Smith relishing life in T&T's senior setup, eyes Copa America qualification

By Sports Desk November 25, 2023
Denzil Smith Denzil Smith T&T Newsday

To say that 2023 was an outstanding year for rising Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Denzil Smith would be an understatement.

Smith, who earned his first senior cap in March, has been a staple and standout performer for the Soca Warriors since, and by all indications, has no intentions of relinquishing his spot. In fact, the 24-year-old has boldly staked his claim as frontrunner to become the twin island republic’s next number one shot stopper.

“I always wanted this chance (to play for the senior team) and I waited for it for a long time. It’s a great feeling going out there to play against a big team and country. I feel great, to be honest,” Smith said, adding that his career path was inspired by the likes of now-retired Marvin Phillip and still in-action Andre Foncette and Canadian-based Nicklas Frenderup.

“Being around the national team for a while, I can say that these guys taught me a lot and I’m thankful for that,” he noted.

After two heroic performances between the sticks in Trinidad and Tobago’s 0-3 loss and 2-1 win against United States in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals, Smith has grown even more in confidence.

Though Trinidad and Tobago failed to make the Nations League semi-finals and qualify automatically for next year’s CONMEBOL Copa America, the Angus Eve-coached team still have a second shot at qualification for the prestigious South American tournament.

To do so, they will have to get by the other North American powerhouse Canada, in a single-match playoff scheduled for March, and Smith is cautiously optimistic about assisting his team towards the feat.

“What really motivated me during the Nations League was that chance to play in Copa America. I really want to play there and I know my teammates also want to play there, so that was our main driving force over the past few games,” Smith shared.

Until the opportunity comes to possibly deny Canada, Smith is looking ahead to the upcoming TTFL season to not only put his club Point Fortin in a position to challenge for the title, but also to improve his craft.

“I want to keep as much clean sheets as I can and help the (Point Fortin) boys to come and join me in the national team. I also want to help this side to qualify for the Concacaf tournaments. It will do wonders for the club,” Smith reasoned.

“My family is always behind me no matter what. My brother passed away a few years ago and everything I’m doing is for him. I really want T&T to qualify for the Copa American and, honestly, I want to get a big contract outside (of T&T),” he ended.

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