February News
January News

Wednesday February 28th, 2001

Acid test for T&T


THE Trinidad and Tobago football team arrived for their pre-arranged 1 p.m. workout at the Kingston National Stadium yesterday afternoon only to find a Jamaican Reggae Boyz session in full swing.

The message was obvious. And intentional.

Coach Ian Porterfield and his squad found out first-hand what Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell had revealed in a press conference yesterday morning.

It is something that Porterfield, as a fairly experienced international coach, should already know. At 1 pm today, when T&T kick off the last leg of their 2002 World Cup campaign in Kingston, it will be war.

A retired army captain, Burrell knows the game well.

“The Trinidadians must be made to feel that they are in hostile territory,” said Burrell to the mostly Jamaican media personnel present. “I want every fan to wear gold. I don’t want to see a bit of white because I understand that Trinidad and Tobago wears white too. I understand that the Trinidadian players are afraid of gold so that is what we must give them.

“I know at the end of the day, Jamaica will stand proud as we will be maintaining our home record.”

The Reggae Boyz have amassed one of the most intimidating home records in the Concacaf region with
a 46-match unbeaten streak in Kingston dating back to 1994.

At exactly 24 hours before kick-off time, Porterfield was made to see who was boss as he was robbed of the perfect time to get a run on the ground.

Fifa regulations state that the visiting team must be allowed a session on the playing field on the day before the match. It does not specify the time though and Brazil-born coach Clovis de Olivera was happy to exploit the loophole.

As one onlooker explained, it is an old Brazilian trick.

“I remember (ex-coach René) Simoes almost came to blows with the Costa Rican coach (after doing the same thing),” said a laughing maintenance man. Porterfield didn’t seem too annoyed though.

A man of very few insightful words to the media, he merely shrugged his shoulders and offered the usual diplomatic response.

His assistant Jimmy Blanc had this brief comment: “Well, we came and we saw this,” he said, pointing at the training Jamaicans. “Don’t worry, we’ll respond tomorrow.”

More likely than not, the response will come mainly from the British Premiership pair of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and Hibernian playmaker Russell Latapy.

Yorke arrived in Jamaica on Monday night after being giving a special dispensation from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) to remain in England over the weekend to represent his club.

Both he and Latapy had their first workouts in Jamaica yesterday after Latapy had skipped Monday’s session at Arnett Gardens.

They are expected to again be the fulcrum of Porterfield’s offence with Stern John, goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, Angus Eve and defender Ian Cox providing quality alongside them.

Yorke looked sharp yesterday and the 200-plus Jamaicans who somehow got past the strict stadium security may have been worried to see him bury virtually every shot he took at goal in practice.


De Oliviera insisted that he was not at all fazed by his or Latapy’s presence, though.

“They are just two players,” said de Oliviera who had a brief stint as T&T coach in 1992. “There will not be anything special for them.”

The visitors eventually played a scrimmage game among themselves at a leisurely pace, showing patience on he ball and seemingly focused on maintaining possession.

It was in stark contrast to the quick tempo displayed by the Reggae Boyz earlier.

The spirit of the recently deceased bustling Jamaican midfielder Stephen “Shorty” Malcolm, as de Oliviera explained, was in the air.

“Malcolm was an exemplar for us,” said de Oliviera. “We have to honour him by trying twice as hard as he would always do. I respect the Trinidad team bceause they have wonderful players but so do we. We are ready.”

Injury has deprived the Jamaicans of both regular goalkeepers, Aaron Lawrence and Donovan Ricketts, while striker Onandi Lowe is suspended.

In their places, 21-year-old Harbour View custodian Leon Gordon is expected to get his first taste of World Cup qualifying competition while English-born Barry Hayles should make his debut up front.

At present, the 27-year-old Hayles is the leading goalscorer for English Fist division team Fulham and he, like his strike partner Deon Burton, will attempt to hustle the T&T defence on and off the ball.

It seems the Reggae Boyz consider T&T’s weakness to lie in a lack of cohesion and an inability to rebound from tough positions. There is every chance that Jamaica will try to put their guests on the backfoot as early as possible and are hoping for an advantage on the scorecard by the interval.

There are expected to be at least 35,000 spectators at the National Stadium today and the word on the street is “more fire” for T&T.

Intense pressure, of course, alows one to distinguish between base and precious metals. At the home of the Reggae Boyz, T&T will have to pass the alchemist’s test.

Yorke ready to lead from front

Dwight Yorke has been the main topic of discussion since his arrival in Kingston for today’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

The Manchester United striker said yesterday evening that he is all set to help T&T earn three points in their opening match of the final round but, realistically, he would not be disappointed with taking just one point home. “I think a point is not a bad result,” he commented. “But if we can get three points, we won’t be too disappointed. That’s our aim as a team.”

“The team spirit has always been good—which is a plus for us. Hopefully that is something that is going to take us a long way,” he added. “There are a lot of players in the squad that look up to me and I’ve got to lead from the front.”

“I think this is the one and only opportunity for us to get there (World Cup Finals),” he added, “and it’s about time I take the responsibility to help the team reach there.”

He suggested that it might be difficult for some members of the team to adjust to the climate here. “It’s very difficult for me to come back here and play. The weather is very hot but I think it’s a mental thing and I’ve got to overcome it.”

“When I came through the airport,” he went on, “there were a lot of people cheering for me because of how I play for the biggest club in the world and so on. But at the same time, they don’t want me to be successful against Jamaica. But I’m here to do a job and I’m going to play my heart out for my country.”

Reggae Boyz sharpen
               IAN BURNETT, Observer staff reporter

JAMAICA'S full complement of national senior footballers took to the field on two occasions yesterday, as they continued their preparations for tomorrow's much-anticipated game against Trinidad and Tobago at the National Stadium.

The 1:00 pm start will be the opening game of the final round of the 2002 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign. Six teams will vie for three spots to Korea/Kapan.

The 7:00 am session gave technical director, Clovis de Oliveira, the opportunity to examine the seven British-based players who arrived in the island on Sunday night.

Included in the group was Fulham's sharpshooter, Barry Hayles, who was practicing with the national team for the first time.

Hayles was used with Derby County's Deon Burton in attack on the first team, and the player displayed great composure and comfort with the ball. He is fleet-footed and at times he showed the ability to drop deep, collect the ball and spray passes to either flanks. During the shooting practice that followed, he kicked well with either foot while showing a definite affinity for his left foot.

Darryl Powell was his usual busy self, marshalling the central midfield role, while Ricardo Gardner, Ian Goodison and Burton appeared lively and eager to go. Burton looked as sharp as he did going into the Bolivia game, and the last couple of games in the 1998 qualifying campaign.

In goal, Leon Gordon was the best, with Shawn Sawyers displaying tremendous courage and agility to match. Hubert Busby was clearly third best on the day.

On the opposing side, Wolde Harris and Ricardo Fuller stood out.

Hayles, who has scored 17 goals this season for first division leaders, Fulham United, told the Observer that he was very happy to be here and representing Jamaica. "I'm looking forward to the game immensely, but I am not going to get into too much ... I am looking to do things on the pitch and I hope the crowd will help us along," he noted in stuttered speech.

From a team standpoint, he said: "We hope to give a good account of ourselves and go on and win the game." From a personal point of view, he hoped to get "a few goals" and go on from there.

The defenders were also taken through a rigorous drill with assistant coaches, Carl Brown and Peter Cargill.

The 1:00 pm workout was less intensive. Captain Linval Dixon left the field early with a minor foot injury and the unlucky Jamie Lawrence was seen sporting a heavily bandaged wrist, but reports are that both players are going to be okay.

de Oliveira said today's session would be a relaxation programme, with the players resting their muscles and focussing their minds for Wednesday. He reiterated that there was respect for the visitors, but "they must respect us as well".

Crawford, Sawyers in Boyz squad

DEFENDER Shane Crawford and goalkeeper Shawn Sawyers were named to a 23-man Jamaica squad to face Trinidad and Tobago in tomorrow' s opening final round CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium.

Team coach Clovis de Oliveira named the two among 11 local-based players joining the12 overseas players named last week for the opening game of the six-team CONCACAF play-off that will decide three World Cup spots.

Team captain Linval Dixon, is joined by Chris Dawes, Leon Gordon, Fabian Davis, Marco McDonald, Fabian Taylor, William Wilson, Clifton Waugh and Jermaine Johnson as the local-based contingent.

Twelve overseas-based players were already named last Thursday -- from England, Theodore Whitmore and Ian Goodison of Hull City, Ricardo Gardner (Bolton), Bradford' s Jamie Lawrence, Barry Hayles (Fulham), Darryl Powell and Deon Burton of Derby County, and Crystal Palace's Ricardo Fuller and Hubert Busby.

And US Major League Soccer (MLS) players Wolde Harris (New England Revolution), and Miami Fusion' s Andy Williams and Tyrone Marshall.

Confident Trinidad and Tobago here


 By Nodley Wright, Staff Reporter

 A CONFIDENT Trinidad and Tobago football squad arrived in the island early yesterday minus star striker Dwight Yorke and injured defender Kevin Austin, ahead of tomorrow's World Cup clash with Jamaica.

Yorke was due in late yesterday.

Coach Ian Porterfield expressed satisfaction with the training camp his team had in England and later in the Cayman Islands. "The preparations have gone very well and we are happy," Porterfield told the Gleaner shortly after arrival at the Norman Manley Airport.

On the game itself the Scotman said he is expecting a tough game between the top two teams in the Caribbean. "It will be tough but it is a local derby.

"We know it is going to be a hard game. We know that we have to give our best to get the result that we would like to get. It is very exiting for everyone back in Trinidad and Tobago and I hope that when Wednesday comes along we can perform well and take a good result back home," Porterfield said.

Both teams, Porterfield said, should not be strangers to each other as the "world is now a small place". "Jamaica know all about us and we know a bit about them as well. We understand that in football now and we just have to prepare as well as we can.

"We respect the Jamaican team. They have got a lot of good players, they have a lot of experience and they have the added advantage that we do not have. They have played in the World Cup finals before which we have not done. We give them every respect. We know that it will be a hard game and if we perform on the day there is no reason why we should not have a good result," Porterfield added.

The absence of Jamaica's top striker Onandi Lowe who scored a hat trick for Jamaica in a 4-2 win over the twin-island republic the last time both teams met will not be a major advantage for his team according to Porterfield. He rates Lowe as a good player but said at the time of that game his team was just getting together and that it was a friendly game.

"We were experimenting with a lot of things. We played a different formation that day. Lowe is an outstanding player you know... a very important player for Jamaica and it is an obvious advantage when one of your (Jamaica's) top players is not available," said Porterfield.

In Deon Burton and Barry Hayles Porterfield believes that have enough strength on the forward line to be a force against his team.

"You (Jamaica) have got strength up there so Lowe not coming in is probably psychologically an advantage to us but we respect 11 players and the seven that are on the bench when Wednesday comes along."

While Lowe's absence will be a minus for Jamaica, the form of Trinidad and Tobago's Dwight Yorke is a big plus for Trinidad and Tobago. Yorke scored a hat trick for Manchester United on Sunday in a top of the Premiership table clash.

"It (the hat trick) is great for Dwight (Yorke) because he has been in and out of the team (Manchester United) the last month or two and to play so well against Arsenal and score three goals in the first 20 minutes of the game is wonderful for Dwight. We know what he can do and hopefully that has given us a confidence bosster ahead of the game on Wednesday."

Another factor, the time of the day the match is being played, which was said to be a key factor in the outcome of the game was shot down by Porterfield.

"I mean Jamaica have got players who have come from Europe as well. The lads are used to playing in the heat and I think we would not make that an excuse though it is going to be hot.

"I think that Jamaica are going to take any advantage they can because it is a home fixture but I am sure that we can handle the weather conditions."

Jamaicans hunt for Yorke

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s footballers received a heavy Police escort on their way to the Hilton Hotel in Kingston from the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday morning.

The T&T squad arrived at approximately 8:15 am Jamaican time.

Captain Russell Latapy and his teammates were met by T&T Minister of Sport Manohar Ramsaran while having breakfast at the hotel.

Before that though, Latapy and coach Ian Porterfield had to deal with several reporters and photographers from newspapers, radio and television stations at the airport and at the hotel.

The most asked question was “Where is Dwight Yorke?.”

“Is he still coming and will he be playing on Wednesday?”

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John was also a popular figure with the media, as was Latapy, who is remembered from his playing days in Jamaica.

T&T were scheduled to have one session at the National Stadium last evening and another one today.

The team had a session with performance consultant Anthony Watkins on Sunday night in the Cayman Islands where he emphasised to the players that they must show the Jamaicans that they are in Kingston for nothing other than victory.

Yorke, fresh from a hattrick for Manchester United in Sunday’s 6-1 victory over Arsenal was expected to arrive last evening.

The overall spirit in the camp is high, thanks in the main to senior players Latapy, Anthony Rougier and goalkeeper Shaka Hislop.

Porterfield was happy to have arrived in Jamaica following weeks of hard preparation.

“It’s obviously nice for us to be in Kingston. We’ve prepared long and hard for this game.We know it’s going to be a hard game but we have done our preparations and we know we have to go out there and be disciplined and focus on what we want to achieve which is getting the result that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago wants,”Porterfield said.

T&T in the Caymans on Sunday (Thanks Nicole)

Armed police for Latapy's squad
 T&T settles in J'ca

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates were whisked into Kingston under heavy police escort yesterday after arriving in Jamaica for tomorrow's opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup clash against Jamaica.

The flight touched down at the Norman Manley International Airport at approximately 9.15 am (TT time) and, after a brief stay in Customs, Latapy and coach Ian Porterfield had to deal with the Jamaican media. The biggest question of the day was when England-based striker Dwight Yorke would turn up and whether he would be there at all.

Yorke, who netted a hat-trick for Manchester United in Sunday's 6-1 victory over Arsenal, was expected to join the T&T camp yesterday evening. After dealing with this, the team was shuttled to its temporary base at the Hilton Hotel.

Latapy and his teammates were also surprised upon their arrival at he hotel as, while having breakfast, they were met by Minister of Sport Manohar Ramsaran. The team had one session at the National Stadium in Kingston yesterday evening and is expected to have another one today.

Following weeks of hard preparation, Porterfield was happy to arrive in Kingston. "It's obviously nice for us to be in Kingston.

We've prepared long and hard for this game. We know it's going to be a hard game but we have done our preparations and we know we have to go out there and be disciplined and focus on what we want to achieve," Porterfield said.

On Sunday, T&T completed its preparations for the clash against the Reggae Boyz with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Cayman Islands in the Cayman Islands.

Goals from Nigel Pierre (35th), Stern John (41st) and Marvin Andrews (69th) paved the way for the win in front of a highly vocal crowd of 1,500 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Georgetown. The majority of the fans were Trinidadians living on the island which has a population of 40,000 and they wished the team well before its departure for Jamaica yesterday.

