BY Shaun Fuentes – Trinidad and Tobago’s squad for the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifier versus Bermuda has been finalized by head coach Otto Pfister and includes eight players that will be playing under the German-born coach for the first time.
With skipper Kenwyne Jones and strike partner Darryl Roberts out with injury, T&T will alos have to do without LA Galaxy midfielder Christopher Birchall who has been ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Pfister has included Orlando City duo Devorn Jorsling and Kevin Molino, as well as Belgium-based defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, Kendall Jagdeosingh of Rochester Rhinos and Puerto Rico Islanders’ Osei Telesford who was in the line up when T&T defeated Bermuda 2-0 in their previous qualifier in Hamilton in 2008. Stern John, who netted the decisive second goal is also in the current squad.
There are ten overseas-based players in the squad with Slovakia-based winger Lester Peltier and Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland both included along with US-based trio Keon Daniel and Julius James as well as Clyde Leon who returned from Colombia last week.
Two of the others are W Connection defender Mekeil Williams, a former member of the National Under 20 team that played at the 2009 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Egypt, and DirecTV North East Stars’ Kevaughn Connell, who had a short stint before under Francisco Maturana. W Connection goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams is also back in the fray.
Pfister will be without Carlos Edwards as well who has been excused due to a family emergency and Anthony Wolfe will miss the encounter due to injury sustained during the past week while in action for North East Stars
“It’s a good group. There are players here with good quality,” Pfister said.
“We have two games again to play within a week and just like we did with first two matches, our aim will be to win both matches so that we can move to a maximum twelve points from our four matches. Okay, maybe we have a one or two players missing because of injury but this is football and we will find a way to go forward from here.”
Orlando’s Jorsling is back in the team after not playing since the Digicel Caribbean Cup campaign in 2010. And he’s looking to make up for his missed time.
“As a striker you always want to score goals and help your team win. We all know Jonesy (Kenwyne Jones) is the number one striker but my focus is to come in here now and give the coach more options. I want to play my part, score goals and help bring home winning results,” Jorsling said.
And Leon, who skippered the team for much of 2010, is optimistic despite what appears to be a somewhat new look team for these two upcoming games.
“I think we have the chance to show that our pool of players is large enough so that we can use other players when the regular starters are out. I believe these guys have what it takes to bring home a win. We just need to really together come together as a team. We’ve had a few good sessions so far and it’s just up to us to go there and put the pieces together now,” Leon said.
Caribbean Airlines, who recently signed on as a partner with the TTFF to support the “Soca Warriors” for the 2014 World Cup campaign, followed through on their pledge, by accommodating the team’s request for an arranged trip to and from Bermuda. Caribbean Airlines will fly the team directly to Bermuda on Sunday and then back to Port of Spain on Saturday which means the team will avoid longer hours, not having to stop off in the United States en route to Hamilton.
Caribbean Airlines Sales Executive Janelle Gangoo presented the airline tickets to team T&T team manager Peter Rampersad at its Nicholas Tower offices on Friday evening.
The Airline will continue to liaise with the team management to assist with whatever courtesies that may need to be extended to ensure the “Soca Warriors” have smooth travels for all their overseas assignments.