With less than three days before the Soca Warriors Under-20 team departs for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U-20 Championships in Jamaica, a qualifier for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, the needed $.4 million to fund the trip is yet to be received.
This was confirmed by an official at the T&T Football Federation (TTFF) office yesterday when questioned on the state of the team’s trip to Kingston for the eight-team tournament. Early last week, team manager William Wallace presented the Ministry of Sports with the team’s budget which, at just under $400,000 for the tournament, was expected to cover airfare for players and officials as well as hotel accommodation and meals and other expenses.
The national U-20 squad entered a live-in camp at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s, and will train twice daily ahead of Saturday morning’s departure for Jamaica for its Group A matches against Haiti, Puerto Rico and Curacao.
Group B comprises the host, Cuba, Suriname and Cuba. The matches will be played at the Waterhouse Stadium, and Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, both in Kingston.
At the end of the two round-robin groups, the top two teams in each group as well as the best third-place team will qualify for the 12-team CONCACAF Finals February 18 to March 2 in Puebla, Mexico.
In August, the U-20s secured a spot in the final round of CFU qualification towards the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup after beating St Vincent & the Grenadines 3–0 in a must-win match.
The result meant T&T finished Group Four in second place with six points, same as group winners Suriname, who topped the group on goal difference despite losing their final match 2–1 to Guyana.
In their other group matches, T&T edged Guyana 2–1 and were trounced 3–0 by Suriname while the latter pipped St Vincent and the Grenadines 1–0 before losing to Guyana 2–1.
Meanwhile, Secondary Schools Football League topscorers, Shaquille Holder of Carapichaima East, and Presentation of College of San Fernando’s Shackiel Henry, have both been named in the 20-man squad which will be led by 1st FC Santa Rosa’s Duane Muckette.
Holder, one of three new faces in the squad has so far scored 28 goals to lead his team to a ninth straight Central Zone title while Henry’s 23 goals fired Presentation to the South crown ahead of last year’s winner, Shiva Boys.
The other newcomers in the squad are former U-17 goalkeeper Tevin Dodds and former St Anthony’s College midfielder Garvin Samaroo.
Today, they are expected to face Southern Football Association Premier Division leaders Point Fortin Civic Centre in a practice match at Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin from 4 pm.
T&T Under-20: Tevin Dodds, Quesi Weston, Adan Noel, Dwight Quintero, Alvin Jones, Anthony Charles, Damani Richards, Shannon Gomez, Shaquille Nesbitt, Duane Muckette (captain), Xavier Rajpaul, Kerron Bethelmy, Jomal Williams, Marcus Gomez, Akeem Garcia
(midfielders); Shackiel Henry, Keane McIvor, Glen Sutton, Shaquille Holder, Garvin Samaroo.
Technical staff: Ross Russell (coach), Reynold Carrington (assistant coach), William Wallace (manager), Richard Piper (assistant manager), Gilbert Bateau (trainer), Devin Elcock (equipment manager), Michael Taylor (physiotherapist)
Concacaf Under-20 Championship
At Kingston, Jamaica
Group A: Curacao, Haiti, Puerto Rico, T&T
Group B: Antigua & Barbuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Suriname
T&T vs Puerto Rico
Haiti vs Curacao
Cuba vs Suriname
Jamaica vs Antigua & Barbuda
Puerto Rico vs Curacao
Haiti vs T&T
Antigua & Barbuda vs Cuba
Jamaica vs Suriname
Curacao vs T&T
Puerto Rico vs Haiti
Suriname vs Antigua & Barbuda
Jamaica vs Cuba