T&T Soca Warriors will look to put their recent financial problems behind them, when they go after a winning start to their 2012 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup Group Five first round qualifier against French Guyana at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts/Nevis from 6 pm tonight. Host St Kitts/Nevis and Anguilla will meet in the second game of a double header from 8 pm.
The subject of T&T’s financial woes provided some comical relief and coach Hutson “Barber” Charles smiled it off at a media conference hosted by the St Kitts Football Association. “There has been much happening, but I have been telling my players there are people there to take care of that and we have to take care of things on the field of play,” Charles, a former national midfielder told the gathering.
T&T trained yesterday morning after the full squad was only assembled after midnight on Monday due to a delay in a connecting flight from Antigua. Veteran midfielder Densill Theobald, the lone remaining player from the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany, said yesterday victory was very important today. “Three points are key at this point. The spirit in the camp is still pretty good.
The boys have done well in training and the experienced bunch like myself, Keon Daniel, the captain Jan-Michael Williams and Clyde Leon have been here before and we know what is required. The new (squad) have guys like Hughtun Hector and Devorn Jorsling who have done well in the Caribbean Cup before so it’s a matter of us putting things into perspective and taking care of these three teams,” Theobald added.
The Soca Warriors, eight-time Caribbean champions, last won the title in 2001 and was eliminated in the group stage of the 2008 and 2010 finals. However T&T has enjoyed an impressive finals record at home, having won five finals played here in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001 before losing in 2007. They were also victorious in 1989, 1995 and 1997 and are desperate to end an 11-year title drought.
French Guiana coach Steve Falgarette said his team was ready to pose a stiff challenge to T&T in their opening match. Their build-up included a 3-1 win over Suriname, a 2-1 loss to Haiti as well as a 2-0 win and a 2-1 loss to Guyana back in June. “We are here to learn but we also want to win our games. This is our first time in this tournament and we want to take everything from the experience,” Falgarette said. French Guiana is a member of Concacaf and CFU, and thus eligible for all competitions organised by both.
Soca Warriors squad:
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillips (Central FC), Jan Michael Williams (W Connection)
Defenders: Daneil Cyrus (W Connection, Joevin Jones (W Connection), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force) Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps), Robert Primus (FC Aktobe), Kareem Moses (North East Stars) Seon Power (North East Stars)
Midfielders: Hughtun Hector (Song Lam Nghe), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA), Clyde Leon (W Connection), Kevon Carter (Defence Force), Kevon Neaves (T&TEC), Sylvester Teasdale (T&TEC), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union)
Strikers: Willis Plaza (Song Lam Nghe), Richard Roy (Defence Force), Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force) and Jamal Gay (Caledonia AIA).
Technical staff: Hutson Charles (coach), Derek King (assistant coach), Jefferson George (goalkeeper coach), Dave Isaac (physiotherapist/trainer), Michael Williams (equipment manager), Shaun Fuentes (press officer), William Wallace (manager)
CFU Caribbean Cup First Round
Group 5 fixtures
French Guyana vs T&T, 5 pm
St Kitts & Nevis vs Anguilla, 7 pm
Anguilla vs T&T, 5 pm
St Kitts & Nevis vs French Guiana, 7 pm
French Guiana vs Anguilla, 5 pm
St Kitts & Nevis vs T&T, 7 pm