T&T has played nine games in the build up to tomorrow's clash. After opening a Grenadian tour with two victories against that country's senior team 2-1 and 2-0, Porterfield's side lost two of three games in Brazil 3-4 to Fluminense and 1-2 to Botafogo before winning the last encounter against America FC 2-0.

On its English tour, T&T lost its opening game to Charlton Athletic 3-0, then drew 3-3 with Millwall before edging Conference side Stevenage Borough 1-0.

However, Porterfield did not have his best possible XI on the field during any of these games due to the unavailability of his top English pros.

Sunday was the first time he got a look at his best possible starting line-up, and even then he was without Yorke.
Still, Porterfield seems pleased enough that the English-based pros have managed to fit into the team well.

"The English guys have settled in ever so well because we have got to make sure and have that spirit that we had in the previous round again," he said just before the team left the Cayman Islands.

"We've been preparing for this game for a long time. We know how important it is and we know we've got to be at our best to get the result that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago wants."

T&T line up vs Caymans: Shaka Hislop (Clayton Ince 45th), Ian Cox, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence (Brent Sancho 72nd), Ronnie Mauge (Reynold Carrington 72nd ), Russell Latapy (Mickey Trotman 63rd), Stern John, Anthony Rougier (Stokely Mason 45th), Lyndon Andrews, Nigel Pierre (Brent Rahim 63rd), Angus Eve (Carlos Edwards 45th).

Camps strikes back


TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps lashed back at whining English managers yesterday after being publicly taken to task by at least three club bosses.

English Premier League club West Ham manager Harry Redknapp on Friday joined a growing list of coaches to condemn the T&TFF for demanding their international players for a camp in the Cayman Islands.

The Trinidad and Tobago team will play a final warm-up match today against the Cayman Islands before leaving for Kingston where they play Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

Redknapp was particularly severe on the T&TFF’s decision to allow Manchester United star Dwight Yorke to play in a league match today after telling them that Hislop could not play for the Hammers yesterday.

However, in a rare outburst, Camps slammed the English managers for being “selfish” and “unreasonable”.

“Everyone of them was disappointed but they are selfish,” he told the Sunday Express. “They don’t seem to appreciate the importance of a World Cup qualifying match to this country but if it was their country they would. That is why we need to take a stand.”

Camps also responded to criticism about the T&TFF’s “preferential treatment” of Yorke with some barbs for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as well.

“In the case of Dwight Yorke,” said Camps. “He is having serious problems with his club and has been put on the bench for their last three games. To my mind, why did Ferguson not want him to play in all those games and want him to play this one (against Arsenal)?

“We could have taken a stand there also but out of sympathy for Dwight we allowed them (to keep him).”

He also insisted that Bristol Rovers midfielder Ronnie Maugé was insured by Gold Cup organisers InterForever Sports when he suffered a broken leg on international duty early last year.

Rovers manager Gary Thompson had claimed on Wednesday that Maugé was not insured when he was injured and accused the T&TFF of insensitivity to player and club.

The T&T national team toured England last week in an effort to unite their foreign-based players but coach Ian Porterfield still struggled to get all his players together in the way he would have liked.

In one friendly match against Millwall, only three of Porterfield’s 12 British-based professionals were allowed to play, leaving T&T, who had travelled with nine domestic players, with just one reserve.

Burnley defender Ian Cox, Nottingham Forest striker Stern John, Maugé, Hislop and Yorke did not feature in anyr of T&T’s three friendly matches in England after their clubs asked that they be left out.

“We think that it is all very unreasonable,” said Camps. “We haven’t had these players together for the longest time and we accommodated them (the English clubs) by going to England for a camp and still didn’t have our players as we would like. They came (to the camp) and had to leave and missed our games.

“What more can we do as a small country? We have been doing everything we can to assist and find a solution.”

“It is a problem,” Camps ended, “and not only for us but for other countries too but we seem to be suffering the most.”

 Costa Rica bid for consistency


COSTA RICAN football messiahs, it would seem, are dime a dozen.

As treasured, one may assume, as costume jewellery in gold rich Zimbabwe or snowfall in Alaska.

For this reason, too much should not be read into the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FCF) vice-president Clemencia Conejo’s glowing praise of national team head coach Alexander Guimaraes.

Guimaraes took over the reigns of the Costa Rican national team just before a crucial Concacaf World Cup qualifying round tiebreaker against Guatemala in January.

The result was a 5-2 battering of Guatemala at the neutral venue of Miami, United States and Conejo was convinced that it was all down to their new coach.

“Guimaraes must continue as team coach,” said Conejo after the match. “I feel that Guimaraes has done a good job. He introduced new changes and that makes me happy.”

It should be noted that the FCF appeared to be just as satisfied with their former coach, Brazilian Gilson Nunes, until a 2-1 loss to Guatemala in the final Concacaf semifinal round group game condemned them to a tiebreaker.

Nunes resigned promptly after that defeat citing “health problems”.

National sporting hero Paulo Wanchope can testify to the health risks associated with poor results in Costa Rica.

Wanchope, who plies his trade in the English Premier League with Manchester City, was the recipient of numerous death threats after Costa Rica fell 2-1 in their opening qualifying match away to minnows Barbados.

The threats were taken quite seriously and the lanky striker has since hired a bodyguard for visits to his homeland.

For Central America’s arguably most economically stable and peaceful country, Costa Ricans are easily agitated when it comes to football matters.

Their best moments, like Concacaf rivals Mexico and the United States, came with the arrival of famed Yugoslav coach Bora Milutinovic.

Not only did Milutinovic help them to their first World Cup tournament in Italia 1990—with Guimaraes then among the playing staff—but he also steered them successfully through a group which included four-time champions Brazil, Sweden and Scotland.

A string of foreign coaches have since been hired by the FCF with minimal success. In their 1998 campaign alone, they went through three coaches in their failed bid for a World Cup spot.

Little wonder then that Costa Rican supporters have often found their national outfit to be wanting in consistency and cohesion.

No player better typifies this deficiency than Wanchope.

A gangling in stature and with a deceptively languid demeanour, Wanchope has tormented many a defence with his shifty changes of direction and strong aerial presence. But that is when he is in the mood.

On other days, he can be shockingly lazy without the ball and infuriatingly selfish on it.

In England, Wanchope is more unpredictable than the weather.

The fact that Manchester City manager Joe Royle signed Wanchope for a club record fee, sacrificed former World Player of the Year George Weah to keep him and then transfer-listed the Costa Rican—all within the first half of the 2000/2001 season—speaks volumes.

Still the Costa Rican national team is hardly a one-man show.

Up front, Guimaraes also found top scorer Rolando Fonseca, veteran striker Hernan Medford—the last remnant of the 1990 squad—and Major League Soccer (MLS) striker William Sunsing of New England Revolution to be resourceful attackers capable of moments of inspiration.

The organisational skills of team captain Jeaustin Campos in midfield and the imput of attacking midfielder Jafet Soto will also be key to their progress.

A good thing too since Costa Rica cannot rely on having Wanchope in their team for their opening game against Honduras due to a knee injury.

It is a challenge that Guimaraes should have enough depth to overcome while there may even be positive ramifications on a talented squad that tends to unnecessarily centre their game around one player.

But although the team’s strengths are obvious, so too are their weaknesses particularly in rebounding from poor results.

In their last World Cup qualifying campaign, a spell of four consecutive matches without scoring effectively ended their bid as well as two coaching careers.

For the next ten months, Costa Rica must show the single-mindedness and stability which Milutinovic proved to be more precious resources than mere individual talent.

Wanchope must also show the dynamism that has silenced his British critics—in far more lengthy spells. Guimaraes too must survive until the end.

Head-to-Head since 98 World Cup

Thu Jan 29, 1998
Friendly x Costa Rica in San Jose. 0-4.
Goals: Mauricio Wright 5, Jewisson Bennett 27, Floyd Guthrie 65 pen, Wilmer Lopez 70.
TT: Ross Russell; Ansil Elcock, Marvin Andrews, Sherwin Julien; Dale Saunders [Red Card 82],
Anthony Rougier, David Nakhid, Stokely Mason; Clint Marcelle; Peter Prosper, Jerren Nixon.
Subs: Shurland David (53), Stern John (67), Avery John (80).

Wed Jan 26, 1999
Friendly x Costa Rica at Ricardo Saprissa Stadium. 1-2.
Goals: Mickey Trotman 40, Wilmer Lopez 59, Jafet Soto 79.
TT: Ross Russell; Anthony Rougier, Shurland David, Derek King, Ansil Elcock, Stokely Mason; Brent
Rahim, Clint Marcelle (Travis Mulraine 62), Arnold Dwarika; Jerren Nixon (Hector Sam 72), Mickey
Trotman (Kerwyn Jemmott 85).

Sun Feb 20, 2000
Gold Cup 1/4 match x Costa Rica at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego. 2-1 (Golden Goal).
Goals: Arnold Dwarika 26, Paolo Wanchope 89, Mickey Trotman 112.
TT: Clayton Ince; Marvin Andrews, Shurland David, Ansil Elcock; Anthony Rougier (c), Angus Eve
(Evans Wise 80), David Nakhid, Russell Latapy (Brent Rahim 80), Stokely Mason; Jerren Nixon
(Mickey Trotman 60), Arnold Dwarika.

Achilles injury rules out Austin

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago suffered its first injury blow in its preparations for the opening World Cup qualifier against Jamaica when England-born defender Kevin Austin was ruled out of action with a torn achilles tendon sustained in training in the Cayman Islands Friday.

Austin suffered the tear on the left foot. He had a similar injury on the right foot last year, which ruled him out of action for close to a year.

The Barnsley defender was taken to hospital in the Cayman Islands by manager Neville Chance and team doctor Calvin Inalsingh Friday, and it was determined later that day he will have to undergo an operation and may be out for another six months. His foot is now in a cast.

Austin had been part of the intense morning session Friday before stepping into a hole while turning and had to be lifted off the field by team-mates Marvin Andrews and Ian Cox.

All the players expressed disappointment over Austin's injury, particularly as he was now beginning to settle in well in the side and beginning to look sharper as the sessions progressed, dating back to the recent camp in England.

Former netball star and ex-Sport Minister, Jean Pierre, visited the team's training session at the National Stadium Friday evening. Pierre, now living in the Cayman Islands, wished the team well in Wednesday's game in Kingston and also had a few words of encouragement for Austin.

Austin returned to England yesterday and is covered by insurance by the T&T Football Federation. Coach Ian Porterfield is unlikely to call a replacement for Austin.

T&T faces the Cayman Islands senior team at the Hasley Crawford Stadium today at 1 pm. Russell Latapy and his squad will be hoping to use this game to do some fine tuning before leaving for Jamaica tomorrow morning where they will be joined by Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke.

West Ham United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is expected to make his first appearance today for T&T since last November's 1-0 victory over Panama at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

Hislop and his teammates enjoyed lunch at Singh's Roti Shop in Georgetown yesterday where they were accompanied by Jean Pierre. The shop is owned by Trinidadians now living in the Cayman Islands. · See Page 29

West Ham see red


WEST Ham manager Harry Redknapp has joined a list of English football club bosses who have openly criticised the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) in the latest club versus country row.

Redknapp will be without his first string custodian Shaka Hislop for Saturday’s English Premier league
clash with Bradford City after Hislop was summoned for World Cup duty.

However, Trinidad and Tobago star striker Dwight Yorke was allowed to remain in England to play in Manchester United’s Sunday fixture against Arsenal and Redknapp is furious at the “preferential treatment”.

“How can that possibly be fair?” asked an angry Redknapp. “There is one rule for one and one for another. How can he play on Sunday at 4 p.m. but my player can’t play Saturday at 3 p.m.?

“Either they can both play for their clubs over the weekend, or neither. You can’t have one rule for them and another for us... It’s farcical, absolutely disgraceful, and something has got to be done about it, because it isn’t right.”

Burnley manager Stan Ternent was also fuming over the loss of defender Ian Cox and had some choice words for Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield.

“They have reneged on a deal with me and it just goes to prove you can’t trust the man (Porterfield),” he said. “I don’t want to stop anyone playing for their country, it’s a great honour. I let Ian go to a training camp earlier in the month on the understanding that they would let him play against Huddersfield and then join up with the rest of the team.

“Now they have called him up on the five-day rule and that’s something I could well have done without.”

These two managers join Bristol Rovers boss Gary Thompson in publicly slamming the T&TFF over their use of a Fifa stipulation requiring all players to be released by their clubs for up to five days before a competitive international match.

The Trinidad and Tobago team are in the Cayman Islands, at present, where they are preparing for Wednesday’s Concacaf World Cup qualifying matches against Jamaica in Kingston.

However, Yorke is not the only player missing from the camp.

Porterfield has been forced to omit German-based midfielder Evans Wise from the team after his club SV Elfersberg insisted that he return to play in a weekend Cup match.

Wise was allowed to leave so as not to jeopardise his professional career while Barnsley defender Kevin Austin was drafted up in his place.

Austin has not appeared in the Barnsley team this year and they had no problems in releasing him while fellow fringe players such as Nottingham Forest striker Stern John, Reading utility player Anthony Rougier and Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Clayton Ince also received no hassle from their teams.

Scottish Premiership team Hibernian, First Division leaders Livingston and English Second Division team Wrexham also released their Trinidad and Tobago internationals without much fuss.

Trinidad and Tobago play one final warm-up match tomorrow against the Cayman Islands national team before leaving for Jamaica on Monday morning.

Latapy to know fate next week

TRINIDAD and Tobago international captain Russell Latapy will know his professional future within a week.

Latapy, who plays with Scottish Premiership team Hibernian, has been told by manager Alex McLeish that they will meet next week to decide his future.

At present, Latapy is in the Cayman Islands on international duty with club teammate Lyndon Andrews. Both will miss Sunday’s Cup match against Celtic opting instead to join T&T in their preparations for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

Latapy would know on his return whether Hibs have tabled an improved offer for him.

The diminutive playmaker said before jetting out of Scotland that he is looking for an improved offer and knows he can get considerably more wages in England. However, he also said that he wanted to remain in Edinburgh as he enjoys the club, the city and the Hibs fans.

This would depend though on the salary that Hibernian are willing to offer the player who is already being tracked by struggling English Premier League team Bradford City.

McLeish has made it clear that he has no intention of straining the club’s financial resources or risking dressing room discord to keep Latapy.

The Hibs are also in danger of losing star Finnish striker Mixu Paatelainen who, like Latapy, becomes a free agent in May and has not yet agreed terms with the club.

McLeish has already said that he is looking elsewhere for both another striker and a replacement midfielder.


Latapy leads squad through final paces
Jamaican fans heckle Trinis

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his team-mates were homed in by several Jamaican fans as they passed through Miami's International Airport Thursday en route to the Cayman Islands.

Several members of the squad were heckled by Reggae Boyz fans in the departure lounge as they waited for a flight to the Cayman Islands, having arrived in Miami via London - where they had broken off a live-in camp hours before.

