T&T’s Soca Warriors will face Jamaica in two international friendly matches here in early March ahead of the key Canada game in the United States.
Those matches will be used to select the national team to take on the Canadians for a place in the Copa America Cup later this year.
National coach Angus Eve, at the start of preparation for the Copa qualifier, as well as preparation for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to start later this year, told the media Thursday morning that the friendly matches are being reciprocated, following the local team’s trip to Jamaica last year.
The coach was on his third day of a live-in camp at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima in which a cadre of regular players from the local League were being looked at for the first time this year, as well as new call-ups, both locally and internationally.
Among those at the training session were German-born striker Keenon Erfuth and forward Denmark’s Marc Gangia both attempting to solve Eve’s problems in the striking department.
Eve, having received an extension on his contract, said: “In the number nine area, we have been using Reon Moore who is naturally a winger but he has done excellent for us up there, you know the trouble with that position with not having Levi Garcia consistently and some of the other strikers who are not in form at the point in time.
“So these two young guys, one his mom is a Trinidadian - the German one, and the other his dad is the Trinidadian. We have been liaising with them for months now, as well as other players, and they were free enough to come down here for us to view them, and also give them an opportunity to play in a match, so we can see what they are capable of, because as you know, we are trying to fill that position,” Eve stated further.
Soon after, Gangia said he hopes to bring good play with technique and assistance, as well as goals to the national team. He plays for Dalum IF in the Danish League.
He has visited T&T about five times before to visit his father’s relatives. However, he explained that his biggest challenge will be the hot weather compared to back in Denmark, which only means that he will have to make the transition if he has to play in the red, white, and black of T&T.
Gangia’s first appearance for the team will be today in two warm-up matches with the country’s Under-20 team this morning, and then later this afternoon when they square off against Tiger Tanks Club Sando, both matches at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
Eve’s concerns though exceed today’s matches. Against Canada, he said he is expecting a similar situation to when they faced the United States, saying: “Like the US team, the Canadian team is built up the same way, a lot of European-based players, some playing in the MLS, some playing back home, but most of the players play in Europe and they’re playing with good teams.
“Cyle Larin is with Mallorca in Spain so I will keep watching him, Jonathan David is in France playing in the top division, and was the top goalscorer a couple of years ago, so the guys are doing really, really well.
“Tajon Buchanan just signed for Inter Milan and that’s no easy feat, and we all know Alphonso Davies and what he can do, so it’s a good team, a good squad of players.
“ They were beaten by a good squad of players, by Jamaica, but we think we can go in there, we think that we can compete with anyone right now, and we want to show that we can go out on the park and compete with any team.
Eve added: “Against Canada, we just have to be tactically aware. A coach can only give instructions, but if players go out there they have to have the mindset to play the position and play the role that the coach gives them, to the best of their ability.
“Because for 90 minutes, a coach can never tell a player everything, every minute and every second what to do, so the players are very important. We want to increase their tactical awareness and their football intelligence so that they will make the right decisions when they are on the pitch.”