THE national senior team footballer, who tested positive for covid19 two days before TT’s opening FIFA World Cup qualifier against Guyana, has since returned two negative PCR tests and will feature in Terry Fenwick’s 23-man line up for Sunday’s 5 pm clash against Puerto Rico.
On the eve of TT’s 3-0 victory against the South American team, on Thursday, the TT Football Association (TTFA) issued a statement confirming a positive covid19 result from a national player. His identity was kept confidential.
Following Concacaf’s Return to Play protocol, the player was immediately isolated. While awaiting his second test, which eventually returned a negative result, contact tracing was done and all primary contacts quarantined.
However, the mandate states if the player returned two negative test results, the individual would be able to continue training and playing with the team. On Friday, the national athlete did just that and was included in the team for Sunday’s second first-round qualifier.
With this player boost, TT are focusing on maintaining a winning momentum. Three first-half goals from midfielder Levi Garcia, defender Sheldon Bateau and forward Ryan Telfer were good enough to keep their opponents at bay.
The revamped squad return to action at the Mayaguez Stadium in Puerto Rico and are expected to face a tougher challenge against the hosts.
However, after Thursday’s win, flanker Noah Powder returned to his Major League Soccer outfit Real Salt Lake for treatment on a knock he sustained before the TT camp. He will not feature in Sunday’s clash.
Additionally, Bateau is hoping to make Fenwick’s starting XI as he suffered a muscle strain in the opening period of the Guyana game.
Puerto Rico, on the other hand, have welcomed one of the United States League (USL) Championship’s top teen attackers, Alec Diaz, to their front line. The 19-year-old scored six goals and assisted twice in 855 minutes of play last season. This year, he’s a candidate to break into the Seattle Sounders’ attack for the coming season.
In their two prior friendlies against Guatemala and Dominican Republic leading up to the World Cup qualifiers, Diaz started both friendlies and played 143 minutes in total.
After Sunday’s duel, TT have just over three months to prepare for their next FIFA World Cup qualifier. The squad returns on June 5 to play Bahamas and complete their first-round campaign, three days later, against St Kitts and Nevis.