August News
July News

Thursday August 31st, 2000
Rougier out, Yorke fit to play

 By Shaun Fuentes

 TRINIDAD and Tobago will be without the services of England-based  defender Anthony Rougier in Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Canada as the former national captain has been ruled out with a sore ankle.

 USA-based defender Avery John (Boston Bulldogs) has been recalled to the side by national coach Ian Porterfield to take Rougier's spot. He was expected here last night.

 John, who was in the side against Panama, was originally dropped to make way for returning captain Russell Latapy.

 Rougier injury occurred when he was the victim of a rash tackle in the second half of Reading's 3-3 draw with Stoke City in a Second Division game in England Tuesday. Team-mate Ricky Newman was also injured. Rougier said yesterday X-rays were scheduled to be conducted to determine the extent of his injury.

 T&T have been hampered since February with injuries to Shaka Hislop, Ronnie Mauge, Stern John, Mickey Trotman, Dwight Yorke, Arnold Dwarika and Gary Glasgow.

 There had been speculation about Yorke's fitness for Sunday's game following news from England of him suffering a broken toe. However, on arriving here yesterday with Latapy, Yorke indicated he will play Sunday.

 His representative Tim Nafziger said he has a toe infection and it is not broken contrary to earlier reports out of England.

 John (S), Clayton Ince, Jerron Nixon, Carlos Edwards, Ansil Elcock, Lyndon Andrews and Marvin Andrews are the other foreign based players here for Sunday's game.

 Looking ahead to the Canada clash, Porterfield is positive, but warned that Latapy and his team-mates cannot afford to drop gears, despite needing only two points from their remaining three games to advance to the final qualifying round. "It's a very important game for us. Obviously it's a very important game for them (Canada) as well," Porterfield said.

 "It's a big, big game for Trinidad and Tobago because if we get the right result it could take us into the final round. Most certainly we want to go and get a good result in front of our own supporters who have been wonderful so far.

 "We will give them (Canada) total respect. We know they are going to be coming hard at us because they need three points to keep their hopes alive. We will have to earn the right to get the right result on Sunday," added Porterfield. Canada, who arrive in T&T tomorrow night, will be knocked out if they failed to beat T&T and Mexico were to defeat Panama Sunday.

Rougier out, Yorke in against Canada


TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield’s day began on a sour note but ended promisingly yesterday.

The Scottish coach awoke yesterday morning to the news that, in addition to Arnold Dwarika, he had also lost the services of utility player Anthony Rougier to injury.

But Porterfield was able to wipe away the sweat on his furrowed brow yesterday evening after Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke arrived claiming he was here to play in Sunday’s 2002 World Cup semi-final return clash against Canada.

Yorke arrived in the country alongside T&T skipper Russell Latapy (Hibernian) yesterday.

And while both men did not join the team for yesterday’s training session, they touched base with Porterfield to let him know that they will be reporting for duty today.

Rougier was knocked out of the team on Tuesday evening, when he picked up an ankle injury in his English club Reading’s Second Division clash with Stoke City.

The 29-year-old was stretchered off the field in the 68th minute of the game, which ended 3-3. And while x-rays revealed that there was no break, there was heavy bruising and doctors have diagnosed rest for Rougier.

Speaking about the injury to Rougier, Reading boss Alan Pardew said yesterday: “Tony won’t be able to play for his country on Saturday which is a shame for him but he can’t afford to risk it.”

T&T’s assistant Team Administrator Neil Mollineaux confirmed yesterday evening that they had received word of Rougier’s plight.

And he explained that Porterfield had already named US-based defender Avery John to replace the injured player who scored the opening goal in the team’s 6-0 rout of Panama in the last game on August 16.

John is expected in today.

Yorke meanwhile has a toe infection, not a break as reports out of England had suggested earlier this week.

Speaking to the Express yesterday, Yorke’s local agent Tim Nafziger said that the player would not allow the injury to stop him from playing.

“He told me he's been getting treatment on the injury since he got it last week,” Nafziger said.

“He was advised by the United doctors and that’s what he’s been doing since he got the injury. But he’s told me that he’s come to play and there’s nothing that will keep him off the field on Sunday.”

Nafziger added that, despite the problem, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson did not hesitate to release the £12.6m marksman.

Canadians need a win to avoid early World Cup qualifying exit

TORONTO (CP) -- The Canadian soccer team heads for Trinidad on Friday knowing anything but a win Sunday will end its World Cup campaign almost before it started.

Coach Holger Osieck has had to spend some of the week working on morale, although he says that has more to do with some players' individual situations with their clubs rather than the national team's predicament.

"Some of the guys are carrying some luggage from their home environment where things are not too good," he said from the team's training base in Alliston, Ont.

"I'm doing a lot of talking with the guys to get them away from all that negative stuff."

The down-in-the-dumps gang includes veteran defender Mark Watson, who has yet to find a new team after failing to come to terms with Oxford United, with his international responsibilities a major stumbling block in contact negotiations. Striker Paul Peschisolido is also glum after seeing little action with Fulham with rumours the First Division side is trying to sell him.

Canada is 0-2-1 halfway through the semifinal round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region. Trinidad and Tobago are 3-0-0 and lead Group C ahead of Mexico (2-1-0) while Canada and Panama (both 0-2-1) bring up the rear. Only the top two teams in each group advance to the final qualifying round.

Canada's lone chance of cracking the top two is to win its three remaining games and hope Panama helps out by taking points away from the other two teams.

"It's very difficult for us now," injured goalkeeper Craig Forrest conceded Thursday from England. "We're almost out before we've even got started."

The maximum number of points Canada can collect is 10 and Trinidad and Tobago already has nine while Mexico has six.

It seems unlikely Trinidad will finish out the round without adding to its points total. And the Mexicans, 41-0-3 in World Cup qualifying play at their Mexico City fortress of Azteca Stadium, can be expected to pile up points from their two remaining home games.

 A loss or a tie Sunday (CTV Sportsnet, 4 p.m. EDT) and Canada can forget about such permutations. The World Cup dream is over.

The Canadians haven't played all that badly but have suffered from a lack of firepower up front. Canada hasn't scored in four games, including the Canadian leg of a playoff against Cuba just to reach this round of qualifying.

Striker Carlo Corazzin goes into Sunday's game on little rest. He played for Oldham Athletic in England on Saturday and Tuesday night before flying across the Atlantic. A five-hour-plus flight awaits him and the rest of the team Friday afternoon.

While Canada needs a win, Osieck says he doesn't plan radical changes in personnel or formation. For one thing, he only has a limited hand to draw from.

"We have to play our game," he explained. "If we talk too much about scoring and results, that can lead to some tension inside and that's not what we should have there."

If anything, the huge odds stacked against the Canadians may help, with Osieck sending out a team that has little to lose given that many people have already written off their chances. And players like Peschisolido may relish the chance to see some action.

Star striker Dwight Yorke is expected to start Sunday for Trinidad  and Tobago despite an infected toe that sidelined him from Manchester United's 2-2 tie with West Ham last Saturday. The host team will also be bolstered by the return from suspension of skipper  Russell Latapy, who plays for Scotland's Hibernian. But Reading defender Anthony Rougier is out with a sore ankle.

Canada will be missing midfielder Paul Stalteri, who is sitting out a one-game suspension after getting two yellow cards.

Notes: Canadian sweeper Tony Menezes, because he is based in Brazil, and midfielder Jason Bent, because he played Wednesday night in the Colorado Rapids' 3-1 win over the Miami Fusion, are flying directly to Port-of-Spain ... Midfielder Martin Nash is nursing a sore ankle ... T&T is No. 29 in the FIFA world rankings while Canada is No. 56. ... Prior to France 98, Canada breezed through a weaker semifinal round of qualifying with a 5-0-1 record against Cuba, El Salvador and Panama. Of course, Canada crashed in the final round of qualifying.

Wednesday August 30th, 2000

Now injury fears for Rougier

 By Shaun Fuentes

 TRINIDAD and Tobago captain Russell Latapy and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke are expected to join their national teammates in training later today at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

 The two surviving members of the 1989 "Strike Squad" are expected to arrive in time for this afternoon's session, according to assistant manager Neil Mollineau.

 Meanwhile, news coming out of England last night indicated that Anthony Rougier suffered a "serious" injury in a rash tackle in second half action during Reading FC's 3-3 draw with Stoke City yesterday in the English Second Division.

 The type of injury is not known, but he was also expected to return home today for Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Canada at the Oval. ·

Yorke expected to play against Canada

 TORONTO (CP) -- Trinidad and Tobago will have star striker Dwight Yorke in the lineup Sunday when they entertain a Canadian team facing elimination in its World Cup qualifying bid.

 The $27-million striker missed Manchester United's game last Saturday against West Ham with a toe injury. But a spokesman for Yorke said the star forward is ready to play.

 "There was no word of anything wrong," Tim Nafziger told the Trinidad Guardian. "He's happy with the progress of the (Trinidad and Tobago) team and he's also happy with the way the guys have played. He feels it is important to wrap things up on Sunday."

 Yorke has scored three of Trinidad's nine goals in the semifinal round of qualifying in CONCACAF.

 The home side also will be bolstered by the return from suspension of captain Russell Latapy, who plays for Scotland's Hibernian.

 Trinidad and Tobago has been a major success story in this round. Coach Ian Porterfield's team has scored successive wins over Canada (2-0), Mexico (1-0) and Panama (6-0) and leads CONCACAF's Group C.

 Mexico is next at 2-1-0, followed by Canada and Panama, both at 0-2-1.

 The top two teams in the group advance to the final six-team round of qualifying in the region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. Two advance from the final round to the Cup.

 "It's a very important game for us. Obviously it's a very important game for them as well," Porterfield told The Canadian Press from Port-of-Spain on Tuesday.

 "It's a big, big game for Trinidad and Tobago because if we get the right result it could take us into the last six teams (in CONCACAF)."

 Porterfield reckons one point from the next three games would be enough for his team to advance.

 "But most certainly we want to go and get a good result (Sunday) in front of our own supporters," he said.

 One point would give his team 10, the maximum Canada and Panama can finish with -- and they each would have to win all three of their remaining games to accomplish that.

 Assuming Mexico beats visiting Panama on Sunday -- a safe assumption since the Mexicans are 41-0-3 at their Mexico City fortress of Azteca Stadium in World Cup qualifying -- a tie or loss in Port-of-Spain on Sunday would eliminate Canada.

 Still, Porterfield speaks highly of the Canadians.

 "We will give them total respect. You know you're a fighting nation, you're an organized nation. And most certainly I know as an individual that if we don't respect you in the proper way, that would be very, very wrong.

 "We will have to earn the right to get the right result on Sunday."

Tuesday August 29th, 2000

Injured Yorke to join T&T


DESPITE carrying what is believed to be a broken toe, Trinidad and Tobago’s England-based striker Dwight Yorke will still return for Sunday’s 2002 World Cup semi-final return clash against Canada.

Word from the Trinidad and Tobago management yesterday, was that the Manchester United marksman was expected to join the side later this week.

According to teams administrator Neville Chance, there has been no word from either Yorke or United to suggest he would not be here for the crucial clash owing to injury.

“As far as we are concerned, we are expecting him later this week for the game,” Chance said.

“In fact, we have been reliably advised that he will be here. Also, we have no official word saying he is injured and unavailable so that’s what we’re going on.”

However, reports out of England yesterday confirmed that United doctors believed Yorke had broken his toe. In fact, they were set to have the 28-year-old do x-rays to determine the severity of the injury.

The injury kept Yorke out of United’s weekend game against compatriot Shaka Hislop’s West Ham, which ended 2-2. But reports then had been sketchy and suggested that the injury was not very serious.

Yorke’s local manager, Tim Nafziger, also revealed last night that the player was expected for the game.

Nafziger did, however, explain that he had last spoken to the T&T star on Friday.

“Everything is in place for Dwight to come for the game including his ticket so I see no reason to believe he’s not coming.

“I haven’t heard from him since Friday and he didn't talk about any injury so I have no way of knowing if he is now injured. But I would think that he would’ve called me by know if he wasn't coming.”

Another source close to Yorke, who preferred to remain anonymous, also confirmed he had been injured.

“But the diagnosis is for a quick and easy healing process so he’s expected to come back for the game because he wants to be here regardless of what the situation is.”

But the question now is whether Yorke will risk playing against the Canadians knowing that he could make the injury worse.

Meanwhile T&T coach Ian Porterfield is set to begin preparations with his squad today.

Foreign-based professionals Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Lyndon Andrews (Hibernian) and Clayton Ince, who were scheduled to arrive last night, are expected to join the session.

United States-based defender Ansil Elcock arrived on the weekend while Jerren Nixon and Stern John, who is back from injury, are due in tonight.

Scotland-based skipper Russell Latapy, who missed the last game against Panama, and England-based Anthony Rougier are also expected within the next 48 hours.

Looks like Dwight's alright

 By Shaun Fuentes

 REPORTS of a toe injury to Trinidad and Tobago's Dwight Yorke resurfaced in England yesterday, but up to last night management staff of the Trinidad and Tobago squad had received no word indicating there was a problem with the Manchester United striker.

 Following his absence from United's line-up in Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham United, reports indicated he was missing because of a toe injury, but local agent Tim Nafziger said he had gotten no word of that from Yorke.

 One report in the Teamtalk news site yesterday suggested, "Yorke could, be sent for X-rays amid fears that the striker's foot injury is worse than first thought. Fresh reports are suggesting that Yorke could have broken his toe, possibly whilst on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago, and Alex Ferguson is keen to sort out the problem as soon as possible."

 Nafziger said yesterday there was still no word of injury from Yorke and he's scheduled to arrive here tomorrow for Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Canada at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, from 4 pm.

 National coach Ian Porterfield said he was unaware of an injury scare, but was aware reports had been circulating in England. "You get these sort of stories going around but up to a couple hours ago we had not received any official report on Dwight. Obviously Dwight is a very important player on the team and we will not like to lose him," he said.

Monday August 28th, 2000

Yorke, Rougier set for Sunday

 By Shaun Fuentes

 MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke and Reading FC's Anthony Rougier, will play in Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup qualifier against Canada on Sunday, despite reports of injury to Yorke and club differences involving Rougier.

 Yorke was surprisingly left out of United's Premiership 2-2 draw with West Ham United on Saturday which prompted reports that he was forced to sit out the game because of injury.

 Yorke's local representative Tim Nafziger said yesterday, the dynamic striker is fine. "Dwight spoke to me from the team's hotel in London on Friday and indicated that all was fine.

 "There was no word of anything wrong. He's happy with the progress of the team and he's also happy with the way the guys have played. He feels that's it important to wrap things up on Sunday."

 Rougier was involved in a club/country row as Reading officials felt he should miss the Canada clash.

 However, T&T manager Neville Chance said yesterday that no official request was made by Reading for Rougier's release.

 He added that discussions were held with Reading officials last week about the importance of Rougier being in the T&T line-up and they agreed that he should be in the team on Sunday.

 Training under coach Ian Porterfield resumes tomorrow at the Oval with the overseas-based players arriving this week.

 Marvin Andrews, Carlos Edwards, Lyndon Andrews, Russell Latapy, Avery John, Clayton Ince, Jerren Nixon, Rougier and Yorke are expected on Wednesday.

 News out of Canada is that Scottish based midfielder Nick Dasovic has been drafted into their team to mark Latapy.

 Dasovic, a member of Scottish side St Johnstone, has played several times against Latapy and is relishing the chance to mark the T&T captain who will be back from suspension.

 "Russell is very talented and it is deadly to give him any room. I have played with him several times and it is important to take him out of the game as he is the player who sets the passes for Dwight Yorke," said

 Dasovic who will make his 47th appearance for Canada. He comes in for Paul Stalteri.

 Latapy said in Scotland last week that at 32 he has no intentions of retiring soon and believes T&T is well on the way to Japan/Korea in 2002.

 "Mixu Paatelainen (Hibernian teammate) made his decision (to quit) after 14 years of playing for the Finnish national team. It was a big decision and hopefully it's the right one. But, as far as I'm concerned, Trinidad and Tobago have a fantastic chance of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup so I'm going to give it my best shot," said Latapy.

Rougier caught in club versus country battle

 LESS than a week before the World Cup qualifying match against Canada, Anthony Rougier is in the middle of a club versus country battle.

 Rougier who signed a three-year contract with Second Division side Reading earlier this month, is being asked by manager Alan Pardew to miss the Canada match on Sunday.

 Reading has put the matter in the hands of FIFA even though Pardew is aware that whether Rougier misses the game depends on the decision of T&T officials and the player.

 "I don't want to let him go if I don't have to but I'll have to wait and see what is happening with his national team," Pardew said on Friday. One report suggested that Rougier is committed to Reading but also has T&T strongly on his mind.

 "I would prefer to stay and play for Reading, not just because we are playing my old club, but it is important Reading have as
many players available as possible.

 The former national captain was dropped from the local squad for matches against Jamaica and Canada in July but returned in 1-0 and 6-0 victories over Mexico and Panama respectively.

 He played the full 90 minutes of Reading's 2-0 loss to Northampton Town yesterday.

 Meanwhile, striker Dwight Yorke was not even on the substitutes bench in Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Shaka Hislop's West Ham United yesterday. Yorke is expected in T&T on Wednesday for the clash with Canada.

 Stern John made a 71st minute appearance in Nottingham Forest's 2-1 loss to Birmingham City yesterday. John is likely to make a return to the T&T side against Canada following a cartilage injury last month.

 Another local striker, Hector Sam made a return from a hamstring injury and scored in a losing effort as Wrexham went down 3-1 to Wigan in Second Division. That was Sam's second goal of the season

 Across in Scotland, Russell Latapy helped Hibernian to a 2-0 win over St Mirren to send them four points clear at the top of the Premier League standings.

Lawrence on wanted list

 TRINIDAD and Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence has found himself on the wanted lists of clubs in the English and Scottish Leagues. But the lanky Defence Force man has been forced to put all offers on hold over the last month.

 He will have to wait until after T&T's next World Cup qualifier against Canada at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, on September 23 before he can go on any trial in the United Kingdom because of the request of national team management.

 A little more than a month ago, all locally-based national players were asked to remain at home to facilitate training until the end of the semifinal qualifying round.

 However, a player will be allowed to leave if he were to have signed a contract up front. It is understood two unnamed English Premier League clubs are eying the 25-year-old Lawrence, who made his debut for T&T during the opening stages of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.

After being used in midfield, national coach Ian Porterfield shifted Lawrence's position to defence where he has done a worthy job in T&T's last three matches.

 Former Premiership campaigners Watford, now in the First Division, has also expressed interest, as well as Sheffield United and Second Division campaigners Wrexham and Bournemouth.

 Last month it was reported Scottish Premier League side Hibernian and two other unnamed clubs in that League were also interested in Lawrence. A Scottish source said one of the richest clubs in Scotland, suspected to be either Celtic or Rangers, are also eying the T&T player.