The Jamaicans - known for their strong patriotism - on hand at the airport, did not hold back in trying to give their team an early advantage by attempting to intimidate members of Latapy's squad in their easily recognised accent.

On one occasion, England-born players Ronnie Mauge, Kevin Austin and Ian Cox were waved at by a group of Jamaican women who, after recognising the trio as the opposition, instantly started to laugh antagonisingly.
"More fire," they shouted to the trio! "More fire for dem Trinis when they go to Kingston."

However, Mauge enjoyed the chance to respond. "Yeah, yeah, more fire. We'll see who'll be getting more fire when we get to you all. We'll be coming to get you," he said with a few laughs.

But T&T did not only encounter "enemies" in Miami following the nine-hour flight from London and a three-hour stay at the Miami Airport.

Several fans also indicated their intention to root for T&T on Ash Wednesday with a few Americans also mentioning they felt coach Ian Porterfield's team was also capable of defeating the United States later on in the series.

And after touching down and settling in the Caymans, Porterfield held an intense two- hour session with his side.
He remained optimistic about the teams' current condition afterwards, maintaining that all will be in place for Wednesday's opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup clash against Jamaica.

"The big aim we've wanted all along is getting all the lads together and that's what we've got at this time," Porterfield said.

"Obviously we've still got to build on our team organisation a bit more. Hopefully within the next couple of days before we go to Jamaica, we'll be able to sort a couple of things out. But everyone's in good spirits and we'll be looking to keep that going."

Porterfield singled out the work done by midfielder Brent Rahim and Lyndon Andrews during the build-up.
Apart from Dwight Yorke, who will join the squad in Kingston Monday, all the members of the squad trained yesterday.

T&T squad - Shaka Hislop, Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Kevin Austin, Brent Sancho, Ian Cox, Dennis Lawrence, Anthony Rougier, Ronnie Mauge, Reynold Carrington, Marvin Andrews, Carlos Edwards, Russell Latapy, Mickey Trotman, Lyndon Andrews, Brent Rahim, Stokely Mason, Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre and Stern John.

Saturday February 24th, 2001

Maugé’s boss slams T&TFF


Bristol Rovers manager Gary Thompson is furious with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) over the handling of their midfielder Ronnie Maugé.

Maugé is, at present, in the Cayman Islands with the Trinidad and Tobago national team as part of their preparations for next Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

But Thompson believes that Maugé —like Manchester United star Dwight Yorke — should have been allowed to remain with his club for their English Division Two clash against Cambridge United tomorrow.

He opined that Rovers were due a favour from T&T as it was while representing his country at the 2000 Gold Cup competition that Maugé suffered a broken leg which sidelined him for 10 months.

But T&T want to prepare thoroughly for Wednesday’s big game and have insisted that Maugé take part in an acclimatisation spell in the Cayman Islands prior to moving on to Kingston.

“They wouldn’t bend at all to help us,” said Thompson. “We were ready to fly Ronnie out immediately after the Cambridge game, but that didn’t cut any ice.

“What annoys me is that he only came to their attention through his performances for us. They took him to a tournament, he broke his leg, and they hadn’t even insured him.

“We’re the ones who paid his wages for the next ten months when he couldn’t play. With that in mind you would have thought they might be prepared to help us a bit this time.”

Richard Braithwaite, who was the team manager at the 2000 Gold Cup, categorically denied that Maugé was not insured.

“My understanding is that all the players were insured during the Gold Cup,” said Braithwaite. “However, since a new team administrator took over less than a week after the Gold Cup I don’t know what has transpired since then.”

Efforts by the Daily Express to contact T&TFF president Oliver Camps and general secretary Richard Groden yesterday proved futile. Maugé is also certain to miss Rover’s visit to Bournemouth next Tuesday—another crucial game for the relegation threatened team—while Thompson is not sure if he will return in time for next weekend’s fixture.

“With Trinidad, you just never know,” he said. Maugé was not used in any of T&T’s warm-up matches in England at the request of his club and is yet to appear under coach Ian Porterfield.

And, although his ball-winning abilities were considered a huge asset by former coach Bertille St Clair, his midfield post has since been ably occupied by Professional Football League (PFL) MVP Reynold Carrington of Vibe CT 105 W.Connection.

Marcelle’s Hull City  get stay of execution


DEBT-RIDDEN English Third Division football team Hull City, employers of former Trinidad and Tobago international Clint Marcelle, were granted a stay of execution by the English High Court after the club’s winding-up order was delayed.

The Tigers, who owe £500,000 in taxes and a further £1 million in other debts, now have until April 26 to appear in court by which time it is hoped that a new owner will be in place.

The Hull Daily Mail yesterday revealed that the club has found an American buyer although this report remains unconfirmed.

Should the report prove accurate, it could mean the players returning to full training after coach Brian Little cut down his sessions to reduce crippling travelling costs.

Amazingly the club, whose players and management staff have not been paid since the start of the year, has won its last four games and may yet win themselves a Division Two berth.

On Tuesday night, Hull defeated Mansfield Town 2-1 with Marcelle seeing some action as a late substitute.

There has been some light for the players from their fans as well. A collection taken up by their supporters during Tuesday’s game raised over £5,000 which will be shared out evenly amongst the players.

The Jamaican national duo of defender Ian Goodison and midfielder Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore both
also represent the Tigers.

Whitmore has not returned to Hull since his involvement in a tragic road accident in Jamaica late last month. However, Goodison did feature in Tuesday’s game which may be his last club appearance before he returns to the Caribbean for World Cup duty against T&T on February 28.

U-20 footballers get ready

 By Gregory Trujillo

TRINIDAD and Tobago's young footballers, preparing for the World Under-20 qualifying (Group "B") tournament against the United States, Guatemala and Costa Rica from March 18-22, will be involved in a four-team series to round-off their preparations.

The Under-20s, Professional Football League champions Vibe CT 105 W Connection, Joe Public and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh will contest a four-team tournament to mark the re-opening of the Hasely Crawford Stadium at Mucurapo.

The stadium was closed in October last year for refurbishing work to meet the standards for the 2001 World Youth Football Championships.

The tournament will be played on March 7, 9 and 11. "We will be putting a package together shortly so the teams will be playing for something," Richard Groden, secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation said on Wednesday.

W Connection, Joe Public and Jabloteh are at present preparing for the start of the Professional Football League season, which kicks off on April 4.

W Connection, holders of the coveted FA Trophy, will not be at full strength for the tournament as St Lucians Titus Elva, Earl Jean, Valencius Joseph, Elijah Joseph, Francis Lastic, Sheldon Mark, Alvin Xavier and Jonathan McVane will be missing.

The eight will be representing St Lucia in the Copa Caribe qualifiers (March 16-18) in Guyana against Dominica, St Martin/Anguilla/Montserrat and the host country.

Connection's team will be built around skipper Reynold Carrington, Addison Balfon, Brian James and Brazilians Jefferson Gulart, Renaldo Viana, Jose Luis Sebra and Jose Maria Manoel.

Joe Public, under new coach Zoran Vranes, will be turning out with the same players from last season while Jabloteh's team will include several new players under the guidance of English coach Terry Fenwick.

Fenwick, who has taken over from Ron La Forest, started his career with Crystal Palace and later played for Queen's Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur.

He was capped 20 times for England and played in three cup finals - two FA and one League Cup. Fenwick represented England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico at which his country lost in the quarterfinals to Argentina.
He managed Portsmouth and was assistant manager at Crystal Palace to Terry Venables.

Just before coming to Trinidad, Fenwick spent some time in Greece coaching young players - Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20.

Fenwick said yesterday he had spent the last two weeks in Trinidad screening about 58 players in preparation for the new season.

He said he has been impressed with Charles Pollard and Marlon Miguel (formerly of Doc Khelwalaas), Guyanese Colin Hercules, Bobinton King and Adassi Mc Pherson, three of five players from the South American country.

Porterfield leaves Burnley boss fuming
 Cox released for Cup duty

By Guardian Staff Writer.

TRINIDAD and Tobago defender Ian Cox was yesterday allowed to travel with his team-mates to the Cayman Islands for last hour preparations in the build up to next Wednesday's opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup clash against Jamaica.

Having already allowed Dwight Yorke to stay back in England until Sunday to play for Manchester United, T&T coach Ian Porterfield stuck to his guns over acquiring Cox and won the battle.

However, Cox was reluctantly released by Burnley boss, Stan Ternent, who yesterday attacked Porterfield over his decision to deny the club of the player's services.

According to Ternent, Porterfield went back on a verbal agreement the two had initially struck which would have allowed Cox to stay on in England to play a key game against Huddersfield tomorrow.

"I am a bit naffed off with that Trinidad mob because we had done a deal with them that if he (Cox) went to their (T&T) training camp, he could fly out on Saturday night," an angry Ternent told reporters.

"Ian Porterfield has reneged on that deal, so Ian Cox is not available. It is something I could well have done without. I made a deal with Porterfield and it is disappointing that he has gone back on his word."

Ternent had pressured Cox - a mainstay in the Burnley defence - before, forcing him out of action for T&T in the last round of qualifying action.

However, this time, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation decided to put its foot down on the matter by calling in FIFA. And, a combination of the pressure brought to bear on the club by FIFA and Cox's will to join the T&T squad, forced Ternent's hand.

"You can't stop a player playing for his country and that is Ian's decision," Ternent admitted. According to FIFA laws, a player must be released five days before a World Cup game. So when Ternent initially refused to release Cox, FIFA ruled that Burnley could not use him tomorrow either.

The club would have faced immediate sanctions had it disobeyed the world governing body. TTFF president Oliver Camps yesterday said he was aware of Ternent's "state". Noting that Bristol Rovers caretaker manager Garry Thompson was also equally upset over losing midfielder Ronnie Mauge, Camps said his organisation did what it had to do.

"In the final analysis, we have done the best thing," Camps said. "You have to understand the players' position in this case. In Dwight's case, he is not in the best situation with his club and if we had made him come it may have gotten worse. We feel we have to help him (Yorke) get out of his situation by supporting him."

He added: "The other guys (Cox/Mauge) are not in that kind of position at their clubs. They are stable and we just feel that their managers were taking advantage of us."

However, the TTFF's stand this time around is likely to worsen its relationship with the affected clubs. And in light of the fact that Camps will have to call on these players in future, it may well be a move which will come back to haunt T&T on its journey to reach the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea.

Yorke delayed Warner: Best, worst of times


DWIGHT Yorke will not leave England today with the rest of the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup squad. Instead of winging out to the Cayman Islands for a team camp, the Manchester United striker will remain at Old Trafford for Sunday’s top-of-the-table Premiership clash with Arsenal. Yorke is now scheduled to join the team in Jamaica, on Monday, two days ahead of the Caribbean World Cup derby at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Concacaf’s director of communications and public relations Rolf Doyle told the Daily Express yesterday, that Yorke had been told by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he will be in the starting line-up on Sunday. According to Doyle, the T&T player then sought permission to leave England after that game, and coach Ian Porterfield responded in the affirmative.

Yorke has not been particularly prolific for the Premiership leaders this season. His poor run, combined with the fine form of fellow-strikers Andy Cole, Terry Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has kept him off the field for much of the season. However, Cole starts a three-match ban this weekend, paving the way for Yorke’s return.

But while Yorke would be excited about the opportunity to line-up for the reigning Premiership champions, against second-placed Arsenal, Porterfield is unlikely to be thrilled about the continued absence of his star striker, in the build-up to next Wednesday’s showdown with arch-rivals Jamaica.

Yorke did not play in any of T&T’s three warm-up games, in England.

At a press conference, yesterday, called to announce L-Sporto’s TT$5 million sponsorship of the FA Cup, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner said he was very disappointed with the resistance put up by United and Burnley to his attempts to have Yorke and defender Ian Cox released for the T&T training camp in the Caymans.

“Today, for me, marks the best and worst of times. The worst because I’ve had to literally fight two English clubs. And even then, having left the office, I’m not quite sure who has won. The only thing I know is that I have Fifa on my side and the clubs don’t have Fifa.”

You win some and lose some. While Yorke will not join the team until Monday, Cox is expected to be on today’s flight.

“To fight to get Dwight Yorke released when he hasn’t played a match in weeks, and to fight for Ian Cox because of Sunday’s game against Queen’s Park Rangers, tells you the kind of respect those clubs have for us in T&T.”

Warner added that while he was pleased that Dennis Lawrence had acquired an English work permit (See Page 78), he was fearful of the potential ramifications of the T&T defender signing with Second Division Wrexham.

“I am happy for him, but what I say to myself is: ‘another club to fight against’. While we want our players to go overseas, and to learn and to inculcate their skills, those clubs have no respect for us. Had it been Nigeria, for example, wanting Kanu from Arsenal, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Warner is certain to be upset that Porterfield will have just two days to incorporate Yorke into his game-plan for next Wednesday’s showdown with the tough Jamaicans. However, the Concacaf president has the consolation of Italy-based L-Sporto’s US$800,000 FA Cup sponsorship.

“Indeed, this is the best of times.”

The eight-year deal guarantees US$100,000 in incentives per year, starting with the 2001 competition, scheduled to kick off on October 10. Vibe CT 105 W Connection are the reigning champions. If the central Trinidad team advance all the way to the November 18 final, at the Centre of Excellence, and emerges victorious, they would add TT$100,000 to their kitty. The second-placed team will earn TT$30,000. A number of other prizes will be at stake, including one for the best performance by a non-PFL (Professional Football League) team.

The L-Sporto deal will add TT$100,000 to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) coffers.

At yesterday’s press conference, T&TFF president Oliver Camps accepted Warner’s offer to include the FA Cup champions as one of the T&T representatives in the Concacaf Club Championships.

Lawrence gets work permit

TRINIDAD and Tobago defender Dennis “Tallest” Lawrence was all smiles yesterday after receiving the news that his work permit to play professionally in the United Kingdom had been approved by the Department of Employment.

The T&T centre-back will now continue his preparations with the national team for the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica next Wednesday before returning to England  the weekend after the game to sign what is expected to be a three-year contract with Second Division club Wrexham.

Shortly after learning the news from agent Mike Berry, the 26-year-old Lawrence said in an interview that he breathed a huge sigh of relief and he is now more than ready to give of his best against the “Reggae Boyz.

“Basically it’s been a waiting game but I was always confident because my agent Mike Berry was always working towards getting the permit. Now I am very relaxed and I can focus on the Jamaica game. It’s a real joy and it couldn’t have happened at a better time,” said Lawrence.

Following his trial at Newcastle United last October,Lawrence apllied for his work permit.

A series of impressive performances in T&T’s World Cup qualifying matches saw several English clubs showing interest in the lanky backman.

Now “Tallest” can hardly wait to team up with countrymen Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam at Wrexham.

