Aubrey David sounds battle cry: Soca Warriors ready to die for Copa spot

Trinidad and Tobago's Real Gill (R) takes part in a team training session, on Tuesday, in Frisco, Texas. - TTFA Media
Trinidad and Tobago's Real Gill (R) takes part in a team training session, on Tuesday, in Frisco, Texas. - TTFA Media

Soca Warriors captain Aubrey David and star attacker Levi Garcia say they and their teammates are ready and willing to put everything on the line in their 2024 Copa America play-in against Canada in Frisco, Texas on March 23.

The winner of the play-in match will advance to the June 20-July 14 Conmebol tournament where they will be placed alongside Chile, Peru and reigning Fifa World Cup champions Argentina in group A.

David, who assumed the Trinidad and Tobago captaincy for the 2023/24 Concacaf Nations League A campaign, is determined to lead by example from his centre back position and he has already gone into full warrior mode.

"With it being a one-off game, we have to give everything. We are 90 minutes away from making history and changing our lives forever," David told TT Football Association (TTFA) media.

"That's motivation to give everything, to die basically on the field. Anything can happen. We just need to believe in ourselves and try to make history."

Currently attached to CS Cartagines in Costa Rica, the 33-year-old David is expected to have his hands full against a Canadian attack which includes Mallorca forward Cyle Larin, Lille attacker Jonathan David and electric Bayern Munich flanker Alphonso Davies.

Aubrey said the Soca Warriors have kept together the core of the squad which advanced to the Nations League A knockout stages for the first time, and he also says the current crop of players provides coach Angus Eve with the right blend of experience and youth.

The veteran defender said the Miscellaneous Police FC pair of Adrian Foncette and Robert Primus will help with the team's leadership, while he is also pleased with the returns of Ajani Fortune and brothers Levi and Judah Garcia further afield.

"It's very important for the country and very important for our careers personally and as a team," Aubrey said.

"I think we just need to settle and get focused, and take every day as a step. I think it is a big opportunity for us as a nation to be in the Copa America. It's the biggest thing for us after World Cup (qualification)."

Levi, who has battled numerous injuries during the ongoing season with Greek champions AEK Athens, wants to deliver on the big stage after missing several games in TT's Nations League A campaign. In the two-legged Nations League A quarterfinals against the US in November, Levi came on as a second-half substitute in the first leg, but was subsequently ruled out for the return leg which saw TT getting a 2-1 win on home soil at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Now returned to fine form for AEK where he has 14 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season, Levi is motivated to put the red, white and black on his broad shoulders.

"It feels good to be back," Levi said. "It's always a pleasure to represent our country. We know the game that's at stake."

The powerful striker has been utilised as a lone striker in recent times at Eve, but he's also effective as an inverted winger on the right side. Levi said he will be sticking to his strengths in the one-off encounter as there is no time for experimenting.

Most importantly, though, Levi wants to get his mind right for the clash with Fifa's 50th-ranked nation.

"From now, I usually picture myself either scoring or celebrating," Levi said. "I start preparing my mind from now for 90-plus minutes, fighting for every ball. I start seeing myself winning tackles, winning duels, winning everything and trying my best to get the win."

He said he's happy to have his current rhythm, and he said he and his teammates have the opportunity to be the beacon of hope for young men in TT.

"A lot of people don't know how grateful we are to represent our country. There are a lot of younger guys looking at us for hope and for a way out.

"These types of games and these types of opportunities are what we need to grasp with both hands and try to set the platform right for these guys."

From 4 pm on March 23, Aubrey, Levi and the Soca Warriors will it all on the park as they try to book TT's first-ever appearance at a Copa America tournament.


"Aubrey David sounds battle cry: Soca Warriors ready to die for Copa spot"

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