Trinidad and Tobago head coach Francisco Maturana has made one new call up to the National Senior Team to contest the upcoming Digicel Caribbean Championships (DCC) in Jamaica.
St Ann’s Rangers strike Errol McFarlane, who has been on loan to Lebanese club Al Mabarrah, has been included in the 20-man squad which leaves for Kingston on Monday morning ahead of its opening Group A fixture against Grenada on Wednesday at the National Stadium.
McFarlane, formerly of Defence Force and Iceland club Breidablik FC is one of three strikers in the squad with the others being W Connection’s Andre Toussaint and Clico San Juan Jabloteh’s Cornell Glen.
Maturana is said to have presented McFarlane the opportunity in the upcoming tournament as he is impressed with the player’s physical presence and goalscoring ability. McFarlane netted T&T’s goal in his last appearance in national colours in a 1-1 draw with Guatemala at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which was part of the coach’s review of the player.
The 31-year old has four goals in eleven appearances for T&T with three of those goals coming in the semi-final round of the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Maturana, who will have his first session with the T&T team on Tuesday in Kingston since the 3-0 win over Cuba due to the T&T Pro League schedule of matches, is optimistic and sees the importance of copping the regional title.
“The Digicel Caribbean Championships is the most important football tournament in the region and as a regional powerhouse our goal is to reach the final and win it,” Maturana told TTFF Media on Saturday.
The Colombian relayed his words via newly appointed National Senior Team translator for the head coach Filippo Alario
“We know it’s going to be difficult because the big teams like Cuba and Jamaica which are not going to the World Cup will put together all their efforts and resources to try and win it. They will have a point to prove and we expect them to make it very difficult for the other teams including Trinidad and Tobago. And as hosts Jamaica will want to take the prize,” Maturana said.
Regarding the T&T team travelling to Kingston, he added “This is the best team that we have available with the majority being home-based players. This is also a good experience and an opportunity for these players to prove that they are an alternative for the final round of the World Cup qualification next year.”
The only other overseas-based players in the team include Toronto FC defender Julius James and Miami FC’s Avery John who are both in off season and Hungary-based goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams who returned home last week as his club Ferencvárosi TC is on a winter break. Puerto Rico Islanders defender Osei Telesford is also in off season while Khaleem Hyland is the other player attached to Belgium club SV Zulte Waregem
Maturana has kept faith in others who were part of the team in the Digicel Preliminary phase a few weeks ago including Joe Public’s Arnold Dwarika, Carlon Murray, Marvin Phillip, Clyde Leon, Seon Power, Makan Hislop, Cyd Gray, Keon Daniel and Aklie Edwards.
Following it’s opening match against Grenada, T&T then travels to Montego Bay to face Barbados on December 5 and Jamaica on December 7. The semi finals and final action switches back to Kingston on December 11 and 14. The teams in the other Group B are defending champions Haiti, Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe.
The Digicel Caribbean Championships’ prize pool is a whopping total of US$270,000.00 with eight regional teams now competing for the grand prize of US$120,000.00 and the coveted Digicel Caribbean Championships’ trophy. The runner-up regional team will receive US$70,000 and third and fourth places will receive US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively. The top four finishers will advance to the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Nov 29,2008.Photo shows Cornell Glenn in action in the Digicel Prelims.)
T&T 20-man squad
1. MARVIN PHILLP
2. JAN MICHAEL WILLIAMS
3. SEON POWER
4. CYD GRAY
5. MAKAN HISLOP
6. KARLON MURRAY
7, JULIUS JAMES
8. KEYENO THOMAS
9. AKLIE EDWARDS
10. AVERY JOHN
1I. AURTIS WHITLEY
12. CLYDE LEON
13. OSEI TALESFORD
14. KHALEEM HYLAND
15. ARNOLD DWARIKA
16. KEON DANIEL
17. ANTHONY WOLFE
18. ANDRE TOUSSAINT
19. CORNELL GLEN
20. ERROL MCFARLANE
Staff - Francisco Maturana (Head coach), Cesar Maturana (Assistant coach), Anton Corneal (Assistant coach), Jorge Ruiz (Trainer), Michael Maurice (Goalkeeper coach), Esmond O’Brien (Equipment manager), Dave Isaac (Physiotherapist), Terrance Babwah (Doctor) Shaun Fuentes (Media Officer), Filippo Alario (Translator), Peter Rampersad (Assistant manager) and David Muhammad (Manager)