Trinidad and Tobago’s Finnish-based professional Ataullah Guerra will have his first chance to work under head coach Stephen Hart in Riyadh next week and is eager to make an early impression as the ‘Soca Warriors” prepare to take on United Arab Emirates in the opening match of the OSN Cup on Thursday.
Guerra missed out on T&T’s Concacaf Gold Cup campaign in July due to visa woes and Hart will also been keen to see how former Caledonia AIA player fits into his plans going forward.
“I’m really excited about rejoining the national team,” Guerra told TTFA Media on the weekend.
“When I received the news that I was invited I was thrilled because I was unable to be at the Gold Cup and that was something I was looking forward to. Bu the team did really well and I was happy about that. Now hopefully we can continue getting better and have a good performance in Saudi Arabia also. I’m really looing forward to doing my best for the national team again,” added Guerra who plays for RoPS in the Finnish League.
Guerra will be hoping to bring a bit of flair and creativity to the T&T midfield which includes Racing Genk’s Khaleem Hyland and Orlando City’s Kevin Molino who were both in the Gold Cup squad. Densill Theobald, Columbus Crew’s Kevan George, who is yet to get his first cap, Notts County’s Andre Boucaud and new boy Marcus Joseph.
“We’ve put a good bunch of players together, some of them coming into the squad for the first time since I took over as head coach but generally I’m pleased with what we have in front of us,” Hart said ahead of the trip.
“Obviously it’s about getting to see these players in game situations and we are on the road again, playing in conditions that we don’t often have the opportunity to do which is another test for us.”
W Connection’s Joevin Jones is not part of the squad, being allowed time to rest while India-based striker Cornell Glen and Ipswich Town’s Carlos Edwards, are also being rested but continue to be part of the pool of players under Hart.
On Saturday, tournament organizers OSN released a statement on the upcoming matches, adding “Fans can look forward to some thrilling action as star players Saud Kariri, Naif Hazazi and Nasser Al Shamrani from the Saudi team and UAE favourites Ali Khaseif, Omar Abdul Rahman and Ismail Mattar prepare for a sensational win.
More than 65,000 spectators will cheer their favourite teams in what will be an adrenaline packed two-day tournament. Two semi final matches will take place on Thursday, September 5 followed by two matches on Monday, September 9 where the winners will be announced.
OSN (Asia’s biggest pay-tv network) will also give 72 Saudi children the opportunity to escort their favourite football heroes on to the field. Families who would like to register their kids for this once-in-a-lifetime experience need to sign up at any OSN stand in Riyadh.
Aimed at inspiring young talent in the Kingdom to hone their skills, the first-of-its-kind OSN Cup underlines OSN’s commitment to provide the ultimate sporting action to viewers in the region.
The OSN Cup, set to become an annual OSN initiative, is part of the network’s wider plans to roll out several new activities across the Arab world that promote youth engagement and bring the family together for fun entertainment experiences.”
Some home-based members of the T&T squad left Port of Spain on Sunday for London where they will meet the rest of the overseas-based players. Other members of the technical staff will depart on Monday.
T&T 21-man squad
1 . Jan Michael Williams - Central FC
2. Marvin Phillips - Point Fortin Civic Centre
3. Glenroy Samuel – Caledonia AIA
4.Sheldon Bateau – KV Mechelen
5 Justin Hoyte – Middlesbrough
6. Daneil Cyrus – W Connection
7. Robert Primus - FC Aktobe
8. Mekeil Williams – W Connection
9. Aubrey David – Caledonia AIA
0.Kevan George – Columbus Crew
11. Andre Boucaud – Notts County
12. Khaleem Hyland – Racing Genk
13. Curtis Gonzales – Defence Force
14. Lester Peltier – Slovan Bratislava
15. Kevin Molino – Orlando City
16.Densill Theobald – Caledonia AIA
17. Kenwyne Jones – Stoke City
18. Willis Plaza – Song Lam Nghe
19. Ataullah Guerra - Rovaniemen Palloseura
20. Marcus Joseph – Point Fortin Civic Centre
21.Radanfah Abu Bakr – FC Vostok