KEITH JEFFREY, headcoach of San Juan Jabloteh, is questioning the omission of his striker Nathan Lewis from a mostly locally-based Soca Warriors squad for a March 19 friendly international away to Grenada as T&T resumes its Concacaf Semifinal Round 2018 World Cup preparations.
The match versus Grenada is the lone warm-up for T&T which will next face St Vincent & The Grenadines on March 25 in St Vincent and then March 29 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo in their next two matches before meeting Guatemala and USA in their remaining matches.
Lewis, in his first season with the club after moving from Morvant Caledonia United has quickly grown into a San Juan Jabloteh home favourite after just two games at the Barataria Recreation Ground. Now with ten goals on the season and six in his last four matches, the 25-year-old Lewis came in for some praises from his Jeffrey after the win.
"Out of the 22 players on the field he (Lewis) was a total standout tonight (Saturday), and his s pace and movement destroyed Army," stated Jeffrey
The Jabloteh coach said he was disappointed that Lewis was not selected among a 22-man squad, mainly made up of locally based players, by Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart for an upcoming friendly international against Grenada on March 19. "I am so disappointed and can't understand you're picking a local national team and no Nathan Lewis. He has been excellent all season, not just tonight. (Jerwyn) Balthazar was among the 22 players on the field tonight and was absent because of the speed of the game. Balthazar at age 33 was selected on the national team. I don't understand it, leave Balthazar on the national Futsal team!" stated an upset Jeffrey.
The Jabloteh coach also called on Hart to have more faith in local players and that more top national team opponents must be provided to help local players improve for the international stage.
"We are not giving the local guys the regular international exposure," said the Jabloteh coach. "We have to get the right opponents on a regular basis to help develop our players for the international stage, we have no excuse.
He also pointed out that Jamaica national team manages to attract quality opponents on a regular basis to keep their players in good competitive sharpe on a regular basis and ask T&T is not doing the same . "This Pro League is very good and I am proud of this league and great work of the local coaches.
For instance Club Sando recently got four Grenada national team players and those players aren't mastering our league. It's time national team coaches really start having faith in the local players who just need consistent international level play."
Jeffrey also welcomes the two-week break to facilitate T&T's preparation for the Grenada friendly and World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines before the Pro League resumes on the weekend of April 1-3.