“I was looking forward to joining  Wrexham because when I first went there I thought it was a genuine club. Newcastle was a great experience and Bolton (Wanderers) was good but at Wrexham the people there took to me very quickly. Then with Carlos and Hector, it makes it a little like playing home as well.”
Yorke to join T&T squad late but ...

TTFF fights for Cox


THE Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation is heading for another battle with English club Burnley over the availability of defender Ian Cox.

However, T&T coach Ian Porterfield has afforded Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke the opportunity to join the squad late for its crucial Ash Wednesday final round CONCACAF Zone 2002

World Cup clash against Jamaica. Both players had initially been debarred by their respective clubs from joining the T&T training squad in Surrey, England, yesterday due to club commitments this weekend.

While the TTFF has taken Cox's matter to FIFA, Porterfield gave Yorke permission to stay on in England late last night.

Speaking to the Guardian last night, TTFF president Oliver Camps said they had already received a reply from FIFA on the Cox matter.

"We were hoping to get word on Cox from his club this evening (last night)," Camps said. "We went to FIFA on the issue and they, in turn, have told Burnley that if he is not released, he will not be able to play for them this weekend either."

This is not the first time the TTFF has encountered trouble regarding Cox's release. Porterfield also had similar problems getting him for the previous round of qualifiers.

According to FIFA, all players must be released at least five days before a World Cup match. But in this case, Cox will not be able to join the T&T squad until Monday, if the club stands firm, two days before the opening clash.

Camps had been prepared to go to FIFA with Yorke's case as well, until Porterfield conceded to United's wishes last night, after Ferguson revealed the £12.6m striker would get to start in Saturday's Premiership clash against Arsenal.

Camps had noted that the matter was particularly disturbing because Porterfield had not been able to assemble his entire squad at any time during the camps he had held in Grenada, Brazil and England.

"The only time we will get the full team together is in St Croix, that is why it is important for all the players to leave England tomorrow (today)," Camps said.

"This will give the coach a chance to have a few sessions and a game with his squad before the Jamaica clash. But here it is that this is being threatened and if you ask me, its a lot of rubbish."

The T&T squad leaves England today for another live-in camp in St Croix before journeying to Kingston on Carnival Monday.

Jamaican coach Clovis D'Oliveira has meanwhile beefed up his squad with two new England-based players. Crystal Palace goalie Hubert Busby and Fulham striker Berry Hayles, both also eligible to play for England, have been drafted into the Reggae Boyz squad for the crucial opener.

Hibs paves way for Latapy's departure

By Irving Ward
Assistant Sports Editor

THE path is apparently being cleared for Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy to make his departure from Scottish Premier Division club Hibernian.

Word out of Scotland yesterday was that Hibs boss Alex McLeish, who seems to be fighting a losing battle to keep the "Little Magician", has already put contingency plans in place to counter the nightmare of losing his T&T star.

McLeish, according to reports, has already held talks with two European-based players and plans to bring them in to fill the void if Latapy goes.

"I have already been on my travels looking at players," McLeish told reporters yesterday. "To replace a player of Russell's ability, if he does go, would be a tall order. You do not get other players like Russell and we have to be aware of that."

The shocking reality of losing Latapy hit home earlier this week when English Premiership side Bradford City intensified its campaign to sign the 32-year-old midfielder. Bradford boss Jim Jefferies is reportedly prepared to offer Latapy a three-year contract worth £20,000 a week.

Hibs had offered Latapy a two-year deal but the player-noting any contract he signs now could be the last of his career-has indicated he is not happy with the financial terms. Contract talks have since stalled.

McLeish has stuck to his guns on the offer but admitted losing Latapy, whose contract expires May 31, would be a big blow to the side. "We would have to change the system slightly but it is important that, if Russell does leave, we will try to maintain the standards the club have set so far this season."

Hibs management and fans have meanwhile backed the club's stance on Latapy's new contract, with Chief Executive Rod Petrie reiterating their intention not to capitulate to his cash demands.

"The club would like Russell to stay, but he has to fit in with a budget we can afford," Petrie said. "We are doing our very best to keep him, but he wants to do the best for himself and his family. You can understand that-it is the same for every player."

Stuart Crowther, spokesman for Hibernian's supporters club, added: "All fans would want to keep Russell here but I think the majority of reasonable fans think there is a limit to how far you can go."

T&T stops Stevenage

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy led by example last night. The 32-year-old midfielder gave his team the first win of its three-match tour of England by scoring the lone goal of the match against Conference side Stevenage Borough at the Broadhall ground in London.

Last night's game, witnessed by some 1200 fans dominated by Trinidadians, was used to prepare for T&T's opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup clash against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday.

Latapy's item came after just 21st minute of play in a game in which T&T dominated most of the play against the home team but squandered several chances.

After a neat one-two combination with Angus Eve just inside the 18-metre box, Latapy blasted a powerful shot into the roof of keeper James Hasell's net.

During the early stages of the match, T&T enjoyed a fair share of possession but never really troubled Hasell. T&T's Ross Russell, playing although Shaka Hislop had joined the side, had to make his first save after four minutes when Adrian Clarke met a loose ball on the edge of the penalty box before seeing his shot well pushed out by the Defence Force custodian.

T&T got the go ahead goal and the eventual winner on its first real good look at the opposition goal. Four minutes after the half time restart, Nigel Pierre squandered a good chance to increase T&T's advantage.

Lyndon Andrews stole the ball from a defender before finding Latapy who, in turn, threaded a pass through to Pierre whose effort on the turn forced Hasell to push around the far right post.

T&T coach Ian Porterfield is now expected to take his full squad, which should assemble at the team's temporary camp in Surrey today, to St Croix tomorrow for another short camp.

More woes for Dwight

DWIGHT YORKE'S woes at Manchester United continued yesterday.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker, already facing an uncertain future at the club, sat out yet another match as his team drew 1-1 with Valencia in their Champions’ League return leg match against Spanish club Valencia at Old Trafford.

Many observers feel that Sir Alex Ferguson’s once first-call striker could possibly be at the end of his playing days at the world’s richest club.

His name has repeatedly been called in a possible transfer move that could see him replaced by Dutch hitman Ruud Van Nistelroy, at Old Trafford next season.

Yorke, who also sat out the first leg against Valencia in Valencia, has recently seen his striking partner Andy Cole sign a four-year deal with the club while Teddy Sheringham and Olé Gunnar Solskjaer are said to be close to signing new deals.

Without the T&T striker, United were denied an early place in the Champions Cup quarterfinal. A late own goal by Wes Brown gave the vistors a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Alex Ferguson’s team, winner of the title two seasons ago, appeared to be on course to gaining the last eight with two games to spare after Andy Cole’s 12th minute strike.

But last season’s runner-up fully deserved its point to also stay well in contention for a quarterfinal spot and Brown, having had a superb game at the heart of the home defence, stuck out a foot to meet a left-wing cross from Vicente Rodríguez to divert the ball past keeper Fabien Barthez three minutes from the end.

The result leaves United with eight points from four games and Valencia on six.

Kily González almost gave Valencia a fifth-minute lead when he collected a pass from Pablo Aimar but he lifted his shot over the bar.

Seven minutes later, United became the first team to score against the Spaniards in the second round when Ryan Giggs swapped three passes with Cole, pulling the ball back for the striker to stroke the ball past keeper Santiago Canizares from level with the penalty spot.

Aimar should have levelled the score in the 25th minute when Gaizka Mendieta put the young Argentine star clear of the United defence but he rolled his shot wide with only goalkeeper Barthez to beat.

The bizarre decisions of German referee Hellmut Krug angered the home players and fans but United did themselves no favours by allowing Valencia to dominate the play.

The game threatened to boil over midway through the second half when David Beckham, who had a poor game for United, clattered into Gonzalez after having been shown the yellow card and Ruben Baraja pushed him in the back. The referee lectured the England star without taking any further action and cautioned Baraja which means the Valencia player misses the next game at Sturm Graz.

Juan Sanchez had a chance to level but his diving header went wide and Paul Scholes cleared off the line from Baraja with the United defence again caught out. But the equaliser came three minutes from the end and United will now have to do more to make the quarterfinal for the fifth season in a row.

            Mexico must let their feet talk


As TALENTED, flamboyant attacker Cuauhetemoc Blanco fell to the ground clutching his leg, the entire Mexican population winced in pain at Trinidad and Tobago defender Ansil Elcock’s clumsy challenge.

Mexican midfielder Victor Ruiz converted from the penalty spot for the seventh and final goal of the one-sided World Cup qualifying affair on October 9, 2000 but the damage was done. The team doctor estimated then it would take Blanco six months to recover.

It was a truly unfortunate incident but not an uncommon one in football.

So Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield was surprised to hear Federation of Mexican Football (FMF) president Jose De La Torre-Bouvet call for Elcock to be banned from the game “indefinitely”.

Elcock was suspended for a further three World Cup matches, three months of domestic competition and fined 5,000 Swiss francs—later reduced to two World Cup matches and the same fine.

In the protest room, it is likely that Fifa president Sepp Blatter heard the name Mexico announced for the first time last year.

It is a sad reflection of the state of Mexican football these days.

Once the undisputed flag-bearers of the Concacaf region, Mexico have done precious little—on the playing field—to capture the attention of Fifa in this millennium thus far.

The year 2000 was a truly forgettable one for Blanco and company.

Three-time Concacaf Gold Cup champions in the four editions of the tournament, Mexico managed just one win—a 4-2 conquest of Trinidad and Tobago—from three matches in Gold Cup 2000. A 2-1 extra time defeat from usual whipping boys Canada ensured that Mexico failed to reach the semifinal stage for the first time.

This shocker was followed by their elimination from the qualifying rounds of the Olympic Games by a Honduran team plagued by financial discord.

Coach Manuel Lapuente, who led Mexico to the 1999 Fifa Confederations Cup title—Concacaf’s first win in a Fifa men’s competition—lasted just four World Cup qualifying games. A 1-0 away loss to T&T was apparently too much for the FMF to bear.

Up stepped Enrique Meza to lead the Mexican national team fondly dubbed “El Tricolor” by their home fans.

His first game in charge was last October's 7-0 walloping of a weakened T&T squad.

They have not won since. It took Mexico 370 minutes just to register their next goal after failing to breach the defences of Canada, Argentina, USA and Bulgaria respectively.

Already Meza has capped some 40 players with little evidence to suggest there is outstanding talent among them.

So it is hardly the most intimidating “El Tri” that will travel to Ohio next Wednesday to face the United States. Their form mocking Fifa’s latest ranking which places them four spots ahead of the 16th ranked US team.

Still one must remember that Mexico do not stay down for long.

Their failure to qualify for the 1982 World Cup was erased by success on home soil in 1986 when only penalty kicks separated them from Germany and a semifinal spot.

Likewise their suspension from Fifa football for fielding an over-aged youth player which coincided with Italia 1990, did not prevent them from rebounding with second round placings in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups.

Porterfield may be more interested with the Mexicans’ record of being uncompromising hosts to Caribbean nations.

In six trips to Mexico City by Jamaica (three), St Vincent (two) and T&T, the Caribbean’s representatives have conceded a shocking 37 goals while scoring just three.

Last October, “El Tri” showed they can still ruthlessly exploit a weak team.

But they appear to be some way short of the Mexico of old who seemed capable of matching the world’s best once suitably aroused.

They were certainly motivated in the 1999 Confederations Cup when they turned back a Brazil team including Flavio, Emerson, Ronaldinho, Dida and Serginho in a high scoring 4-3 final.

Since then though, the likes of midfielder Pavel Pardo, goalkeeper Jorge Campos, predatory striker Luis Hernandez and defenders Rafael Marquez and Claudio Suarez have rarely looked in the mood.

Therein lies the real challenge for president Del La Torre-Bouvet. Not the suspension of a Trinidad and Tobago wing back.

 World Cup Schedule

04/25—World Cup qualifier
Trinidad and Tobago v Mexico, Port of Spain.
09/5—World Cup qualifier
Mexico v Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico City.

Head to Head Since 1998 World Cup
Sunday, Oct 9
Concacaf Semifinal Group Stage
WCQ x Mexico at Azteca Stadium. 0-7.
Goals: Cuauhtemoc Blanco 20, 28 (p), Jared Borgetti 26, 30, 71, Duilio Davino 66, Victor Ruiz 75 (p).
Red Card: Ansil Elcock 74.
TT: Clayton Ince; Shurland David (Reynold Carrington 46), Dennis Lawrence, Craig Demmin, Ansil
Elcock; Angus (C) Eve, Dale Saunders, Lyndon Andrews (Hector Sam 77), Stokely Mason, Jerren Nixon
(Arnold Dwarika 46); Nigel Pierre.
• Elcock subsequently received over 50 death threats at his Trinidad home as a result of the dangerous
tackle on Blanco. Elcock denied he tried to injure Blanco and said he attempted to pull out of the tackle.

Sunday, July 23
Semifinal Group Stage
WCQ x Mexico at Hasely Crawford Stadium. 1-0.
Goal: Russell Latapy 86.
TT: Clayton Ince; Shurland David (Anthony Rougier 31), Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews, Ansil
Elcock (Dale Saunders 74); Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve (Gary Glasgow 65), Stokely Mason; Russell
(c) Latapy; Arnold Dwarika, Dwight Yorke.
• David stretchered off injured after colliding with Elcock while trying to tackle Mexican striker Luis

Sunday, Feb 13, 2000
Gold Cup Group Match x Mexico at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego. 0-4.
Goals: Rafael Marquez 36, Luis Hernandez 52, David Nakhid 75 (Own Goal), Francisco Palencia 85.
TT: Clayton Ince; Anthony Rougier (c), Ronnie Maugé (Derek King 70), Shurland David, Marvin
Andrews, Ansil Elcock (Stokely Mason 82); Angus Eve, David Nakhid, Russell Latapy; Dwight Yorke,
Mickey Trotman (Evans Wise 63).
• Mexico finished with ten players after substitute Jesus Arellano was ejected for handling the ball on the
goal line.
• Yorke failed to convert penalty in the 89th minute as his shot was pushed on to the upright by goalie
Oscar Perez. Yorke had initially scored with a cheeky chip but was ordered to retake his penalty after
teammate Wise was adjudged to have entered the area too soon.

Wednesday, Feb 4, 1998
Gold Cup group match x Mexico, at Oakland Coliseum, California. 2-4.

Goals: Ramon Ramirez 37, Dulio Davino 58 (Own Goal), Luis Hernandez 63, Francisco Palencia 65,
Jerren Nixon 74.

TT: Clayton Ince; Shurland David (Stokely Mason), Marvin Andrews, Anthony Rougier, Ansil Elcock,
Sherwin Julien; Colvin Hutchinson, David Nakhid (c), Clint Marcelle (Gary Glasgow); Jerren Nixon
(Peter Prosper), Stern John.

 Latapy ponders move for pride


Trinidad and Tobago international captain Russell Latapy may soon be playing for Pride as negotiations with his Scottish Premier League employers Hibernian remain deadlocked.

