“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
T&T’s Marc-Anthony Honore and SL Benfica was forced into a third and deciding match in the Portugal Volleyball Federation men’s Premier Division after a four-sets loss in the second match of the best-of-three final on Wednesday against AJF Bastardo. Winners’ of the first match at home 25-18, 25-19, 25-19, 13-time champions SL Benfica had high hopes of clinching the title on Wednesday, however, AJF Bastardo had other ideas and came away with a 25-20, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18 to force a third and deciding clash tomorrow. Following the match, Honore is expected to return home to join up the senior national men’s team for the four-team Group Q NORCECA Third Round Men’s Qualifiers in Toronto, Canada from May 13 – 19 to the FIVB World Championship carded for Poland.
In addition to Honore, France-based Ryan Stewart who will conlcude his first professional stint with Amiens Longueau Metropole in the Men’s Elite Division Relegation playoffs this weekend is the other overseas player in the 12-man squad to be coached by Gideon Dickson. Dickson led the national team to its first ever Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association title time three years ago in Suriname and was second in 2012 led by veteran Nolan Tash. The T&T team also features experienced Sean Morrison, Saleem Ali, Ryan Mahadeo, and Kevin Nimrod along with the emerging talented trio of Simon Blake, Daneil Williams and Akim Bushe. Canada and T&T qualified to the Third round automatically based on their NORCECA rankings while Costa Rica won Group L of the Second Round qualifiers at home over Aruba, Curacao and Antigua/Barbuda while Panama was runner-up to Dominican Republic in Group K which also involved St Vincent and The Grenadines and British Virgin Islands.
The other three groups to be contested are Group P (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Suriname) from May 19 to 25 in Cuba; Group O (USA, Guatemala, St Lucia, Haiti) from May 13 to 19 in USA and Group R (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Bahamas) from May 20-26 at the end of which the winners of each will automatically qualify to the World Championship.
The second placed teams will have their playoff in June for the final spot and will take place in Mexico/Puerto Rico between July 14 to 20.
T&T’s men’s volleyball team: Nolan Tash (captain), Mark-Anthony Honore, Saleem Ali, Sean Morrison, Akim Bushe, Kevin Nimrod, Ryan Stewart, Simon Blake, Daneil Williams, Ryan Mahadeo, Darnel David, Russell Pena.