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Lawrence invests in 13 locals
T&T Head Coach Dennis Lawrence announced his 26-man roster for the upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifiers against Panama and Mexico on March 24th and 28th at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Lawrence made the announcement following a practice match among the current home-based players in the provisional squad at the Hasely Crawford training pitch on Saturday morning.
The squad includes thirteen home-based players and thirteen overseas-based players all heading to a residential camp from tomorrow. Already arriving and taking some part in yesterday’s session was European-based duo Khaleem Hyland and Radanfah Abu Bakr and India-based forward Willis Plaza.
Lawrence, who immediately spoke about the squad selection said, “I think it was important to assess the local group to see what was available. I think the local based players have responded very well to what we asked of them. We prepared them physically, mentally and tactically we tried as best as possible. We had to try and incorporate the players from abroad so we had to select based on the positions that were needed and required for what I want to do. In the end we put together a group that will give us the best possible chance of getting the result against Panama,” Lawrence told TTFA Media.
The former Everton assistant coach explained how he went about choosing the overseas-based players.
“With assessing the overseas based players, one of the things that was important was finding out how much game time they’ve been getting at the moment and their physical condition because obviously the boys that play in the MLS, their season is only two games in.
“We managed, by use of our contacts in the US, to speak to some of the personnel at the clubs and get physical data on the players which helped us a lot because we knew what physical condition they were in coming into our camp. It all then came back down to what I want to do and what I think is best for the team and we made the selection based on that,” Lawrence added.
“The players that worked with me locally had a head start on the players that were abroad because I had more contact time with them and I think a lot of them understand exactly what we are trying to do. which I believe was important. I think in this case it’s going to be the other way around where the local players are going to be the ones leading and I am hoping the players that come from abroad can just come in and it will be easier for them to integrate with the local players and their knowledge of what has been happening in the preparations so far and it should help us to gel together for the game.”
Lawrence touched on the programme for the next few days leading into Friday’s encounter at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“The programme is going to be focused on integrating the group as quickly as possible, to try and get on track and see how quickly we can go and execute what we want to do on the 24th. The work starts immediately as the players arrive. We had three of them here this morning and I think it was important for them to do some physical work and get the fight out of the legs. During the next couple of days in camp we are going to be doing sessions on the training pitch, sessions on the tactics board and doing match analysis on the opposition and ourselves with it being all geared up towards the game on Friday,” Lawrence stated.
Tickets for the two World Cup qualifiers are on sale at Lotto Locations nationwide priced at $350 (covered) and $200 (uncovered). Tickets for the two T&T Senior Women friendlies against Venezuela on March 26th and 29th are priced at $100 (adults) and $50 (children) and will be on sale at the Ato Boldon Stadium on gamedays.