Youthful Squad For Panama

Irving Ward
Date Published: 
Trinidad Express

TRINIDAD and Tobago senior team coach Bertille St Clair is expected to name a youthful squad for next Tuesday's friendly international against Panama.

This after several of the overseas-based professionals were forced to pull out of the game due to commitments.

According to Team Manager Richard Braithwaite yesterday only six foreign-based professionals had confirmed their availability for the Panama game. They are England-based skipper Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon (FC Zurich), Scotland-based Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Finland-based Brent Sancho (Terverit FC) and United States-based duo Stern John and Ansil Elcock, both of Columbus Crew. The squad leaves here for Panama on Sunday.

According to Braithwaite, two key players in England-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop (West Ham) and Germany-based Evans Wise (SSV Ulm) could not make the trip as they have games scheduled around the same date.

However Braithwaite explained that St Clair was not too disturbed about the absence of the seasoned pros.

"This will give us an ideal opportunity to expose a number of our Under-23 players, especially with the second leg of our Olympic qualifier against Barbados a few days after the Panama game (October 17),'' Braithwaite told the Express.

Braithwaite added however that the technical staff was particularly interested in having the younger players interacting with the professionals who will be part of the game.

"One of the things we are very keen on doing is having our top overseas pros mingling with the top young local players.

"It is important that the young players get as close as possible to the foreign pros because it will be a very good learning experience for them.''

He added that St Clair would be looking towards the seasoned foreign-based players for more than just playing. "We expect the overseas players to play important leadership roles within the team.

"This is a major part of our team building process. We are very concerned about building a team as opposed to just picking a side you see,'' he said.

"Building a team takes time but I'm sure with the proper planning and support and given the time we have we will be able to build a very strong national team for the World Cup qualifying series.''

After their date with Panama, Trinidad &Tobago have games scheduled against Guatemala and Honduras in November and Paraguay and Bolivia in December.