The 32-year-old Latapy, who will become a free agent this May, believes that his next deal may be his last chance at a big money contract and is unwilling to settle for less than he thinks he deserves.

But Hibs manager Alex McLeish is adamant that he will not “break the bank” or risk dressing-room discord to keep Latapy.

Neither Latapy nor McLeish has revealed the figure offered by Hibs although it is thought to be significantly less than the £10,000 supporters believe would keep him happy.

Pride Valley, home of English Premier Club Bradford City, stands out as Latapy’s only viable option. City manager Jim Jeffries has already approached McLeish about acquiring the “Little Magician” and is rumoured to be offering Latapy a tidy £20,000 a week.

The only glitch is that Bradford are, at present, on the foot of the Premier table and almost certain to be demoted.

A sharp contrast from the situation at Easter Road where Hibernian are on the verge of a place in next season’s European competition.

Pride or fame—Latapy will, it seems, have to choose.

Fans pick Yorke as fourth-best Utd striker

Trinidad and Tobago star striker Dwight Yorke was voted 24th last week in a club magazine poll to decide Manchester United's best ever player.

More significantly, though, he was ranked fourth among United’s four rostered strikers with Andy Cole (19th), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (22nd) and Teddy Sheringham (23rd) among ten current teammates ahead of him.

Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to have agreed as he again left Yorke on the bench during yesterday’s Champions’ League clash with Valencia.

He would hope to see more action this weekend though when United meet Arsenal in a crucial Premier League fixture.

Ferguson has just three strikers to choose from on Saturday as Cole will begin serving a three-match suspension. And Yorke gave a timely reminder of his credentials last Thursday with two goals in a reserve match against Aston Villa.

Pierre rules rumour mill again

Even as speculation on the future of Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke heats up, Joe Public and Trinidad and Tobago forward Nigel Pierre continues to hold his own on the rumour mill.

Last week, Pierre’s agent claimed to have received bids from English First Division team Birmingham City as well as two unnamed English Premier League teams and one from the Scottish Premiership.

It was later revealed on the same Internet site that it was Derby County who were chasing Pierre while
Yorke was said to be trying to “persuade Pierre to join him at Manchester United”.

It is worth noting that Pierre’s unnamed agent is the only person to be quoted in any of these stories.

Pierre was on the verge of signing with English Division Two team Bristol Rovers two years ago but had an application for a work permit denied by the Board of Employment.

Since then, Pierre has broken into the Trinidad and Tobago first team and has been enjoying a rich vein of form recently.

It is unlikely that the BoE would denied Pierre a work permit now, though.

All he needs is a real offer.

Wrexham close in on Lawrence

Trinidad and Tobago international Dennis Lawrence needs only the all-clear from the English Board of Employment to become a Wrexham player.

The six-foot-seven Defence Force stopper has been pursued by the Welsh-based English Division Two team since last October but made a major step towards joining the “Robins” when he passed a medical examination on the weekend.

Should Lawrence sign with Wrexham, he would become the third Trinidad and Tobago international on their roster.

Wrexham already have former Defence Force winger Carlos Edwards and ex-CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh forward Hector Sam on their books.

Neither was in the line-up yesterday though as Edwards teamed up with Lawrence for international duty while Wrexham played away to Rotherham United.

Latapy’s gives T&T 1-0 win

Trinidad and Tobago scored a narrow 1-0 victory over Stevenage Borough before an enthusiastic crowd of 1200 at the Broadhall Stadium on a chilly Tuesday night.

Set up by Angus Eve in the 21st minute, Russell Latapy's sent a powerful strike flying from just inside the 18-metre box into the roof to the delight of the couple hundred T&T supporters in the stands.

The win was just the sort of result Latapy's men were hoping for before leaving for the Cayman Islands tomorrow. And had it not been for some near misses by Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre, and second half substitutes Brent Rahim and Mickey Trotman, the margin would have been much wider.

As the team made its way to the ground, Dwight Yorke contacted Latapy on his mobile phone and wished officials and players well ahead of the match, informing them of his arrival at camp on Wednesday.

West Ham United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop did join the team but did not take the field.

During the early stages of the match, T&T enjoyed a fair share of possession but never really troubled James Hasell in goal for the home side.

T&T's Ross Russell had to make his first save after four minutes when Adrian Clarke met a loose ball on the edge of the penalty box before seeing his shot well pushed out by the Defence Force custodian.

T&T soon got their goal following a nice string of passes around the 18-metre box. Latapy collected a return pass from Eve before unleashing a snorter which left Hasell helpless between the uprights.

Russell was called upon to make at least three vital saves on the half hour but he proved equal to the task.

After the interval, Nigel Pierre squandered a good chance to increase T&T's advantage when after a quick exchange between Lyndon Andrews and Latapy, he collected with only Hasell to beat T&T got a scare in the 78th minute when Hay beat Russell from the left side but Darren Bradshaw's shot on the run crashed off the post before being cleared.

A minute later, Eve missed out on sealing the victory when he worked his way into a good position in the penalty box but sent his effort over the bar.

Substitute Brent Rahim almost got his name on the scoresheet in the 82nd minute when he collected just inside Stevenage's half and unleashing a right-footer which came back off the crossbar.

Mickey Trotman also hit his late effort over the bar from close range on the stroke of full time.

The players will have one session at the hotel's gym this morning with the remainder of the overseas-based professionals scheduled to join the camp.

T&T line-up : Ross Russell, Kevin Austin, Brent Sancho, Marvin Andrews, Lyndon Andrews, Nigel
Pierre, Angus Eve, Stokely Mason, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington (Brent Rahim 76th), Russell
Latapy (Mickey Trotman 60th). Subs: Clayton Morris, Michael Maurice.
Tuesday February 20th, 2001

Hibs won’t bow to Latapy


SCOTTISH Premier League contenders Hibernian are refusing to bow to the demands of Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Russell Latapy as speculation over his contract negotiations reach fever pitch.

Latapy, who was ranked among Fifa's top 40 players for 2000, will become a free agent this summer and has recently been named as a target for English Premier Club Bradford City.

Hibs have offered the diminutive midfielder a two-year contract but it was not to the "Little Magician's" liking and he has made it clear that he will only sign if the deal suits him.

However Hibernian manager Alex McLeish yesterday made it clear that he would not put the club under financial strain or risk dressing-room discord to sign the Trinidad and Tobago skipper

"We won't put ourselves out on a limb or get into a situation where it destabilises the club," he said. "If Russell gets an offer which is markedly better than ours, then we have to accept that he may leave.

"He has been a fantastic player for Hibs—a superstar who can win games for us. But if he gets another offer that we cannot match, then there is nothing we can do.

"I don't know if we have made a final offer but I do know that Bradford can offer riches far greater than ours."

On the Hibernian website, fans flooded the notice boards with comments on the impasse.

Some fans expressed outrage that Hibernian were unwilling to fork out £10,000 a week they reckon would be good enough to keep the T&T standout. Still many supported their board in the negotiations, claiming that the 32-year-old Latapy was too much of a gamble at his age.

Bradford manager Jim Jeffries is hoping that Hibs's loss would be his gain although he explained that he did not make the first move.

"It has been mentioned in some of the newspapers that we had contacted his agent," said Jeffries. "But it was actually his agent who got in touch with me to say that he would be out ofa contract at the end of the season.

"I immediately phoned Alex to let him know that there could be a possible interest, but he told me that he hopes to keep hold of him, particularly between now and the end of the season, especially with the way Hibs are going just now.

"He said he will let me know if he is available before he comes out of contract. But we would have to see amongst other things if he is a player that we could afford, so we'll keep our options open."

Shaka in for Stevenage clash

GOALKEEPER Shaka Hislop has agreed to join the Trinidad and Tobago today and will take the field in the final warm-up encounter in England against Nationwide Conference team Stevenage Borough.

Coach Ian Porterfield made a request on the weekend to have Hislop in the T&T line-up and the West Ham United custodian answered the call yesterday stating that he was prepared to play in the match which kicks off at 7:45 pm (3:45 p.m. T&T time) at the Broadhall Way Stadium.

There was more good news for the T&T camp today when Clayton Ince announced that he will also be making the trip to Stevenage after training at Crewe Alexandra on the weekend. He left the field against Charlton Athletic with a hamstring pull but the injury is not as serious as first thought.

T&T captain Russell Latapy will spearhead the T&T line-up with Hibernian midfielder Lyndon Andrews and Livingston defender Marvin Andrews.

All three Scottish-based players along with Barnsley defender Kevin Austin trained at the Runnymede Hotel gym and the Royal Holloway ground yesterday and will be available for selection today.

Missing will be Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Anthony Rougier (Reading FC), Ian Cox (Burnley), Ronnie Maugé (Bristol Rovers) and Stern John (Nottingham Forest) as their clubs have rearranged fixtures today and tomorrow. Dwight Yorke will also be absent.

But Coach Porterfield is pleased with the present team spirit.

"This is the sort of spirit that we’ve got to get back again," he said yesterday. "It was terrific when Tony Rougier turned up for training on Sunday even though he won’t be in the squad to face Stevenage and then we had Russell, Marvin Andrews and Lyndon Andrews training with us today.

"We're in good shape," he ended, "I think."

Shaka's in for T&T vs Stevenage clash

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has agreed to join the Trinidad and Tobago today and will take the field in the final warm-up encounter in England against Nationwide Conference team Stevenage Borough.

Coach Ian Porterfield made a request at the weekend to have Hislop in the T&T line-up and the West Ham United custodian answered the call yesterday, saying he was prepared to play in the match which kicks off at 7.45 pm (3:45 pm T&T time) at Broadhall Way Stadium.

There was more good news for the T&T camp yesterday when Clayton Ince announced he will also be making the trip to Stevenage after training at Crewe Alexandra at the weekend. He left the field against Charlton Athletic with a hamstring pull, but it is not as serious as first thought.

T&T captain Russell Latapy will spearhead the national line-up with Hibernian midfielder Lyndon Andrews and Livingston defender Marvin Andrews also in the squad.

All three Scotland-based players, along with Barnsley defender Kevin Austin, trained at Runnymede Hotelgym and the Royal Holloway Ground yesterday and will be available for selection today.

Missing will be Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Anthony Rougier (Reading FC), Ian Cox (Burnley), Ronnie Mauge(Bristol Rovers) and Stern John (Nottingham Forest) as their clubs have rearranged fixtures today and tomorrow. Dwight Yorke will also be absent.

Despite the 0-3 loss to Charlton in the opening game and the failure to hold on to a two goal lead against Millwall, all the players are in high spirits and havebeen working extremely hard in training despite the cold weather. They are all keen to put in the best performance possible hoping to leave the UK with a victory.

During dinner at the hotel last night, everyone appeared set for today's farewell game. Latapy was the one ensuring that everyone was relaxed, occasionally joking to midfielder Angus Eve, "Angusmake sure them guys don't get fluffy with dinner. Don't let them forget we have a game to play tomorrow."

The Hibernian star then said: "Yeah, obviously things are going good at the moment. All the guys worked hard in training today and are ready to go. We are in the right frame of mind and we'll just leave everything up to what happens on the field tomorrow."

The skipper then held a meeting among the players following dinner. Coach Porterfield was also pleased with the present team spirit.

"This is the sort of spirit that we've got to get back again. It was terrific when Tony Rougier turned up for training on Sunday even though he won't be in the squad to face Stevenage and then we had Russell, Marvin Andrews and Lyndon Andrews training with us today.

"It was a nice mood and we know now that Shaka's going to be available. We're obviously waiting on a few more and I feel certain that after Manchester'sgame tomorrow Dwight (Yorke) will be here on Wednesday. Hopefully when all the guys are here on Wednesday the spirit will grow even more," said Porterfield.

Bradford City chasing Latapy

By Shaun Fuentes in England

Trinidad and Tobago captain Russell Latapy has been offered a three-year deal and lucrative package by English Premiership club Bradford City.

The big news on T&T's Latapy today in England stated that former Hearts manager Jim Jeffries is plotting to lure Latapy on a free transfer while Premiership hopeful Bolton is also keeping close tabs on the "Little Magician".
Hibs has offered Latapy a new two-year deal but not with the terms he's looking for.

Latapy said last week he was prepared to leave Hibs if he was offered a more lucrative deal by another club.
"Jim Jefferies contacted my agent and he is very keen to have me. It's flattering to be linked with what is still a Premiership club," said Latapy.

"Signing a pre-contract agreement was discussed but it's more likely something will be done at the end of the season. If a pre-contract is offered, it will be considered.

"They (Hibs) have offered me a two-year deal, but not with the terms I'm looking for. The club knows what I want. I'm 32, this is the last

deal of my career and the negotiations have been going on for three months," added Latapy. Meanwhile, young T&T striker Nigel Pierre is also attracting a lot of interest in England with Derby County being the latest club reported to be interested in the Joe Public player.

Rougier surprises Porterfield

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield got a welcomed surprise yesterday morning when Reading's Anthony Rougier turned up at the Runnymede Hotel to join the national squad for training moments later at the Royal Holloway ground.

Rougier was on the substitute's bench in Reading's game Saturday and was not expected to rejoin the T&T camp until Wednesday because of his club's rearranged fixture tomorrow. However, he was involved in the two training sessions yesterday before returning to his club in the evening.

"It was really great of Tony to turn up for training today. He had a match yesterday but he was on the substitutes' bench and he was a bit disappointed about that. But he showed up today which was a bonus for us,' said Porterfield.
T&T captain Russell Latapy, Marvin Andrews and Lyndon

Andrews all arrived from Scotland last night and will be involved in a work-out session at the hotel's gym this morning and an evening session at Royal Holloway. Porterfield said he has requested the arrival of goalkeeper Shaka Hislop tomorrow in time for the final match of the tour against Stevenage Borough.

"Shaka played for his club Saturday and was great for them in goal. It would be nice if we could have him in goal for us before we leave on Thursday," said Porterfield, who has his players in England on a three-match tour, preparing for their opening World Cup qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston on Ash Wednesday. Wrexham midfielder Carlos Edwards will also arrive tomorrow in time for the warm-up game.

Stern John's Nottingham Forest has a game on Wednesday and club manager David Platt has requested his services meaning that the striker will only be able to link up with his countrymen for Thursday's flight to the Cayman Islands via Miami.

Ian Cox's Burnley and Ronnie Mauge's Bristol Rovers will also be in action in rearranged matches tomorrow.
Dwight Yorke is also expected to join the squad Wednesday following Manchester United's Champions' League clash with Valencia tomorrow.

Team 2001 play catch up

Sports Desk

THE Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 football team have announced their intention to speed up preparations for the Junior Under-17 World Cup which be held on local soil this September.

Team 2001, as they have been dubbed, have generally failed to perform at international level since the squad was created under Nigerian coach Chief Adegboye Onigbinde on May 2, 1998.

Manager Russell Texeira admitted to the Daily Express that the team was not playing at the level that he would have anticipated. However he says that things have been put in place to help the players catch up.

