TERRY Fenwick is keen to have more foreign-born players in the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, before their 2022 FIFA World Cup Concacaf Zone Group F fixture away to the Bahamas on June 5.
Trinidad and Tobago are in second spot in the five-team standings with four points from two games – a 3-0 win against Guyana on Thursday and a 1-1 draw against Puerto Rico on Sunday.
St Kitts/Nevis lead the standings with six points from two games, with Puerto Rico (one point), Guyana and the Bahamas (zero each) completing the group. Only the top team in each of the six groups will progress to the second round.
During the post-game media conference after Sunday’s match against Puerto Rico, Fenwick said, “We recognise we’re in a transition in TT. We’ve had the oldest squad in world football. We’re slowly but surely bringing younger guys in, better quality players in.
"Between now and the next (FIFA) window, we’re hoping to have several more top-quality players joining us from the UK and the US. That’s how the game is moving at the moment.”
Fenwick mentioned Jamaica, which has been adding some English-born players to its team over the past few months, including Adrian Mariappa and Kasey Palmer (both with Bristol City), Michael Hector (Fulham), Amari’I Bell (Blackburn Rovers), Liam Moore (Reading), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) and Andre Gray (Watford).
Another Watford player, English-born midfielder Daniel Phillips, made his TT debut against Guyana.
“We look within our region: Jamaica now have multiple Premier League players joining their camp,” said Fenwick.
Reflecting on Sunday’s result, he said, “It’s a point away from home against a very good side. We’ve got our next home game against St Kitts (on June 8), so that’s what we’re focusing on.”
With regard to the Puerto Rico team, Fenwick pointed out, “(They are) very well-organised, very well-structured (with) several top players playing very well together, stretching us on numerous occasions.”
Joevin Jones put Trinidad and Tobago ahead in the 54th minute but substitute Ricardo Rivera equalised for the hosts in the 72nd, at the Mayaguez Athletics Stadium, Mayaguez.
“I thought it was a game where once we got a lead, we would have grown from strength to strength, but, to be fair to Puerto Rico, I thought they dug in deep, played very well and, in the end, the draw was a fair result.”
Fenwick, a former England defender, mentioned, “Puerto Rico is no pushover any more because they’ve got multiple players who are playing in the USL (United Soccer League), and that is the core of (their) team. They have lots of good players, very young who bring lots of energy, which we expected. Their passing and movement (were) very good.”
On the other side of the coin, Fenwick said, “We always knew it was going to be tough and tight for us, but I thought we also had our chances in the game. I was a bit disappointed in one or two finishes.”