Che Benny added to Soca Warriors 60-man preliminary roster for Gold Cup Qualifier

Trinidad and Tobago senior men's football head coach Angus Eve. - Newsday File Photo
Trinidad and Tobago senior men's football head coach Angus Eve. - Newsday File Photo

Concacaf has announced the preliminary rosters for the 25 men’s senior national teams participating in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Qualifier tournaments from June 16 to July 16.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) selected and submitted 60 players for their preliminary roster, most of which will be weaned out and trimmed down to a possible 23-man squad.

Rising youngsters Levi Garcia, Real Gill, Kaile Auvray, Josiah Cooper, Nathaniel Garcia and Molik Khan spearhead the younger generation of talent on the list while veterans Marvin Phillip (goalkeeper), Ataulla Guerra, Joevin Jones, Kevin Molino and Sheldon Bateau were also selected.

Also among them are regular national team starters Ryan Telfer, Michael Poon Angeron, Nathaniel James, Neveal Hackshaw, Alvin Jones, Duane Muckette and Nicklas Frenderup (goalkeeper).

Just before 4pm on Thursday, the TTFA made one change to the preliminary Gold Cup roster by adding in in-form striker Che Benny. This comes after Greece-based professional Judah Garcia recently sustained a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of upcoming matches.

The request for the change was made to Concacaf on medical grounds and was finalised.

On the preliminary team selection, head coach Angus Eve said, “We’ve been monitoring all the home-based and overseas-based players over the past few months and Che has been among the players we have been observing.

“He missed out on making the original roster because of the tight competition among players for the position he plays. But with Judah now ruled out, we’ve decided to include Che as his replacement.”

Despite all this talent, TT will have to contest the final round of Gold Cup qualifying from June 16-20 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Before that, TT come up against Guatemala in an international friendly on June 11 at the Subaru Park, Pennsylvania.

For the Gold Cup prelims, they face Guadeloupe in round one. The 12 contesting teams are divided into two groups of six. After single-match elimination play, the six-match winners will advance to round two. The three round-two matchup winners will advance to the 2023 Gold Cup group stages.

Group stage action takes place from June 24 to July 4 and will feature 16 nations divided into four groups.

After round-robin play, the top two finishers in each of the groups (eight teams) will advance to the quarter-finals (July 8 and 9). The semis kick off on July 12 and the title match, is at SoFi Stadium, four days later.

TT, however, were forced to contest the Gold Cup prelims after they failed to top Group C in their 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League, League B matches.

Needing a victory over Nicaragua in the final group match in March to affirm Gold Cup qualification, TT drew 1-1, and were pushed into league B – Concacaf’s second tier – and eventually the Gold Cup prelims. Nicaragua advanced.

But, on Wednesday, a story circulated online suggesting that Nicaragua may have fielded an illegal player for some of their Nations League matches, even one against TT; a 2-1 Nicaragua victory.

It hinted that if the player is found to be a naturalized player in another country, Nicaragua could drop points for using him in the tournament, which would earn TT an automatic Gold Cup spot.

This player, however, was not included in Nicaragua’s provisional squad for their upcoming Gold Cup matches.

Newsday shared the article with several TTFA team staff and administrators but only normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad responded saying, “We are still checking the authenticity of the article.”

Eve will address the media next Thursday at a press briefing at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, prior to the team’s departure for Pennsylvania on Friday.


"Che Benny added to Soca Warriors 60-man preliminary roster for Gold Cup Qualifier"

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