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Tactical test for Warriors vs Peru
With the return of several on form European-based players, some of whom have not featured for the country since the short-lived World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, T&T’s Soca Warriors will be expected to take a positive result when it faces Peru in an international friendly, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 8 pm tonight.
Just under six months have passed since T&T’s senior players last saw action in a friendly, that in a 2-0 loss to Canada, in Fort Lauderdale, USA. Today’s match will be used by its management team, co-head coaches Jamaal Shabazz and Hutson Charles and assistant coach Angus Eve, in preparation for June’s Concacaf Gold Cup, which T&T qualified for via a runner-up finish at the CFU Caribbean Cup last year.
Peru, which is hungry for a win ahead of its crucial remaining World Cup South America qualifiers, has in its roster a host of talented players, including a formidable pair in German-based Claudio Pizarro (captain) and Jefferson Farfan, as well as Corinthians’ Paolo Guerrero.
On the opposite end for T&T, former captain and Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones will lead the forwards, with the aid of some of the country's highest-rated players, including midfielder Khaleem Hyland, who has been exceptional for his Belgian club Racing Genk before being summoned.
Hyland last wore T&T colours against Guyana during World Cup qualification in 2011. If featured tonight, as expected, fullback/midfielder Carlos Edwards will make his 79th appearance for T&T. Densill Theobald, one of the most experienced players in the squad, will captain and command the team from the midfield, alongside Caledonia AIA’s Ataullah Guerra.
National co-head coach Jamaal Shabazz, speaking at a media conference ahead of the match yesterday, said he was excited to face a South American opponent before a series of must-win matches for either team.
“We are using this opportunity to take a first hand look at the players in Europe, who (otherwise) have not been involved in the national team,” said Shabazz.
And, since their return, the foreign-based contingent have had an immediate and positive impact on the squad according to the coach. He said in the past players have returned to T&T and have been unco-operative with coaches. However, in this instance the players have been co-operative. “It is a good feeling to have with the staff.”
From the last 10 fixtures, T&T has won five, lost two and drawn three, all of which have been at last year’s CFU Caribbean Cup, which T&T finished runner-up to Cuba. Peru has two wins and two draws from its last nine matches.
T&T last met Peru in an international friendly prior to its debut at the World Cup in 2006. The match, staged at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, ended in a 1-1 draw, with T&T’s Jones on target from a free kick.
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip, Cleon John.
Defenders: Carlyle Mitchell, Daneil Cyrus, Aubrey David, Curtis Gonzales, Kareem Moses, Sheldon Bateau.
Midfielders: Carlos Edwards, Densill Theobald, Khaleem Hyland, Kevon Carter, Ataullah Guerra, Keyon Edwards, Jemel Sebro.
Forwards: Darryl Roberts, Kenwyne Jones, Devorn Jorsling.
Goalkeepers: Raúl Fernández, Diego Penny.
Defenders: Alberto Rodriguez, Carlos Zambrano, Renzo Revoredo, Roberto Guizasola, Christian Ramos, Aurelio Saco Vertiz.
Midfielders: André Carrillo, Rinaldo Cruzado, Luis Ramirez, Juan Carlos Mariño, Juan Manuel Vargas, Edwin Retamoso, Carlos Lobatón, Alfredo Rojas.
Forwards: Claudio Pizarro, Paolo Guerrero, Jefferson Farfán, Junior Ross.
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