T&T's Finland-based trio of Shahdon Winchester, Jamal Gay and Aubrey David have been included in another competitive 23-man squad named by national senior men's team head coach Stephen Hart, yesterday, six days ahead of the CFU Caribbean Cup finals, set to take place in Jamaica, from Monday to November 17.The three players were recalled following their absence from the last round of CFU Caribbean Cup qualifiers (Group Seven), which were played from October 8-12 in T&T. T&T won the four team round-robin with straight victories against the Dominican Republic (6-1), St Lucia (2-0) and Antigua/Barbuda (1-0). Defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, who also missed the Caribbean Cup semifinal qualifiers, also made the cut.
Set to make his debut is 27-year-old forward Jonathan Glenn, who had an exceptional season with his Icelandic club IBV. Glenn, a former St Anthony's College student was voted IBV's Player of the Year and received club's Golden Boot Award after scoring 12 goals from his club's 28 for the season. Glenn also finished as the second highest scorer for the season in the entire league, missing out on top spot by just one goal.Kenwyne Jones has once again been named captain of the team.With an increase of players from 20 to 23 from the Caribbean Cup qualifiers to the finals, Hart has also been able to make room for a third goalkeeper, former national Under-20 player Adrian Foncette of Police FC.
Trevin Caesar and Sheldon Bateau, both of whom were in the squad for the qualification round-robin, were left out for Jamaica.A media release issued by the T&T Football Association (TTFA) yesterday, noted that Hart and 16 players entered a live-in training camp at the Carlton Savannah Hotel, St Ann's, on Monday, and said that they will continue to engage in training sessions at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, this week, ahead of their departure to Jamaica.T&T will meet Curacao in both teams' first Caribbean Cup fixture on Monday, then French Guiana on Wednesday and Cuba two days later. Group B, includes the host nation, Jamaica, as well as Antigua/Barbuda, Haiti and Martinique. Both the final and the third-place match will be played on November 17th.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup. And, for added incentive, the champion team will also qualify for the 2016 Centennial Copa America, hosted in the USA, which will feature every South American nation as well as Mexico and Costa Rica. "The squad is a balanced one with a couple new faces which gives me and the coaching staff the chance to have an extra look with the future in mind and more-so the qualification for the 2018 World Cup. We had three decent matches in the semifinals last month in which the team performed creditably and now these finals presents additional opportunities to see what is available for our general player pool. These games will also give us valuable experience playing away from home in a tournament format which is good for our preparations for the qualifiers on the road," Hart said, adding: "They missed out on winning the last Caribbean Cup in 2012, losing in the final and they believe it's time to go one step better.
"In saying that, I don't think there is going to be unwarranted pressure but of course taking the title is always one of the aims. But if we can get in some decent performances and secure our qualification for the Gold Cup as well as utilise these matches and the time together as a squad to prepare for the future engagements then I think in the end it would be a satisfactory undertaking in Jamaica."
T&T's 23-man squad
Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillips (Point Fortin Civic Centre), Adrian Foncette (Police)
Defenders: Radanfah Abu Bakr (Kruoja Pakruojis), Justin Hoyte (Millwall), Joevin Jones (HJK Helsinki), Daneil Cyrus (Ha Noi TT), Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps), Aubrey David (FF Jaro), Yohance Marshall (Unattached)
Midfielders: Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk), Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kevan George (Columbus Crew), Ataulla Guerra (Central FC), Leston Paul (Central FC), Jamal Gay (Rovaniemen Palloseura), Hughtun Hector (Hanoi T&T)
Forwards: Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava), Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City), Jonathan Glenn (IBV), Kevin Molino (Orlando City), Shahdon Winchester (FF Jaro), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes).