Experienced North East Stars striker Cornell Glen was the most prominent name missing from the final 20-man squad when the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) announced its team for the upcoming 2012 Caribbean Cup in Antigua.
The squad, finalised after Monday night's training session, will be led by Jan Michael Williams, and includes four overseas-based players: midfielders Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada), Daneil Cyrus (Song Lam Nghe, Vietnam) Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia) and striker Willis Plaza, who is Cyrus' clubmate.
Head coaches Hutson Charles and Jamaal Shabazz were scheduled to conduct a final training session last evening at Marvin Lee Stadium before this morning's trip to St John's, Antigua, ahead of Friday's tournament opening clash with Haiti at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
Commenting on the squad, Charles, who has guided T&T to five victories and a draw in six Cup qualifying matches, said he was satisfied that the best possible squad available has been selected.
"We have had the majority of these players together for much of the campaign so far, and I think this is the best possible squad we can have on paper heading into the finals," Charles told TTFF media officer Shaun Fuentes.
"We sat down and did our assessment and looked at the current readiness of the players in terms of their current form, fitness level and the same applied in relation to these players who we brought into the mix from outside of Trinidad and Tobago.
"We felt that it would make sense to maintain the majority of the squad that has been together for the previous six games," he said.
Charles is satisfied that T&T are physically prepared for the Haiti encounter, and said his team will now talk tactics for the match.
"…By the time we get to Antigua it's basically just over a day before we play our first game," he said. "Jamaal has brought all the information to us on the Haiti team because he was in charge of Guyana for their meeting in the previous round, so we know what to expect from them and we will do our best to prepare the team as best as possible to meet that challenge."
The four semi-finalists (top two teams from each group) will qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is slated for July 2013. The 2012 champions of the Caribbean Cup will receive a grand prize of US $100,000. The runners-up will take home US $75,000. Third and fourth prizes are US $50,000 and US $30,000 respectively.
T&T has won the regional title on eight occasions, more than any other country. Jamaica, the defending champions and the only standing Caribbean country in the 2014 World Cup qualifying race, have won it five times. Martinique and Haiti have each won the tournament once.
Jamaica are two-time defending champions, and have won three of the last four editions.
Final T&T squad:
Goalkeepers: Jan Michael Williams (W Connection), Marvin Phillips (Central FC)
Defenders: Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps), Aubrey David (Caledonia AIA), Seon Power (North East Stars), Joevin Jones (W Connection), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Kareem Moses (North East Stars)
Midfielders: Daneil Cyrus (Song Lam Nghe, Vietnam), Kevin Molino (Unattached), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia), Kevon Carter (Defence Force), Keyon Edwards (Caledonia AIA), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA), Ataullah Guerra (Caledonia AIA)
Forwards: Willis Plaza (Song Lam Nghe, Vietnam), Richard Roy (Defence Force), Devon Jorsling, (Defence Force), Jamal Gay (Caledonia AIA).