Warriors off to concentration camp on heels of opening W/C 2018 qualifier at Guatemala

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Team players during a training session in Argentina in June 2014. The Soca Warriors were in Buenos Aires to afford the hosts warm-up opposition towards their campaign at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Friday 6 November 2015

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team head coach Stephen Hart will attempt to eliminate as many distractions as possible while focusing his players totally on the immediate task—a FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia qualifying away fixture against Guatemala on November 13.

Hart announced his 22-man squad on Wednesday, inclusive of a re-call for South Korea-based defender Carlyle Mitchell who last represented the red-white-and-black a year ago, which will assemble in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today (Saturday) for a four-day training camp before jetting to Guatemala on November 11, two days prior to clashing with the hosts at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.

“The camp in Fort Lauderdale will allow us a few days to work without scrutiny and we can simply concentrate on our approach to the game,” Hart was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). “Players will once again work on their roles and function and we can go over the details of potential scenarios (in Guatemala).”

Cardiff City forward Kenwyne Jones will continue as captain and leads the front-line of the 22-man squad which includes US-based attackers Trevin Caesar (Austin Aztex) and Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes), Iceland-based Jonathan Glenn (Breidablik Kopavogur) and Central FC marksman Willis Plaza.

In midfield Hart has selected England-based Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge), Keron Cummings, Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars), Kevan George (Columbus Crew), Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo), Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire) and Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava).

Goalkeepers Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC) and Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United) have kept their picks while the defenders are Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Samara), Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge), Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Aubrey David (FC Shakhter Karagandy), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC) and Mekeil Williams (Antigua FC) who have been named along with Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC).

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart during a training session back in 2014.

“The selection for the Guatemala game is a balanced one and it also allows for flexibility in our approach,” said the T&T coach.

Hart expects a “difficult environment” in Guatemala and said he wants to “minimize potential disruption (such) as travel, hotel and training.”

“This is World Cup qualifying and like it or not, host teams in general try to make it uncomfortable,” Hart told the TTFA media. “I am not saying Guatemala will do this (…) but their supporters will try to disrupt you mentally. The game itself will carry a certain stress, so our intention is to make the players as comfortable as possible.”

Following the Guatemala match, the Soca Warriors will return home for another CONCACAF semi-final round of World Cup qualifying opening stage clash against the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on November 17. (See CONCACAF Semi-Final Round of World Cup 2018 qualifying fixtures for Trinidad and Tobago below)

Trinidad and Tobago are pooled in Group C of the CONCACAF Semi-Final round of World Cup qualifying along with the United States, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Canada occupy Group A, while Group B consists of Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti and Jamaica.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the Final Round (hexagonal stage), which will be contested between November 7, 2016 - October 10, 2017.

The top three from the Final Round will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia while the fourth placed finishers must take on the fifth placed finishers in Asia in an intercontinental playoff.

Trinidad and Tobago 22-man squad November 13 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala
Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC / T&T)
Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United / T&T)

Sheldon Bateau (FC Krylia Samara / Russia)
Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge / Denmark)
Justin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge / England)
Aubrey David (FC Shakhter Karagandy / Kazakhstan)
Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC / Mexico)
Mekeil Williams (Antigua FC / Guatemala)
Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land FC / South Korea)

Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge / England)
Keron Cummings (North East Stars / T&T)
Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars / T&T)
Kevan George (Columbus Crew / USA)
Khaleem Hyland (KVC Westerlo / Belgium)
Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire / USA)
Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava / Slovakia)

Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City / Wales)
Trevin Caesar (Austin Aztex / USA)
Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes / USA)
Jonathan Glenn (Breidablik Kopavogur / Iceland)
Willis Plaza (Central FC / T&T)

CONCACAF Semi-Final Round Qualifying towards FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia
Trinidad and Tobago matches (home teams mentioned first)

November 13, 2015
Guatemala vs Trinidad and Tobago

November 17, 2015
Trinidad and Tobago vs United States

March 25, 2016
St. Vincent and the Grenadines vs Trinidad and Tobago

March 29, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

September 2, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago vs Guatemala

September 6, 2016
United States vs Trinidad and Tobago