 The same source also said Newcastle United, who were in T&T earlier this year, are also keen on acquiring Lawrence's, but the club's Caribbean representative, Peter Miller, declined to comment yesterday.

 The player's local representative, Rich-ard Fakoory, confirmed the interest of these clubs yesterday, but he explained Lawrence and officials of the Defence Force had agreed  He will not go on trial at least until after the Canada encounter. "The
 manager of the national team Neville Chance asked us to refrain from sending Dennis on any trial during this current qualifying round and he (Dennis) as well as the management staff of the Defence Force have agreed.

 "We understand the T&T side is into a critical stage of the qualifying campaign and the clubs interested in Dennis also understand the situation,"

 Fakoory said, adding Wrexham manager Bryan Flynn, who recently signed local duo Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam to separate three-year contracts, has arranged to come to T&T to see Lawrence in action against Canada on September 3.

 Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock also contacted Fakoory and other officials last week about Lawrence.

 Sheffield, who were on tour here earlier this year through arrangements by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, are interested in setting up a trial for Lawrence, who along with Marvin Andrews, have been dubbed the "Twin Towers" of the T&T squad.

Yorke injured

TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield is sweating over the availability of England-based professional Dwight Yorke for next week’s crucial 2002 World Cup semi-final return clash against Canada.

The 28-year-old Manchester United striker failed to take the field yesterday for his club’s Premiership clash against West Ham due to injury.

Reports out of England yesterday indicated that Yorke was a late scratch from the game due to a toe injury.

Yorke had been listed to partner Andy Cole up front, but the United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had to change his plans yesterday morning.

However, there was no news as to exactly how Yorke picked up the injury of the extent of it.

If it proves serious though, Porterfield may well have to do without his top marksman against the Canadians.

The former Aston Villa star scored two and set up of the six goals in T&T’s last World Cup win against Panama on August 16.

More importantly, he had also scored against the Canadians in the first match between the two teams on July 16. He also set up a goal for teammate Angus Eve in that game, which ended 2-0 in T&T’s favour.

Sams scores again


TRINIDAD and Tobago’s England-based striker Hector Sam notched his second goal for Second Division outfit Wrexham yesterday.

Unfortunately, Sam’s strike came in a 3-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic.

The former CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker scored a consolation item for his Welsh-based club in the 82nd minute.

But the game had long been over as a contest by then.

Sam, who returned to the starting XI after missing their midweek Worthington Cup fixture due to a knee injury, had two chances early on.

He hit his first effort just wide of the bar from the edge of the penalty area then saw Wigan keeper Roy Carroll save his powerful blast in the 13th minute.

His compatriot, Carlos Edwards, also played the full 90 minutes but failed to make the impact he did in the team’s previous two matches.

But Sam and Edwards were not the only Trinidadians who had a bad day yesterday.

Former T&T skipper Anthony Rougier’s Reading were shut out 2-0 by Northampton Town in the Second Division as well.

Up in the First Division, striker Stern John came on as a substitute but could do nothing to prevent Nottingham Forest from going down 2-1 to Birmingham City.

Defender Ian Cox’s Burnley were also edged out 1-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Fortunately, there was better news for the T&T’s Scotland-based players.

Hibernian, which features T&T skipper Russell Latapy and compatriot Lyndon Andrews, stayed on top of the Premier Division table after a 2-0 victory over St Mirren.

The win helped Hibs (16 pts) extend their lead atop the 10-team table to four points.

But while the Little Magician played the full 90 minutes, there was no room in the starting XI for Andrews.

Defender Marvin Andrews’ Raith Rovers also cruised past Inverness 4-1 in the First Division.

Rougier’s W/Cup dilemma


FORMER Trinidad and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier’s availability for next week’s 2002 World Cup semi-final return leg qualifier against Canada is in the balance.

This as the 29-year-old utility player again found himself in the middle of a club versus country row yesterday.

A couple months ago, it had been Port Vale who were complaining about Rougier’s frequent absenteeism due to international duty.

Yesterday, Rougier’s new club, Reading, walked down a similar path as club manager Alan Pardew expressed his frustration over having to release him for the September 3 clash.

Speaking to the English press yesterday, Pardew—who signed Rougier from Vale for £350,000 two weeks ago—said he would prefer to keep his recent signing at the club.

Pointing out that Reading had a match on the same day as the T&T/Canada match, Pardew said: “I don’t want to let him go if I don’t have to.

“But I’ll have to wait and see what is happening with his national team.”

Reading’s match is also against Rougier’s old club Port Vale.

Rougier himself, who scored the opening goal in T&T’s 6-0 rout of Panama in their last game, also seemed in favour of staying in England to help his club.

But he is also fully aware that the matter is out of his hands.

“I would prefer to stay and play for Reading, not just because we are playing my old club, but it is important Reading have as many players available as possible,” he told reporters.

“The final decision will come from my manager (Ian Porterfield) although I have told him I would like to play for Reading and I hope it goes that way. But I think the country has the most influence in the final outcome.”

Rougier has already scored one goal for Reading. But once he is called up by T&T coach Ian Porterfield, he must be released according to the Fifa laws.

Furthermore, Rougier’s work in the defence in T&T’s last two matches has helped Porterfieldstrengthen an improving defence. So it is unlikely that, with just one point needed to secure a spot in the final phase of World Cup qualifying, Porterfield will yield.

This is not the first time the T&T management will be encountering such problems.

When Rougier was at Vale, they were in constant war with boss Brian Horton to get the former Scotland-based player for crucial games.

In fact, the relationship between Rougier and Horton became so strained that it was eventually a major factor in the Vale boss’ decision to sell Rougier.

Naturally, Rougier is hoping that the matter will be resolved amicably.

“It’s difficult because I don’t want to be stuck in the middle,” he ended.

Friday August 25th, 2000

                Canada makes roster change for soccer qualifier
                 Dasovic replaces Stalteri in midfield against T&T squad

 By Norman Da Costa - Toronto Star Sports Reporter

Midfielder Nick Dasovic, who was not selected for Canada's previous three World Cup soccer qualifiers, has been recalled for the next match against Trinidad and Tobago.

Dasovic is the only change from the 18-man squad that lost 2-0 to Mexico two weeks ago. He replaces Paul Stalteri, who misses the game against the Trinis on Sept. 3 after collecting his second yellow card at Azteca.

``I am really happy to be back for what should be a crucial match for us,'' said Dasovic, who is off to a great start with St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League.

``I am looking forward to it as it's always an honour to represent your country,'' added Dasovic, who will collect his 46th cap.

An ankle injury sidelined Dasovic for most of last season, but he has made a successful recovery and played in every game for his club this season - eight exhibitions, three league and two cup matches.

On Tuesday, Dasovic scored a goal in a 3-0 win over Cowdenbeath in the League Cup.

One of the players that Dasovic will have to mark will be midfield genius Russell Latapy, a player he is familiar with from matches against Hibernian, Latapy's club side.

``Russell is very talented and it is deadly to give him any room,'' said Dasovic. ``I have played with him several times and it is important to take him out of the game as he is the player who sets the passes for Dwight Yorke.''

Canada will be without first-string goalkeeper Craig Forrest. He is still recovering from a hernia operation, said national coach Holger Osieck. Pat Onstad replaces him.

Trinidad and Tobago leads Group C in CONCACAF qualifying with nine points from three wins. Mexico is next with six from three games. Canada and Panama have one point each.

The top two teams from each of the three groups will advance to the final round of 2002 World Cup qualifying in the region.

In order to stay alive, Canada needs to win its remaining three games and get some help from Panama.

Meanwhile, Osieck said Stalteri has apologized to him and the team after he was captured in a photo giving captain Jason de Vos the finger during the game in Mexico.

``I had a serious chat with him and I told him that kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

``There are many youngsters who look up to these players as role models and I would not like to see them imitating a national team member in this way,'' said Osieck.
Thurday August 24th, 2000

Manchester City after Latapy

 By Shaun Fuentes

 ENGLISH Premiership club Manchester City are after the services of Trinidad and Tobago captain Russell Latapy.

 Following reports that another Premiership side, Ipswich Town, was interested in the "Little Magician", his local agent confirmed this week that City was the latest club to join the hunt for the Scotland-based professional.

 Nearing the end of last season, English clubs, Leicester City and Sunderland, expressed interest in "Latas", but Hibernian manager Alex McLeish shrugged off such reports, and did the same with news that Ipswich boss George Burley had a close eye on the T&T player.

 McLeish is still denying reports Ipswich and City are interested in Latapy, who has one year left on his contract at Hibs.

 The 32-year-old player has made a bright start to the season, scoring a penalty in last Saturday's 2-0 victory over Aberdeen as well as playing an instrumental role in earlier matches which has helped put Hibs to the top of the Scottish Premier League standings.

 Latas, however, warned his team-mates not to get carried away.

 "We have a quality bunch at Easter Road, it has been a fantastic start for us. We are not going to get carried away though, because we have only played five games. When I came to Hibs, they were sleeping giants now we are going in the right direction and if we keep up the progress there is a bright future for us," said Latapy.

 Following T&T's 6-0 victory over Panama last week Wednesday, Latapy, who missed that game through suspension, said he was happy with the progress of the national squad and was looking forward to the next World Cup qualifier against Canada at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, on September 3.

 Meanwhile, Stern John has made it clear he's not interested in a move to Italian Serie A side, Perugia. He wants to concentrate on establishing himself with Nottingham Forest, following injury problems since signing there last year.

 Reports in a daily Italian newspaper said John had been recommended to Perugia's chairman, Luciano Gaucci, by Gianluca Petrachi, who was on loan to the Italian side from Forest.

 "I love Forest and I am more than happy to stay here until the end of my contract. The club is very professional and, having had all these injuries, I know I still have a lot to prove," John said in England at the weekend.

 Perugia has not made a bid, but reports indicate it will do so within a week's time. David Platt, Forest's manager-player, has played down the speculation of a move by the former Columbus Crew striker.

 "I was aware a story had appeared in one of the Italian sports dailies but I've not heard anything official. If anyone from Perugia tries ringing me about Stern I'll feign ignorance ... pretend I can't speak a word of Italian," said Platt.
Wednesday August 23rd, 2000

Yorke versus Hislop Saturday

THERE will be a Trinidad and Tobago derby at Upton Park on Saturday when Dwight Yorke's Manchester United faces Shaka Hislop's West Ham United in Premiership action.

Yorke will be hoping to be in the starting line-up after replacing Teddy Sheringham in the 76th minute of United's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday.

Hislop has not yet got back to his best, as was evident in West Ham United's 4-2 loss to Chelsea in their opening English Premiership match on Saturday. The former Newcastle United 'keeper was playing his first competitive match since breaking his leg in February.

West Ham boss, Harry Redknapp, said on Friday he was still uncertain about Hislop's fitness but it turned out he had no choice but to start him, because of the inexperience and ability of third-string goalkeeper, Stephen Bywater. Canadian 'keeper Craig Forrest is still recovering from a hernia operation.

Hislop will now be concentrating on getting back his fitness for a possible return to the T&T team for their World Cup qualifying game against Canada on September 3.

 John anxious for T&T return

 WHILE Italian Serie A club, Perugia, has shown an interest in him, striker Stern John is focusing on getting fit to rejoin his national teammates in the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.

 The Nottingham Forest player was obviously frustrated with his injury problems over the last few months, and is now eying a return to the T&T side for their next 2002 World Cup qualifying match against Canada on September 3 at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

"I'm just glad to be back. The knee was a little sore during and after my first training session. But I want to represent my country. So when the time comes, I'll talk to the coach," said John.

 John, who has two years left on his contract, wants to start scoring goals for Forest before thinking about a move. "I have to prove that I can do it here and I am desperate to get back in the team."

A report in the Nottingham Evening News on the weekend stated that John is now valued at around £3 million. He signed for £1.5 million with Forest last November.

 Pierre on wanted list

 BRISTOL Rovers manager Ian Holloway has placed local striker Nigel Pierre back at the top of his wanted list, as he seeks to replace transferred goal-ace, Grenadian Jason Roberts.

Rovers, an English Second Division club has confirmed that it is making efforts to sign Pierre, who was refused a work permit after three appearances for the club last season.

Pierre had not played enough international football, but Holloway believes that has changed following the player's return to the Caribbean.

Pierre scored his second goal of T&T's World Cup campaign in last Wednesday's 6-0 rout of Panama.

"Nigel has been playing more international football, which should help. If he had come off the bench for Trinidad a few more times, he would probably be eligible for a permit now.

"We are monitoring the situation. It seems to me that there are other players at English clubs less qualified than Nigel, so we may have a case," said Holloway.

Another T&T player, midfielder Ronnie Mauge, is working his way to full fitness in hope of making a return to action early next month. Mauge suffered a broken leg in T&T's 4-0 loss to Mexico at the Gold Cup in February, and has been out of action since then.

 Ince continues to look

GOALKEEPER Clayton Ince is still on the lookout for a new club, after being put up for sale by English First Division side, Crewe Alexandra, earlier this month.

So far, English clubs Wrexham and Sheffield United, and Scottish side, Hibernian, have been mentioned as those interested. But a move to Sheffield looks more likely.

Crewe boss, Dario Gradi, is requesting a £75,000-transfer fee.

Crewe assistant boss, Steve Baker, admitted his club was fed-up with Ince being away on international duty, and so asked him to find another club.

Though he did not see much action last season, Crewe still wanted Ince to compete with number one goalie, Jason Kearton.

"We have Clayton Ince here, but we don't see much of him as he is on international duty a lot. We need someone who is here," said Baker. Crewe have since recalled Nigerian Ademola Bankole from Queen's Park Rangers.

 DC impressed with Sancho

 DC UNITED coach, Thomas Rongen, is impressed with local defender Brent Sancho.

 A report out of the United States last month said Sancho caught the coach's eye during DC's 4-0 victory over Charleston Battery in a US Open Cup game.

Sancho later said Rongen spoke to him after the game, revealing he was impressed, but there was no talk about when a possible trial or deal may be arranged.

The 23-year-old Sancho was part of the T&T side in the earlier matches of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign, but was not part of the team since the semi-final round began.

 Sancho said last week that Charleston was unwilling to release him for T&T's friendly against Guyana earlier this month, after coach Ian Porterfield invited him. He played in a 6-0 victory over US Pro 40 in the American A-League earlier this month, his first full 90 minutes after recovering from a toe injury.

 Edwards, Sam shine for Wrexham

 LOCAL duo, Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam, continued to impress for Wrexham as they helped the club to a 4-1 victory over Wrexham in English Second Division action on Saturday.

Sam scored in the 18th minute, while Edwards created Wrexham's fifth minute opener.

Both players also had good performances in a 1-0 loss to Manchester United two weeks ago.

At the United game, some 13,000 fans showed up for the game after it was announced that local striker Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole would be in the United line-up.

 Legend speaks highly of 'Latas'

 RUSSELL LATAPY has come in for praise from a former Hibernian player, Lawrie Reilly, who is considered one of the all-time greats in Scottish League football.

According to Reilly, Latapy, who signed with Hibs in 1998, is good enough to have been among the great Hibernian players of the 1950's, during which time the club won the League title on two occasions.

 "Russell Latapy is, without doubt, good enough to have played in the Famous Five," Lawrie said, clearly delighted with the contribution of the Trinidad and Tobago captain. He went on: "What a super wee player he is! He might not have replaced Gordon Smith, nor could he have ousted Eddie Turnbull, who had all the strength, grafting and grit.

"He may not have fit into Willie Ormond's role either, but with all due respect to Bobby Johnstone, Latapy could have done his job, no problem," said Reilly.

"Latas" scored a fifth-minute penalty to help Hibs to a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen on Saturday, in Premier League action.

Latapy is being eyed by English Premiership side, Manchester City, but Hibs manager Alex McLeish is not interested to listen to any offers at this time.

John loyal to Forest

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s England-based professional Stern John has pledged his loyalty to Nottingham Forest.

“I love Forest and I am more than happy to stay here until the end of my contract,” the 23-year-old marksman said in England on the weekend.

At the time, John was responding to rumours that Italian Serie A side Perugia was interested in his services.

The rumour emanated out of Italy where a newspaper report suggested that Perugia were set to act on a recommendation from Gianluca Petrachi, a Forest player currently on loan with them.

John was bought from Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew last season in a deal worth £1.5m.

But he has been plagued by injury since joining the First Division outfit and only made his return to action on Saturday in a 0-0 draw with Norwich.

The appearance followed undergo key hole surgery to his left knee two weeks ago after John got injured while in training with T&T for their opening World Cup qualifier against Canada on July 16.

John had also injured his right knee in February and he said he was keen to give Forest returns on their investment before anything else.

“The club is very professional and, having had all these injuries, I know that I still have a lot left to prove. I now have to prove to everyone that I can do it here now and I am desperate to get back in the team.”

While pointing out that he was aware of the report, Forest boss David Platt also insisted he would not be entertaining offers for John.

                               Hislop happy with new rule

England-based professional Shaka Hislop has given the thumbs up to Fifa’s new rule regarding goalkeepers.

Fifa recently amended the law involving the manner in which goalkeepers are allowed to release the ball.

The new law allows keepers to do whatever they want in the penalty area before releasing the ball, once they do so within a six second period.

They therefore can now take any amount of steps they wish before releasing the ball as opposed to the old four-steps rule.

Naturally, Hislop was pleased with the new freedom inside his penalty area.

However the Trinidad and Tonago goalie also told British reporters that he was not happy with the new law regarding dissent.

This law, which has been implemented to help curb back chat from players, will see the ball being advanced by ten metres if players argue with officials after a free kick is awarded against their team.

Hislop said he would tell his defence to keep their mouths shut when a kick is awarded against them so as not to give attacking teams the chance to advance too close to his goal.

Hislop completed his return from injury on the weekend when he played in the Hammers 4-2 opening Premiership loss to Chelsea.

However he was responsible for Chelsea’s opening goal, a controversial penalty scored by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Hislop upended Hasselbaink just outside the penalty area in the 31st minute but referee Graham Barber awarded a penalty kick.

Speaking after the game, Hammers boss Harry Redknapp was upset about the call which opened the floodgates on his team.

“Shaka said there's a big divot outside the penalty area where he ran out. The referee said to Steve Lomas that he only had one look at it. Well, if he's not sure, he shouldn't give it," Redknapp told reporters.

                              Rougier wants super season

Former Trinidad and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier is hoping for an outstanding season with his new club, Reading.

The 29-year-old utility player is in his third season in England. But he is yet to have the kind of success that is guaranteed to attract the attention of the bigger clubs.

After two seasons with First Division Port Vale, Rougier decided to move on after the club was demoted to the Second Division at the end of the 1999/2000 campaign.

Reading boss Alan Pardew forked out £350,000 for the T&T star.

