T&T Prepare For Shell/Umbro

Marc Purcell
Date Published: 

Trinidad and Tobago open there defense of the Shell/Umbro tournament with Antigua at the Hasley Crawford stadium. However, they enter this tournament ranked as underdogs to World Cup qualifiers Jamaica. Like last year this tournament will once again pit a rebuilding, inexperience squad against their Caribbean rivals.

Having that in mind several foreign based players have come in to help T&T lift the trophy for the fifth time in a row and seventh overall. David Nahkid (New England) will lead the national team, he will have as supporting cast: forward Stern John and defender Ancil Elcock (Columbus Crew), Clint Marcelle (Barnsley, England), Tony Rougier (Hibernian), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers) and Sheldon Thomas (South China). T&T will be without Dwight Yorke who vowed never to play for T&T during the Shell/Umbro cup and Russell Latapy who is currently involved in an impasse with TTFA President Oliver Camps.

Sheldon Thomas steps in for Jerren Nixon who asked to be excused due to club commitments. He impressed head coach Bertile St. Clair in the team practice. Thomas, a 23 year old midfielder/striker, was a NCAA All Star at Call State-Fullerton in 1996. He was drafted by the Orange County Zodiac in the A-league last year, but chose to ply his trade in Hong Kong with South China in the Chinese first division.

Bertile St. Clair in keeping with his tradition of rebuilding has called up several young players. He called up goalkeeper Richard Goddard, Kerwyn "Hardest" Jemmott and defender Keyeno Thomas all of whom are 19 years old. Also entering the squad is under 21 Joseph Peters and under 23's Lyndon Andrews and standout striker Irasto Knights. Completing the rest of the squad is Shurland
David, Dale Saunders, Rodney Dennis and Sherwyn Julien.

The foreign based players have had little time to prepare for the tournament. Most of them came home last weekend and captain David Nahkid arriving on Monday. However, Nahkid stated that the team's involvement in the Gold Cup in February gives the team a "big advantage."

Trinidad and Tobago will open with Antigua, they move on to tougher competition in Martinique who have always played them tough on Friday night and finish the first round with Dominica on Sunday.

Flash: T&T 3 vs Dominica 2 details later, Jamaica 4 vs Cayman Islands 0

Jamaica coming strong.

You have to be suffering from brain damage if you don't think that Jamaica is not favorites to win the Shell/Umbro cup this year. They are coming off a creditable performance at the World Cup and full of fight to become regional champions.

In the squad will be Walter Boyd and Onandi Lowe as the main strike force. Veteran Peter Cargil, Thedore Whitmore and recent Bolton Wanderers signing Ricardo Gardner is expected to run the midfield. The back line for Jamaica is solid with Ian Goodison, Christopher Dawes and Fabian Davis. Who goes between the pipes is going to be interesting. Jamaica has an embarrassment of riches in veteran Warren Barrett or Lawrence. Jamaica is without seven of there English born players but head coach Carl Brown speaking to the Jamaica Gleaner stated that even though the players will be missed the local contingent will do well.

Jamaica open the tournament with the Cayman Islands, The World Cup has only served to provide experience for this tournament.