Canadian-based defender says T&T U-20s will give their all

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 footballers will engage in their fine tune up ahead of Wednesday’s opening Caribbean Football Union Under 20 World Cup qualifier against Guadeloupe with a one-hour training session from 3:30pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday.

T&T’s opener is at 7:30pm on Wednesday against Guadeloupe and both teams will have their tournament regulated one-hour session at the game venue on the eve of the encounter. Turks and Caicos will also face St Lucia in the curtain raiser from 5pm. St Lucia’s Under 17s defeated T&T in the previous CFU qualifying series last year and T&T head coach Brian Williams has pointed out that the “Saints” will be coming to prove a point when both teams meet on Sunday in the group’s closing encounter.

“St Lucia we know will be no push overs, similar to the other teams in the group. They got the better of the Under 17s in the last CFU tournament and they will have the majority of the players in this current under 20 team. We expect that all the games will be tough and we have to be mentally and physically ready for the challenges,” Williams said.

“This Under 20 level is one of the more difficult levels in world football moreso because players are beginning to show their real qualities and whether they are capable of graduating to the senior level so there will be a lot to prove in this level of competition.”

T&T Forward Nicholas Dillon.
T&T Forward Nicholas Dillon.

Central FC forward Nicholas Dillon, one of the surviving members of the previous Under 20 team, says he is not pressured by the occasion nor the fact that he will be expected to shoulder much of T&T’s attacking responsibilities.

“I will not say that I feel pressured by the public or by what is expected of me because of the fact that I was part of the last Under 20 team. I think our main goal is to get out of the group and then go on to show that we belong among the best teams in CONCACAF. We will stay focused throughout and try to get the job done in the best possible way. We will not be complacent but at the same time we will not get carried away,” Dillon told TTFA Media.

Canadian-based defender Jacob Sooklal is a newcomer to the national set up, having earned his first final team selection. Sooklal was born in Duncan Village, San Fernando but moved to Ontario, Canada at age six. He trained with the previous Under 20 team at the age of 16 but did not make the final cut. Now he’s hoping to force his way into Williams team during this tournament.

T&T Defender Jacob Sooklal.
T&T Defender Jacob Sooklal.

“It feels great to be able to make the final squad this time. I had my first try out at the age of 16 but I didn’t make the team that year and I couldn’t try out for the U17s because the team was already picked,” the 18-year-old Sooklal said.

“But now I am hoping to press for some game time. It has been a bit of a challenge adjusting to the conditions here in the early days but I’m okay now. I think the difference between the game here and Canada is the speed f the game here, it’s faster and the skill level is higher. I’ve fitted in well with the team here. We had a live-in camp last weekend and I feel like I belong here.

“I think the team has a lot of potential and I would like the fans to not judge us too much based on what they see in the early stages but take into consideration the hard work that has gone on in the preparations and recognize the commitment and the sacrifices that have take place. We will do our best to get the results and make the country proud,” added.

Tickets for all matchdays will be sold at the Venue on those matchdays, priced at $20 (covered section) and $10 (uncovered).