Trinidad and Tobago Replace Nicaragua In Gold Cup Group Stage
A Trinidad and Tobago national team set to feature up to three Canadian Premier League players has now been placed directly into the 2023 Gold Cup group stage instead of the preliminary qualifying rounds.
The bump upwards comes after Concacaf threw Nicaragua out of the tournament after the country was dinged for a severe violation of FIFA and Concacaf regulations, having fielded an ineligible player in eight national team matches.
The issue is rumoured to stem from Richard Rodriguez, a Nicaraguan midfielder who was born in Uruguay. While he became a citizen of the country after signing for Real Esteli, FIFA mandates that a naturalized player must live in the country of their citizenship for five years before becoming eligible, which he had not done prior to his debut in 2019.
The Soca Warriors now find themselves placed directly in Group A where they face tough opposition with the United States, their Caribbean rivals Jamaica, and an as-yet-undetermined opponent who will qualify through the preliminary round path they had initially embarked on.
Replacing Trinidad and Tobago in the preliminary round qualifiers will be Antigua and Barbuda.
There are three Canadian Premier League members who have cracked the Trinidad and Tobago roster: Andre Rampersad, Luke Singh, and Malcolm Shaw.
Rampersad captains the Halifax Wanderers and mde his T&T debut earlier this year, recording a win and a draw against the Bahamas and ill-fated Nicaragua. Atletico Ottawa’s Luke Singh has previously attended camps with both Canada and T&T, but the former TFC defender now looks set in a decision. Lastly, striker Malcolm Shaw – who also played for Ottawa – has accepted his first call-up from the Soca Warriors.
Nicaragua’s misery didn’t end with being ousted from the Gold Cup, with Concacaf relegating the country to Concacaf Nations League B, too.
There are four other CPL athletes set for the tournament, with Guyana calling up Jonathan Grant and Marcus Simmons, while Haiti have hailed Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Garven Metusala.
The 2023 Gold Cup will kick off on June 24, with both Canada and the United States hosting the continental competition. The preliminary stage will take place between June 16-20.