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T&T Olympic footballers resume preparations

Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 head coach Angus Eve resumed preparations for the final round of Olympic qualification with sessions yesterday and today  (9 a.m.-noon) at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

Eve welcomed the return of Sporting Kansas defender Daneil Cyrus, who was sidelined through injury for the majority of the 2011 season.

Cyrus is in Eve's current training squad, along with fellow overseas-based players  Kevin Molino of Orlando City, former Under-20 striker Qian Grosvenor, Sean De Silva, Stephan Berkeley and Chike Sullivan.

Eve is preparing his team for the upcoming CONCACAF final round, during which T&T will face Mexico, Honduras and Panama in California, USA from March 23.

The former T&T captain remained positive ahead of the competition.

"We've resumed training and I think the boys are just as enthusiastic as they were before the break, which is always good news for a technical staff and there are no particular injuries to report," Eve told Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) media officer Shaun Fuentes.

"It's been a year or more we've been together as a group so they  know the system of play that we are trying to perfect. It's always difficult when players go back to their clubs and have to learn something different or adapt to a different type of preparation, but our guys fitted back in well into our programme. They also seemed well rested, which is good for us because they were coming off a year of non-stop training and action.

 "Unfortunately, we did not have the W Connection players because they are involved in a 'combine' with Seattle Sounders and the Caledonia players just returned from Guyana, but we are expected to have the full slate on Wednesday," Eve added.

He also touched on the inclusion of a few of the US-based players, adding: "We had a chance to look at them during a couple of the sessions last week and I was pleased that they got the opportunity to make a claim for selection. Regarding Daneil Cyrus, he is definitely part of the training squad, but while he is no longer having any pain, there is some bit of stiffness due to the type of injury he sustained and he will be working closely with the therapist to regain full fitness in the coming weeks."

 The T&T Olympic team will face Finland's senior team in a friendly in Tobago on January 25. Finland will also play the national senior team three days earlier.

El Salvador will clash with Canada while the United States will start against Cuba to open the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying finals. Group A will begin play in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday March 22, with Group B in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson to follow the next day, pitting defending champions Honduras against Panama and T&T versus Mexico.

The groups will alternate play for the next four days, with the United States taking on northern neighbours Canada on March 24 and Mexico clashing with Honduras on March 25.

The group winners will face the runners-up in the opposite groups on Saturday March 31 in Kansas City, Kansas, with the victors qualifying for the London Olympic Games July 27-August 12.

The semi-final winners will play Monday night in Kansas City.

T&T Olympic team training squad:

Adam's Construction San Juan Jabloteh —Sheldon Bateau, Leslie Russell

Caledonia AIA—Jamaal Gay, Trevin Caesar, Aquil Selby, Micah Lewis, Zane Coker, Nuru Abdullah Mohammad

St Ann's Rangers—Akil Clarke, Kareem Moses, Cameron Roget

W Connection—Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams, Jomal Williams, Andre Quashie

T&TEC—Jayson Joseph, Aubrey David, Marcus Joseph

DirecTV North East Stars—Jeromie Williams, Kaydion Gabriel, Andre Marchan, Jean Luc Rochford

Defence Force—Sheldon Clarke, Curtis Gonzales

WASA FC—Marcus Chandoor

Overseas-based—Kevin Molino, Sean De Silva, Daneil Cyrus, Qian Grosvenor, Chike Sullivan

and Stephan Berkeley

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