Having selected what, he believes to be a formidable squad, Trinidad and Tobago’s Head coach Angus Eve is now hopeful that is Soca Warriors will deliver the goods when the lock horns with Canada in their Copa America playoff encounter in Frisco, Texas, next week.

In fact, Eve would love nothing more than for March 23 to mark another special day in the annals of the twin island republic’s football history by taking the Canadians scalp and, by extension, securing a spot in the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America.

The winner of the one-off encounter will make a debut appearance at the Copa America tournament, where they will contest group A alongside Chile, Peru and reigning Fifa World Cup champions Argentina. United States, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama are the other Concacaf teams in the tournament.

“We know how important the game is, this would be one of the most prestigious tournaments to go and represent our country in, if we get the victory. (A win) will put us on a different level, on a different map. That would open up a lot of doors for our players,” Eve said during a press conference shortly after naming his 23-player squad.

However, in order to win, Eve is well aware that the first need to defend well to keep the Canadians at bay, and also showcase their attacking prowess.

“We need to defend well—it’s like David against Goliath. It’s top players that they have, so we have to be astute defensively but also offensively. We have to express ourselves so that we can come out with a victory,” Eve declared.

The tactician has included Greece-based brothers, Levi and Judah Garcia in his squad, as both recently signalled a return to form from respective injuries.

“We’re very optimistic of Levi being fit and ready to play. He’s been doing well in [the Greek] League. He’s gone through injuries but we’re very happy to see the form that he’s in. Judah had a back injury and then a groin injury, so he was not available for us. He is back playing, he’s scoring goals, and we think that he can add goals from midfield,” Eve shared.

He also welcomed the return of Atlanta United midfielder Ajani Fortune to the Soca Warriors setup after a series of injuries.

“Ajani had some injuries that affected him, also he was fighting for a place in [his] team. We left him out sometimes by mutual consent, based on injury or a particular situation that was happening at his club,” Eve revealed.

That said, Eve declared that he selected his 23-man squad with a specific skillset in mind.

“[We looked at] the flexibility of the players, players being able to play multiple positions, based on the fact that we may want to change something during the game, and also the level of competition that the players are playing in, at this point in time. Also, giving the players who brought us to this point the opportunity to finish the job,” he ended.

Soca Warriors Squad: Christopher Biggette (Defence Force), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Denzil Smith (Club Sando FC), Aubrey David (CS Cartagines), Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers), Jesse Williams (Chattanooga FC), Robert Primus, Alvin Jones (both Police FC), Andre Raymond (GD Vilar De Perdizes), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC), Justin Garcia (Defence Force), Noah Powder (Northern Colorado Hailstorm), Daniel Phillips (St Johnstone FC), Kevon Goddard (Defence Force), Neveal Hackshaw (Oakland Roots), Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers), Nathaniel James (Mount Pleasant FA), Kaïlé Auvray ( Mount Pleasant FA), Real Gill (Northern Colorado Hailstorm), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens) Judah Garcia (AEK Athens B), Reon Moore (Pacific FC), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United).


While he welcomes a recent signal of form from Levi Garcia, Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s Head coach Angus Eve is not grandstanding about the striker’s return just yet. Instead, he hinted at a wait-and-see approach, as selection will be dependent on Garcia maintaining a clean bill of health.

Eve’s comments followed the 26-year-old’s brace, which assisted his club AEK Athens to a 4-0 away win over Lamia in round one of the Greece Super League playoffs, on Sunday.

Garcia, who missed two of his club's last three games with a slight injury, signalled a return to fitness with the brace after he was introduced as a 78th-minute substitute. His tally now stands on 13 goals in as many matches, as he sits third on the Greek Super League scoring chart, while the win pushed AEK Athens to the summit of the standings.

Though undecided, Eve is optimistic that Garcia will remain healthy and consistent in form, as he is still in the process of finalizing a formidable Soca Warriors squad to tackle Canada in the Copa America qualifying encounter on March 23.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about Levi maintaining his form, and hopefully staying injury-free,” Eve told T&T Newsday.

Plagued by injuries, Garcia has not played for the twin island republic since coming on as a second-half substitute in their 0-3 first-leg defeat to the United Stated in the Concacaf Nations League, late last year.

However, there is no doubt about the pace and flair that Garcia brings to the team, once he is healthy.

“As you know, we haven’t really played with Levi (recently) and we do have a number of players who are playing (consistently). When not injured, Levi has been in tremendous form for his club and we would only hope that he can maintain that level of intensity and match fitness that we can have with our ranks,” Eve shared.

“(But) Everyone has to fight for their place and once they maintain their fitness and their match fitness, which are two different things, they have the opportunity to play for the country,” he added.

Aside from Garcia, Eve pointed out that he has also been keeping tabs on Jong PSV’s Dante Gilbert, who has increased his playing time after returning from injury, along with Judah Garcia, Levi’s younger brother representing AEK Athens B.

“We keep abreast of all the players by communicating with them individually, the coaches and, for the injured ones, our medical department deals with them. We work in synchronization with the clubs,” he declared.

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