“The team should have been far advanced,” says Texeira.

“There have been a lot of hiccups. In all fairness, the Chief had asked for certain equipment and so on that was not given. We needed football gears and travelling, playing and training gear.

“At this point though, we have everything.”

The shortage of finance, according to Texeira, has been a constant problem for Team 2001. Colonial Life has been their main sponsor while Royal Bank also offered some assistance last year. However Team 2001’s expenses are sizeable.

Since 1998, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) have had to find enough money to feed and house over 50 persons who comprised the playing and coaching staff.

Texeira and T&TFF president Oliver Camps were unwilling to quote figures but both suggested that the financial situation is much improved at present.

On Tuesday last, the current squad of 36 players and 10 technical staff members entered a live-in camp at St Ann’s. The camp will be temporarily dissolved for Carnival after which Texeira believes the team preparations will step up a gear.

Arrangements have already been made with the Ministry of Education to transfer the Team 2001 players to schools within the Port of Spain district.

“We are behind time by about 6 to 9 months,” said Texeira.

“That is why we took the decision to form a live-in camp to play catch up. We believe that the players staying in their homes and training on evenings alone was not enough.”

The team now trains twice daily—from 6.30 am to 7.30 am on school mornings—and also follows a timetable which allows for lectures on the laws of the game and work with psychologists, nutritionists, tutors and motivational speakers.

Chief Onigbinde is still finalising arrangements for a tour of Africa in April which should see them play against the under-17 squads of Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana.

They also hope to face the likes of Germany, France and Italy in an August European tour.

Team 2001 will play in the local Professional Football League (PFL) reserve division as well and Texeira hopes that this experience against older players makes them a tougher unit.

Their ultimate goal, he explained, is a berth in the quarterfinal round of the U-17 World Cup tournament.

“We recognise the importance of this tournament,” says Texeira.

“It is not a Shell Cup or Concacaf Cup, it is football at the highest level. We also recognise that we must go past the second round for the tournament to survive.”

When T&T hosts the 2001 Junior Under-17 World Cup tournament this September, they will become the first Caribbean country to stage a football tournament of this magnitude.

Bradford offer Latapy a deal

TRINIDAD and Tobago captain Russell Latapy has been offered a three-year deal and lucrative package by English Premiership club Bradford City.

Former Hearts manager Jim Jeffries is plotting to lure Latapy on a free transfer while Premiership hopefuls Bolton are also keeping close tabs on the Trinidad and Tobago captain.

Hibs have offered Latapy a new two-year deal but not with the terms he’s looking for.

Latapy said last week that he was prepared to leave his current club, Scottish Premier League side Hibernian if he was offered a more lucrative deal by another club.

“Jim Jefferies contacted my agent and he is very keen to have me. It’s flattering to be linked with what is still a Premiership club,” said Latapy

“Signing a pre-contract agreement was discussed but it’s more likely something will be done at the end of the season. If a pre-contract is offered, it will be considered.

“They (Hibs) have offered me a two-year deal but not with the terms I’m looking for.

The club knows what I want. I’m 32, this is the last deal of my career and the negotiations have been going on for three months,”added Latapy.

Cox, Maugé out practice games


DEFENDER Ian Cox and combative midfielder Ronnie Maugé will have to wait an extra week before they make their first appearance for Trinidad and Tobago national coach Ian Porterfield.

Although Cox and Maugé both turned up at the Runnymede Hotel—T&T’s camp for their UK tour—and attended the national team’s training session, Porterfield was ordered by their clubs not to field either player.

Cox represents English First Division team Burnley while Maugé campaigns with Bristol Rovers in the Second Division.

Porterfield admitted to being disappointed at not being able to field the pair but he remained upbeat about T&T’s tour.

“We were a bit disappointed,” Porterfield told the Daily Express. “But we are trying to work with the clubs as best as we can. In any case, we are only allowed to get our players five days before an international game.”

None of T&T’s three scheduled matches in England is considered an international as they are all against club teams.

Trinidad and Tobago lost 3-0 to the Charlton Athletic reserve team on Tuesday before managing a 3-3 draw against English Second Division team Millwall on Thursday.

In spite of Porterfield’s proximity to his players, he had just 12 players to choose from when T&T played Millwall.

Vibe CT 105 W.Connection midfielder and PFL Player of the Year Reynold Carrington played as a makeshift stopper against Millwall as Porterfield had only three available defenders. The situation was further aggravated in the second half when an injured Lawrence had to be replaced by young playmaker Brent Rahim, forcing T&T to switch to a 3-5-2 system.

Lawrence and goalkeeper Clayton Ince—who injured himself in Tuesday’s loss to Charlton—are both expected to be fit for World Cup duty on February 28 against Jamaica.

However, Porterfield said that they had expected to be short on players for Thursday’s game as most of their British players would have needed to be with their employers in preparation for the weekend’s domestic matches.

He reiterated the purpose of the tour which was to bring the players together and said that he was satisfied with their preparations.

Porterfield also explained that the bad weather in England at present had forced the rearrangement of several domestic games which, in turn, had affected their training camp.

Manchester United star Dwight Yorke apart, all of Trinidad and Tobago’s Britain-based players have turned up at their Surrey camp.

However, Barnsley left-back Kevin Austin is the only “foreigner” to play in both of T&T’s friendlies. Austin, who has not had a first team English domestic game since last November, was not included in Porterfield’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier next Thursday

Arena aims to take USA higher

 Concacaf profiles

Part 2
Today the Express continues to profile the teams involved in the Concacaf World Cup 2002 final round playoff series with a look at the chances of the United States.

Sports Desk

IT HAS taken a long time for the self confidence generally associated with citizens of the United States of America to reach their football team.

For the country that houses the United Nations and calls one of their domestic sporting events the World Series, the US have never accepted being anything but a world beater or, at the least, a bonafide contender.

There are signs, faint yet still distinguishable, that worldwide respect for their “soccer” dreams may be attained in the not-too-distant future.

National head coach Bruce Arena, according to the North American football gurus, is the man to lead them there.

After a miserable 1998 World Cup campaign when the American team failed to earn a point in a group which included debutant team, minnows Iran, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) decided to look internally for a new leader.

True Steve Sampson, who led their ’98 campaign, was an American but he clearly suffered from being the sidekick of famed Yugoslav coach Bora Milutinovic during their 1994 World Cup adventure. Whether Sampson was his own man or merely trying to follow Milutinovic’s lead was a question that was never
suitably answered.

None could raise such questions about the Brooklyn-born Arena.

A former University of Virginia coach, Arena put the US back on the football map first through Major League Soccer (MLS) club team DC United—winners of the 1998 Concacaf Championships and Interamerican Cup—and then with a sterling run of results in charge of the “Stars and Stripes”.

Since he accepted the post in October 1998, the US has boldly rejected their role as whipping boys to the bigger football nations. Two victories over Germany and one over Argentina in 1999 as well as two wins
against rivals Mexico in 2000—all at home—they would hope are true signs of things to come.

Add to this their top four placings in the 1999 Under-17 World Cup and the 2000 Olympic Games and one
would understand the exaggerated swagger among the US players.

Thus far, Arena has been able to carefully build on this confidence in his construction of a team whose output easily outweighs the sum total of their parts.

Their only genuine star is 18-year-old striker Landon Donovan, who was adjudged the best player of the 1999 Junior World Cup, and at present, is contracted to German Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen.

Donovan made his senior team debut in December against Mexico and scored the game’s first goal within
20 minutes of his introduction.

His encouraging appearance is just one indication that the US team may be peaking at the right time.

Donovan, if given the opportunity, should forge a lively partnership with talented Everton striker Joe-Max Moore. They will be complimented by the guile of Scottish-based playmaker Claudio Reyna while flanker DaMarcus Beasley—another teenage star of the 1999 World Cup—may also be allowed to show his precocious ability.

Behind this quartet, the steely defensive pair of Jeff Agoos and Eddie Pope as well as the tireless efforts of flanker Cobi Jones and striker Brian McBride give good balance to the side. The fact that Arena has introduced over 50 Americans to the international arena without missing a beat also shows the depth of the playing personnel.

For all of Arena’s grafting and scheming though, there is one fear that he has been unable to dispel. It is the fear of flying.

The US team has become a force at home. So much so that four-time World Cup champions Brazil will pay them a visit in March as part of their preparations for the South American WC qualifying campaign.

Without their home advantage though—they cleverly choose from a multitude of venues with different altitudes, temperatures and racial backgrounds—the US team continues to be rather ordinary.

They have never won in Mexico or Costa Rica while Jamaica and Honduras have also been tough nuts to crack in recent times.

The inability to significantly improve on away results will seriously complicate their efforts at qualifying for their fourth consecutive World Cup tournament.

It is this bit of history that Arena must rewrite if the “stars and stripes” are ever to be respected as an entity off their home soil.

It must be noted that Trinidad and Tobago holds the least concern for Arena.

Three years ago, Arena smugly referred to a meeting between his DC United and Caribbean and T&T club champs Joe Public as a “mismatch”. United responded with a crushing 8-0 victory over a Public team that included nationals Angus Eve, Arnold Dwarika, Lyndon Andrews and Shurland David.

The record between the two countries at international level is even more disconcerting. T&T has never defeated the US in a senior World Cup meeting.

And, in the twin island republic’s last two appearances in the advanced stages of World Cup qualifying campaigns, it was the “Yankees” who turned them back.

Their 1-0 victory in Port of Spain on November 19, 1989 famously ended T&T’s 1990 World Cup ambitions while a win by a similar scoreline effectively put paid to their campaign in 1996 as well.

Arena is likely to pay more attention to USA’s statistics in Central America as they attempt to reinvent themselves.

World Cup Schedule

06/20—World Cup qualifier
United States v Trinidad and Tobago, Foxboro Stadium, Boston.
11/11—World Cup qualifier
Trinidad and Tobago v USA, Port of Spain.

Head to Head Since 1998 World Cup
Sun Nov 24, 1996.
WCQ x United States at Hasely Crawford Stadium. 0-1.
Goal: Joe-Max Moore.
T&T: Michael Maurice; Alvin Thomas, Anthony Rougier (Marvin Andrews), Dexter Francis, Ansil Elcock
(Marvin Faustin); Hutson Charles, Richard Theodore, David Nakhid (c), 10-Lyndon Andrews (Stern
John); Dwight Yorke, Jerren Nixon.

Sun Nov 10, 1996
WCQ x United States at Richmond, Virginia. 0-2.
Goals: Tom Dooley, Eric Wynalda.
T&T: Hayden Thomas; Dexter Lee, Anthony Rougier, Dexter Francis, Marvin Faustin; Angus Eve
(Arnold Dwarika, Alvin Thomas), David Nakhid, Russell Latapy (c)], Leonson Lewis (Richard Theodore);
Dwight Yorke, Jerren Nixon.

T&T roots for Shaka today

By Guardian Staff Writer.

TRINIDAD and Tobago's 2002 World Cup squad will be rooting for teammate Shaka Hislop today when he makes a return from injury for West Ham in a crucial FA Cup clash against Sunderland.

However, T&T will be hoping that Hislop, who is just coming off a knee injury, and the Hammers are successful for more reasons than one.

For one thing, a 90-minute run by Hislop will mean that he is fully recovered from the cyst which caused the knee problem in the first place.

And secondly, a draw in today's game will force the two teams to meet again in a replay on Tuesday, thereby ruling Hislop out of the remainder of the T&T team's live-in camp in England. Needless to say, with his squad set to leave England on Thursday, T&T coach Ian Porterfield is keen to get Hislop in the fold.

"West Ham want him to play against Sunderland in the Cup (today) and it will be wonderful if he plays and comes through good in the game," Porterfield said yesterday as his squad, having played to a 3-3 draw with Millwall on Wednesday, enjoyed a rest day.

"If a result goes one way or the other on Saturday then Shaka will be available to us from Sunday. If the game draws then West Ham will play the replay on their pitch on Wednesday. So obviously we are hoping for a positive result."

T&T will fly to the Cayman Islands for a mini camp following the English stint, then fly directly to Kingston for its opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday (February 28).

Hislop himself was also keen to join his compatriots, who have been in a temporary camp at the Runnymede Hotel in Surrey since arriving in England on February 10. "It's a great idea for the camp and it's quite exciting. We have important games coming up and it's important to get together and build that team spirit," Hislop said.

"Success stories speaks for itself. Primarily, players like Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy are top stars in the game. Considering that we are such a small countryit's quite formidable that we have so many players here." All of the British-based stars, save Anthony Rougier, Ian Cox and Dwight Yorke, will return to the camp this weekend after completing assignments with their respective clubs.

Both Rougier (Reading) and Cox (Burnley) also have re-arranged fixtures in the week while Yorke's Manchester United has a return leg Champions' League clash against Valencia. While pointing out that Yorke was the only player whose late arrival had been catered for, Porterfield also expressed concern about the United star's lack of match activity in recent weeks.

"Obviously Dwight hasn't played a lot of football in recent weeks and that obviously concerns us a little bit," Porterfield said. "But I gather he's in good condition and he's itching to go. Hopefully after the game against Valencia on Tuesday, Dwight will join us right after."

He added: "Hopefully we'll have the players back by Wednesday. Even though we've had the odd player missing here and there, the exercise has been a worthwhile one so far." T&T will round off its English tour on Wednesday with a match against Stevenage.

Yorke stars with reserves

MANCHESTER United record signing Dwight Yorke showed that he still has the goal-scoring touch with a double on Thursday night.

However, only a sprinkling of spectators were on hand to see Yorke’s two strikes which came in a 4-2 win for United’s reserves against former employer Aston Villa.

On the same evening that Trinidad and Tobago were held to a 3-3 draw by England’s Second Division club Millwall in Surrey, Yorke took to the field with manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s second team to meet the squad he left for a club record fee of £12.6 million in 1998.

Ironically, Yorke’s appearance on the reserve squad came just hours after he was voted the 24th best player in United’s history in a club magazine poll.

Frenchman Eric Cantona topped the poll while present teammates Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Jaap Stam, Dennis Irwin, Andy Cole, Olé Gunnar Solsjkaer and Teddy Sheringham all placed ahead of Yorke.

Ferguson is likely to be more impressed with on-the-field performances ,though, and Yorke’s was encouraging.

It took Yorke just 25 minutes to make his mark on the match as he opened the scoring on the muddy pitch. Teammates Mark Wilson and Luke Chadwick increased United’s lead before Yorke scored in the 49th minute for a 4-0 lead.

Only fine goalkeeping denied Yorke of a hattrick while Villa managed two second half items to reduce the arrears.

Yorke’s double is bound to be a welcome sign for Ferguson who fielded three of his strikers in United’s goalless draw with Valencia in Champions’ League competition on Wednesday. The T&T international travelled to Spain with the squad but was kept on the sidelines.

He will hope to see action next Tuesday though when United host Valencia in the return leg.

