French-based striker Kevaughn Connell is expected to make his debut for Trinidad and Tobago in today’s(Sunday) friendly international against Grenada at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 6pm.
This game will serve as part of the preparations for both teams in their build up to upcoming 2010 World Cup qualification matches. T&T takes on Bermuda but Grenada have tougher opposition, facing Central American giants Costa Rica in June.
For T&T head coach Francisco Maturana, games like this one today need to be played with the same approach as any other with high stakes attached.
“We are giving younger players the chance and also giving others a chance to claim a spot in the team to represent the country. What I want to see is players out there giving it their all and playing with passion and heart. There has to be a strong drive to be successful and it must be part of every game we play. I want to see a good, strong performance against Grenada,” Maturana told TTFF Media on the eve of the friendly.
The Colombian-born also named the 18-man squad out of the initial 25-man training squad (see team below)
Connell, attached to French club L'Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien, joined the team on Friday and had two full sessions since.
(l-r) Jerol Forbes, Devon Jorsling, Atulla Guerra and Kevon Carter
“It’s extra special being home now because I’m here to represent my country and I see it as a big step in my career. This is a real accomplishment for me. Coming from Trinidad into France it was difficult at first adjusting to the style of football and the conditions up there. But I kept on working hard and this is the result – a call up to the national team and I’m going to try and make the best of it,” Connell said.
He added the club management were very receptive to him taking up the call from T&T for Sunday’s match.
“The coach was happy knowing that he has an international player in his team now and he wished me well and said I just need to go out there and do my best,” the 24-year-old Connell added.
Another player who could make his debut is Clico San Juan Jabloteh’s Atulla Guerra, who like Defence Force’s Kevon Carter, has been included in the 18-man squad. The same goes for former National Under 17 forward Jerol Forbes and defender Kareem Smith, both of United Petrotrin, as well as Defence Force’s Devon Jorsling.
On Thursday Guerra said he was glad to be part of Maturana’s plans at this time and Joe Public’s Kerry Baptiste expressed the same.
“The build up has been quite good so far. Our confidence is building especially after the draw in Jamaica and I think right now we are looking forward to a win against Grenada,” Baptiste said. “The coach is trying to build a team here with some of the local players and the younger ones and I am thankful for that because he is showing some belief right now in the local players…so that helps our confidence level as well.”
The T&T team trained once on Saturday morning at the Larry Gomes Stadium before returning to camp at the Holiday Inn Hotel. Grenada meantime, arrived on Friday night and also trained on Saturday. They are coming off a 10-0 win over US Virgin Islands in a first round World Cup qualifier last month as well as a 1-1 draw with Barbados earlier in March and a 2-1 win over St Vincent and the Grenadines in February.
T&T 18-man squad
1.Marvin Phillips – W Connection
2.Glenroy Samuel – National Under 20
3.Aklie Edwards - Defencee Force
4.Kareem Smith - United Petrotrin
5.Anton Pierre - Defence Force
6.Keyeno Thomas - Joe Public
7.Makan Hislop - United Petrotrin
8.Akeem Adams - W. Connection
9.Khaleem Hyland - Unattached
10.Stephan David – Caledonia AIA
11.Autis Whitley – W Connection
12.Atulla Guerra – Clico Jabloteh
13.Kevon Carter - Defence Force
14.Kerry Baptiste - Joe Public
15.Keon Daniel - United Petrotrin
16.Kevaughn Connell – L'Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien
17.Devon Jorsling - Defence Force
18.Jerrol Forbes - United Petrotrin
Grenada 19-man squad
GOALKEEPERS: DESMOND NOEL AND ANDRAY CHARLES
DEFENDERS: PATRICK MODESTE, CASSIM LANGAIGNE, MARC MARSHALL,ERICK GEORGE, STEPHON HOOD,BRIAN BENJAMIN, SHANON PHILLIP
MIDFIELDERS: SHANE RENNIE, RICKY CHARLES, HENSON CUFFIE, KWAN BAPTISTE, MICHAEL FRANCIS, KYLE JOSEPH
FORWARDS: NIGEL BISHOP, DENNIS RENNIE, MARCUS JULIEN, NICKEL PAUL