And after helping Reading to their first win of the Second Division season on Saturday, a 2-0 triumph over Swindon Town, Rougier made this promise: “There is more to come. This club is full of players with massive talent.”

Rougier was the talk of the town after setting up both goals for teammates Martin Butler (16th) and Darren Caskey (47th).

However, it was his effort in creating the second item which raised eyebrows. Rougier, who scored the opener in T&T’s 6-0 World Cup victory over Panama last Wednesday, beat two defenders down the left flank before sending in a cross which was thumped home by Caskey.

                              Edwards steals Sam’s thunder

Local midfielder Carlos Edwards stole the thunder from compatriot Hector Sam on the weekend.

Both men are playing for English Second Division club Wrexham.

But Sam was the first of the two to make his debut when he played the previous weekend while Edwards was back home preparing for the country’s World Cup clash against Panama.

However, last weekend, despite Sam scoring his first competitive goal for the club, it was Edwards who stole the show.

Sam opened his account in the 18th minute as Wrexham overran Bury 4-1.

After the game though, Edwards got the kudos in a game in which he was a constant thorn in the side of the Bury defence. He also set up one of teammate Craig Faulconbridge’s two goals.

The duo are also teammates of Darren Ferguson, the son of Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson.

In fact, Ferguson senior was on hand to support his son. Perhaps soon maybe the United boss may soon be inspired to give Dwight Yorke some company from home.

Stern back on the field

 STRIKER Stern John made a return to competitive football when he lined up for Nottingham Forest in a 2-2 draw with Darlington in Worthington Cup action yesterday.

 John who played his first full 90 minutes since a cartilage injury last month was joined in the attack by manager David Platt who replaced Dougie Freedman in the 63rd minute.

 Russell Latapy and Hibernian booked a spot in the third round of the Scottish League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Stenhousemuir.

 Hibs are enjoying one of their best starts in season at present as they currently top the Premier League standings after five games.

Defender Anthony Rougier also played 90 minutes in Reading's 1-1 draw with  Leyton Orient .

 T&T midfielder Carlos Edwards was on the field for 90 minutes as well in Wrexham's 1-0 victory over Mansfield Town in another Second Division game. Hector Sam, who scored in Wrexham's 4-1 win over Bury on the weekend, missed yesterday's game through a hamstring injury.

Big bucks for T&T footballers

     By Shaun Fuentes

TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers received close to $280,000 in bonuses for their 6-0 victory over Panama in last Wednesday's World Cup qualifying encounter at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

Revealing this, was FIFA vice president Jack Warner. The Football Confederation president speaking from Germany on Sunday said each player will receive between $15,000 and $18,000 in bonuses.

Close to $205,000 in match fees has already been presented to the members of the team. This money comes from the T&T Football Federation and sponsors, including Inter/Forever Sports, Carib and L'Sporto among others.

Before the 6-0 win at the Oval, Warner said just over $2 million came in from gate receipts and sponsors in earlier matches. Around $800,000 was collected at the gates for the 1-0 win over Mexico at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, and it is believed that a similar sum would be realised in from last week's game.

Around $9 million has been spent on the T&T side during the campaign so far.

Approximately $25 million will be needed to facilitate T&T's preparations for the qualifying campaign. The local squad will receive US$4 million from FIFA if they were to advance to the World Cup Finals, according toWarner.

Still jubilant about the team's showing last Wednesday, Warner is hoping the countless support from sponsors and fans will continue throughout T&T's quest to make it to the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea.

Warner and other officials, including members of Cabinet, were overjoyed by the show of unity among the thousands who braved the rain to be part of last Wednesday's affair.

"The level of unity displayed was simply mind boggling. Not for a long time have I ever seen so many persons of different races, colour, creed and class come together for the common good - football.

"This can only be described as being good for the country and it is my sincere hope that it continues.

"I am thrilled that this government has once again identified with sport and moreso football. This means a lot for the spirit of unity that the Minister of Sport Manohar Ramsaran has asked for," said Warner.

He also praised the efforts of coach Ian Porterfield and his technical staff. "This is T&T's time and nothing will stand in our way. Mr Porterfield may not be the world's greatest coach but he is the best this country has experienced in its history," said Warner, who returns home Thursday.

Football Federation president Camps was just as elated but even with T&T (nine points) needing just two points to guarantee a spot in the final qualifying round, and one to advance as at least the second place team from this round, he wants T&T to keep winning.

"I am very happy and proud of the team and the technical staff but I want us to get 12 points first before I feel satisfied. We must keep the good run going," said Camps.

T&T face Canada in their next qualifier at Queen's Park Oval Sunday, September 3.
Monday August 21st, 2000

Is Yorke being punished?
Manchester United started there quest for there third consecutive title with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United. What is of more importance to T&T football fans is that Dwight Yorke remained on the bench for the entire game.

Manager Alex Fergusion has made no secret that he does not like Yorke flying off to T&T for World Cup qualifiers. What Fergusion has done may be a way of telling both the TTFF and football fans world wide is that he is the one who controls Yorke international appearances. Lets hope that Yorke does not get rattled by this act and remains committed to playing for T&T.

The situation between the TTFF and Manchester United could easily be solved. Yorke should play one more game T&T in World Cup qualifiers. That being versus Canada on September 3rd. After that game the Soca Warriors should be in a position of not requiring the assistance of Yorke until the next round.

            Latapy finds net for Hibernain


Russell Latapy's fourth-minute penalty set Hibernian on their way to a 2-0 victory at Aberdeen that keeps them top of the Premier League table.

Mark Perry was red-carded for handling in the area and Latapy stepped up to send keeper Ryan Esson the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Robbie Winters had a few good chances for Aberdeen but the former Dundee United star couldn't find the killer touch to bring the Dons back into the game.

And when Mixu Paatelainen fired home Hibs' second 12 minutes from time, it was enough to put the game beyond the Dons.

Latapy, looking for his second goal, went on a good run, but his shot deflected off Phil McGuire after 25 minutes.

Six minutes later, Winters had another great opportunity to drag Aberdeen back into the game when his thunderbolt effort forced keeper Nick Colgan into a superb one-handed save.

 But 10 minutes before the break, Hibs were threatening the Dons defence again when Paatelainen flicked on to Agathe, but the former Raith Rovers hitman hesitated too long and, when he did pull the trigger, the shot barely troubled Esson.

Right on the half-time whistle, skipper Darren Young sent in a great cross to brother Derek, in the box, but he smashed the ball over the crossbar.

Seconds later, Arild Stavrum tested Colgan, with a close-range effort, from a Winters cross but it was Hibs who had last chance of the half when debutant David Zitelli replaced Mathias Jack, and came close with an opportunist strike within seconds of being on the park.

John O'Neil came close with Hibs' first chance after the break in the 53rd minute. Zitelli found the former St Johnstone midfielder in the box and O'Neil produced a lovely flick but it was easily held by Esson.

A couple of minutes later, Martin McIntosh hit the crossbar for the Easter Road side before Aberdeen decided to have a go.

Aberdeen were looking to be stronger in the second period and the combination of Winters and Mackie was proving to be lethal once more as the former Dundee United star slid the ball through to Mackie on the six-yard line but Colgan was alert and dived low to cover the ball.

Hicham Zerouali replaced Stavrum just after the interval and the Moroccan hitman made his contribution with a low drive but the shot came off Sauzee.

Latapy should have doubled Hibs' advantage after 64 minutes when he rifled a shot which deflected dangerously and Esson was only just able to turn it past the post to keep the scoreline down.

Promising Dons youngster Kevin McNaughton squared to Zerouali, who had a gilt-edged chance to level the scoreline after 77 minutes, but he sent the shot straight into the hands of Colgan.

But the sucker punch came 12 minutes from time, when Aberdeen found themselves two goals behind.

Scott Bannerman had a go and, when his shot deflected off McGuire and back off the crossbar, Paatelainen was on hand to ram home the rebound.

Edwards and Ham shine in Wrexham win

Wrexham, unbeaten at Gigg Lane for seven years, gained their first victory of the season with a 4-1 over Bury.

Two goals from striker Craig Faulconbridge plus further efforts from Hector Sam and Danny Williams made it an afternoon to forget for Bury boss Andy Preece.

But the real stars of the Wrexham show were Darren Ferguson and Sam's fellow Trinidad and Tobago international Carlos Edwards. Ferguson, under the watchful eye of his father, Sir Alex Ferguson, pulled the strings in midfield.

He set up Sam's first goal in English football after 17 minutes and lofted in a second-half  free-kick that led to Faulconbridge doubling his personal tally.

Edwards, who has recently returned from international duty in the Caribbean, was a constant thorn in Bury's side. He set up Faulconbridge's opening goal after just five minutes and remained a constant threat until substituted late in the game.

The home team, beaten twice by Wrexham last season, had plenty of possession, particularly in the first period when they gained nine corners against just two in reply.

However, it wasn't until Preece introduced Dean Crowe and Indian star Baichung Bhutia in the second period that Bury created some worthwhile scoring opportunities.

In fact, Crowe scored within three minutes of coming on the field to make it 3-1 and almost added a second only to be foiled by the Wrexham keeper.

A second goal might have meant an enthralling finale but it was Wrexham who sealed the points with an outstanding goal 12 minutes from the end.

Danny Williams ran unchallenged from midfield before curling a left-foot shot into the net.

To their credit Bury piled on the pressure late in the game and Preece twice saw efforts crash against the woodwork. Referee Graham Laws cautioned seven players including five from Bury in an enthralling clash.

            Rougier comes up big for new club


Reading were comfortable winners of the big local derby with goals in each half condemning Swindon to a 2-0 defeat.

Reading went ahead after just 16 minutes when Tony Rougier, signed from Port Vale for £300,000 just before the season began, set up a chance for Martin Butler to score.

It was Butler's first game since being ruled out with a stress fracture of the shin in April.

Rougier, who on Wednesday helped Trinidad and Tobago beat Panama 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier, also laid on Reading's second goal a minute after the interval.

He beat two defenders before sending in a cross which was thumped home by Darren Caskey after taking a diversion in the crowded goal-mouth.

Swindon were always second best and first-half bookings for Alan Reeves and Sol Davis were a sign of the pressure they were being put under.

Swindon did have the ball in the net early on but Gary Alexander's effort was ruled out for off-side.

Warner refutes criticism of Oval pitch

Port of Spain, Trinidad, CANA - FIFA vice president Jack Warner has refuted criticism of the Queen's Park Oval pitch, venue for last Wednesday's World Cup qualifying match between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama.

After T&T romped to a 6-0 victory, Panamanian assistant technical director Christian Saburino was highly critical of the Oval for the crucial third round semi-final clash.

Saburino said that they did not expect to play on a cricket ground and indicated that the mound at the centre of the field hindered his players in midfield. However, Warner, a consultant to the T&T Football Federation, and its President Oliver Camps scoffed at the Panamanian's remarks.

Porterfield: We need just one more point

NATIONAL football coach Ian Porterfield said Trinidad and Tobago need just one more point to book a place  into the next phase of the World Cup Qualifying campaign.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Porterfield said, "I think we played a very good all-round game and I'm satisfied with the result. Now we need just one more point to advance to the next stage."

Trinidad and Tobago defeated Panama 6-0 in their CONCACAF semi-final series of the World Cup qualifiers at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday.

The next stage will comprise the top two teams from each of the three groups in a six-team round-robin home-and-away series. The top three teams from this phase will earn places in the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup finals.

When asked what impressed him in the game Porterfield replied, "Our defence played well, the guys kept things tight and that was positive for us."

Porterfield paid tribute to Dwight Yorke, the stand-in captain, for the way he led the team. "I think he is a great leader. He led the guys magnificently, it was great to watch him in his first time role as captain of the senior team."

Porterfield added that his hope was for Yorke to score a hattrick but it was not to be, he got two.

He also commented on the crowd saying, "I felt sorry for the supporters in the rain, but the guys really appreciated their support, it was great."

Yorke, 28, netted two goals, one in each half, had said before the game, that he wanted to maintained the team's 100 percent record when he hands back the captain's armband to Russell Latapy.

Latapy missed the match because of suspension for two yellow cards.

The other goals come from Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve and Nigel Pierre and an own goal from defender Jorge Dely.

When questioned about the substitution of striker Jerren Nixon, who was replaced by Nigel Pierre, Porterfield said, Everywhere I go people kept saying that he (Nixon) should be in the team so I brought him in. He's a good player, but he is suffering from a groin injury and he was just rested in the second half.?

He said, the players will return to their clubs overseas, and those at home will resume playing for their locals clubs in the PFL. The team will regroup a week before the Canada game.

Meanwhile, Panama's assistant technical director Christian Saburino said, "I was disappointed because we did not come here to play on a cricket pitch. The middle of the field affected our play in midfield."

He also said,? Trinidad and Tobago marked very tight, they were quick, strong and good in the air."
Friday August 18th, 2000

Bristol Rovers still want Nigel Pierre

     Nigel Pierre is back at the top of Ian Holloway's wanted-list as he seeks to replace transferred goal-ace Jason

     Rovers have confirmed that they are making fresh efforts to sign the 21-year-old Trinidad striker, who was refused
     a work permit after making three appearances for the club last season.

     The grounds for the refusal were that Pierre had not played enough international football, but Holloway believes
     that may have now changed following the player's return to the Caribbean.

     Rovers still hold Pierre's registration, but there has been much wrangling behind the scenes involving agents and
     Jack Warner, president of Concacef, and owner of Trinidad club Joe Public, where the striker played his football
     at home.

     Holloway said: "Nigel has been playing more international football, which should help. If he had come off the
     bench for Trinidad a few more times he would probably be eligible for a permit now.

     "We are monitoring the situation. It seems to me that there are other players at English clubs less qualified than
     Nigel so we may have a case."

Injury doubt over Hislop, Bywater on standby
     By Adrian Curtis
     West Ham may be forced to play teenage goalkeeper Stephen Bywater in Saturday's Premiership opener against
     Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

     Shaka Hislop, who broke his leg against Bradford last season, made his comeback in Julian Dicks's testimonial
     against Athletic Bilbao last Sunday but doubts that he will be fit enough to play against Chelsea.

     With Hislop's regular understudy, Craig Forrest, also injured Bywater is ready to step in with Les Sealey, 43 next
     month, on the bench.

     Also unavailable will be Australian defender Hayden Foxe, who has been refused a work permit by the
     Department of Education and Employment.

     Foxe was signed on a free transfer from Sanfrecce Hiroshima and West Ham have appealed against the ruling.

     Manager Harry Redknapp said: 'We hope the permit will not be a problem but at the moment we don't know
     whether he will be allowed to work here.'

     Redknapp also has injury worries over Steve Lomas, Stuart Pearce, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand but all are
     expected to be fit for Saturday.

     Midfielder Trevor Sinclair is suspended.

     Redknapp has urged England coach Kevin Keegan to spend more time watching football at Upton Park this

     The Hammers have four young players who could play a part in England's bid to qualify for the 2002 World Cup

     Redknapp reckons Ferdinand, Lampard, Sinclair and Joe Cole could all become part of Keegan's plans.

     He said: 'We have been lucky to have produced people like Rio, Frank and Joe - they are special players, they
     really are.

     'Trevor is another outstanding player, so we have a few players at West Ham who could figure in the England
     squad this season.

     'Kevin knows we have got some great young players so Upton Park will be a good place for him to watch his

Warner: T&T will go all the way


Fifa vice-president Jack Austin Warner is now a firm believer that Trinidad and Tobago will make it all the way to the 2002 World Cup.

Speaking to the Express yesterday having witnessed his countrymen’s 6-0 demolition of Panama the day before, Warner seemed ready to put money on them reaching Seoul and Japan.

“There’s nothing that can stop us from reaching the World Cup now I feel,” an obviously elated Warner said.

“We have the technical staff, we have the players, we have the funding and I really don’t see what will stop us now.”

Like many of the fans who may have harboured some doubt about the team’s chances, Warner has been made a believer in the past two months.

T&T started its semi-final campaign with a 2-0 victory over Canada in Edmonton then a 1-0 win over Football Confederation Zone giants Mexico. Then came Wednesday’s performance.

Adding that the team was yet to field the likes of Shaka Hislop, Stern John, Ronnie Mauge and Ian Cox, Warner explained: “Russell Latapy also didn’t play on Wednesday. Can you imagine what we will be able to do when we get these guys back?”

Noting that this same Panama team had held T&T to a 2-2 draw last year, Warner also praised coach Ian Porterfield’s work.

“The recent run of the team and this victory vindicates our decision to appoint Porterfield as national coach,” he said.

“The team has made a marked improvement under him and I hope that the people who were against him will give him the chance to continue his good work.”

T&TFF president Oliver Camps was also elated with the win. But he was more sober with his comments.

“I cannot be anything else but pleased with the result. Now I am looking for all the points in this phase because we must not get complacent. We must keep on winning.”

Camps also credited the work of Porterfield for the team’s success saying that the side looked solid both offensively and defensively against Panama.

And he is now hoping that T&T will take this form all the way into the 2002 World Cup.

Coach looks at report on Canada

 TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield will be assessing a report of Canada's performance in a 2-0 loss to Mexico last Tuesday - sent through by scout John Stubbs - as he prepares for the next World Cup qualifier against the Gold Cup champions here on September 3.

 At the end of Wednesday's 6-0 victory over Panama, Porterfield was quick to point out that Stubbs had been following T&T's opponents in each of their matches since the start of the semifinal round.

 "John has sent through some very thorough reports," said Porterfield. Stubbs who was in Mexico to see their 2-0 win over Canada has also been supplying the technical team with video footage of T&T's opponents.

 One point will mean Canada and Panama having to win their remaining three games by wide margins to prevent T&T from advancing even as the second-placed team. Two points will assure T&T goes through to the final round. - Shaun Fuentes
Thursday August 17th, 2000

T&T crush Panama
Trinidad and Tobago defeated Panama 6-0 in a world cup qualifier in Port of Spain yesterday. It was T&T's third win in three games in the semi-final round. The Soca Warriors now have nine points from there games and will need only a tie in there last three games to go into the final round.

The next game for T&T will be on September 3rd versus Canada at home.

T&T blows away Panama

TRINIDAD and Tobago midfielder Russell Latapy was no where near the Queen's Park Oval yesterday, In fact he was on a field in Scotland helping Hibernian to a 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock.

 But the "Little Magician" also was celebrating with friends last night following T&T's 6-0 drubbing of Panama from the moment Angus Eve scored T&T's fourth goal.

 An elated Latapy said last night, "This is certainly a confident boosting result for us. I am exceptionally happy that we were able to win by such a wide margin. I am particularly pleased with us having maximum points from our three matches. Now I'm just basically looking forward to coming back into the team to face Canada (September 3) and doing well," said the regular T&T captain who missed yesterday's game through suspension. He called his local agent four times during yesterday's second half, minutes after his Scottish game.

