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Trinidad and Tobago head coach Tom Saintfiet announced his 20-man squad this evening for the two upcoming CFU Gold Cup playoff matches against Suriname and Haiti.

The only addition to the list that was in the squad for the recent Nicaragua matches is English-based midfielder Andre Boucaud.

Saintfiet revealed that he took a decision to omit Daneil Cyrus and Jomal Williams from the 20-man squad due to both players arriving to a residential camp at Cara Suites Hotel more than an hour after the scheduled time. US-based player Joevin Jones was also in the initial 20-man squad but was also released after the player failed to report to camp. The players recalled are Trevin Caesar, Curtis Gonzales and Akeem Roach.

Saintfiet spoke more about his decision moments before a training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Sunday evening.

T&T 20-man squad

Adrian Foncette,  Glenroy Samuel.Carlos Edwards (captain), Curtis Gonzales, Carlyle Mitchell,Radanfah Abu Bakr,Maurice Ford; Hughtun Hector, Alvin Jones,Kevan George, Nathan Lewis, Aikim Andrews,  Hashim Arcia, Tyrone Charles Cornell Glen, Shahdon Winchester, Akeem Roach,Trevin Caesar, Aubrey David and Andre Boucaud.

Trinidad and Tobago senior men, spurred on by three well taken goals from Cornell Glen, Carlyle Mitchell and Aikim Andrews overcame Nicaragua 3-1 in the second of two international friendlies at the National Football Stadium in Managua on Friday night.

As was the case in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat, T&T found themselves trailing in the first half as Daniel Cadena placed his shot past Adrian Foncette to put the hosts 1-0 ahead the 25th minute after some untidy work at the back by T&T. But the visitors were much didn’t let their opponents pull away this time as Tom Saintfiet’s men maintained good organisation and shape and created far better openings than in Tuesday’s match.

Saintfiet introduced Glen, Tyrone Charles, Carlyle Mitchell and midfield workhorse Kevan George into his starting team and it paid dividends. Glen and Mitchell got on the scoresheet while Charles looked the part alongside George in the midfield, both men putting in a solid shift on the artificial surface.

Defender Maurice Forde made his second straight appearance but couldn’t do much about the opening goal as Jaime Moreno left him on the surface before squaring for Cadena to slot past Foncette for the go ahead item.

Glen would trouble the Nicaraguan defence after, managing two back to back attempts at goal but goalkeeper Diedrich Tellez was up to the task both times.

But the former Columbus Crew striker would make it count soon after. Mitchell played on a diagonal ball on the right of the box for a lurking Glen and he kept his balance to volley into the turf and past Tellez for the equaliser in the 37th minute.

Six minutes after the interval, Glen won a free kick midway into the opponents half and Hector floated one in for Mitchell to clinically convert with a neat glancing header to put T&T 2-1 ahead.

T&T were not being troubled at this point but Nicaragua still managed a couple looks on goal as the half progressed. But T&T would pull further away as Mitchell tussled with three defenders inside the area, going down in the process before the ball came out for Andrews who took one touch before striking a superb right footed volley into the far left corner to push T&T 3-1 ahead.

Substitutes Daneil Cyrus and Shahdon Winchester muffed further opportunities for T&T but Saintfiet and his men would surely be leaving Managua for Port of Spain with some level of satisfaction on Saturday morning.

Saintfiet’s Post-Match Comments

“As a coach you want to win every match and I was very disappointed after the first match that we lost 2-1. I felt the players deserve more for the effort. So it was very important I think in my mind and in the players mind to get a good result before we travel back.

“It was the last game of 2016 and if we could win this match we would be in a stronger psychological mood to start the competition against Suriname and Haiti. And it think it was a very clear good performance not only tactically but also physically and mentally where we proved today that we could win this match and the result will help us naturally in the near future,” Saintfiet said.

He commended more than handful of players for their efforts.

“It’s always difficult to say because we also have to respect the players that played last Tuesday. They also played quite well last match. Today the guys who came in like Kevan George, Carlyle Mitchell, Tyrone Charles and Cornell Glen did fantastic but it’s not only them, it’s a whole team performance. Even after the changes I have to think of players like Aikim Andrews and other players who performed well. I think we as a team don’t have one, two, three big players but we have a team performance of 20-23 players who are playing on a high level. Sure today some players showed that they deserved to be on the national team. I think some were a little bit out of selection for a long period and they wanted to prove something and I hope in the coming weeks they can continue that.”

