston Paul (Pasaquina FC, El Salvador).
STRIKERS: Marcus Joseph (W Connection); Akeem Roach (Unattached).