 Coach Ian Porterfield said he was pleased with the performance of the entire team but probably would have given stand-in captain Dwight Yorke the "Man of the Match" award had he been the adjudicator.

 "Obviously I'm very pleased. We got a great start but I think the thing that encouraged me was the urgency and the determination from the team from start to finish. I felt sorry for all the fans because it was very wet but I felt more sorry for all the players because it was very difficult. A good performance. We worked hard on free kicks and corner kicks and we got
 one right in the first couple minutes of the game. That was pleasing.

 "I thought all the guys were magnificent but I thought Dwight led the line magnificently. That's not taking anything from the other lads because I thought everyone showed great desire and passion.

 "Dwight led the team onto the pitch and I was saying my word they are going to stand out there during the anthems and the rain was pouring down and their shirts were ringing wet," said Porterfield.

 "What I would have loved for Dwight today was to score three goals on his debut as captain. I was saying to him there's 20 minutes to go and I don't know whether he was thinking I was going to take him off or whatever. I said on the bench it would be wonderful if he got that third goal. He said the right thing to the boys before the game, at half time, he know's what it's all about," said Porterfield.

 T&T manager Neville Chance said Yorke, Marvin Andrews, Lyndon Andrews, Carlos Edwards and Anthony Rougier all flew back to the United Kingdom to join their respective clubs last night.

 Porterfield said no training games will be played between now and the Canada clash and expects the full team to reassemble five days before.

 Panamanian assistant technical director Christian Savorino said his team had been beaten by a better side but said they were not expecting to play on a cricket field and the intensity of the fans worked against them.

Porterfield delighted, Panama blame pitch


“I THOUGHT all the guys were magnificent. I thought that Dwight led the side magnificently.”

In the Manchester United striker’s first game at the helm of the senior squad, Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield was more than pleased with Yorke’s and the team’s performance.

“I thought Dwight played unselfishly. We knew the balls down the side between 18 yards and the touchline were causing problems. So I thought his overall play was excellent and that’s not taking anything away from any of the lads because I thought every one of them showed great desire, great commitment, great passion and great pride.”

Such an attitude that Porterfield believes was a major factor in this country’s 6-0 thrashing of Panama at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday.

The victory against the Central American side was the third straight win for the local squad since the start of the semifinal World Cup qualifying campaign against Canada on July 16.

The man in charge of taking T&T to the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup finals said the players’ attitude towards and during the game is what pleased him most.

“The great thing that impressed me was the urgency and the determination from the team,” he said.

The T&T technical director added: “We worked hard on our free kicks and corner kicks and we got one in the first couple of minutes (...) and that was pleasing. But I was pleased with all the guys. Terrific.”

Porterfield also recognised that the six-goal margin of victory and this third straight win have now left his men in good stead for the next round.

“We now have nine points, we scored a lot of goals without conceding any so the important factor was just to keep a clean sheet so it’s been a good day for everyone.”

Porterfield also believed that another key reason for Panama never getting into the game was the tight defensive game T&T played which did not allow the opposition to play their way. It’s a fact that Panamanian assistant technical director Christian Saburino acknowledged.

“They marked us very tightly and they were fast, strong and very good in the air,” Saburino said.

But besides T&T’s overall dominant play, Saburino was of the view that playing on a cricket field was a main factor in his team’s bad performance.

The slope, he explained, affected the way his midfielders operated. T&T’s next match will see them play Canada at home on September 3, in a game in which Jerren Nixon who came off with a slight groin strain is expected to play.

There will be no warm-up matches in between.


T&T—Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Ansil Elcock, Anthony Rougier, Stokely Mason (Arnold Dwarika 83rd), Reynold Carrington, Lyndon Andrews, Angus Eve (Carlos Edwards 70th), Jerren Nixon (Nigel Pierre 44th), Dwight Yorke.

Panama—Ricardo James, Reinaldo Lewis, Juan Cubilla, Franklyn Delgado, Roberto Correa, Angel Rodriguez (Alberto Blanco 66th), Percival Piggott, Mario Mendez, Ronaldo Palma (Ricardo Phillips 46th), Julio Dely Valdes (Neftali Diaz 74th), Jorge Dely Valdes.

Canada's World Cup chances fade further

By NEIL DAVIDSON -- Associated Press

Canada's faint World Cup soccer pulse faded further Wednesday in the wake of Trinidad and Tobago's 6-0 romp over visiting Panama.

The rout moved Trinidad and Tobago back atop Group C in the CONCACAF semifinal qualifying round with a maximum nine points from a 3-0-0 record. Mexico stands second with six points and a 2-1-0 record after its 2-0 home win over Canada on Tuesday.

Canada and Panama languish in the basement with one point from identical 0-2-1 records.

The top two teams from the group, one of three in CONCACAF, will advance to the final round of qualifying in the region.

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke paced Trinidad and Tobago with a pair of goals against Panama.

The result means Canada virtually has no margin of error in its remaining three games, and it will need help from fellow-doormat Panama to take points from its rivals.

The maximum number of points Canada can collect is 10 and the next game, Sept. 3 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, might determine its fate.

With Mexico expected to hammer visiting Panama earlier that day, a loss or tie would eliminate the Canadians, who would then be able to finish with no higher than seven points.

Even winning all three of its remaining matches may not be enough for Canada:

Mexico, 41-0-3 at Azteca Stadium in World Cup qualifying, can be expected to maximize its points from its two remaining home games. That would up its total to 12 points, beyond Canada's reach. Even a tie against T&T would leave it with 10  points going into its Nov. 15 finale in Toronto.

While Trinidad could lose to Mexico, losing in Panama would be a longshot. Even if T&T picks up only one point in its three remaining games, it will be able to match Canada's maximum of 10.

So, what happens if Canada and another country finish with the same number of points?

The first tiebreaker is goal differential.

While T&T's win over Panama was not unexpected, the six-goal bulge improved Trinidad's goal differential to plus-nine. Canada, scoreless in its three games, is minus-four. Mexico is plus-two and can be expected to add to that total.

Wednesday August 16th, 2000

Skipper Yorke counts on you


ENGLAND-BASED professional Dwight Yorke will make his debut as Trinidad and Tobago skipper this evening at the Queen’s Park Oval.

And the 28-year-old Manchester United striker would like nothing better than to lead the team to victory in their crucial Football Confederation’s 2002 World Cup third round semi-final matchup against Panama.

Yorke, who only wore the arm band at youth level before, was T&T coach Ian Porterfield’s choice to stand in for the suspended Russell Latapy yesterday.

But an elated Yorke said that bringing home a victory was more important.

“This is a great honour for any player,” Yorke said, after the team’s final training session yesterday at St Anthony’s College grounds.

“It’s unfortunate that the captain (Latapy) is not here but they see me as the senior player to lead the team out there.

“Hopefully, I can keep the 100 per cent record which is one win and one captaincy. So I’m looking forward to it.”

The value of full points doubled yesterday evening after Mexico shut out Canada 2-0 to join T&T atop the Group C table with six points. That loss may have ended Canada’s hopes and a win or a draw for Yorke’s squad today will certainly put them as favourites to advance to the next round of qualifying.

But Yorke was wary of counting out the lowly-ranked Panama.

“A lot of people from the outside will look in and say this is probably our easiest game. I think this is our most difficult game because we are ahead and Panama is hoping to come and get something from the game.”

He added: "But we know what we’re about. We know that three points is very vital and it’s imperative that we approach the game with the same attitude, same enthusiasm and same fighting spirit as in the past.”

The Panamanians, who have just one point from their two games, are hungry for a win. Therefore, the absence of Latapy—who scored the lone goal in the last game against Mexico—could be a key factor.

But Yorke was confident that they could do the job in the Hibernian midfielder’s absence.

“The Little Magician is such an instrumental player for us, a leader as well. He’ll be sadly missed by us tomorrow but he’ll be back for the Canada game and we have to try and focus without him.

“I’m sure we have quality players that can come in and do an effective job like the skipper’s been doing. Hopefully, we can get the same result as the last time.”

The £12.6m striker only arrived here on Monday night. And to make sure he was ready, he did some extra work after his teammates knocked off their session yesterday.

Still, Yorke said he did not feel jet lag would be much of a factor because he was “mentally and physically” prepared having come straight from pre-season training with United.

“This is a collective thing, a team effort. Certainly, the country is behind us, which is very important. And for me, I’m just delighted to be here and leading the team tomorrow (today).”

Yorke and his teammates are also hoping that the home crowd will make a big difference as well.

“I think it’s a fantastic support to the boys when the crowd is behind us. And we’re asking everybody to come out against Panama and hopefully we can repeat what we’ve been doing in the past.”

Possible starting XI: Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Shurland David, Ansil Elcock, Anthony Rougier, Stokely Mason, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Jerren Nixon, Dwight Yorke.

Starting job for Nixon


Switzerland-based professional Jerren Nixon could make a dream return to the Trinidad and Tobago team today.

An injury to Arnold Dwarika could force T&T coach Ian Porterfield to put Nixon into the starting team for their crucial third round Football Confederation 2002 World Cup qualifier against Panama.

Nixon who has noy played for the team since the Gold Cup in February answered Porterfield’s call to return to duty last week.

However, with Dwarika nursing an ankle injury and “unlikely to start” according to Porterfield, Nixon could partner England-based stand-in skipper Dwight Yorke.

Porterfield was mum on his final team selection yesterday but seemed to hint that Nixon could indeed get the call.

“Obviously, he’s got qualities that we don’t have in the team. He’s left sided, which is important, and he comes into the 18-man squad with no pressure from me.”

He added: “Hopefully, he goes out and relaxes and plays his game and, also, he can also play a part in our preparation for the future.”

The coach was also tight-lipped about the man to fill the void left by suspended Scotland-based skipper Russell Latapy.

Yet, if Dwarika does indeed not start, he will have to do some more adjusting in the midfield.

Former skipper Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve and Lyndon Andrews can be asked to play the attacking role, although they will not have the flair of a Latapy. Should Dwarika be able to play, he and Nixon can be used up front with Yorke being pushed back into the middle, a role he has also played well for Manchester United.

Panamanian coach Miguel Mansilla, speaking through an interpreter yesterday, explained that his side could afford nothing less than victory today.

If they do this though, a lot will depend on twin brothers and Julio and Jorge Dely Valdes, their two most accomplished players.

'Little Magician' can only follow T&T today

 By Shaun Fuentes

 HE'S accustomed to controlling the engine in the middle of the field but there's nothing he will be able to do other than offer words of advice and support to his teammates for today's important World Cup qualifier against Panama at the Queen's Park Oval from 4 pm.

 Russell Latapy will be following today's action with keen interest as a victory will almost surely put T&T through as one of the two teams from Group C through to the final qualifying round of six from which three will advance to the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup. The 32-year-old captain received his second consecutive yellow card in the 1-0 win over Mexico last month and cannot play today as a result.

 T&T, with victories over Mexico and Canada, hold the best record of all 12 teams in the Concacaf zone so far, with a maximum six points and yet to concede a goal.

 Mexico was scheduled to face Canada in their third match yesterday. Second best so far is Jamaica, who have recorded victories against lesser fancied St Vincent and the Grenadines and Honduras.

 T&T coach Ian Porterfield will surely be looking forward to having three victories on the trot. Other Concacaf qualifying matches on today include Jamaica versus El Salvador, Honduras against St Vincent, and the United States at home to
 Barbados. The Americans are yet to win a match but have two more matches to follow at home against Guatemala and Costa Rica.

 "We've just to approach this game in the same manner that we have done in the others. Okay we have scored two victories against Canada and Mexico and we are missing a very important player. But we must have that same desire to do well," said Porterfield.

 Porterfield's two daughters, Rachel and Claire, are both on holiday here and they will no doubt want to see their daddy's team win today before going back to England on Friday.

 All public servants are being allowed to leave their work places at 2 pm in order to attend the match and it's expected to be a "red" Oval.

 These two teams played to a 2-2 draw last year and despite being ranked 29th in the World as opposed to Panama 122nd, Porterfield has warned his players that this could well be their toughest battle of the campaign so far.

 Dwight Yorke will once again carry T&T's hopes in attack. Others hoping to give support will be Jerron Nixon, Angus Eve, Arnold Dwarika, Anthony Rougier, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Lyndon Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Reynold Carrington, Avery John, Shurland David and Carlos Edwards among others.

 Goalkeeper Clayton Ince will hold responsibilities between the uprights. The countdown is on for T&T to once again show what they've got.

Pasta power for Panama

 IN light of his team's 0-2 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson  believes that Dwight Yorke and his Manchester United teammates will be a stronger team this season.

 Ferguson was obviously dis-appointed with his team's performance as despite using all four main strikers in the match- Yorke and Andy Cole replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham in the second half -United recorded no shots on target.

 "We played some pretty football, nice to look at, but we played too much in the final third and there were no shots," said Ferguson. Yorke is missing today's preseason encounter against Manchester City who are back again in the Premiership.

 He is however looking forward to derby clashes between both teams. During that interview, Yorke also took time out to chat about his favourite meals and he could possibly be eating pasta before today's World Cup qualifier against Panama.

 "Before a game we try and stick to pasta, rice and chicken and things like that. Very healthy stuff our dietician keeps telling us. I think 90 per cent of the food we intake is pasta, throughout the season."

 And what is his favourite dish?

 "It would have to a West Indian dish which is rice and chicken and some-thing we call maca-roni pie. And fried chicken, which my mum used to cook for us. I'm not allowed to eat it anymore!" Yorke added on the website Yorke will fly back to England to line up for United in their season opener against Newcastle United on Sunday.

 Rougier boss optimistic

 Despite a dis-appointing 2-0 defeat to Milwall in their opening game of the English Second Division season on Saturday, Reading manager Alan Pardew is optimistic that Anthony Rougier and his teammates will settle well over the next few weeks.

 Rougier signed a three-year-deal with Reading on Friday on a £325,000 transfer fee from Port Vale, and made his debut the next day but wasn't able to do much on the field.

 One report from England said it was obviously difficult for him to make an impact so soon, especially as he must not have even known the names off all his new teammates.

 Pardew said: "We were second best and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game. I though Tony Rougier was our only threat of the game. He did look like he was going to do some damage, but unfortunately there wasn't enough of that from us."

 "Tony is two­footed and he will offer us width on either side of the pitch. He'll give us something different in terms of pace and power and I'm hoping that what Mass Sarr promised, Tony will deliver," said Pardew.

 Platt counts on Stern

 Nottingham Forest manager David Platt is keeping his fingers crossed that local striker Stern John will make a difference to his team's attack in Saturday's match against Norwich City.

 Forest beat West Bromwich Albion in their season opener on Saturday but Platt was unhappy with his team's failure to convert more chances.

 After suffering a cartilage injury last month, John has been forced out of action but is gearing towards a return on Saturday against Norwich.

 "We are hoping he (John) will be fine to play. It seems that he has recovered well and we'll have to see how things go," said Platt.

 Following his ligament injury earlier this year and this recent one, Forest fans are now hoping John remains fit for this entire season as they see him playing a major role in their aim to win promotion into the Premiership.

 Cox should be ready

 So how long will it be before local fans get a chance to see English-born defender Ian Cox in action for Trinidad and Tobago?

 Well he's now fully recovered from a wrist injury and should be available for T&T when they face Canada in a World Cup qualifier at the Queen's Park Oval on September 3.

Cox played the full 90 minutes of Burnley's 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers in the English First Division opener on Saturday.

 He was supposed to have joined the T&T side since June but was forced to miss out because of an injury.

 He was invited by Ian Porterfield to face Guyana earlier this month but said he wasn't fit enough.

 Andrews: No easy ride

 Hibernian midfielder Lyndon "Chubby" Andrews is anxious to get take the Scottish fields and make an impact similar to that of other Trinidad and Tobago players now campaigning in the United Kingdom.

 Andrews, who signed a three-year deal with Hibs last month, told the Edinburgh Evening News recently that while he is aware that it's not going to be an easy ride for him in Scotland, he is prepared to do whatever it takes to make a good impression with Hibs.

 "Everyone is looking for a big break in their career and Hibs have given me one.  Hopefully I can go on to bigger and better things with the club but it is all down to me. I know, for instance, that the weather isn't going to be easy although I got a taste of what it can be like when I was here in March although I also know it can get much colder than it was then.

 "But many players from the Caribbean, guys like Russell (Latapy), Marvin Andrews, Dwight Yorke and Tony Rougier have all come over here and played through the British winters.

 "It will be up to me to adapt, have a strong mentality and work hard to take my chance," said Andrews, The former Vibe CT 105 W Connection player is in the T&T squad for today's World Cup qualifier against Panama and is likely to feature with Latapy out through suspension.

Tuesday August 15th, 2000

Canada drops game to Mexico 2-0
Mexico handed Canada a 2-0 defeat in Mexico City on Tuesday evening. With the win Mexico climbs in to second place with six points. T&T can maintain there lead over Mexico by beating Panama tommorow afternoon.

Panama now has some extra fans. Canada is pulling for the Panamanians because should T&T win it would almost eliminate the Canucks who have one point from three games.

Mexico for there part didnot look good at all. They seem to be a team misfiring at every oppurtunty. Hernandez is past his prime and should not start for Mexico again (except versus T&T). Mexico at times let a overmatched Canadian team play them hard. They looked like a team with no options.

Canada relied too much on the sitting back and waiting for the counter attack. The Canadians played well at times in the second half but lack quality goal scorers.

Should T&T be afraid of Mexico in Mexico City? If T&T can soak up the pressure from the sometime bombardment from Mexico, the game should be close.

Versus Canada, T&T will be in tough. The Canadians come to T&T desperate for a win if they are not out of competition completely by then. What T&T cannot afford is the disappering act that the midfield pulled off in there last two games.

I know little of Panama. From all the information I have read, Panama depends on there main strike force up front of the Julio and Jorge Dely Valdés. Once the brothers are covered. Panama will have a long day at the office.

Coach: We can’t dismiss Panama
Yorke joins T&T camp

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s England-based professional, Dwight Yorke, will join his teammates today in preparation for tomorrow’s crucial Football Confederation semi-final third round clash against Panama.

Yorke flew in last night after playing for Manchester United in the Premiership’s season opening Charity Shield on Sunday, at Wembley Stadium.

However, the 28-year-old striker only got a 20-minute workout as he was brought on as a 69th minute substitute by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in a 2-0 loss to Chelsea.

Still, T&T coach Ian Porterfield is unlikely to push Yorke at today’s training session as he will be wary of the fact that jet lag could take a toll on his most valuable player.

The Tobago-born Yorke was the last piece of Porterfield’s squad puzzle. He joins Anthony Rougier(Reading, Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra), Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Jerren Nixon (FC StGallen), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Lyndon Andrews (Hibernian), Avery John (Bohemians FC) and Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew) as the foreign-based pros in the team.

Both Yorke and Rougier, the team’s former skipper, are also likely to be competing to take the arm band for the absent Russell Latapy who is serving a one-match suspension.

