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Govia: T&T sharp and ready

Published: 
Monday, October 16, 2017

Raphael Govia, coach of the senior men’s national indoor hockey team says his team is as sharp as can be and ready to give its best effort at the 2017 Indoor Pan American Cup in Georgetown, Guyana, from today until Saturday.

The “Calypso Stickmen” will will compete in a six-team round-robin series involving Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Barbados and Guyana, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall from which the tournament winner will qualify to the Indoor World Cup in Berlin, Germany, next February.

Speaking following a training session earlier this week at the Woodbrook Youth Facility, Hamilton-Holder Street, Govia, a former national player, boasted that the team has worked hard in over 25 sessions to date.

With the wealth of talent available to him, both senior and junior players, Govia said picking the final squad was not an easy task, with some key players absent through unavailability as well.

He said, “This team was tough to select as a lot of quality players committed to the sessions and it’s the type of game where only 12 can be selected.

“It’s a very fast game where the solid stick handlers, the fit firery quick thinkers survive.”

Included in the 12-member team are the experienced Solomon Eccles, who will captain the team as well as Dwain Quan Chan, Aidan De Gannes, Jordan Vieira, Mickell Pierre, Marcus James, goalkeeper Rox Alexander and Australia-based Akim Toussaint

“They are very experience players within the national set-up, both indoor and outdoor, but it was unfortunate that we could not get the services of England-based of standout Kwandwane Browne because of his commitments as player/coach to England, which does not allow him the time to join the team at this time.

With regards to his team’s weak area, Govia pointed out that goalscoring has been bit of a worry for him, but with the return of Toussaint, who missed the Pan American Championship in USA earlier this, this problem should be eased.

A member of the 2005 men’s team which qualified to the World Cup in Germany after a silver medal finish in Kitchener, Canada, Govia added, “We have been working on converting our scoring chances every session relentlessly and we have also acquired the key services of former national captain Darren Cowie as assistant coach, with his main responsibility on improving the team’s defensive structure.”

“It’s an important area as the game is so quick gaps can open up very quickly and Cowie has been able to bring that key knowledge to the players and given them that better understanding of their roles.

Last night at Woodbook, the national team was expected to have a final warm-up match ahead of their expected departure for Guyana on the weekend.

When the tournament flicks off today, T&T will come up against 2008 Pan American silver medal winners Argentina from 7.15pm followed by matches against Guyana (October 17), Barbados (October 18), Mexico (October 19) and Canada, a day later, at the end of which the top two teams will contest the final for the lone World Cup spot