Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior team head coach Dennis Lawrence met with the media today to provide an update on the team’s preparations for the June 5th international friendly against Japan and the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup which commences for T&T on June 18th against Panama in Minnesota.
Lawrence disclosed that Norway-based defender Sheldon Bateau will not be in the squad for Concacaf’s premier event due to club matters. The Norwegian league will be ongoing during the break and Bateau has not been released by the club for the period. Bateau explained in a written statement below that he runs the risk of not only falling out of favour with his club but also facing further challenges in securing a new contract in July.
‘The idea was to try and get as close as possible to take the Gold Cup squad to Japan. Visa issues has hampered some of the decision making with the squad that goes to Japan. Sheldon Bateau will not be available for selection for the Gold Cup for personal reasons in regards commitments he had with his club. We had a long discussion about it,” Lawrence said.
Costa Rican-based defender Aubrey David is also without a US Visa at this time along with team physio Dave Isaac.
“The ones that are here at the moment have been working hard and all in all the boys are in good spirits. We leave on Friday for Japan. The preparations have gone to plan,” Lawrence added.
The team departs local shores on Friday for Aichi, Japan. The roster for the June 5th friendly will be announced on Thurday.
Sheldon Bateau Statement
I’m a firm believer of giving priority to my country. It has and always will be an honour for me to represent Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve been looking forward to the Gold Cup like everyone else and I’ve been in constant contact with coach Dennis over the past few months and weeks about my current situation at Sarpsborg.
As it stands, the Gold Cup dates are clashing with my club schedule. While, I have a great desire to battle for my country now, as I’ve done in the Gold Cup 2015 campaign, I am very aware of the effects not playing at club level can have on my ability to effectively represent my country in future tournaments and campaigns such as the World Cup 2022 Qualifying campaign. My decision will allow me to satisfy contractual obligations but also secure the possibility of honoring my commitment to the national team in the future. As much as I want to be side by side with the boys battling for my country, it saddens me to opt out of this year’s Gold Cup Campaign.