Unfortunately, the Little Magician will not be able to come home to support the team as hoped. (See story below).

And while the Panamanians are ranked 122nd in the world, Porterfield explained yesterday that his team had been warned not to overlook them.

“It makes no difference where they are,” he said at a press conference at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday.

“Panama is going to be a harder game than we think. This is a tough game for us, this is a big, big game. And our guys, I believe in them.”

Pointing out that the team had been able to achieve a lot in the first two games, victories over Canada (2-0) and Mexico (1-0), the Scotsman said it was important to keep the focus.

“I’ve told them (players) they’ve got to be physically and mentally tuned in for this game.

“They’ve had great achievements over the last two games and I’ve told them rather than look up there and think we’re great players ... the higher you go the more difficult it becomes.”

—Irving Ward

Public servants get time off to see match

Public servants will be released from duties at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

This will be done to allow them the opportunity to go to the Queen’s Park Oval to support Trinidad and Tobago in their crucial 2002 Football Confederation semifinal third round qualifier against Panama.

The announcement was made by Wade Mark, Minister of Public Administration, yesterday at a press conference at the Queen’s Park Oval.

Mark said the Government had made the decision in “order to maximise the team’s advantage for the game”.

He added that communication had already been sent out to the various ministries to put arrangements in place to allow employees desirous of attending the match to leave their work place by 2 p.m.

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Manohar Ramsaran, on hand as well, also challenged the private sector to follow the Government’s lead.

This is the first time since T&T started its World Cup campaign that they are playing a mid-week game. All previous games have been played on Sundays.

But with most people at work until 4 p.m.—the time the game kicks off—the Government’s decision was a welcomed one.

And with tickets sales not going very well in the build up to the game, it may well help boost the turn out for tomorrow.

Victory in the game will set T&T up nicely for a berth in the final stages of the qualifying competition.

Currently leading Group C with a maximum six points from two matches, T&T’s target would be to get two more victories from their remaining four matches starting tomorrow.

A 12-point tally, which six more points would give them, should take them forward given what the rest of the table looks like.

Second-placed Mexico have three points and tackle Canada (1 pt) tomorrow as well meaning that Canada could be well out of the race if they get a negative result. Panama, also with one point, could be facing a similar fate.

T&T coach Ian Porterfield also took the opportunity yesterday to unveil a new team strip which will be worn against the Panamanians who arrived here yesterday.- Irving Ward

Dwight comes home today


 MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke was scheduled to arrive here last night to join his national teammates in preparations for tomorrow's World Cup qualifying match against Panama at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

 Yorke was the last of the overseas-based professionals to join the local camp due to commitments with United. He came on the second half of their 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the Charity Shield match Sunday.

 Coach Ian Porterfield said the captain in the absence of suspended Russell Latapy will be named today and Yorke is among the contenders. "Yorke will come in tonight and will be ready for training tomorrow,"  Porterfield said yesterday.

 Word out of England was that Yorke suffered a slight thigh strain in training with United Saturday which forced him to play only in the second half against Chelsea, but is not serious enough to affect him playing tomorrow.

 Anthony Rougier was the other late arriver, coming in Sunday and  was present with other members of the team at a media briefing at the VIP Lounge at the Oval yesterday.

 The other overseas-based players on hand included Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Avery John (Boston Bulldogs), Jerron Nixon (ST Gallen), Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Lyndon Andrews (Hibernian), Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew) and goalkeeper Clayton Ince who is now on Crewe Alexandra's transfer list.

 Among others present and part of yesterday's evening session under coach Porterfield were Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve, Dennis Lawrence, Stokely Mason, Ross Russell, Reynold Carrington, Nigel Pierre and Shurland David.

 Porterfield openly thanked his players and technical staff assistants for their support and success which has made his job an enjoyable one.

 He also thanked Concacaf president Jack Warner for his work, "behind the scenes." "There is no one more proud of you than me," Porterfield told his players.

 He said Panama, the 122nd ranked FIFA nation, should be treated with respect and must not be allowed to take advantage of any complacency by T&T.

 "Panama is going to be a harder game than we think. It's a big, big  game for us and. Our guys, and I believe in them, they've got to be physically and mentally tuned up for this game," the coach said. Porterfield said he was not worried about the arrival of some of the overseas players a few days before the game.

 "I believe that we can get the right result if we can continue doing things like we've done in the past. They've got one point, we've got five points more than that. We've got to keep that gap and try and make it bigger. The higher they (T&T) go the more difficult it becomes," said Porterfield.

 The Scotland-born coach said a report on the Panama team was submitted by English scout John Stubbs and assistant coach Jimmy Blanc had been studying video footage of the opponents over the past two weeks, " so we know their strengths and weaknesses just like they'll know ours," added Porterfield.

 Stubbs is now in Mexico to view that country's match against Canada today.

 Panama were expected here last night. T&T will have their final session before kick off at St Anthony's College Ground, Westmoorings, this afternoon.

Monday August 14th, 2000

Stern set for return

 By Shaun Fuentes

 THIS country's national football team received welcomed news yesterday when it was revealed that striker Stern John could make a return from injury next week.

 It will not be in time for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Panama at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, but his recovery will certainly make him available for selection for the September 3 qualifier against Canada at the same venue.

 John damaged his right cartilage on the week of T&T's 2-0 victory over Canada last month and underwent keyhole surgery in England, and was told by doctors he would have to miss action for five weeks.

 John had also been out of action earlier this year after suffering a cruciate ligament injury January 22 , forcing him to miss T&T's Gold Cup campaign in February.

 He since played three games under T&T coach Ian Porterfield against Haiti and Jamaica.

 John said he was eager to rejoin his national teammates who have made a successful start to the semifinal round by defeating Concacaf giants Mexico and Canada.

 "I'm feeling fine now and I just want to get back playing as soon as possible," he said.

 Forest boss David Platt, who signed John from American club Columbus Crew last year, was anxious to have John back for Saturday's English First Division game against Norwich City. "Stern has been working very hard on his fitness and we are hoping he will be fit for the Norwich game.

 "Fortunately the damage was minor and the operation went as planned. Since then the rehabilitation programme has worked well.

 "If he can make it back in time for next week, that will be a major boost for both the team and for Stern," said Platt whose side made a winning start to their season by defeating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Saturday.

 John surely is keen to rejoin Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke up front, a partnership that local fans are yet to see the best of.

 With John's absence, Joe Public striker Arnold Dwarika has partnered Yorke up front and Switzerland-based striker Jerron Nixon, recalled to the team after being dropped in March, is also in contention for Wednesday's clash.

 The big question mark still hangs around who will take Russell Latapy's position in midfield. Young Brent Rahim is not in the squad because of a calf injury which forced him out of a 0-0 draw with Guyana earlier this month and Hutson "Barber" Charles, who played in that game, is not likely to be in the 18-man squad to face Panama.

 Hibernian's Lyndon Andrews seems the most likely player to fill Latapy's spot.

 Yorke, who could likely wear the captain's armband against Panama in the absence of the suspended Latapy, is expected to fly into Trinidad later today after making a second half appearance in United's 2-0 loss to Chelsea in a Charity Shield match yesterday.

 Anthony Rougier, who signed a three-year deal with English Second Division side Reading Friday is also expected in. They will join the national team in training at the Queen's Park Oval.

Sunday August 13th, 2000

T&T can't afford to let feet off ground

 By Shaun Fuentes

 COACH Ian Porterfield made it clear yesterday that Trinidad and Tobago's senior footballers will have utmost respect for Panama when the two teams clash in Wed-nesday's World Cup qualifier at Queen's Park Oval, Port-f-Spain.

 Speaking following a morning training session , Porterfield said it was no secret the players were on a high following their 2-0 and 1-0 victories over Canada and Mexico, but warned that they cannot afford to let their feet off the ground.

 Panama drew 0-0 with Ecuador in a friendly at home Friday and also held T&T 2-2 in a friendly last year and are capable of posing problems as they did in a 1-0 loss to Mexico earlier in the semifinal round.

 "It's always been a matter we have emphasised from day one. We can never allow our feet to come off the ground and we will just approach this game in the same manner we have done in the past . Nothing changes because of our result in the last match and it's just a case of us starting from where we left off," said Porterfield.

 "Also remember that we (technical staff) are not only here to prepare the boys for this game on Wednesday. Our job is to ensure that everyone is ready both mentally and physically for the entire campaign," he added.

 Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke is now scheduled to arrive tomorrow according to Porterfield after an agreement between the T&T Football Federa-tion and United officials. Yorke is expected to line up for United against Chelsea today.

 "Dwight is an exception and we have to be happy when we can get him. He's been great so far and while it may be difficult to get him early for preparations, we know his commitment is unquestionable. The matter with Tony Rougier is he was forced to arrive a bit late because he's just gone to another club. I spoke to Tony, he told me it would be difficult and I told
 him okay go ahead and sort out yourself," said Porter-field.

 Rougier signed a three-year deal with English Second Div-ision side Reading Friday and is expected here tomorrow.

 Raith Rovers defender Marvin Andrews reportedly missed his flight home Friday and is now expected to arrive today.

 Meanwhile, Porter-field said Arnold Dwarika trained Friday and yesterday and is almost certain to recover from an ankle injury in time for Wednesday.

 Dennis Lawrence is also gearing towards full fitness after injuring himself against Guyana last week. CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh midfielder Dale Saunders has a knee injury and did not train with the team yesterday morning.

 Porterfield was also expected to conduct another session last evening. "Everything has gone fine in training. We've just to get through some of the drills and prepare well for our next encounter," said Porterfield.

 Switzerland-based striker Jerron Nixon, Hibernian midfielder Ansil Elcock, Wrex-ham's Carlos Edwards, Columbus Crew defender Ansil Elcock, goalkeeper Clayton Ince and USA-based defender Avery John are all in the side for this week's encounter.

Nakhid not in World Cup plans

     TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield said earlier this week that recalling former national captain David
     Nakhid was not an immediate plan of the technical staff.

     Porterfield was questioned on Tuesday whether he would consider recalling the midfielder but he said: "No it's not
     something that we have in mind at this time. We have looked at several players and we will find others to fill the
     missing gaps in the team."

     Nakhid's last appearance for T&T was in a 1-0 loss to Canada in the Gold Cup semi-finals in February when he
     missed a first half penalty.

     The former FC Grasshoppers player was dropped from the squad prior to the start of the 2002 World Cup
     qualifying campaign in March. Nakhid said in a Cana report that he was willing to return if recalled.

     "I am ready and willing to play for my country at any time. If I am requested, of course I will accept," said Nakhid,
     who exited international football in conflict after the team's elimination from last February's Gold Cup. My aim is
     ensure we make it to the World Cup as best as I can," he added.

     Striker Jerron Nixon also was dropped after the Gold Cup but has been recalled for next Wednesday's World
     Cup qualifier against Panama.

     Midfielder maestro and captain, Russell Latapy, is suspended for that game and it is left to be seen who will
     replace him. Hibernian midfielder, Lyndon Andrews, is among the contenders.


     Reading manager Alan Pardew has swooped to sign a divisional rivals top scorer on the eve of the new season.
     Tony Rougier, who scored nine goals for Port Vale last season, has signed for the Royals for a fee of around
     £300,000. The 29 year-old Trinidadian international has signed a three-year contract and is eligible for selection in
     tomorrow's season opener at Millwall.

     Rougier started his British career in Scotland with Raith Rovers in 1995 before joining Hibs in 1997. Eighteen
     months ago he moved to Port Vale for £175,000, where last season he operated in a wide position. Rougier is
     primarily a winger but can also play through the middle.

     Remembering the unfounded anticipation at the Madejski after the signing of Liberiam Mass sarr two seasons ago,
     boss Pardew has high hopes for the Trinidad & Tobago international, but issues a word of warning. "Tony is two
     footed and he will offer us width on either side of the pitch. He'll give us something different in terms of pace and
     power, and I'm hoping that what Mass Sarr promised, Tony Rougier will deliver."

     He takes the number 37 shirt

Friday August 11th, 2000

The return of Nixon

SWITZERLAND-based professional Jerren Nixon will make a belated return to the Trinidad and Tobago side today.

Nixon, on the invitation of coach Ian Porterfield, was one of four foreign-based pros expected to arrive at Piarco Airport last evening to begin preparations for next week’s third round 2002 World Cup qualifier against Panama.

United States-based Ansil Elcock, England-based Clayton Ince and Scotland-based Marvin Andrews were also expected in as well and should all join the team in training today.

Nixon, who nows plays with SC St Gallen, last represented T&T at the Football Confederation’s Gold Cup series in Los Angeles in February, under former coach Bertille St Clair.

But United Arab Emirates midfielder David Nakhid and the Bertille St Clair regime were all sacked in the wake of the team’s failure to win the Gold Cup.

Speaking yesterday though, TTFF president Oliver Camps explained that Nixon had never been disposed of.

“We never sacked Nixon,” Camps said.

“He was dropped because he was injured in the Gold Cup. All along, in the wake of that tournament, I had been trying to correct that information.”

Nixon had also been invited for T&T’s friendly against Guyana on Sunday, but could not make it.

Camps added: “Now that he’s (Nixon) back in action and fully fit the coach feels that he’s ready and he is going to be considered now right through from now on.

“Of course, it is still for the coach to decide if he’s going to pick him. But I feel he’s a very talented player and he has every right to be in the team. I’m happy he’s fit again and have no doubt he’ll be back in the squad.”

The other foreign-based pros invited for the game, England-based Dwight Yorke (Manchester United), Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Scotland-based Lyndon Andrews (Hibernian) and Ireland-based Avery John (Bohemians FC), are all expected within the next 48 hours.

Yorke will fly in from Malta where United were on a pre-season training camp. In fact, the 28-year-old striker warmed up for the Panamanians by scoring in a 5-1 United win over Birkirkara on Wednesday night.

Scotland-based skipper Russell Latapy, who will miss the game while serving a one-match suspension, is also expected early next week to cheer his teammates along.

There was also more good news for the T&T camp from England yesterday, as they learned West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop had gone through another pre-season game without any hiccups.

Hislop, just back after a lengthy lay-off from a broken leg, played in West Ham’s 4-2 win over Rushden and Diamonds on Wednesday night.

—Irving Ward

T&T climbs in World rankings

Trinidad and Tobago climbed to it's highest position ever in Fifa world rankings. They are ranked at 29th, third in the Football Confederation behind Mexico (14th) and USA (21st).

Edwards and Sam get call up

The Wrexham dynamic duo of Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards recieved a call up to the national senior squad for T&T's game with Panama.

With the injuries to Gary Glasgow, Stern John, Ronnie Maugue, Ian Cox, Criag Demmin and Brent Rahim Poterfield was forced to include the two young players. Add the fact that Russell Latapy will miss this game due to two yellow cards this game will test the level of T&T's talent.

Both Sam and Edwards have impressed in pre-season training and games at Wrexham where they recently signed  new three year contracts.

Porterfield keeps a cool head


DESPITE a recent series of unfortunate occurrences in the Trinidad and Tobago senior football team, coach Ian Porterfield is keeping a cool head and is positive the local side will get through their next hurdle against Panama here next Wednesday.

T&T have had several players being forced out of action over the last few months. First up it was the cartilage injury to Stern John, putting him out of action until early next month. Then came Russell Latapy's double yellow card, forcing him to miss the Panama game. England-born defender Ian Cox reporting he was still nursing a wrist injury and was unable to join the team last month followed.

However, T&T were still able to pull off important 2-0 and 1-0 victories over Canada and Mexico. But now, less than a week before their next World Cup assignment, comes the news that promising midfielder Gary Glasgow injured his left instep at the weekend and may be out for 10-12 weeks. Glasgow said yesterday the injury is not as bad as first thought and he will undergo surgery today.

Added to this, Dennis Lawrence is nursing an ankle injury following Sunday's 0-0 draw with Guyana, but is hoping to be fit for the date with Panama.

Talented midfielder Brent Rahim was unable to play against Guyana because of a calf injury, and while being a strong candidate to replace "Latas", it could be a gamble to throw a player who is not 100 per cent match fit into a World Cup qualifier.

And Port Vale manager Brian Horton says he hopes Anthony Rougier is left out of the T&T side in order to play in England.

These are some of what Porterfield has on his plate at the moment. However, he says he's not worried, noting on Monday that unnecessary hype was being created about Latapy's absence.

"I think it's just been a lot of hype created. Obviously, Russell is a very important player in the team and he's a boy I have great admiration for. But it's not the first time that we will be playing without someone. There have been several times that we have been forced to play without someone, either because of injury or club commitment, but we never complained about this. We just got on with the job," said Porterfield.

"When Stern got injured and when Dwight couldn't come home...we didn't complain. Dwight has done his part and we are happy. There have been other situations with players being out with injuries, but we've never moaned and groaned.

"Okay, Russell is out and we will miss him, but we will just have to find someone to fill that gap and get on with things," added Porterfield, who was yesterday deciding on necessary changes to the team for next Wednesday.

"I am a very positive person and I am willing to listen to good advice and see how it can be used to improve the team. Now it's nice to see the good support the team is getting and that people are beginning to realise how much commitment and dedication that has been put in by the team."

T&T's management team said yesterday no requests from Port Vale about Rougier being released for national duty had been made and he's scheduled to fly in later this week for the Panama clash.

Some of T&T's foreign-based players are expected to begin arriving from tomorrow and training will begin Friday.

Ipswich renews interest in Latas

RUMOURS about Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy moving to the English Premiership resurfaced on Monday, but Hibernian manager Alex McLeish was quick to discard it as, "simply rubbish."

Earlier this year, Ipswich Town manager George Burley said he was interested in the "Little Magician" and Ipswich may have been willing to spend close to £2 million (TT$20 million) on him.

But McLeish said no offers were made and he was certain "Latas" would finish his final year on contract at Hibs.

However, a report in the Daily Mail this week said: "Russell Latapy could realise his dream of playing in the English Premiership with promoted Ipswich Town preparing a £1million bid for the Caribbean star.

"Ipswich manager George Burley wants the Trinidad and Tobago international to provide the midfield spark on his side's return to the top flight.

"And former Scotland defender Burley has resolved not to allow Latapy's extensive World Cup qualifying commitments to detract from his determination to land the player."

McLeish responded to that report telling the Hibs Internet website: "The story that appeared in the Daily Mail this morning is simply rubbish. I have spoken to Ipswich Town, who have confirmed that they have no interest in Russell Latapy."

The 32-year-old Latapy has played in Hibernian's two matches since the start of the Scottish season and is reported to have made quite an impact so far.

Tuesday August 8th, 2000

T&T held 0-0 in 'mudland'

 By Shaun Fuentes

 TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers battled to a 0-0 draw with Guyana on a heavy, water-logged field in Lyndon on Sunday.

