TRINIDAD AND Tobago Under-20 men’s football coach Angus Eve is scouting players from overseas in an effort to field a competitive team as preparations begin for the qualifying phase of 2023 FIFA Men’s Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia.
The TT Football Association recently started having screening sessions for players eager to represent their country.
Eve, speaking to the media during a session at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Saturday, said, “Things are going smooth so far. I think the staff and the (TTFA) have done a tremendous job to organise this.”
Players based overseas will be included, Eve said.
“The plan is simply that we do the screening until the end of February. That will encompass the foreign-based players who have parentage (in TT)…we have some boys in Germany, we have a goalkeeper in Norwich City in England, we have a couple of them in some of the MLS (Major League Soccer) teams, some of the USL (United Soccer League) teams. They will have a different level of play and fitness. They will come a bit closer to the end (of the screening).”
In January, trials will be held for footballers in Tobago.
Eve is satisfied with the response from the players.
“Tremendous (response), you saw the enthusiasm of the kids. They want to play, they want to show themselves. It is their national team and they are showing that they want to be a part of it. Also you see the parents coming out with the kids because they want an opportunity to represent their country and that is the most noble thing anybody could do.”
Asked what he thought of the standard of play, Eve said, “It is very difficult to judge the kids on the levels after they have not played for two years…I just want to comment on the enthusiasm that they brought, the willingness to try to apply what we asking them to do because we could build the levels.”
TT is one of the region’s 16 top-ranked men’s Under-20 teams who have received a bye to the 2022 CONCACAF Final Championship which will be played in the summer of 2022.
At the conclusion of the championship, the finalists will qualify for the FIFA Men’s Under-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023 and 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. The two losing semifinalists will also guarantee their participation in the FIFA Men’s Under-20 World Cup.
Marc Israel, a central defender, is competing in the screening sessions.
He is elated to be playing again. “I think it is a great opportunity. A lot of players here have been just home and not a lot of players have had the opportunity to play. I think it is an incredible opportunity that everybody has been waiting on. We really grateful and thankful to be able to come out here today.