He spoke of the value of the two-week training camp including the two friendlies in Managua.

“I think it’s very important and I am very happy that the Association could organise these matches in a short period of time. People sometimes people forget that I am only two and half, three weeks in Trinidad and that I saw only a few league matches and I had not a lot of time to select and to find the right players for the coming weeks. So this two-week training camp plus these two friendly matches helped me a lot to know which players are ready, which system is best and how we can be prepared for Suriname and Haiti. I am a very happy coach that we use these days between Christmas and New Years to prepare our team because we have made a lot of steps forward.”

T&T resumes preparations on Sunday evening ahead of their CFU Gold Cup playoff encounter against Suriname on Wednesday January 4th from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Tickets for the upcoming Gold Cup playoff matches are now on sale at all Lotto Locations nationwide.There are three in one season tickets for the three matches costing $$100 for adults and $45 for children. Single match tickets cost $50 for Adults and $20 for children. TTFA Season Pass holders can access the games at no additional cost. Those TTFA Season Passes which includes access to the World Cup qualifiers also, are available at First Citizen’s Banks nationwide.

Trinidad and Tobago 22.Adrian Foncette (GK); 11.Carlos Edwards (captain) (4.Curtis Gonzales, 69’), 12.Carlyle Mitchell, 6.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 17.Maurice Ford; 15.Hughtun Hector (16.Alvin Jones 72’);19.Kevan George, 8.Nathan Lewis (18.Aikim Andrews 53’), 14.Hashim Arcia (5.Daneil Cyrus, 81), 7.Tyrone Charles (23.Jomal Williams, 81’); 13.Cornell Glen (10.Shahdon Winchester, 75’).

Unused substitutes: Glenroy Samuel (GK), 9.Akeem Roach, 20.Trevin Caesar.

Aubrey David (sidelined with injury)

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team went down 2-1 to Nicaragua as they conceded early goals on either side of half time in the first of two international friendlies at the National Football Stadium in Managua on Tuesday night.

Playing before just over 5,000 fans at the FIFA Goal Project football stadium which the hosts uses for all its international matches, the home team surged ahead in the 3rd minute when Luis Peralta was left free inside the box and headed downwards past Adrian Foncette from a left side delivery.

The early goal surprised T&T which was playing with two debuts in its starting team, Club Sando forward Akeem Roach and W Connection defender Maurice Forde. Skipper Carlos Edwards made his first start since 2013 while Radanfah Abu Bakr, Aubrey David, Jomal Williams and Hughtun Hector all got starts as well. Defenders Carlyle Mitchell, Daneil Cyrus and Cornell Glen were on the bench at the start but both made second half appearances. Aikim Andrews was not in the squad, after staying back in Trinidad due to a passport issue and Kevan George arrived from Jacksonville on Tuesday night.

The first half was not bright for the visitors as head coach Tom Saintfiet, in his first match in charge of T&T and in his 50th FIFA international outing as a head coach, observed the 4-2-3-1 formation in a game situation after two weeks of preparations. Defence Force forward Hashim Arcia was the second forward and he would later pull a goal back for T&T with a well taken item in the 76th minute.

Fondete conceded again just after the restart when Daniel Cadena struck a volley from roughly 35 yards out which beat the custodian all ends up after initial appeals for a hand ball offence on the goalscorer.

Saintfiet introduced Glen and Tyrone Charles in the 54th minute and both injected some life into the T&T attack. Charles delivered one from the left with the outside of his right foot which Glen just missed out on latching onto well into the area. And the Charles would later unleash a right footed free kick from 20 yards out which clipped the crossbar.

Daneil Cyrus came into a midfield position in the 80th alongside another substitute Curtis Gonzales while Trevin Caesar replaced Nathan Lewis in the 66th.

Foncette had one further save to make as the match winded down with T&T unable to level the scores leaving Nicaragua with the 2-1 victory.