 Speaking on the team's return home yesterday, coach Ian Porterfield said he wasn't able to do much assessing of the local players, but believed it was a good exercise against a team that was keen to get at T&T.

 The only bad news coming out of the game was an ankle injury to tall defender Dennis Law-rence, who had to be stretchered off the field in the second half.

 "At first we thought he had broken his ankle but it turned out that it wasn't that bad and we are hoping he will be fit for the Panama game," said Porterfield.

 The Scotland-born coach said he received news yesterday that Kansas City Wizards striker Gary Glasgow suffered a broken leg in the United States and he was awaiting an update on the player's condition. A report in yesterday's Kansas City Star said Glasgow suffered a fractured left leg in the 65th minute of action against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the weekend and is out for the remainder of the season.

 Porterfield mentioned too that young midfielder Brent Rahim did not make the trip after reporting to the technical staff at the last moment that he was nursing a calf injury, while Addison Belfon also stayed at home because of injury. Arnold Dwarika missed on the tour because of an ankle injury.

 Porterfield said the overseas-based professionals are booked to arrive in T&T on Thursday and training will begin Friday ahead of next week Wednesday's clash here with Panama.

 Porterfield said the Guyana outing was worthy in some areas. T&T did manage to create a few scoring chances with midfielder Angus Eve guilty of missing on a few occasions. Recalled midfielder Hutson "Barber" Charles was involved in the action and will be awaiting further word from Porterfield.

 "It was not a game from which I could have done much assessing of the players. It was almost impossible to play any good football as the game was played under totally unplayable conditions, but we asked for the game and we had an obligation to play.

 "But in saying that there were a few pluses which came out of it. The guys deserved 10 out of 10 for the strong commitment and determination they showed throughout against a team who was really coming at us because they were all hyped up about playing a team like us.

 "I thought the guys did well and hopefully an exercise like that will help to improve the boys and toughen them up a bit. Now we have to put our heads down and get ready for the bigger game which is against Panama," said Porterfield.

 The former Chelsea coach will today pay close attention to his line-up for next Wednesday and remains confident that he will find someone to fill the shoes of suspended captain Russell Latapy. He is confident T&T will have the necessary players at its disposal.

 "In the recent part of the campaign I have seen two big pluses with regards to new players being brought into the team and being able to play a good role.

 "One is the performance of Dennis Lawrence in central defence which we always wanted to play him but could not because of certain reasons in the earlier matches.

 "The other is the potential of Gary Glasgow who has shown that he can possibly and change the pattern of play," said Porterfield.

Monday August 7th, 2000

Porterfield plans to fill Latapy void


THE absence of Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy from the team’s 2002 World Cup third round qualifier against Panama on August 16 could make a real difference to the outcome.

But although the 32-year-old Hibernian midfielder, serving an automatic one-game suspension, will be forced to sit out the Queen’s Park Oval clash, T&T coach Ian Porterfield does not accept that being forced to play without him will be crucial to the result.

According to Porterfield, while Latapy is a tough act to follow, the void will be easily filled.

“It’s sad that Russell has to miss the game,” Porterfield said yesterday

“I mean, he’s a big loss because he’s a great leader, he’s a good captain and he’s a good example to the team. It’s very disappointing but we’ve got to accept these things.”

He added: “But in the previous games, Russell missed games and someone else went in and took his place. That’s happened to various players and we’ll do the same again.”

Porterfield made the comment as his team prepares to fly out to Georgetown tomorrow for a friendly against Guyana on Sunday.

Several names of players who can be thrown into the midfield role offer themselves but none of them seems to have the kind of flair which the Little Magician generally brings to the position.

One name which readily comes to mind is United States-based Brent Rahim, who had a run in the Concacaf Gold Cup in February.

Porterfield had a look at the University student in a friendly against Canada earlier this year but he has not called up Rahim until this weekend.

However, it would be premature for the fans to expect that because Rahim was drafted into this weekend’s squad that he was being considered for the starting role against Panama.

“We’re not playing this game against Guyana to find a replacement for Russell Latapy,” the Scottish-born coach said.

“It’s nothing to do with that,” he added, “because we’ve got a good idea of how we’re gonna approach it.” There are a couple individuals in contention but we’ll cross that bridge a bit nearer the time.”

Porterfield’s confidence is understandable. He and his technical staff have been busy looking at the scouting reports and videos on Panama sent by their English-based scout, John Stubbs.

Therefore, it is safe to say that they are well advanced in their planning for the game.

Of Rahim Porterfield said: “He’s a young player. He has a bit to learn, but he has a wonderful attitude and is a good boy. He’s a player for the future, I would think.”

But Rahim is not the only player who will be on show.

Veteran Army skipper Hutson Charles and US-based defenders Craig Demmin and Avery John will also get their chance.

Unfortunately, though, three other foreign-based players whom the coach wanted to look at this weekend—Jerren Nixon, Evans Wise and Ian Cox—are unavailable.

In fact, Porterfield explained that the major goal will be to look at other player options.

Asked if Charles was being considered for a defensive role or a midfield one, Porterfield side-stepped, saying only that nothing was yet final.

“We haven’t finalised anything. He’s one we’ve looked at really. I mean to be fair, we’re quite strong or reasonably strong in that area in a sense but we think there’s a possibility that we may consider him.”

“I want to try and give everyone an opportunity,” he ended, “but at the same time, anyone that gets an opportunity has got to perform for his club.”

Dwarika stays home.. Porterfield names 18 for Guyana


TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield has selected an 18-man squad of young and experienced players to go to Guyana, with aim of finding a few prospects to add to his World Cup squad. T&T will face Guyana's senior team there on Sunday.

Among the list is former USA-based goalkeeper Michel Peters who was named Joe Public's Man of the Match in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
US-based defender Avery John, a former player with Presentation College, San Fernando; Addison Belfon (formerly a St Benedict's College midfielder); Defence Force striker Sherman "Ants" Phillip; Kerwyn Jemmot; Jabloteh's Ralston James; talented midfielder Brent Rahim; Anton Pierre; Colorado Rapids defender Keyeno Thomas and former T&T midfielder Hutson "Barber" Charles have also been selected.

They will join Stokely Mason, Angus Eve, Dennis Lawrence, Dale Saunders, Nigel Pierre, Reynold Carrington, Shurland David and goalkeeper Ross Russell, who were in the squad which beat Canada (2-0) and Mexico (1-0) in recent qualifying affairs.
Joe Public striker Arnold Dwarika will be left at home to recover from a hamstring injury.

Rochester Rhinos defender Craig Demming was in the original team but called yesterday to say he had suffered a hamstring strain in training Tuesday and is unable to join the team.

Jerron Nixon and Evans Wise were also invited but Nixon is currently engaged in Champions League qualifying action with Swiss club SC Stgallen, while Wise is recovering from injury.The other foreign-based players were not considered because of their preparations with respective clubs ahead of the coming season.

Speaking yesterday, Porterfield said he was not worried about the opponents being below top quality. It was difficult to arrange with other opponents because of the schedule of some also involved in World Cup qualification, he noted.

Dennis Lawrence is one of the players discovered in matches earlier this year and now Porterfield will be on the lookout again.

"I had a trip of this sort on my mind even before the games against Canada and Mexico.
I felt that it would be a good chance to get a look at players like Ian Cox, Evans Wise, Nixon and Kevin Austin, as well as to give some of the younger guys like Brent Rahim, Kerwyn Jemmot and Keyeno Thomas a chance as well," he said.

"But unfortunately, Cox, Wise, Nixon and Austin are unable to make it. I told Arnold (Dwarika) that he would be left at home because it's important that he's fit for Panama and playing with his injury could possibly make things worse. "We tried to get a game in various quarters. Mr (Jack) Warner tried his best, but at the end of the day we were only able to get Guyana. But I feel the game will serve its purpose.

It's a game to give some of the younger guys exposure as well as have a look at a few others. From day one I said I'll be giving everyone a chance once they are good enough and okay. This game might be one under different conditions, but it could be a good chance for someone else to pop up," said Porterfield.

A replacement for suspended captain Russell Latapy will be one of the main thoughts on Porterfield's mind during this Guyana trip.

"So far, the boys have done tremendously well. It's been hard work all along and now we just have to prepare well for Panama.

We've had two great results against Canada and Mexico, but we have another part of the hill to climb still so we must ensure that we keep our feet on the ground and remain focused," the Scotland-born coach added.

Thursday August 3rd, 2000

Shaka Makes His Long Awaited Return

GOALKEEPER, SHAKA Hislop, stole Frank Lampard's thunder as he made his comeback from injury in the 4-0 victory over Exeter City.

Hislop made his long-awaited return from a broken leg in the friendly rout as midfielder, Lampard, bagged a hat-trick.

The giant Trinidadian has been out of action since collecting the injury against Bradford City in the Premiership back in February.

But after working his way back to fitness, Hislop appeared as a second half substitute for Stephen Bywater to hand the Hammers a massive boost.

Though Hislop enjoyed a leisurely comeback, Lampard was in the thick of the action to ensure West Ham continued their rich vein of pre-season form.

Teenage midfielder, Joe Cole, has also been in confident mood and he notched the other goal in the comfortable victory at St James' Park.

Shaka making smooth progress


TRINIDAD and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is well on his way to full recovery in time for West Ham United's English Premiership opener against Chelsea on August 19.

Reports out of England yesterday said Hislop was hard in training and manager Harry Redknapp is confident he will be fit for the opening match.

Hislop suffered a broken leg which has kept him out of action since February.
This is also good news for T&T as he should be available for the September 3 World Cup qualifier against Canada here unless officials plan otherwise.

Striker Stern John is also doing fine following cartilage surgery and should be ready for action by month's end or early September.

England-born defender Kevin Austin has also recovered from an achilles tendon injury and is in training with Barnsley. Reports indicate he hopes to be available for T&T selection later this month.

Meanwhile, trialist defender Marvin Andrews was in the Sheffield Wednesday team which beat Al Freton Town 2-0 on Tuesday. He was also to play in another preseason game against PSV Eindhoven yesterday. PSV also had shown interest in Andrews earlier this year.

Wrexham eyes Ince again


NATIONAL goalkeeper Clayton Ince is now on the hunt for a new club after being placed on the transfer list of English First Division club, Crewe Alexandra.

It appears he could end up at Second Division club Wrexham, which was interested in him prior to his move to Crewe.

They were unable to sign him because of problems to secure a work permit.
Ince told the Wrexham Evening Leader at the weekend: "I've still got two years left on my contract at Crewe. I've been there 12 months ­ and played once. The situation is a bit bouncy there because of the gaffer and if I get an offer to come back to Wrexham, I will - gladly. The atmosphere here is nice. Wrexham is a very friendly club and they've got first-class facilities and a really good management team. My agent (Mike Berry) is speaking to Mr Flynn, the Wrexham manager, about coming up with some sort of solution."

Berry also said Hibernian was interested in Ince. Wrexham manager Flynn was quoted as saying, "We were disappointed at not getting him in the first place and we now have four professional goalkeepers at the club. But if something develops with Mark Cartwright (currently on Wrexham transfer list), you never know."

Meanwhile, England-born T&T defender Ian Cox made a return to action for Burnley in a 3-2 win over Darlington on Saturday in preseason action. T&T manager Neville Chance said yesterday he was monitoring Cox's progress following his wrist injury, but he will not be rushed into joining the local squad.

Reports from England were defender Marvin Andrews was expected to be on trial at English First Division club Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.

Local players told to remain at home

THE Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation has requested that all home-based players on the national senior team refrain from going on trials abroad until the end of the World Cup qualifying semifinal round which ends on November 15 when T&T are away to Panama.

Speaking yesterday T&T Football Federation president Oliver Camps and senior team administrator Neville Chance said any player receiving a contract will however, be allowed to leave.

"We took a decision today that until further notice, the locally based players will not be allowed to go abroad for any trials. We want to keep the momentum going and maintain the chemistry in the team. We also have to protect the investments being made by sponsors and the TTFF," said Chance.

"Don't get me wrong, we are not placing a ban on the players. We know that following the success over Canada and Mexico, there will be clubs wanting to have a look at our players. But having a player leave at this time will not do the local team any good.

"We do not want to interfere with the player's future but at the same time we have a national programme to carry out. We feel that participating in the World Cup will allow the players to attract interest from bigger clubs later on."

Angus Eve is one player expected to leave today for England to resume a two-year contract with Chester City, but he may be ask for a release for the qualifying period.
Chance said talk about Dwight Yorke not being available for the Panama clash on August 16 was untrue as assurance of his presence has already been given.

Yorke told BBC News yesterday he was determined to play a major part for T&T despite missing games for Manchester United.

"It's going to be a difficult one but at the same time it's like every other player wanting to play for their country, it's an honour," said Yorke.

Chance mentioned that Yorke and other overseas-based players will be asked by coach Ian Porterfield to return home six days before the Panama game in being guided by FIFA regulations.

A trip to Guyana is scheduled for Saturday, but the squad has not been finalised for the warm-up game against that country's senior team.

The Guyana trek will kick off resumption of training since T&T's 1-0 win over Mexico.
Meanwhile, Camps, TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and women's football official Iva Gloudon leave tomorrow to attend a FIFA congress meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.

Latas offers Panama support

ALTHOUGH he will not be able to take the field, Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy will still turn up for the third-round 2002 World Cup qualifying clash against Panama.

The Little Magician will be serving an automatic one-match suspension for the August 16 encounter after picking up a second consecutive yellow card in the team’s last match against Mexico two Sundays ago.

However, according to T&T Team Administrator Neville Chance, the Hibernian midfielder has indicated a willingness to travel here to be with his teammates.

“He (Latapy) has indicated an interest to come for the game,” a naturally elated Chance explained yesterday.

“And I will support his interest in coming back. His wanting to come back to lend his support says a lot. It says that the team chemistry is great.”

Latapy began his Scottish Premier Division season with Hibs on the weekend, playing the full 90 minutes in a goalless draw with Hearts.

But, while the 31-year-old midfielder may indeed be keen to return for the game the question will still be whether Hibs boss Alex McLeish will afford him the opportunity to return home for the game.

Fortunately, Latapy is expected to be the only major player absentee for the Panama encounter.

Chance confirmed that all the other players who took part in the last game, including England-based Dwight Yorke, had indicated their availability.

Reports last week suggested that Yorke would not be available for the game.

Chance explained though that he was confident the 28-year-old Manchester United striker would indeed be here because he (Yorke) had “shown great and tremendous commitment to the team” so far during the campaign.

Chance added that T&T coach Ian Porterfield, with a vacancy in the middle due to Latapy’s absence, was also hoping to look at some new players in the build up to the game.

Names like Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon, Germany-based Evans Wise, United States-based Brent Rahim and former “Strike Squad” midfielder Hutson Charles have been brandied about as possible prospects to join the training squad.

But, pointing out that only the coach knew what he had planned as far as personnel was concerned, Chance said they had tentatively planned a friendly against Guyana on Sunday so Porterfield begin fine tuning among other things.

“All the screws and bolts are not yet fixed but this will be our only practice game going into the Panama clash,” he said.

“If it doesn’t come off the coach will probably have to come up with some alternative. But we have always wanted these games to kick start the team back in between major games.”

T&T looks to Guyana tour

THE Trinidad and Tobago technical staff are looking into the possibility of taking the local senior team to Guyana for a few warm-up games ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Panama on August 16.

According to T&T Football Federation president Oliver Camps the tour would be an ideal opportunity to keep the local contingent of players match fit and coach Ian Porterfield will also look at a few new players being brought into the side.

"This tour will be used to keep the players in action and for us to have a look at other possibilities. You never know when you are going to need other players because now Russell Latapy is out of the Panama game so we have to find a replacement," Camps said yesterday.

He said they also tried to arrange trips to Antigua, among other Caribbean islands, but were fruitless.

Camps said discussions were held about the possibility of former national midfielder Hutson "Barber" Charles being recalled, but he wasn't sure whether the decision was finalised by Porterfield.

Other players who may be recalled include USA-based defender Craig Demming, Switzerland-based striker Jerron Nixon, Evans Wise and exciting midfielder Brent Rahim, who could be looked at as a replacement for the suspended Latapy.

There was also some good news for Porterfield with striker Mickey Trotman making a return to action Friday night in Joe Public's 3-1 victory over Caledonia AIA.

Trotman made a first half appearance, but according to Public manager Richard Abraham, it will be some time before he regains full fitness to rejoin his national team-mates.
Trotman damaged a ligament in his right knee in March.

"He's not fully match fit as yet. His first touch wasn't there Friday and we expect it will take a little time before he gets back to his best, but he's making steady progress," said Abraham, who said the former Miami Fusion striker will be given some more playing time when Public meet Caledonia today.

Abraham also mentioned that Angus Eve will return to England Tuesday to rejoin Chester City. However, Eve will attempt to negotiate an end to his stay there as he hopes to play with a higher division club. He still has one year left at Chester, which was relegated from the English Third Division last season. Eve has had a solid World Cup qualifying campaign so far and will hope that helps him to a new contract.

Keeper Ince up for sale

NATIONAL goalkeeper Clayton Ince has been placed on the transfer list of English First Division club Crewe Alexandra.

Ince, who enjoyed a solid performance in Trinidad and Tobago's 1-0 victory over Mexico, was told on his return to England by Crewe boss Dario Gradi, the club is now looking to sign former 'keeper, Ademole Bankole of Nigeria.

In the meantime, however, Ince's England-based agent, Mike Berry, said from England yesterday Hibernian manager Alex McLeish was contacted and is interested in the former Defence Force custodian.

Berry said McLeish will speak to Trinidad and Tobago captain Russell Latapy, who plays for Hibernian, to get an assessment of Ince.

Berry said there were a few other First and Second Division clubs in England and Scotland interested in Ince.

Gradi explained he has not had sufficient time to see Ince in action and has become frustrated with the 'keeper's international commitments. He also wasn't pleased with Ince not turning up for pre-season training last week, in between T&T's matches against Canada and Mexico.

"We will try and get some of our money back for Clayton. I haven't seen enough of him to pick him in my team. In fact, there was a chance of getting George (Bankole) back last year and if that had happened, then I wouldn't have signed Clayton," said Gradi.
Berry was yesterday upset with the situation.

"Dario was given Clayton's schedule about five weeks ago, but I got a call from the club's assistant manager last Wednesday to tell me they were expecting him back last week. The assistant manager said he didn't care about Trinidad and Tobago and was only concerned about Crewe. I thought that was ridiculous and is a disgrace on the club's part.

"I asked him if they wanted me to get Ince another club and they said to go ahead.
"I think it's very strange Dario bought a World Cup goalkeeper last season, and now that he's playing in World Cup matches, he's surprised and angry that he's playing in big matches against Mexico," said Berry.

He said plans had been made to fly Ince directly to Ireland for Crewe's two-match pre-season tour earlier this week, but Gradi insisted he remain and train at the club's Reaseheath training ground alongside transfer-listed forward Colin Cramb.

