Bateau first to touch down in Russia

Sheldon Bateau

Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau is all set to begin his professional life in Russia after joining Premier League club FC Krylia Sovetov earlier this month.

And he is hopeful that his entry into Russia is just the first from the Trinidad and Tobago squad with all sights set on qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“Who knows, maybe this is a sign of what is to come for Trinidad and Tobago in 2018,” Bateau said. “Pretty soon we will embark on the qualification for Russia and our main focus now as a national team is getting through the qualification and getting to Russia,” he said.

The 24-year-old Bateau spent close to three years with Belgian Pro League club KV Mechelen, breaking into the T&T senior team during that time and establishing himself as a starting player for the “Soca Warriors”. His performances during the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup was proof of his progress.

Now he’s hoping to continue his rise in Russia.

“I feel optimistic about this move to Russia. It was a decision I made based on the situation at my last club concerning playing time and I did it with the World Cup qualifiers in my mind because it was difficult for me to keep in shape for the recently concluded Gold Cup after being on the bench for about three months or more and at this point in my career playing time is very important, Bateau said on Tuesday.

He added: “The coach of Sovetov was the coach of Mechelen the season before last but just for a few months so he knows my qualities and also he believes I have what it takes to play at a high level and I think that is always a plus to have a coach that has confidence in you.”