Both teams will meet again on Friday as T&T continues its build up towards the CFU Fifth place playoff matches (Gold Cup qualifiers) against Suriname on January 4th and Haiti on January 8th at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Saintfiet’s Post Match Comments

“As a coach you don’t like to lose. I am disappointed with the result but I can’t be too disappointed in the performance of the team. Nicaragua were full strength and naturally we missed a lot of players. We gave some opportunities for players to make their debuts with a lot of young players in the squad and it was the first game after only two weeks in training together.

“First half I think it was a neutral game. Both team didn’t really create chances and it was a little bit sad that Nicaragua scored immediately after a few minutes. It was a goal out of a standard situation with two players didn’t follow instructions of what was done in advance.

“The second half we wanted the make the equaliser but surprisingly they scored out of first of all, a hand ball in the midfield, but secondly, a world class goal with a player shooting from 30-40 metres. We were now pushed to score two goals.

“Tyrone Charles came on and did well. He hit the cross bar with a fantastic free kick and then he had a good cross. We had a chance to make it 2-1 but it didn’t happen. Then Hashim Arcia scored a good goal 15 minutes from the end. We tried to press more and we had some good occasions. Also Cornell Glen played very well, was pressing a lot and we tried to go for 2-2 and of course it means the opponent could have some chances as we opened up a bit at the back.

“It was also difficult on the artificial pitch but we can’t change that surface. It was a very disappointing result but a satisfying performance for the first time of this team. Sure there were some weaknesses which we have to improve on and be ready for the future for the most important games against Suriname and Haiti and then Mexico and Panama.

“I am a football coach who likes to look into the future. I saw a lot of good things. I saw a committed team which played very well in the organisation, which made some small mistakes that the opponents scored out of. I think it was a decent start with disappointing result,” Saintfiet stated.

West Indies allrounder  Deandra Dottin was taken to hospital over a suspected concussion today.

She was playing for Brisbane Heat against Melbourne Stars in the Women's Big Bash League at Allan Border field when she collided head first with team-mate Laura Harris on the boundary.

Her x-rays - to check for any cheekbone damage - and tests will be reviewed by the doctors and the next course of action subsequently decided by Wednesday, according to a report on the Cricket Australia site.

The West Indies Cricket Board Twitter handle later said Dottin was out of the hospital but fractured her cheek bone and would "most likely" require surgery, which could be done later in the week in Brisbane*.

The site reported that the incident happened in the 11th over of the chase, when Meg Lanning hit seamer Haidee Birkett over midwicket. Dottin and Harris were the fielders in the vicinity and, while trying to prevent the ball from crossing the boundary, they crashed into each other.

DOTTIN HOSPITAL

Dottin seemed to land awkwardly on a kit bag and was stretchered off the field by the medical staff. Harris was thrown into the picket fence, but she felt well enough to remain at the ground until the end of the match, which Heat won by five runs.

This incident came a day after Heat's Holly Ferling suffered a concussion from her head striking hard into the turf while trying to take a catch. She was not able to play Tuesday's game as a result.

The Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team completed their residential training camp with an early morning  session at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium on Saturday and will depart Port of Spain for Managua, Nicaragua at 5:30pm on Sunday for its two upcoming International Friendlies against the Nicaragua Senior Team on December 27th and 30th.

Saintfiet was in good spirits as he spoke about the preparations so far ahead of what will be his first international assignment since taking up the position of head coach earlier this month.

“ I am very satisfied. It’s a big opportunity for me as a new coach, not having much time to see a lot of league matches, to train the boys and you can teach them your tactics and I have seen a lot of improvement. We started about six days ago and the boys are very committed and working very hard to improve,” Saintfiet told TTFA Media.

“We need to get the spirit back. It will be a very difficult task in Nicaragua because they are also a good team and they are preparing for the Copa Centroamericana,” he added.

Commenting on the training schedule during the holiday period and being away from home from Christmas day until New Year’s Eve, Saintfiet stated “I think the players coped very well with that, They are very professional minded. They know this is important for the country. We are not here for ourselves, We are in the first place to defend Trinidad and Tobago, to qualify for the Gold Cup and in the later stage for the World Cup.

“We are here on a mission and even if you have duty, there are people working all over the world who will not be with their families. We are professional football players. We know this is very important for the country.