Ince was on the bench for most of last season looking on at Jason Kearton doing the job for Crewe in goal, but said last month he was looking forward to putting in a strong challenge for the No 1 goalkeeping spot at the club.

Berry, agent of Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam of Wrexham, was glad to reveal some good news about the duo who played in a 3-3 draw with Blackburn Rovers in pre-season action Wednesday. Sam played the entire game while fans were chanting: "We want Carlos! We want Carlos!" before he entered in the 60th minute.

US$4m for footballers

TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers will receive around US$4 million if they qualify for the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.

This was stated by FIFA vice president Jack Warner, speaking on yesterday's edition of T&T This Morning on TTT.

This money will be handed out by FIFA while the team can expect to receive further bonuses from sponsors.

He added that US$75,000 was handed out to the T&T side, including match fees and bonuses, for last Sunday's 1-0 victory over Mexico at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Warner also defended claims that ticket prices for T&T's qualifying matches at home were too costly, saying they were still reasonable compared to that of several other countries, including Jamaica.

Warner said the money was being put to good use as it was going towards the team's preparations for future matches.

He said around $8 million has been spent on the team so far in the qualifying campaign. Just around $2 million has come in from sponsors and gate receipts.

Around $800,000 was received at the gates last Sunday and approximately $500,000 was needed for the staging of the match.

T&T flag flies at Wrexham


THE national flag of T &T will fly proudly in England over the coming football season there. The exploits of some of this country's top sportsmen, including Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, T&T captain Russell Latapy, cricketer Brian Lara and sprinter Ato Boldon among others, have "kept the flag flying" in recent times.

But the actual flag will be seen by thousands in England at the Wrexham Stadium from next month. The English Second Division club has decided, due to the growing popularity of our footballers, along with its signing of T&T duo Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam, the national flag deserves to be a permanent fixture at its home venue.

The flag will be one of five there, including that of England, the Football Association and the club. Revealing this was Mike Berry, the agent for Edwards, Sam and local goalkeeper Clayton Ince, who is a member of First Division side Crewe Alexandra.

Sam, a former Queen's Royal College and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker, scored his first goal of the year for Wrexham in a pre-season encounter against Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.

Berry said Sam was the highlight of Wrexham's performance as he kept Des Walker, an England international, busy throughout the 90 minutes. Wrexham lost 4-1, but Sam was subsequently named "Man of the Match".

He and Edwards were expected to line-up in Wrexham's friendly against Blackburn Rovers Wednesday. They will then get the chance to face Yorke and United in another warm-up on August 1. It was also revealed that Crewe Alexandra manager, Dario Gradi, is apparently frustrated with Ince's frequent absence from the club because of national duty.
Ince is expected to feature in future World Cup qualifiers, so he may placed on the club's transfer list.

Scots celebrate Latapy's winner

FANS of Russell Latapy's Scottish Premier League club, Hibernian, rejoiced Trinidad and Tobago's 1-0 victory over Mexico in Sunday's World Cup qualifier.

The "Little Magician" delivered the winning goal before leaving soon after the match for Easter Road, where he joined his club teammates for training ahead of the new season.
The Edinburgh Evening News highlighted T&T's win over Canada and reported Latapy's goal against Mexico.

Before Sunday's win, Latapy predicted a good result, once they were able to get things right on the field.

He said it's important T&T gets good results in home matches, one of which he will miss on August 16 against Panama, because of having two yellow cards.

For "Latas," victory in the first match against Canada meant: "Definitely, that's the right direction you're heading. The thing about this competition is that if you want to qualify for the final round, then you are supposed to win at home. In respect to the comment that the Canada match was easy, no football game is easy. All games are difficult because each team has their strengths and weaknesses."

Latapy will line up for Hibs in their season opener against Hearts on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hibs manager, Alex McLeish, said he will most likely name French midfielder, Franc Sauzee, as captain for the new season. Some club fans have been calling for "Latas" to get the armband following the exit of former skipper, John Hughes, at the end of last season.

Stern's absence sad

STERN JOHN will not play for Trinidad and Tobago for another six weeks, having had an operation last Thursday night in England, for an injured cartilage on his right knee.

His absence from the T&T side was described as sad by national coach, Ian Porterfield, who is hoping the Nottingham Forest striker can return at least for the Canada match, to be held here in October.

"He's out for six weeks, maybe longer, so he's out of the equation. That's sad because Stern would have been a very important player for us. Unfortunately, due to the injury he's had over the last six months or so, he's never really been available. Hopefully, if the team keeps progressing as it's done, he will come into contention in the future," said Porterfield.

Forest manager, David Platt, said he will probably use striker Jack Lester as John's replacement, in the opening game of the season against West Bromwich Albion on August 12.

Time for Manchester to get a little Dwight

DWIGHT YORKE has been allotting most of his time to Trinidad and Tobago recently, so English Premiership side Manchester United welcomed the striker's return earlier this week, as they prepare for their season opener against Newcastle United next month.

While World Cup qualifying action is sure to be on his mind, Yorke will now concentrate on Manchester's coming season.

After all, it doesn't get much bigger than playing for them.
Speaking to reporters in Edmonton prior to T&T's 2-0 win over Canada last week, Yorke said: "Playing for Manchester United, it doesn't get any bigger than that in the soccer world. I enjoy it because at some stage I will have to retire from the game, and I totally enjoy every moment of it. Without the hard work, without the determination, without the success on the pitch, I wouldn't be living the lifestyle I'm living. It's part and parcel of the game now; certainly in England, people treat you like a superstar and that's fine. I just take it in my own stride and enjoy every moment of it."

Wearing the number 19 jersey is "very intimidating actually," admitted Yorke.
"It's so hard to describe it to people who are looking at it from the outside; they can't know what it's like until you're actually on the inside. It's just a fantastic club. From top to bottom, there's so much professionalism and there's so much success that the club is depending on, and that's what the players strive for.

"Everyone is expected to perform and to win, and it just shows."
Having supporters worldwide is great for Yorke.

"You don't realise these things until you actually become part of the club. We all know how big Manchester United is, but when you're actually playing for them, it's more of an eye-opener - for me it was - to realise how big it is wherever we go. We always have a huge following and it's great to be part of that," added Yorke.

Good news for Crewe

THE SOLID performance of goalkeeper Clayton Ince in Sunday's 1-0 win over Mexico, came as good news for Crewe Alexandra coach, Dario Gradi, who is likely to call on his services when the new English First Division season begins next month.

There are also rumours that Ince may be sold by the club as they are contemplating bringing back a former 'keeper.

Ince, coming off an uncertain showing against Canada, pulled off a few timely saves to keep the Mexicans off the scoresheet.

He was another player who came in for praise from coach Ian Porterfield.

"Against Canada, he dropped the ball a couple of times and maybe he was a little bit edgy. But he has good character and strong determination," Porterfield said.

Hibs relieved to have Andrews

SCOTTISH Premier League club, Hibernian, expressed relief on being able to secure a work permit for local midfielder, Lyndon Andrews, allowing him to sign a three-year deal at the club.

The Department for Employment in Scotland initially refused Hibs' application for his permit earlier this year, but then decided to award it.

Hibs manager, Alex McLeish, and commercial director, Rod Petrie, said they are sure the wait was well worth it, and expects the former Vibe CT 105 W Connection player to settle well in the team, alongside T&T captain Russell Latapy.

"Although he might have to wait for his chance, I'm sure he has the ability to make an impact," said McLeish.

Mauge coming along

REPORTS out of England over the weekend stated that English born, T&T midfielder, Ronnie Mauge, is not expected to resume action until the early part of September.

While the club may not be ruling out an earlier recovery from his broken leg, Mauge is sure to miss Bristol Rovers' opening game against Bournemouth on August 12, and Peterborough United's one week later. Rovers' boss, Ian Holloway, said Mauge's absence is an added blow to his team, which also has injury problems with David Pritchard and Trevor Challis. Challis recently had groin surgery. Mauge's teammate, David Hillier, is also set to have knee surgery.

Mauge's recovery is proceeding smoothly and his national teammates will be hoping his progress continues over the next few weeks.

Vale wants more goals from Rougier

PORT VALE boss, Brian Horton, called on Anthony Rougier and his teammates to score more goals this season, if the club is to be a contender for First Division promotion.
Horton said last week that he was anxiously awaiting Rougier's return to the team, but wants the local defender -who is a forward for Vale ­ to make scoring a habit.
"We need someone. In Division Two, the strikers at the club will get a lot of goals between them," said Horton.

Rougier made his return to the T&T side in Sunday's 1-0 win over Mexico, after being dropped for games against Jamaica and Canada. He was rock solid in defence, to the delight of local fans. He said playing for a new club in the coming season is a possibility, but time will tell where the former Raith Rovers winger ends up.

Soca Bomb Squad ready to explode


"TWO down, four more to go." Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield will be eying formidable results in the remaining four matches of the 2002 World Cup qualifying semi-final round in order to book a spot in the final round of six teams from which three teams will go through to the Japan/Korea World Cup.

T&T still faces 14 matches before it can achieve qualification and it is no secret that Sunday's victory over Mexico would have been unthinkable by some followers of the local team.

Captain Russell Latapy and his teammates deserve full credit for their efforts in the last two games and it is now expected that the wonderful support received so far will continue until the team collects their final set of points to reach Japan/Korea.

T&T and Caribbean neighbours Jamaica are the only two teams to have maximum points in the round so far but it is fair to say that the local side has had to overcome stronger opponents than the "Reggae Boyz" who beat St Vincent and the Grenadines and Honduras.

T&T now head Group C with six points ahead of Mexico (three), Panama (one) and Clayton Ince is also the only goalkeeper to not concede a goal in the Concacaf semi-final series.

Porterfield said after Sunday's victory that there is obvious room for improvement but the team's confidence has grown with the two wins and he is certain they will get better.

Local songwriter Alyson Ayers will soon release a track in which Latapy's men will be dubbed the "Soca Bomb Squad" and it is hopeful that they will live up to that call.

Sunday's victory is sure to make the team the main topic of conversation among sport enthusiasts and while Brian Lara and his West Indian teammates will grab some of the attention with a victory in the Test series against England, striker Dwight Yorke and company will no doubt want to keep the headlines with similar match winning performances.

Big $ bonus for footballers

Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s 1-0 triumph over Mexico on Sunday has earned much more than full points for skipper Russell Latapy and his men.

Victory first helped T&T maintain their lead atop the Football Confederation’s Group C competition with a maximum six points from two games. The team also beat Canada 2-0 in Edmonton two Sundays ago.

However, Latapy’s men will also take home significantly fatter pay cheques, thanks to a bonus incentive scheme put in place for the players.

T&TFF president Oliver Camps yesterday told the Express that “the guys will all take home bonuses for Sunday’s win”.

Camps added that “The scheme has been in effect since the start of the campaign and the rewards increase as we go on in the tournament.”

Camps would not reveal details of the payment structure in the bonus plan but he noted that “all the players are happy with it”.

The former “Strike Squad” manager was also still “bubbling” over the team’s win but pointed out that the campaign was far from over. “We’re very happy to have won and to have six points at this point in time. But it is still early stages yet and we cannot rest on our laurels.”

Warning that complacency was not an option “because we have more hard games coming up,” Camps said that “the other teams (Panama/Canada) are going to come to play us tough because they are now in must win situations. We basically cannot rest until we have at least 12 points—which I feel will be enough to earn a place in the next round.”

Camps was also critical of the officiating of American referee Kevin Scott whose decision to book Latapy in the first half will keep the Scotland-based player out against Panama on August 16.

“I myself, like many of the fans, was not happy with the card because, while we all admit there was an infringement, I believe the judgment in giving the card was very wrong.”

He added: “Referees should be very careful about giving yellow cards unless the fouls are very serious, and Latapy’s challenge was not. A card in this kind of situation not only puts the players under pressure for the rest of the game but could also affect their chances of playing in the next game as is the case now.”

Scott was not the only referee whose work was criticised on Sunday. Jamaican Peter Pendergast also drew the wrath of the Americans after awarding a controversial last minute penalty to Costa Rica in a game in which the homeside eventually scraped past the Americans 2-1.

And speaking on the issue yesterday, Football Confederation president Jack Austin Warner admitted something would have to be done about the level of officiating from the region’s referees to ensure that the number of future incidents is reduced.

“We don’t want to start panicking but I feel we will have to sit down and see whether we cannot do something to lift the level of the refereeing,” Warner said yesterday.

“Maybe it will mean starting a series of course or something but we will have to address it.”

Warner was also happy about the team’s performance and noted that the next two homes games would give Latapy’s men the chance to possibly seal a place in the next round before they headed back on the road for the final two games of the semifinal campaign.

T&T pros return to clubs

By Shaun Fuentes

TRINIDAD and Tobago's contingent of overseas-based footballers were are all expected to rejoin their clubs today after leaving home during the last 24 hours following the local squad's 1-0 triumph over Mexico in Sunday's World Cup qualifier.
Goalscorer and captain Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke left for the United Kingdom Sunday night.

Former skipper Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra). Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew) and Gary Glasgow (Kansas City Wizards) all left local shores yesterday.
Midfielder Lyndon Andrews left last night for Scotland to begin his new contract with Hibernian, where he will team up with Latapy.

National coach Ian Porterfield is hoping to have the majority of the foreign "pros" back home at least five days before the Panama clash on August 16.
"That's all on my mind. Myself and Neville Chance, the manager, had a long chat quite a few days ago about the situation. We know exactly what we want to do and we have put our recommendations forward.

"We are not going to get these guys for maybe five or seven days before we play Panama. Hopefully we can get the guys together again because I always feel that when you get something moving, it can continue if you do the right things," said Porterfield.

Meanwhile, the technical staff had a lengthy discussion after the game about Latapy's unavailability for the Panama game on August 16 because of suspension. Stylish USA-based midfielder Brent Rahim is sure to be among the contenders to take Latapy's place. Latapy's replacement is expected to be named later this week.

Mexican coach Manuel La Puente, with the aid of an interpreter, said he expected T&T to make steady progress.

T&T drop Mexico

The road to the Pacific got shorter for T&T. They defeated Mexico by a 1-0 score in Port of Spain. Once again T&T didnot play as well as they should but through a rocket of a shot by Latapy managed to score a great victory over the best team in the Football Confederation.

One little fact of interest, T&T now sports a perfect record versus Mexico in World Cup qualifying. The only other time the two teams met was in 1973, where the Soca Warriors dumped Mexico 4-0.

Multimedia: Latapy's Goal verus Mexico (Courtesy TTT)

Strikers war

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s last football match against Concacaf powerhouses Mexico now seems to have been eons away.

But it was just six months ago when the two teams met in the 2000 US Gold Cup and the the Central American giants carved out a lopsided 4-0 win over the local team. But for all the relevance that result is likely to have on tomorrow’s World Cup qualifying match, it might just as well be deleted from the memory of football fans in T&T.

The outcome of encounters between these two footballing nations have normally been considered a foregone conclusion, the plaudits going to the tiny Caribbean nation for their gutsy approach work while the points go to their mainland counterparts.

But the tide may be turning—or so the diehard T&T supporters like to think.

After last weekend’s Concacaf World Cup semifinal qualifiers Group C matches, it was a photograph of T&T’s Dwight Yorke that graced most international football websites. The headline emblazoned above it was often “Shock Caribbean winners in qualifiers” or words to that effect.

But from 4 p.m. on Sunday, Mexico will attempt to show that the balance of power has not shifted.

To do it, to prove that they are not a team on the decline, they will be depending on an aging superstar, Luis Hernandez.

Nicknamed “El Matador” for his killer instinct in front of goal, Hernandez was on target on four occasions during World Cup ’98 as he spearheaded Mexico’s progress past the group stages of the competition.

But Hernandez is now 31, and his skills appear to have waned drastically since that splendid summer.

He was less of a factor when Mexico won their biggest trophy to date—the 1999 Fifa Confederation Cup—and looked below his best when the defending Gold Cup champs went crashing out of the tournament at the quarterfinal stage.

His recent club form has also been uninspiring with just two goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 11 starts. But with a shortage of young talent available—Mexico’s U-23 squad failed to qualify for the upcoming Olympics—Mexican coach Manuel Lapuente is still turning to Hernandez to deliver the goods.

And against T&T, the long-haired talismanic sniper famed for his incisive close-range finishing will attempt to prove that rumours of his decline are greatly exaggerated.

The likelihood is, however, that he will have to share the media spotlight with Manchester United’s Yorke.

There are several similarities between them. Both appear largely uninterested in the complexities of midfield play, preferring to preserve their energies for the final attacking third.

Both are at ease with the ball on either foot as well as in the air and can exploit the smallest opening in a defence to notch remarkable goals.

But whereas Hernandez has found European teams hesitant in their approaches and seems certain to end his career—like most Mexicans— without participating in the famous European Champions’ League.

Gone too is a chance of the big payday that tends to go with that. Yorke though has had the advantage of having the big Europe stage to showcase his talents—and significantly boost his bank account.

It is only the global media attention of the World Cup that he now craves.

Over the weekend, Yorke showed the strength of his desire with a superbly taken goal against 2000 Gold Cup champions Canada.

After eight unsuccessful attempts, it gave T&T their first ever victory over the North Americans.

No T&T fan will care too much who wins the battle between the two strikers so long as T&T are victors in the larger war.

T&T get focussed for Mexico clash tomorrow


RECALLED national midfielder Anthony Rougier led his teammates in prayer before yesterday's training session at St Anthony's College Ground, West Moorings, and special mention was made for the steady recovery of Stern John who underwent surgery on an injured cartilage Thursday night which may put him out of action for six weeks.

Team administrator Neville Chance said a get-well card was sent to the 23-year-old striker yesterday.

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke had his first session since returning from beating Canada 2-0 because of a slight ankle injury and told reporters earlier in the day he was looking forward to tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Captain Russell Latapy was optimistic of T&T's chances against a team which defeated this country 4-0 in the first round of the Gold Cup in February. He also commented on his individual form.

"The result (against Canada) was good. It's always important to pick up a point away. If you pick up three then definitely in the right direction you are heading. Obviously it wasn't our best performance.

"Football changes and I think personally if I'm allowed to speak for myself I think at 25 years old I was a smashing player. But I think I'm a better player now because of my experience and I just do what I need to on the field. Sometimes a result is more important than the performance. "The important thing is that as a team we go out and we work hard, do the country proud and bring home the three points. No football game is easy. "If you look at Brazil right, they are supposed to be one of the top teams in the world and they struggling a bit," said Latapy.

Coach Ian Porterfield didn't say too much about tomorrow's affair.
He dismissed claims by certain members of the media that they were barred from attending training sessions or having interviews since the team returned home.
He also disagreed that some T&T players are unfit.

Porterfield told reporters: "You've got your opinion, I've got mine. It amazes me with some of the comments you make. Maybe you don't understand. I know you don't understand. If you go anywhere else in the world you find that you people here get more license and do what you want more than anywhere else.

