Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 17 Men’s team will be looking for a positive start to their 2019 CONCACAF Under 17 championship campaign when they face off with Bermuda in their opening fixture from 4pm on Wednesday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The top four teams from the competition will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Stern John-coached team arrived in Bradenton on Monday night and was scheduled to have their final training session at the venue at 2pm on Tuesday.
Seventeen players traveled from Port of Spain while three US-based players, Jerrel Nixon, Ajani Fortune and Curtis De Leon joined the team in Bradenton.
Heading into the fixture, head coach John said he would be seeking three points from the onset.
“We are here to compete and we’ve spoken about this as a team. That means we have three points to get in this opening game to give ourselves some breathing space for the remaining matches in the group,” John told TTFA Media.
“We’ve prepared as best as we can and now it’s down to the boys to execute. It’s up to them now as we cannot play from the bench. What we will do is guide them as best as we can. I am confident in their ability. I think the key will be to settle early because there will be some nerves at the start and that’s expected because it’s a first time for a lot of the boys. Once we put our heads down and play to our ability then we should be pulling off a result to give us a good head start,” John added.
Forward Justin Araujo Wilson is eager to put in a shift that will hopefully get T&T off on a right start.
“The preparation was very organised and well done to coach Stern and coach Kenwyne for bringing the boys together and pushing us hard to prepare for this tournament. We have to come out and work hard and win games for ourselves, our families and the country. Doing well in these kind of tournaments can save our lives,” said Araujo-Wilson.
“It’s mandatory for us to get three points. We know what we can do but we have to have something to show for it. I just like wearing the Red,White and Black because growing up watching the Soca Warriors play was good and now it’s a dream come true to play for the national team, he added.
The other group opponents Mexico and Jamaica will square off in the second match of the double header while other matches on the day includes El Salvador versus Guyana and Honduras versus Haiti. Fans can watch the game on Flow Sports 1 or subscribe on ConcacafGo.com.
The road to Brazil began for the region on 16 March this year, when 16 teams sought to qualify for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship 2019. Divided into four groups, the top side in each section qualified directly for the last 16 of the tournament’s final phase.
Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guadalupe and Nicaragua topped their respective groups earlier this month to progress.
Now, another 16 teams from the region will be divided into four groups. Those occupying the top three places in each group will advance to the last 16 knockout phase . The four teams that subsequently reach the semi-finals will qualify for Brazil 2019.
• Group E: Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda
• Group F: USA, Canada, Guatemala, Barbados
• Group G: Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Guyana
• Group H: Costa Rica, Panama, Suriname, Curacao
T&T U-17 Roster
Goalkeepers: Isaiah Williams (W Connection FC/Presentation College, San F’do), Kahlil Oliver (San Juan Jabloteh/Trinity College East);
Defenders: Nigel Carraby (W Connection FC/Presentation College, San F’do), Luke Savery (W Connection FC/St Mary’s College), Jordon Britto (San Juan Jabloteh/San Juan North Secondary), Cephas St Rose (W Connection FC/CTS College),
Isa Sayeed (Indy Premier Soccer/ Hamilton South-Eastern High School—USA);
Midfielders: Zachary Welch (North East Stars/Fatima College), Jaiye Sheppard (Unattached/Presentation College, San F’do), Tyrese Pierre (WSV Apeldoorn/Rivers International School—Netherlands), Andrew De Gannes (North East Stars/Fatima College), Curtis De Leon (North Carolina FC/ Leesville Road High School—USA), Gary Griffith III (North East Stars/Trinity College Moka), Jeremy Lashley (Internazionale of Edmonton/ Archbishop O’Leary Catholic High School—Canada), Kielon Burnett-Acevaro (W Connection FC/Carapichaima East Secondary), Kevan Kahoussi (NC Fusion/Crossroads Flex High School—USA), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United/Mc Eachern High School—USA);
Forwards: Justin Araujo-Wilson (San Juan Jabloteh/Virtual High School—Canada), Jean-Heim Mc Fee (Club Sando/Fatima College), Jerrell Nixon (Concorde Fire Soccer Club/Campbell High School—USA).