Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Footballers will begin their hunt for a ninth regional title when they kick off the 2008 Digicel Caribbean Championships against Grenada at the National Stadium, Kingston from 5pm (6pm T&T time) on Wednesday.
View First day in Kingston
View Edwards and Glen interviews
The T&T team, under head coach Francisco Maturana, arrived in New Kingston on Monday afternoon and underwent a one-hour session at the St George’s College Ground where they are carded to train again on the eve of the opening match.
T&T, winners of the regional crown in 1989,1992, 1994-97, 1999 and 2001 while hosts Jamaica have won it in 1991, 1998 and 2005. Martinique, absent from this year’s finals won it in 1993 while Haiti which faces Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday are the defending champions after defeating T&T 2-1 in the 2007 Final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Jamaicans, out of the 2010 World Cup race are keen on success in front of their home fans and head coach John Barnes wants nothing but success. Barnes made a late addition to his squad, bringing in Demar Phillips of Premiership club Stoke City. Phillips was instrumental in Jamaica’s 3-0 win over Canada last month. They are eager to make up for their World Cup disappointment and have added several overseas-based players to their squad, including midfielders Andy Williams and Joe Public’s Wolry Wolfe as well as US-based defender Tyrone Marshall, who arrived yesterday afternoon
But Grenada are not intent on making it easy for T&T nor Jamaica to advance to the semi-finals.
The Grenadines, who are ranked at 139 in the world, defeated the Reggae Boyz 2-1 in a friendly international in June. Their team will be at full strength for the tournament, with the addition of the of their overseas-based players, including their captain Anthony Modeste, midfielder, Shalrie Joseph of New England Revolution (USA) and Junior Rudolph Williams.
Modeste told reporters here that his team is going to put on a good show.
"We are very optimistic about our chances because we know the opponents ahead of us and we are coming here to play good football and we are going to take it one game at a time and hopefully we can qualify for the semi-finals," said Modeste.
"We are very confident going up against the Jamaicans because our last result against them was a good one. But Jamaica is a quality opponent, but hopefully we can transform the same game that we played in Grenada and get the result that we want here," Modeste added.
While their focus seems to be on the “Reggae Boyz” first they must over some the “Soca Warriors.”
“We aren’t particular worried but we want to show the rest of the Caribbean that we are the powerhouse of the region and it begins from tomorrow against Grenada,” Clico San Juan Jabloteh striker Cornell Glen told TTFF Media on Tuesday.
“This tournament can decide the future for a lot of players in the team and in a sense it’s good chance for us to improve as a team seeing that the final round of the World Cup qualifiers is right around the corner. But it’s also a tournament we want to go out and win.”
Glen said T&T would not underestimate its opponents.
“The good thing about this team is that it has a lot of young players who are hungry for success. We are not going to take any of these teams lightly and we intend to win every match,” Glen added.
Recalled T&T striker, Errol McFarlane, said he is looking forward for the challenge.
"I hope my inclusion in the team will a positive one," he told the Gleaner upon arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport.
"I hope to add more depth to this already talented bunch of players. This is an opportunity for me to impress the new coach because this is the first time I am playing with him," he said.
T&T captain Aurtis Whitley showed no signs of discomfort, taking full part in Monday’s session. Toronto FC defender Julius James joined the team on Monday night and will have his first run out on Tuesday. (Dec 2,2008. Photos show T&T team in training on Monday.)
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