The Trinidad and Tobago squad on tour in South America was reduced by one yesterday when goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was forced to return home following the death of his 10-month old son, Maitai.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, Phillip was scheduled to depart for Trinidad last night from Brazil where the team had just arrived, accompanied by assistant manager Peter Rampersad.
Team captain Kenwyne Jones was on hand when Phillip received the news as the goalkeeper used Jones’ mobile phone to make the call home during which he received the bad news.
“It’s a very difficult time for him and all of his right now,” Jones told TTFA Media.
“I am a father as well. There are a lot of fathers in the team and no one wants to go through something like this. Our prayers and thoughts are with Marvin and his family.”
The Cardiff City forward said the T&T team will now have to regain focus ahead of tomorrow’s match with Iran.
“We were coming off a good experience in Argentina. I think there has been a bit of a buzz in the camp and everyone was looking forward to Sunday’s match. We have to get our heads together again and channel our energies onto the football field as continue our preparations for Iran,” Jones added.
T&T will go into the match with just one goalkeeper in Jan-Michael Williams as Hart will not call a replacement ‘keeper. Williams was in goal when T&T were beaten 3-0 by Argentina in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
“We have a couple days here to do as much as we can. The sessions will not be intense because we had a game just a little more than a day ago, but we’ll be looking to do everything as right as we possibly can in relation to the match on Sunday. It’s good to be here and again it’s all part of the experience for our players. There is a lot happening football-wise right now. We are in the football capital of the world at the moment so there’s a lot to absorb at the same time,” Hart said.
T&T held their first training session on Brazilian soil yesterday at the Corinthians Training Stadium, on a day when it rained heavily in Sao Paulo.
Tomorrow’s international friendly against Iran is scheduled for the training field at the same venue where Brazil will kick off the World Cup against Croatia.