"Defensively I thought we were superb (against Canada) and I thought it was a very professional and very thorough performance. Okay, we were under pressure for 25 minutes but that happens when you go away from home. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but have you ever beaten Canada before last Sunday?" Porterfield asked reporters.

"That game is in the past now. My mind is on Mexico and I want my players to be focussed on Mexico as well," added Porterfield.

Mexico will be arriving here today and will depart immediately following tomorrow's encounter.

Taking it as it comes (Keith Smith Column)

"WHAT are our chances against Mexico?"

Fifty-fifty, I answered, not thinking.

Really! he exclaimed, beaming.

How you mean, I added, getting real, they have the same chance as we have and we have the same chance that they have.

He thought about that and then realised that I had not really answered his initial question since I had taken refuge in percentages.

The truth is I have not been able to get a make on this Trinidad team. Truthfully, I didn’t think we would beat Canada, my opinion formed by the game I had seen us play against Jamaica. Now it was not so much that I felt the Jamaicans were a better team than us as it was that I thought we played as if we didn’t feel to play.

Mind you, I myself was conscious of a certain lethargy even as I journeyed down to see the game, a pervasive sense that we had played Jamaica one too many, making it difficult for me really to rouse-up much interest.

Bet you, I said to the friend driving me down, that there’ll be not that many people at the game.

Bet! was his ready response as well he might, since neither of us was staking anything, the language being merely the Trinidadian way of expressing a difference in point of view.

Well, I turned out to be right with respect to the size of the crowd and I soon got to thinking, as well, that the players were finding it as difficult as I was to get into the swing of the game, the Sunday afternoon lazy, the mood more suitable for fishing than footballing if you know what I mean.

Later, following the defeat, I found myself wondering whether we were well served by the month-long lay-off or whether we would have been better off for having the team train and train and train.

My difficulty was genuine. Some of the players, notably Latapy and Yorke had come off hard seasons and I was not about to begrudge them their time away from the game if I could be assured that, on the resumption, they would be fresh, fast and feisty.

Neither they nor the team was any of those things against Jamaica so as we went into the crucial Canadian fixture I had my doubts. Look, let’s not get cute here and admit instead that such were my doubts that I couldn’t bear to look at the game depending on my brother, who is made of sterner stuff to relay me the essentials which is how I found out, 15 minutes before the end, that we were ahead two goals to none.

Bounding up from the bed I sat before the television and I must have lost a few years there because it seemed to me that Canada was bound to score and how often had I seen teams come back from what looked like sudden death. Still, we held on and as I said to my brother who was explaining that we hadn’t had all that good a game it was enough that we had won and this was a team that had no alternative but to get it together on the run so to speak and I know that the conventional wisdom remains that we should have been as tight as a dock-worker on pay-day by the time Canada came but there was nothing we could do about that, Mr Porterfield, and I dare say Mr Warner, having decided that that was going to be that.

So with the dangerous Mexico on the very near horizon, the collective hope must be that the long rest, the Canadian victory and the fact that it is, after all, a World Cup qualifier will energise the team before what I hope is going to be a large home crowd and the only reason I use hope there is because, even as I write, I haven’t been able to hear that telling buzz which leaves me to wonder whether the stiff sums to enter the Stadium will keep too many away or whether folks will fork out in the full knowledge that, all the very many other things being equal, we have a setta fellers with whom we could finally make the Final.

For myself, the plan so far is not too invest too much emotion at this scary stage but to take every game as it comes, rooting for the fellas in the expectation that they will play as best they can and in the hope that Mr Porterfield’s game plans are competent, coherent and, yes, courageous lest we end up like the English, having played it safe and ending up sorry.

Cox ready and willing, but not for T&T??

Reports out of England last week suggested that T&T English-born defender Ian Cox is keen to get back in action.

He was supposed to have joined T&T earlier this month but following news he may need a second operation on a wrist injury, Cox was left out of the squad by coach Ian Porterfield.

Cox, who put his career with T&T on hold after signing a $500,000 deal with Burnley earlier this year, is reportedly ready to do a similar thing.

One report said: "Ian Cox is ready to battle for his Turf Moor future and if that means putting his international career on hold, he is more than willing to do so."

Fellow T&T players, Ronnie Mauge and West Ham United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop are also recovering from injuries and are anxious to make a return to the T&T line-up.

Coach Ian Porterfield will be hoping the player, who made his debut for T&T in a 1-0 loss to Morocco in January, can return to the line-up soon.

Forest look for John's partner

Nottingham Forest boss David Platt is still searching for a striker to partner Stern John when the new English First Division season begins next month.

The latest man to catch Platt's eye is 22-year-old Grenadian Jason Roberts who indicated he wants to leave Bristol Rovers after being one of their top marksmen last season.
Saudi Arabian Sami Al-Jaber also is being targeted.

Dougie Freedman, Jack Lester, Gary Jones and Marlon Harewood are the other strikers with Forest, but Platt feels neither is capable of leading his team.

Meanwhile, Forest beat Jamaican club Harbour View 3-2 in a warm-up match in the United States on the weekend. They earlier lost to MLS club Miami Fusion 3-2.

Forest was scheduled to come to Trinidad this week for another pre-season match, but that was cancelled because of the national team's World Cup schedule. That left Forest director Mark Arthur saying: "It is very disappointing because the whole idea of the visit was to foster good relations with Trinidad following the signing of Stern John."

Forest arranged to play the United States today, at the Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Jeffries scores double

Former El Dorado Senior Comprehensive striker Kevin Jeffries scored a double to lead the Bay Area Seals to a 2-0 victory over El Paso Patriots in the American A-League on Friday.

Jeffries netted in the 48th and 57th minutes to give his team their eighth win of the season.
The Seals are in fifth spot on the six-team Pacific Division of the A-League Local defender Brent Sancho and Charleston Battery enjoyed a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh Riverhounds but then lost 2-1 to Hershey Wildcats the next day.

Eve still wanted

English side Chester City is still interested in having midfielder Angus Eve in its line-up for the new season.

City, who was relegated from the Third Division, signed Eve last season before he rejoined Joe Public earlier this year.

He has since played for Public in the local Professional League this season. After scoring two goals for City, Eve was placed on the transfer list because he was missing too many matches while on national duty.

According to the Wrexham Evening Leader, City won't mind getting Eve back as he still has one year left on contract and he could be removed from the transfer list.

The former Defence Force man also attracted interest from a few other clubs.
He scored with a right-footed blast in T&T's 2-0 win over Canada on Sunday, and will be looking to continue such form against Mexico on the weekend.

"We're always looking to shoot from the top of the box," smiled Eve. "I just drifted inside and got a seam, saw the goal and went for it," Eve said after Sunday's win.

Hibs keep eye on Latapy

Hibernian manager Alex McLeish said last week his club would be monitoring the fitness of star midfielder Russell Latapy to ensure he's ready to face Hearts in the season opener, next Saturday.

McLeish was happy Latapy will be available for the match after fears he would be out because of T&T's game against Mexico on Sunday.

But it turned out the game is seven days earlier than Hibernian's outing.
McLeish will probably not put pressure on "Latas" after his appearances against Canada and Mexico.

"We will need to look at Russell after the game and see how he is. There is the danger he will pick up a knock or that fatigue will kick in. But he is certainly in my plans for the game against Hearts, and the fact he should now be back in plenty of time is a boost," said McLeish.

Reports out of Scotland last week said Hibs is planning to build a £35 million development near their Easter Road ground, which would include a new stand and an "international class" sports fitness and medical centre.

Latapy lined up for T&T in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Canada, and was part of the play which led to Angus Eve's opening goal.

Following the match, "Latas" was a pleased captain saying: "It's always nice when you can play your first game away from home and come away with three points. Now we will look ahead to the next game against Mexico and hope we can also get a good result then."

Rougier's back


FORMER Trinidad and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier returned to the training fields yesterday, to begin preparation for Sunday’s crucial Football Confederation Zone 2002 semi-final round World Cup qualifier against Mexico.

Dropped from the squad which stunned Canada 2-0 in Sunday’s opener, Rougier’s colleagues welcomed him back at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

He had joined them to take part in the team’s first session since their return from Edmonton on Monday.

The Port Vale midfielder had, prior to this, been a permanent member in the T&T starting XI and was replaced by Russell Latapy as skipper when the 2002 World Cup campaign started in March.

But T&T coach Ian Porterfield shocked the public last week when he announced that Rougier was not being considered for the friendly against Jamaica as well as the Canadian matchup.

At the time Porterfield refused to comment on the reason for the sacking, pointing out that whatever decision he made was being done “in the best interest of the team”.

The coach, however, revealed that Rougier would be welcomed back into the fold to contest for a place in the squad for the forthcoming games against Mexico and Panama.

However, the former Zambia coach did not allow the media into yesterday’s session.

According to Team Administrator Neville Chance, Porterfield had asked for a “closed door” session to allow the team to “settle back down” after Sunday’s success.

Chance added that he had also denied similar requests for “access to the team” yesterday, by Mexican media personnel also here for the game.

But on Monday after the team returned from Canada, Porterfield praised his team’s first game effort and emphasised that he “was really proud of the boys”.

“It was a good result for us. Obviously, it was very important for us to get something on the board in our first game and to win the game was really terrific.”

Commending the commitment of the players, Porterfield added: “We’ve got to get through this stage. We’ve only played one game and we’ve started well.”

Of course, the Mexican clash is only the first of a three-game home set and the results from these games could well determine whether T&T advances to the final phase or not.

Recognising that the team was still not running on all cylinders and that they earned full points from the Canadians thanks to grit, determination and a bit of luck, the Scotsman conceded that they would again be starting at 0-0 against the Mexicans.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do yet. And if we keep our foot on the ground and work hard and just continue to work the same way as we worked in the past, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t progress from this stage into the final stage next year.”

Vale call back Rougier

Following the news that Anthony Rougier was dropped from the national team for last Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Canada, Port Vale manager Brian Horton immediately asked for the player to join his team in pre-season training.

T&T coach Ian Porterfield said last week Rougier was likely to be recalled for Sundays encounter with Mexico but Horton wants his player.

Rougier's agent Brian Little said: "Tony has a paying boss in Port Vale and has to answer to them. Vale have just been relegated and he is one of their top players and should be involved in their pre-season.

"The club has every right to ask him to be with them. Being called on international duty is different from playing in friendlies, but Vale have bent over backwards to help T&T and I could understand if they said enough is enough," said Little.

Rougier said he was hoping to leave Vale following its relegation from the English First Division but will look closely at available deals before making a decision.

Yorke - marked man

THE fact that Dwight Yorke is likely to be the most marked player on the field in each of Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup qualifying matches is of no threat to what the £12.6 million striker sets out to do when he steps on to the pitch.

Instead, for Yorke, it's all about using the brain and being fully aware of the action in order to overcome the heavy scrutiny by defenders.

Speaking in Edmonton on the weekend, Yorke, who was nursing a slight ankle strain prior to the T&T's 2-0 victory over Canada on Sunday, was quizzed with all sorts of questions from reporters about how he handles being a world famous striker.
But Yorke is accustomed to that.

"Hey, it is a challenge. People single me out, obviously because of the things I have achieved and the club I play for.

"You know you have to be clever, be on your game. You've got to be sharp and wait for that precise moment. For me it's all about using the brain and your awareness on the pitch," said Yorke.

Against Canada on Sunday, Yorke scored his sixth goal in just as many matches for T&T since a 4-0 defeat to Mexico in February.

Yorke believes it will take a collective effort from T&T if it is to advance in the qualifying series.
"It's a team effort at the end of the day and it takes a team effort to win a football game. It might take an individual spark from someone in your match, but it is a collective thing."
The former Aston Villa striker said the prestigious World Cup is "the missing article in my career."

"We came close in '89 and now we feel we're capable of going one step further.
"We've got more experience, more players playing abroad and I think that brings more ability to the team," he added.

T&T: Bring on the Mexicans


WHETHER the opponents are Mexico or Brazil or whether Stern John or Dwight Yorke is missing from the Trinidad and Tobago line-up, coach Ian Porterfield wants his troops to approach each game in a positive manner.

Speaking following T&T's 2-1 victory over Canada on Sunday, Porterfield wasn't exactly pleased with the team's performance in the first 45 minutes, but hailed the defenders for showing grit in keeping the opponents off the scoresheet.

Goalkeeper Clayton Ince who didn't have the best of games, also came in for some praise.
Unlike the Gold Cup semi-final when T&T did most of the attacking before falling to one goal, Canada dominated early Sunday.

But it was never T&T's intentions to let the homeside come at them.
"I don't know anything about that. Football is football and we can only go out there and handle things as it happens on the pitch. Obviously we were not happy with the way things went, particularly in defence in the first half but I was able to change the approach in a few areas in the second half and it went well.

"Probably Canada should look back at where they went wrong. They came on our home soil and beat our Olympic team 2-0 and now we've come here and beat them by that score,"

He credited his defence of Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Shurland David and defensive midfielders Dennis Lawrence and Reynold Carrington for hanging on.

"The thing is they (Canada) never created any great chances, Clayton (Ince) let a ball pass through his foot and he dropped a few balls. But our boys fought hard and didn't give anything away."

The former Chelsea coach will be assessing a report of Mexico's 1-0 win over Panama sent through by English scout John Stubbs.

T&T were preparing for this weekend's clash at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, yesterday and Porterfield said there's no need to fear the Mexicans.

"Obviously this game against Mexico is a big one and we will be going through the report carefully. We've had a good result and now we are on home soil against a strong nation. It's a great challenge for us but I believe that the boys have been really psyched up for each game so far, and okay, Mexico is a different flavour but there's only three points to get in this game like any other.

"We have won five and drawn two games, that's the record. We have very important games at home and hopefully now we can go on to get the results which will take us through to the final round," said Porterfield, who will not have the services of injured Stern John.

He said Anthony Rougier, who was drooped for the last game, has been asked to attend training for Sunday's affair but expects no major changes to the squad which returned from Canada on Tuesday.

Victorious T&T take day off


THE victorious Trinidad and Tobago squad will return to the training fields today in preparation for Sunday’s second round 2002 Football Confederation Zone semifinal round World Cup qualifier against Mexico.

Skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates returned home yesterday morning following their 2-0 win over Canada on Sunday, a result which took them to the top of the Group C table.

Not surprisingly, coach Ian Porterfield gave them the day off, the squad having travelled for much of Monday on the return trip.

But, realising that time is against them, the men in red, white and black will hit the greens again today.

Speaking to the Express yesterday, assistant manager Neil Mollineaux explained that a huge group of T&T supporters had helped them in their quest for victory in Edmonton.

A couple thousand Trinidadians made their presence felt among the 25,208 fans in the Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday as Latapy’s side continued their quest to reach Japan and Korea.

But Mollineaux explained that their compatriots had been with the team from day one.

“Their (T&T fans) support was fantastic,” Mollineaux said.

“They made us feel at home from the time we arrived in Edmonton. They welcomed us at the airport and had a reception for the team and there was also steelband and tassa at the game. We couldn’t ask for more.”

The support was rallied by the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Organisation—a group of Trinidadians based in Canada which seeks to keep their home culture alive while out in the cold.

The group’s response to the win was predictably ecstatic.

“It was heaven for them for us to win,” Mollineaux recalled adding,”They were so pleased. According to one of them, it was the best thing to happen to Trinidadians over there since Wendy (Fitzwilliam) won the Miss Universe contest.”

Close to the field of play, Mollineaux explained that coach Porterfield was still hopeful of having the services of England-based striker Stern John against the Mexicans.

John injured his right knee during preparation for last Sunday’s game and was not able to take any part in the historic win, the first time in nine tries all-time that T&T had beaten the Canadians.

He flew back to his club, Nottingham Forest, last night and is expected to visit specialists within the next 24 hours.

However, Mollineaux explained that the injury was not as serious as they had felt initially, hence the optimism about his returning later on this week.

Latas: T&T underdogs no more


VICTORY in Sunday's match against Mexico will put Trinidad and Tobago in the driver's seat to advance to the final round as one of the top two teams from the Group "C" semi-finals of the Football Confederation's qualifying zone for the 2002 World Cup finals.

Captain Russell Latapy's squad is fully aware of this, but the "Little Magician" is taking nothing for granted and wants his teammates to remain focussed and approach each match as if their lives depended on it.

T&T currently heads the four-team group on goal difference, ahead of the Mexicans with Panama and Canada trailing.

Next up, T&T has games at home against Mexico, Panama (August 16), Canada (September 3) followed by away matches against Mexico (October 8) and Panama (November 15).

The team arrived home yesterday.
Speaking from the Edmonton Plaza on Sunday night, following T&T's 2-0 victory over Canada, Latapy was elated over the two extra points.

He made it no secret that T&T would have been satisfied with a point but while the win was welcomed, it's not much to talk about, according to the Hibernian playmaker.

"We are definitely pleased about the victory. We came here and took two points away from Canada. Being realistic, this team was 15 games unbeaten and are the Gold Cup champions. Being even more realistic is that we came here looking to go back home with a point and it turned it well in that we took all three," said Latapy.

About the performance against Canada, "Latas" commented: "We started a bit shaky but then we got better as the game went on.

"At certain stages we played some good football. At this stage I think it doesn't really matter how well you play but more important is getting good results. While you will like to play well, the more important thing is the result. Certainly the most pleasing thing is that we got the three points and we didn't concede any goals."

At the time of conversation, Latapy was curious about the result of the Panama/Mexico game which the latter won on a late item.

He realises that there are hardly any underdogs from here on.
"At this stage there are only 12 teams left with a chance of going through to the next stage and only three teams from there advance to the World Cup. So we know every game is going to be difficult.

"We don't want to get carried away with the victory against Canada. Obviously it's the best start possible but we don't want to talk about it too much. We just want to keep our feet on the ground and play football," ended Latapy.

Surgery for Stern John

THERE was bad news for Trinidad and Tobago as striker Stern John left yesterday for England to undergo surgery on a damaged a cartilage on his right knee.

He will miss Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Following his arrival home, the 23-year-old John said he will have surgery today which is expected to keep him out of action for four to six weeks.

"It's not going to be a major surgery but I am very disappointed at the moment," said John.
He described the first instance of pain during a practice session in Trinidad last week.

"I felt the shock when I went in for a tackle with Russ (Russell). It got worse in Canada and I could have played against them but it would have just made the injury worse. We have five more games left and hopefully I will be better to play before the series ends," said John.

He also missed T&T's 1-0 loss to Canada in February in Gold Cup, but was glad about T&T's revenge win in Edmonton on Sunday.

"The win was great for us. We went there and did what we needed to. We were not under pressure because they were at home and they had to come at us."

After suffering a left ligament injury in February, John was ruled out for five months, but returned to action two months before that. Local fans will be hoping for another fast recovery this time around.