This country’s senior men’s hockey team continued its build-up towards the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada later this month with 3-3 draw against host Mexico in Guanajuato, Mexico on Tuesday to conclude a four-match tour.
Getting the goals for the T&T squad was Defence Force forward Mickell Pierre, inform Paragon player Kiel Murray and Courts Malvern teenager Tariq Marcano.
With the draw, T&T ended the four match series which also included Central American and Caribbean Games champions Cuba, with one and three defeats.
On Monday, T&T, beaten by Cuba 6-1 in the CAC final last November suffered a 5-2 loss against the same with Pierre and Murray the players on target in the loss for the T&T.
The other loss for the Darren Cowie-led world 29th ranked T&T, was 1-0 to Mexico, despite having a number of chances which included a Murray penalty-stroke that was saved by the Mexican custodian.
When the three-team warm-up series flicked off on Friday last, T&T and Courts Malvern goalkeeper Andrey Rocke pulled off a number of saves in the penalty shoot-out to earn his team victory after a 1-1 draw with Cuba at the end of regulation time with Murray scoring the decisive penalty.
Speaking just before the team left Mexico for their pre-Pan Am Games camp in Canada, national coach Francis said the Mexico camp was very beneficial to his team.
A former national goalkeeper, Francis said, “The camp was very productive and we were able to play high quality matches where they were able to see the speed of the game at the international level and we were adapted to it with great effect.”
He added, “It is also noteworthy that we have some very young players and they also adapted pretty well to the level. We are still in the process of working on a lot of stuff tactically and using players in different roles and positions to see how they will react to match situations at the Pan American Games and it was really great to see how they responded.”
Yesterday, the T&T squad departed Mexico for Toronto for another camp before entering the Games Village on July.
For the tri-nation series in Mexico, T&T was without Australian-based duo, Akim Toussaint and Stefan Mouttet as well as Aidan De Gannes with the reserve trio of Lyndell Byer, Teague Marcano and Jordan Vieira making the trip,
But barring any injuries to any member of the team, Byer, Marcano (Teague) and Vieira will return to T&T tomorrow with Toussaint, Mouttet and De Gannes joining the team in Canada.
For the eight-team Pan American Games, T&T will be without injured standout and most capped player, Kwandwane Browne, who will serve as an assistant to Francis will campaign in Pool A against Argentina, Cuba and USA.
Browne’s Olympic Games hopes and T&T chances of a medal finish at the Pan American Games suffered a blow early last month when he sustained a torn achilles tendon left leg injury, forcing the 18-year national team veteran with over 300-appearance to his name, out of the tournament in Canada.
However, having completed his surgery and started his recovery which will take between six and nine months, Browne, the current England Under-21 assistant coach and coach for National League Premier Division’s Canterbury, will now serve the T&T men’s team in the role as an assistant coach to Francis.
He has represented T&T at four Commonwealth Games as well as four Pan American Games and three Pan American Cup, and in 2012/13 won the award for England Hockey High Performance Coach of the Season.
His last competitive outing for T&T at the FIH World League Round Two qualifiers in San Diego, California in March.
T&T men: Stefan Mouttet, Akim Toussaint, Dillet Gilkes, Aidan De Gannes, Ishmael Campbell, Darren Cowie, Shaquille Daniel, Solomon Eccles, Kristien Emmanuel, Tariq Marcano, Che Modeste, Kiel Murray, Mickell Pierre, Jordan Reynos, Andrey Rocke, Christopher Scipio.
Technical staff: Glenn “Fido” Francis (coach), Kwandwane Browne (assistant coach), Kirth Davis (manager), Nicholas Baldeosingh (videographer)