“After the training today, the players are released. They go to their families and can enjoy the time with their families for more than 24 hours and tomorrow (Sunday) in the late afternoon we will fly to Nicaragua, I think everyone will still have a little bit of Christmas feeling but the focus on football will not be far away,” Saintfied said.

“If you want to be professional, you have to cope with that. In Europe, in England, in Belgium, they play on Christmas day, they play in January 2nd and sometimes on January 1st, so I think it’s a choice we make as coaches and players. If you want to be in this business at the highest level sometimes you have to sacrifice some things,” Saintfiet added.

Saintfied also made it clear that the final selection of players for the Nicaragua matches was his decision.

“I don’t like to be in the media every day. I think it’s not needed to always have discussions on what people think about the national team…we know what we are doing,” he said.

“It is very clear that when I arrived here I had only a short period of time so I consulted with people with my knowledge of how I want to play. They were informed what type of players I was looking for and I watched a lot of games. The final selection that will go to Nicaragua is one hundred percent my choice.

“I decided which players I wanted to select and I was very clear when I met the players that from Tuesday we go into camp and players who decide to go and play for their club, they will not be selected for the national team (for the training camp and matches vs Nicaragua). So in that way, it was not my choice who was not in the camp because they decided not to be in camp but the full selection is naturally very clear – my choice in consultation with my technical team but the final decision is the head coach’s”.

The squad got time off on Saturday evening and will re-assemble on Sunday evening for the flight to Nicaragua via Panama City.

TTFA Vice President Ewing Davis will travel with the contingent as Chef de Mission and Technical Director Muhammad Isa will also accompany the team for the two matches.

T&T 21-man squad for Nicaragua

Adrian Foncette (Police FC)

Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars)

Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land)

Radanfah Abu Bakr (Sillamae Kallen)

Daneil Cyrus (W Connection)

Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa)

Maurice Forde (W Connection)

Alvin Jones (W Connection)

Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force)

Akeem Roach (Club Sando)

Kevan George (Jacksonville Armada)

Aikim Andrews (W Connection)

Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC)

Nathan Lewis (Jabloteh FC)

Tyrone Charles (Jabloteh FC)

Carlos Edwards (Ma Paul Stars)

Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues)

Hughtun Hector (W Connection)

Shahdon Winchester (Murcielagos FC)

Hashim Arcia (Defence Force)

Cornell Glen (Ozone FC Bengalaru)

Not Travelling – Marvin Phillip (Injured), Triston Hodge (Disciplinary)

Phil Simmons, the former West Indies coach, was appointed as the head coach of Caribbean Premier League franchise St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots for the 2017 season, on Thursday (December 22). Since making their debut in 2015, the Patriots have failed to finish among the top-four and have shown plenty of intent ahead of the next year's edition.

They have already secured the signature of flamboyant opener Chris Gayle, who spent the previous four seasons with Jamaica Tallawahs.

"We expect that Phil's experience and local knowledge will help the Patriots achieve improved performances in our 2017 Hero CPL campaign, and will bring the ultimate success that our fans and sponsors deserve" said Uday Nayak, the co-owner and principal of the franchise, following the appointment.

Simmons expressed his delight after landing the role and is hopeful of bringing success to the franchise by collaborating with Gayle. "I would like to thank the owners and management for offering me this exciting opportunity to lead the squad," Simmons said. "I am aware of the immediate challenges we are facing and I will do all possible to ensure that we achieve improved results.

"I am very pleased with the recent signing of Gayle. This is a major boost for me coming in as the new coach and I look forward to working closely with Chris to bring the desired success to the St. Kitts & Nevis franchise".

In a career spanning almost 12 years, Simmons played 26 Tests and 143 One-Day Internationals for West Indies. After his retirement, he had coaching stints with Zimbabwe and Ireland, before guiding West Indies to the ICC World Twenty20 title earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Dwayne Smith has been re-signed by Barbados Tridents, with whom he enjoyed success in 2014 and 2015. The aggressive right-handed opening batsman hit 353 runs at an average of 44.12 to lead Tridents to the title in 2014. Smith spent the 2016 season with Guyana Amazon Warriors.

"It is great to have Dwayne back with us," said Kieron Pollard, the Tridents' skipper. "Dwayne has been instrumental in our best performances and he will be crucial in our plans to win the championship in 2017," he added.

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