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No airfare so Toussaint out
T&T senior men’s hockey squad, led by Darren Cowie, will have to do without the services of Australian-based forward Akim Toussaint for the eight-team International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Hockey World League Round Two qualifiers. T&T hosts the event which will take place at the T&T Hockey Board at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, from Saturday to April 2.
The news of Toussaint’s absence was confirmed by confirmed yesterday by team officials, who cited the financial cost of $20,000 to get Toussaint back to T&T as the main hindrance.
Toussaint, left T&T two weeks ago to pick up a job as player/coaching at Australia’s Southern River Hockey Club, and there was confirmation from his new employers that should the proper arrangements be made to have him returned to Australia, and if not, then he will be allowed to leave.
However, due to limited financial resources the T&THB was unable to meet the $20,000 bill to cover his travel expenses from and Australia and back.
But while, Toussaint misses out, T&T coach, Glen “Fido” Francis will welcome veteran and most capped T&T player, Kwandwane Browne back into the fold today.
Browne, the player/coach at English Premier Hockey League club, Halmstead & Westminster, along with Tariq Marcano (St Albans), are the two overseas—based players in the squad.
Browne will be making his national team return, his first appearance since a torn Achilles tendon on his left foot in 2015 prior to the Pan American Games in Canada, while his last competitive outing for national team was the FIH World League Round Two qualifiers in California, in 2014 while Marcano, coming off his first professional season is due to arrive tomorrow.
In the eight-team event, host T&T, will compete in Pool B alongside Russia (#22), Japan (#16), and Switzerland (#30) while Pool A consists of Barbados (#48), Chile (#25), Malaysia (#14), and USA (#27).
At the end of the tournament the top three teams will qualify to the Hockey World League Semifinals (Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers) which will be held in June and July this year.
Prior to its opening match versus Switzerland on March 25, T&T will play three warm-up matches versus Barbados (Monday March 20th), Chile (March 21st) and USA, two days later.
Apart from the overseas duo and Cowie, the other experienced campaigners in goalkeeper Andrey Rocke, Mickell Pierre, Marcus James, Aidan De Gannes, Stefan Mouttet, Jordan Reynos, Jordan Vieira and Shaquille Daniel, son of former national senior men’s hockey player and Commonwealth Games Rifle Shooting medallist, Roger Daniel while the players promoted from the Pan American Junior Men’s Championship team include Teague Marcano, Tariq’s younger brother, and Emmanuel brothers Kwasi, Kristien and Kieron, and Byer duo, Danielle and Lyndell.
This is T&T’s third time participating in the World League after making its debut in 2012.