Trinidad and Tobago international coach Ian Porterfield may be more interested to see whether his first choice custodian Shaka Hislop is given an outing for West Ham on Saturday.

The Hammers play away to Sunderland in the FA Cup series and Hislop is anxious to play despite missing his club’s last three matches with a knee injury.

Porterfield will hope Hislop gets through the match without any problems and that the game has a result. Should the FA game end in a draw, West Ham and Sunderland will have a replay on Tuesday at Upton Park.

Porterfield is keen to have Hislop on his squad as often as possible before the team leaves for the Cayman Islands on Thursday.

Friday February 16th, 2001

Jack wants England friendly

By Guardian Staff Writer.

IF Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals later this year, then they will get the chance to warm up for that tournament in a friendly against England next year.

According FIFA vice-president Trinidadian Jack Warner, a game between the two countries is in the works.
Warner made the revelation in England yesterday, where he was on hand to take a look at T&T's preparations for the forthcoming final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

Warner told Sky Sports during an interview after T&T's warm-up match against Charlton Athletic, which ended 3-0 in the English side's favour, that he was positive that a full strength T&T would have a chance of defeating the Englishmen.

When asked about the possibility of such a match, Warner said: "Well surely. When we do qualify next year we should have a friendly match between England and Trinidad and Tobago in Trinidad.

"Our relationship demands that and then we have an agreement for our development between CONCACAF and the (English) FA that also demands that and I am quite sure that if we plan it very early, it can be done."

He added: "On the field of the play we are eleven versus eleven. A full strength Trinidad and Tobago team will give England and any other team a run for their money."

He added that it was important that the T&T squad hold a training camp in England because of the majority of players campaigning in the United Kingdom.

Austin saves T&T blushes

Draws 3-3 with Millwall

By Guardian Staff Writer.

ENGLAND-BASED defender Kevin Austin is making a late bid to gain a place in Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield's squad for the opening final round CONCACAF Zone clash against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday.

The Barnsley defender scored a late second half goal to earn T&T a 3-3 draw against Millwall in the second game of the squad's three-match tour of England in Surrey yesterday.

The game against Second Division Millwall was hastily organised after West Ham's reserve squad pulled out of its prearranged game with T&T due to injury problems to its squad.

Austin was not initially chosen in Porterfield's squad for the Ash Wednesday clash against the Reggae Boyz.
However, eager to prove his loyalty, Austin took advantage of the non-arrival of several other T&T players at the live-in camp in Surrey to join the preparations.

And Austin, and indeed Porterfield, has not regretted the move. Yesterday, Austin put T&T ahead for the third time in the game in the 77th minute.

Having missed an earlier chance, Austin made amends when he slammed home past Millwall keeper Phil Smith from inside a crowded box after Angus Eve delivered an inswinging left-side corner to make the score 3-1.

That lead should have easily given T&T, beaten 3-0 by Charlton in the first game Tuesday, an opening tour victory.
However, Millwall striker Darren Meade would rob T&T of victory with a double strike in the final 10 minutes of the game. Earlier, Mickey Trotman (13th) and Nigel Pierre (25th) had given T&T a 2-0 lead as the team once again braved through unusually cold conditions.

After withstanding an early barrage of Millwall attacks, T&T took the lead when Eve picked out Carlos Edwards superbly on the right of the penalty box. Edwards, in turn, sent a perfect cross into the six-yard box where Trotman rose above the defence and headed past goalkeeper Smith.

A similar combination led to T&T's second goal in the 25th minute. Eve, positioned in the centre of the field, picked out Edwards wide on the right and he again delivered a cross into the box for Pierre to powerfully head home from inside the six yard box to make it 2-0. But, despite dominating the play afterwards, T&T failed to increase its advantage.

After the restart, T&T lost defender Dennis Lawrence 13 minutes in when he was stamped on the left ankle by a Millwall striker. Michael Gilkes then delivered Millwall a lifeline when he converted a 74th minute free kick to reduce T&T's lead to 2-1.

Both Pierre and Trotman then missed glaring chances before Austin made it 3-1. However, the home team refused to let up and was rewarded a penalty when Germany-based midfielder Evans Wise brought down an attacker inside the area. Meade easily converted the spot kick eight minutes from time then levelled the scores two minutes from the end to the chagrin of the T&T squad.

T&T Ross Russell, Brent Sancho, Kevin Austin, Dennis Lawrence (Brent Rahim, 58th), Evans Wise,Stokely Mason, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre, Carlos Edwards, Mickey Trotman.

T&T draw 3-3 with Millwall

THE Trinidad and Tobago national football team got the first goals of their England tour yesterday  afternoon as they scored three times against England Second Division leaders Millwall at the club's Surrey training ground.

They conceded just as many though as a late double by Millwall striker Darren Meade robbed T&T's Scottish coach Ian Porterfield of the chance of a win among his British peers.

Still Porterfield was satisfied with his team's performance and compared Millwall to Jamaica who T&T face in World Cup action within the next two weeks.

"It was a good performance and obviously there were good things happening today," said Porterfield. "Millwall were a very aggressive and competitive side. This is the sort of competitive games we need because this is what the Jamaican situation will be like."

It is T&T's second game on tour after losing 3-0 to a Charlton Athletic XI on Tuesday.

Trinidad and Tobago were initially scheduled to play West Ham yesterday but the English Premier League team cancelled, preferring "not to risk damage" with Saturday's FA Cup tie against Sunderland looming.

Lower league Millwall stepped up to fill the gap against a country ranked 29th in the world by Fifa.

The Hibernian duo of Russell Latapy and Lyndon Andrews were absent while Porterfield also had to do without Nottingham Forest Stern John who is yet to play for T&T this year.

But Porterfield did welcome foreign-based midfielders Evans Wise and Carlos Edwards into his fold for the first time on tour while unsettled Barnsley defender Kevin Austin was given a starting position at left back.

After a nervy start in which Millwall had an effort disallowed for offside, a Mickey Trotman header gave T&T the lead on the 13th minute following a right-side cross from Edwards.

Trotman's Joe Public teammate Nigel Pierre doubled the advantage 12 minutes later with a powerful header after more link-up play involving Angus Eve and Edwards.

At present, Pierre's named is being constantly tossed at England's domestic clubs via his unnamed agent as well as Fifa vice-president and Public chairman Jack Warner. He had several opportunities to strengthen their claims but failed to finish after good approach work from Wise and Eve.

Porterfield may have been more concerned with his team's continuing trouble at defending against set pieces—a problem that has existed long before his arrival in Trinidad.

In the 74th minute, Michael Gilkes sneaked a quick shot past goalkeeper Ross Russell while his surprised defence attempted to set up a wall.

Austin restored T&T's two-goal lead in the 77th minute after an in-swinging Eve cornerkick. But substitute Meade struck twice in the 82nd and 88th minutes—the first goal from the penalty spot—to ensure that both teams ended as evenly as they had begun.

Lanky Defence Force defender Dennis Lawrence was replaced after the interval by Brent Rahim after picking up a knock on the ankle although the injury did not appear serious.

Trinidad and Tobago play the final game of their tour against Stevanage Borough—a non-professional outfit—next Tuesday.

T&T: Ross Russell, Brent Sancho, Kevin Austin, Dennis Lawrence (Brent Rahim 58th), Stokely Mason,
Carlos Edwards, Evans Wise, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre, Mickey Trotman.

Warner: Present T&T squad the best ever


FIFA vice-president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) special adviser Jack Warner revealed on Tuesday that plans are in the works for a friendly international football game between Trinidad and Tobago and England next year in Trinidad.

Trinidad and Tobago must first qualify for the 2002 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Korea and Japan, though. But Warner, who was speaking to Sky Sports TV in England, is confident that national coach Ian Porterfield’s unit is talented enough to do so.

Just minutes after watching a Charlton Athletic reserve team whip T&T 3-0, Warner insisted that the present squad is the country’s best ever.

“For me we have the best team possible in the history of our playing in this competition,” said Warner on Tuesday night. “And if we don’t do it now, it will take us a long time to do it. When you look at the team that we have now in Trinidad and Tobago, I think that it is second to none and we have no cause to worry about any country—including Mexico.”

Warner played down the 3-0 defeat to Charlton which he said was “not that disappointing” and warned the English media that a full strength T&T squad could match the self-proclaimed creators of the game.

“When we do qualify next year we should have a friendly match between England and Trinidad and Tobago in Trinidad,” he said. “On the field of the play we are 11 versus 11. A full strength Trinidad and Tobago team will give England and any other team a run for their money.”

Warner singled out Nigel Pierre—who campaigns for Warner’s own Joe Public Football Club—as having performed “exceptionally well” while he also joined Porterfield in praising Hibernian midfielder Lyndon Andrews.

The Fifa vice-president, who is also president of the professional Football League, could not resist a now mandatory dig at the state of cricket in the Caribbean.

“People could know by now that cricket is either dead or dying as far as the West Indies are concerned,” said Warner. “And therefore I think football now has to take up the slack—particularly Jamaica and T&T.”

Ince pulls up at The Valley

T&T goes under 3-0

TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates made a disastrous start to their tour of England yesterday. The men in red, white and black were crushed 3-0 by a Charlton Athletic reserve team at The Valley in the opening game of their three-match tour of England.

Playing in chilly conditions, T&T struggled to find its rhythm early in the first half. However, Latapy's side battled gamely in the conditions and the "Little Magician" almost stunned the home crowd after just 15 minutes.
The 32-year-old Hibernian midfielder beat Charlton keeper Tony Craig with a right-footer only to see the ball ricochet off the upright.

However, Charlton responded to the challenge, upping the ante. But it would not be until the 40th minute that the home side took the lead. And it came thanks to a mix-up between T&T goalie Clayton Ince and his defender Dennis Lawrence.

The Charlton midfield pumped a long hopeful ball and as Ince back tracked to claim it, he became entangled with Lawrence. The ball bounced free and Jonatan Johansson was left with the simple task of hooking it into an empty net.
To compound his troubles, Ince appeared to strain a hamstring in the challenge, limping out of the game and, seemingly, the rest of the tour.

He is now in jeopardy of missing the game which T&T is preparing for in England in the first place, the opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston Ash Wednesday.
Ross Russell was called in to replace Ince.

Moments before the break Latapy and Nigel Pierre were also denied goals by fine saves from the Charlton keeper.
Latapy, perhaps a bit leg weary, was taken off at the interval. And any chance T&T had of recovering was quickly erased when Charlton pumped in two further goals within 15 minutes of the restart.

In the 55th minute Johansson's low cross eluded the T&T defence and Kevin Lisbie met the ball at the far post to fire past keeper Russell to make it 2-0.

Then, on the hour mark, Iranian international Karin Bagheri was allowed time to pick his spot before driving the ball across goal, past the motionless figure of Russell, and into the far corner of the net to the delight of The Valley crowd.
T&T's legs began to tire later on the half and the opening came for Charlton.
However, with Russell beaten once more, Jon Fortune slammed his shot against the upright after some neat footwork. Trinidad and Tobago next plays West Ham, the club of T&T keeper Shaka Hislop on Saturday.

T&T - Clayton Ince (Ross Russell, 40), Marvin Andrews, Brent Sancho, Dennis Lawrence, Anthony Rougier (Kevin Austin, 46), Angus Eve, Reynold Carrington (Brent Rahim, 67), Russell Latapy (Mickey Trotman, 46), Stokely Mason, Lyndon Andrews, Nigel Pierre.

Charlton Athletic - Tony Caig, Dave Collis, Paul Konchesky, Mark Kinsella, Danny Shittu, Jon Fortune, Kevin Lisbie, Karin Bagheri, Andy Hunt (Pringle, 46), Jonatan Johansson (Greenaway, 75), John Robinson (Deane, 65)
Subs not used - Jason Browne.

Manchester on different planet

DWIGHT YORKE believes that Manchester United is now on a totally different planet since it linked up with the New York Yankees last week.

The 29-year-old striker said in England there is even more pressure on players to maintain their place at the club since it now possesses the might to sign up the best players in the world.

"At some clubs, you could be a lot more sure of your position than you are here. The standard there may not be as high and the club may not have the money to get a big name in. Well, everyone knows that is not the case here. We now know more than ever that if we slip up, the club has the strength to go out and get whoever it wants."

About a possible arrival of Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Yorke added: "If he is coming for the sort of money being talked about, then he won't be sitting on the bench very long. We will just have to make it difficult for him to get into the side."

Latapy's volley

Russell Latapy's volleyed goal against Hearts is currently second in the running for Scottish Premier League's "Goal of the season." On a voting poll on the League's official web site, Latapy's goal has attracted 20 per cent of the votes, behind Hendrik Larsson's striker against Rangers, which has 59 per cent of the votes.

Latapy scored Hibs' final goal in a 4-2 victory over St Mirren on Saturday and manager Alex McLeish then urged his players to keep their good form as they press for one of two European Champions' League places.

Latapy contacted the T&T contingent at the Runnymede Hotel on Saturday night to share the news of his team's victory. Hibs is now in second spot behind leaders Celtic.

"It's nice to be second again," said McLeish, "but our target now is to get into Europe. Whether that is by finishing second and making the Champions League or third and going into the UEFA Cup, time will tell. "We have 11 games left and if we win as many as

possible, it might be second place but the Old Firm are still favourites to finish in the top two."

Rahim puts LA Galaxy on hold

Midfielder Brent Rahim will not report to MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy until after completing duties with this country's senior team.

The former St Anthony's College player was drafted by the MLS side earlier this month. He was with the national teal in Brazil at the time. Speaking about the selection last week, Rahim told TTFF Media that officials of the club had been trying to contact him in Trinidad while he was away with the T&T team.

"At this point in time the national team is first priority. The club has been trying to contact me since the draft but I can't tell them anything until probably after the match against Jamaica," said Rahim.

In related news , local midfielder Kerwyn "Hardest" Jemmot will travel with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars to Portugal for a pre-season training camp later this month.

Jemmot was also drafted by the MLS earlier this month.
The former Joe Public player will have the chance to line up against teams such as Fylkir (Iceland), Amika Wronki of Poland and other European teams during the club's pre-season training.

Mauge ready

Ronnie Mauge is all excited about being part of the national team ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Jamaica. The English-born midfielder has been out of the team since breaking his leg against Mexico last February.
Speaking on his arrival at the Runnymede Hotel in

Surrey, where the national team is based, Mauge said everything is fine. "The leg is all good and I'm just looking forward to being with the guys again." Mauge's Bristol Rovers club is in 21st spot on the Second Division table.

Cox excited

English-born defender Ian Cox has finally teamed up with members of the national team for a competitive match.
The Burnley player first represented T&T in a friendly against Morocco last January, but then put national duties on hold due to club commitments.

Cox was the first overseas-based player to join the team in Surrey on Saturday. "It's all exciting times for Trinidad and Tobago's football and I'm happy to be part of it," Cox told TTFF media.

