T&T U-20s defeat Alpha United 2-1 in opening practice match

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 Men’s team secured their first win of a seven-day training camp in Guyana when they defeated club side Alpha United 2-1 on Friday evening.

Goals by captain Jabari Mitchell and Moses Jaikeran did the job for the Brian Williams-coached team which is preparing for the Caribbean Football Union Under 20 Final Round in Curacao next month.

Williams, speaking after the win, expressed some level of satisfaction with the way the team performed, clearing up the issue of T&T’s opponents during the training camp.

“We played against Alpha, one of the top clubs in Guyana. There was an adjustment when we reached here because initially we were supposed to play the national teams. But what was explained to us by Jamaal Shabazz when we arrived here is that he recently selected a pool of national players to prepare for the Caribbean Cup and right now they are into their preparations. So there was an arrangement where we would play the Alpha team which has a few national players and then play against an Elite All Star team on Sunday which is also made up of several of their local-based national players,” Williams told TTFA Media.

On the match itself, William added : “I was really pleases with the way our boys handle the match. It was very important for us to come here and play as it helped us as a team to refocus on the task at hand. Because of the distraction of secondary schools football and the club football back home, we were not getting the chance to really have proper training sessions involving all of the players and that was becoming a big concern for me as we get closer to the tournament.

“But coming here has allowed us to regroup and refocus and I am happy about that. We came in Wednesday and we had two good training sessions and the boys have been very positive so far. They put on a strong performance in the match which I felt was important for us.”

Williams also commented on the absence of players Tyrell “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney on Wednesday, the day the team departed for Georgetown.

“I am very disappointed about this. We selected twenty players which I confirmed earlier this week. Every player was spoken to and informed about the travel arrangements. Quinn Rodney did not show up at the airport. I spoke to his mother and his school teacher. But I understand the mother said afterwards that she had no money to send with her son on the tour which I could not understand because we were covering all expenses,” Williams said.

“And then ‘Pappy’ called me when I was on my way to the airport and said that his mother could not find his passport and due to his medical status with him still having some chest pains, he cannot make the trip. I asked him if he was playing in the evening for Shiva Boys and his response was no coach I am not playing. But I found out after that he scored for Shiva Boys later that day.

“Definitely these two players will not be eligible for selection for the CFU Final Round . I think this is a total disrespect to the national team by not turning up after being selected with travel and hotel arrangements already confirmed. I will not be including them in the selection for the Final round in Curacao. These two players have dropped themselves. I have already spoken to the TTFA President David John-Williams and technical director Muhammad Isa about this,” Williams stated.

The T&T U-20 head coach  will announce his final 23-man squad for the CFU Finals on Tuesday following the end of the training camp in Guyana. He added that players selected will not be allowed to play in the Secondary Schools League during the two-week period before the team departs T&T.

“The players selected in the final squad will not be allowed to play in the Secondary Schools League during the two-week period before we leave the country because are also scheduled to head to Panama shortly after for another training camp before arriving in Curacao for the tournament,” Williams said.