With Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers now sitting on top of its Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying group table, another national team, this time the Under 17 Men, will be aiming to emulate their senior counterparts in a few weeks time.
Currently the National Under 17 Men’s Team is preparing for the Caribbean Football Union leg of the qualification for the 2017 FIFA Under 17 World Cup. Details have not been finalized by the CFU but the tournament is slated for July and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association is pushing ahead with the preparation of the team. Head Coach Ken Elie has been overseeing preparations since last year June.
The 2017 FIFA Under 17 World Cup will be hosted by India which is the first time any FIFA tournament will be staged there. Four teams from CONCACAF will qualify for the 24-nation World Cup slated for September 2017.
“Between June and December we did screening which also entailed specific training , technical and physical work,” Elie told TTFA Media.
The squad engaged in a five-day training camp in December and the squad was cut to thirty two players. Following a break at the end of 2015, the preparations resumed in January and the squad is now at forty players according to Elie.
“There are four very special players in the squad. We have a couple outstanding players from the SSFL and one in particular from W Connection. John Paul Rochford, who was on a training stint at Manchester City recently, is also there with us and when the squad comes together for the tournament, I am confident we will qualify for the CONCACAF Finals and then look to seal our place in India. It will be a difficult process to select the final team for the first tournament,” Elie continued.
The training program was halted to allow players to represent their local Pro League clubs over the past few weeks or so but will resume on Thursday with sessions at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium.
“This will be a very critical period for us because it will be close to our final selection and we are also looking to have a live-in camp in Tobago during which we will also have a further look at some players over there which I have already identified from a previous trip,” Elie said.
“All in all, we are working with the resources available and working hand in hand with the Association (TTFA) to get the best possible preparations for the team,” he ended.