The former Bournemouth player doesn't know much about T&T's Carnival but understands that all on the current tour will be missing out on the festival.

"Yeah I hear it's a big thing back in Trinidad for you guys. I actually wanted to come for it last year right after the Gold Cup," he said. His Burnley club is now in 10th spot with 42 points on the First Division table.

Reading can still go up

Anthony Rougier and Reading are still in with a chance of gaining promotion into the English First Division as far as manager Alan Pardew is concerned.

Pardew was in a buoyant mood after his club's 2-1 victory over Brentford on Saturday.
Rougier entered the match in the dying stages after his teammates had already notched two goals to end with three points.

"All the top teams in this division have still got to come to our ground before the end of the season. Promotion is in our hands. We played well at Brentford and deserved to win," said Pardew. "One or two of our results recently have been a little inconsistent but this will do us a power of good.

There is still a long way to go in terms of matches to be played and we have every right to feel at this stage that we can figure in the promotion battle ahead." Reading are sixth on the table with 50 points.

Rougier is expected to be part of T&T's camp in England ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.
Meanwhile, striker Stern John sat on the bench during Nottingham Forest's 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Forest is in seventh spot with 50 points on the First Division standings.

Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the T&T Football Federation

Hislop in vs Reggae Boyz


WEST Ham custodian Shaka Hislop has confirmed his availability for Trinidad and Tobago’s Concacaf World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica on February 28.

Hislop looked on from the VIP stands on Monday when the Hammers drew 1-1 with English Premier League rivals Coventry City. However the six-foot-four goalkeeper believes that he will be sufficiently recovered from injury in time for T&T’s international date.

“I should start training on Wednesday (today),” said Hislop who suffered a burst cyst behind his knee. “It’s been about two weeks since I’ve trained but I’ll be fit for Saturday against Sunderland and I’ll be on the plane with the rest of the squad on February 22.”

Hislop and team captain Russell Latapy both praised the current technical staff for its initiative in holding the pre-World Cup training camp in England.

“I think it’s fantastic that the squad is across here,” said Hislop. “One of the reasons this team will be successful is because of the nature of compromise that the administration has taken up.

“It’s good because we know of the problems that players based in Europe have with returning home on a
regular basis and now they (T&TFF) have made the sacrifice to come here.

“Again it promotes that camaraderie that we all strive for.”

Latapy agreed and pointed out that most of the T&T team now earns a living in Europe.

He was also happy that the team would spend more time together—rather than assembling mere days before the game—and commented positively on international life under coach Ian Porterfield.

“We’ve been more successful since he’s been in charge,” said Latapy. “Our record has been better. But it’s always difficult to compare two managers because their ideas in football are always different.

“But as far as the players are concerned, what we want is what is best for the team and the country.”

Barnsley defender Kevin Austin joined the squad at the Runnymede Hotel yesterday and took part in the
team’s training session. However he remains out of the reckoning for a team spot on February 28.

Twenty-year-old English-born striker Bobby Zamora of English Third Division front-runners Brighton and
Hove Albion will not link up with T&T though.

Zamora, who is yet to commit himself to representing T&T, scored his 20th goal of the season on
Saturday against Cardiff City but also limped off the field with an ankle injury.

 Latas wows them again


HIBERNIAN manager Alex McLeish was pressed to again testify on the talent of his Trinidad and Tobago star player Russell Latapy on the weekend.

The Hibs trailed their lowly Scottish Premier League opponents St Mirren 2-1 and seemed to be heading for an upset before Latapy helped settle the match with some brilliant midfield play.

A clever pass from Latapy created Hibs’ equalising goal for David Zitelli and—after Zitelli gave the hosts the lead with another strike—Latapy sealed the victory with a shot in the closing minutes that went in off the post.

By then, the match announcer had already declared Latapy his Man of the Match and McLeish was convinced that it was the correct decision.

“On Saturday, too many of our players were trying to win the game on their own,” McLeish told the Hibernian website on Monday. “But in the second half, Russell Latapy was different class and we deserved to win.”

It was a crucial result for McLeish’s European ambitions as rivals Rangers lost ground with a 1-0 loss to leaders Celtic. They now lie in third place with just the two top Scottish clubs guaranteed to play in European competition.

Latapy will be equally concerned to see how his performances and the rave reviews he’s been getting help his pocket, though.

The T&T international captain is yet to sign a contract extension with Hibs as he is holding out for the best possible deal. At 31 years of age, Latas believes his next contract will be his last big pay-day and is unwilling to agree to a deal if the terms are not entirely satisfactory to him.

Wrexham accelerate Lawrence bid

English Second Division team Wrexham have stepped up their bid to land Trinidad and Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence.

The six-foot-seven Defence Force stopper has peaked the interest of Wrexham boss Brian Flynn since his trials there late last year. However, the Welsh club has been slow in following up its interest in the defender.

Defence Force manager Captain Kester Weekes told the Express that this has changed as both clubs have already begun official negotiations.

Flynn is hopeful that Lawrence can be a Wrexham player by this weekend.

“If everything goes well Dennis is coming here on Friday to sign,” said Flynn. “He’s definitely having a medical and we’re hoping by then his work permit will have been granted.”

At present, Lawrence is in England preparing for T&T's upcoming Concacaf World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on February 28.

Wrexham, according to their website, have already applied for a work permit for Lawrence and the player is confident that he will be discharged from the army if the move goes through.

Agent Mike Berry is acting on behalf of the Defence Force in the negotiation process.

Should Lawrence join the “Robins”, he would link up with countrymen Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards—the latter of whom is a former soldier as well.

Edwards has cemented his place in the Wrexham first team and scored the club’s lone goal on the weekend in a 5-1 thrashing from Oldham Athletic.

Sam did not take the field on Saturday nor was he listed among the club’s substitutes.

Stern and Dwight stuck on the sidelines

Dwight Yorke and Stern John are automatic picks on the international scene with Trinidad and Tobago but both have had difficulty in getting their English managers to afford them such respect this season.

On Saturday, Yorke watched Manchester United’s entire Premiership fixture from the bench while Nottingham Forest manager David Platt also had no use for John.

Forest edged Blackburn Rovers without John while United were good enough for a 1-1 result away to Chelsea.

Yorke has been named in United’s touring party to face Spanish club Valencia in today’s European Champions’ League fixture but is unlikely to play from the start.

Still Yorke should play a more important role for manager Sir Alex Ferguson this weekend when key
striker Andy Cole begins a five-match suspension.

No such luck for John who has struggled to make an impact at Forest since a lengthy, injury-induced lay-off.

A goal or two in T&T’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on February 28 may send the right message to Platt from John.

Light for the dark horse?

Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago take on Jamaica in Jamaica the first match of a ten-game home -and-way Concacaf World Cup 2002 playoff final series on February 28.

Beginning today with Honduras and continuing every Wednesday and Sunday until the day of the opening game in Kingston, the Daily Express profiles the teams the national seniors will meet—and try to beat in that series—to reach Japan/Korea next year.

As chaotic scenes enveloped the Orange Bowl, Miami, organisers of the 2000 US Gold Cup must have wondered just what to make of the Honduran national football team.

They were not the first—and would hardly be the last—non-partisan observers to look on at the Central American unit with a mixture of admiration and horror.

Trailing 2-0 to guest team Peru in the Gold Cup quarterfinals after 14 minutes and on the wrong end of a
4-1 scoreline by the 52nd minute, the Hondurans responded brilliantly.

A goal and assist in the space of two minutes from inspirational captain Carlos Pavón set the stage for a captivating finale.

Then came the Hondurans familiar though still startling switch into self-destruct mode.

At the final whistle, three Honduran players were booked, two—including Pavón—expelled while Peru
snatched a late goal for a 5-3 final scoreline.

Above the field, Hondurans supporters—as if on some unseen queue from their heroes—vandalised the
Miami stadium and attacked rival fans and police.

The moments of madness cancelled memories of their commendable 2-0 victories over Colombia and
Jamaica respectively.

It is not the first time that the suspect temperament of the Hondurans, their apparent inability to stick to
their task when it matters, had cost them the ultimate prize. The passion is there but it is the focus that
sometimes goes missing.

This is, after all, the country whose elimination from the 1970 Concacaf World Cup qualifying series at the
hands of neighbouring El Salvador provoked a short, bloody war which left thousands dead and severely
affected the Honduran economy.

Their qualification for the 1982 World Cup, at the expense of Mexico, helped to erase such pain. But their
promising show there—with draws against hosts Spain and Northern Ireland before falling 1-0 to a
controversial Yugoslavia penalty—has lost its lustre somewhat after a hiatus of 19 years—and
counting—from the greatest soccer show on earth.

It is the hope of every Honduran aficionado and supporter that the year 2001 will prove to be the year of the Central America’s dark horses.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield, be warned.

The last time both teams met in World Cup competition, a fortuitous strike by Hutson Charles helped T&T
to a 1-1 result in Honduras as the 1989 “Strike Squad” eked through on the away goals rule.

Charles and company did very well as Honduras is no easy destination for opposing football teams.

When United States travel to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras on March 28, they will play a team that has not lost at home in World Cup competition since May 9, 1993.

Honduras have kept six consecutive clean sheets at home in 2002 Concacaf qualifying action after Panamanian Jorge Dely Valdes’s consolation item in a 3-1 defeat on May 7, 2000.

A surge in new talent has helped Honduras to take their glittering showings beyond their country’s borderline.

Last year, their Under-23 team defeated Mexico to book their place at the Sydney Olympic Games. Their performance in Australia against the likes of Nigeria and Italy earned positive reviews while talented youngster David Suazo of Italy’s Cagliari ended as the tournament's joint second highest goalscorer—notching just two goals less Chilean legend Ivan Zamorano’s six-goal haul.

They will fancy their chances of leapfrogging over Mexico in the 2002 qualifying race as well.

Undoubtedly, they have the firepower to do so.

Only the Jamaican defence escaped their wrath in the Concacaf semifinal round while St Vincent and El Salvador conceded 13 and 10 goals respectively in home and away fixtures.

A slick-passing offensive-minded outfit, Honduras will build their attacks around the sturdy, enigmatic Pavón who was the joint leading goalscorer of the Concacaf semifinal stage with seven items. He has 10 WC goals overall, four more than T&T’s leading scorer, Angus Eve.

Unsettled Sunderland striker Miltón Nuñez, Suazo and midfielder Francisco Pavón have all shown ability as worthy accomplices as well.

The talent is there to go all the way.

Temperament, though, may prove a more decisive factor in their bid to get back to the end of the World
Cup 2002 line.

Monday February 12th, 2001

Injury concerns over Hislop


A QUESTION mark still hangs over the availability of Trinidad and Tobago and West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop after he failed to take the field in his club’s goalless English Premiership tie against
Coventry yesterday evening.

Hislop had missed West Ham’s previous two Premiership matches owing to a burst cyst behind his knee but was understood to have been making good progress.

It seems certain now that Hislop will not be fielded in T&T’s warm-up match against English Premier League club Charlton Athletic from 7.45 p.m. today.

The game is the first of three warm-up matches for T&T before they face Jamaica in 2002 World Cup qualifying action on February 28.

The fixture appears to be of much less importance to Charlton manager Alan Curbishley though as the hosts are poised to send their reserve team to face T&T. A bulletin on the official Charlton website referred to the game as a clash between “West Indian tourists Trinidad and Tobago” and “a Charlton XI”.

The site went on to highlight the key players to be used by Charlton in the match as Andy Hunt, Jonaton Johansson, John Robinson, Mark Kinsella, Karim Bagheri and Martin Pringle.

None of these players were in Curbishley’s starting team for their 2-0 weekend win over Newcastle while Johansson, Kinsella and Robinson were all introduced in the second half.

Tickets for the game are priced at £3 adults and £1 concessions.

It should be a bargain if T&T captain Russell Latapy produces any of the form he showed on the

Latapy scored and assisted in a 4-2 win for Scottish Premier League contenders Hibernian on Saturday and, at present, is the only regular Premiership player in the T&T squad.

Countryman Lyndon Andrews also earns his wages at the Hibs but has yet to cement a place in the first team.

Manchester United star Dwight Yorke is also out. He is expected to join the team later this week as he travels to Spain for Champions’ League duty against Valencia.

Anthony Rougier, Clayton Ince, Ian Cox, Ronnie Maugé and Marvin Andrews—all campaigning in Britain's lower divisions—as well as Latapy and Andrews (L) took part in T&T's training sessions on Monday along with the locally-based players.

A Joe Public quintet of Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre, Mickey Trotman, Brent Sancho and Stokely Mason as well as University of Connecticut midfielder Brent Rahim, Vibe CT 105 W. Connection player Reynold Carrington and Defence Force duo of goalkeeper Ross Russell and stopper Dennis Lawrence complete coach Ian Porterfield’s team on tour.

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John and Wrexham winger Carlos Edwards were both scheduled to join their compatriots last night at the Runnymede Hotel, Surrey.

Porterfield indicated that the weather in Surrey was less than inspiring.

“It was a bit cold out there (yesterday),” said Porterfield. “But we had a good session. Everyone got through it well.

“This is what we’ve come here for. To get everyone back together and ready again.”

Trinidad and Tobago play Jamaica from 1 p.m. on February 28 at the Kingston National Stadium.

T&T in action vs Charlton

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy will lead his troops into action today against Premier Division side Charlton in the first of three warm-up games on the team's current tour of England.

Latapy, who campaigns with Scottish club Hibernian, joined the squad yesterday to begin final preparations for the opening final round Concacaf Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday.

Yesterday, under extremely cold and rainy conditions, T&T coach Ian Porterfield took the team through its paces at Arsenal's Highbury ground in preparation for today's game.

"It was a bit cold out there today but we had a good session," Porterfield said after the session. "Everyone got through it well. This is what we've come here for. To get everyone back together and ready again."

Latapy's arrival at the T&T camp brought the tally of European-based players to seven. Anthony Rougier, Clayton Ince, Ian Cox, Ronnie Mauge, Lyndon Andrews and Marvin Andrews had previously joined the side.

Stern John, Carlos Edwards and Shaka Hislop were also expected to join the camp at the Runneymead Hotel last night.

The team also had a look at Hislop's West Ham play to a 1-1 draw with Coventry City yesterday evening.
Hislop did not play in the game.

T&T touch down in London

By Guardian Staff Writer.

TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield will have to wait a little longer to welcome striker Dwight Yorke to his live-in training camp in England.

Yorke has been held back from joining the T&T team, now in a training camp in Surrey, by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson due to the club's hectic schedule over the next couple days.

"Dwight wanted to join us right after (United's) the game against Chelsea yesterday (saturday) and it's understandable that Sir Alex wants him to stay back a bit longer because they've got a tight schedule," Porterfield said yesterday.

United, having drew 1-1 with Chelsea on Saturday, face Spanish club Valencia in a Champions' League fixture on Wednesday.

However, several of the other UK-based pros have joined the T&T camp to begin fine tuning for the team's opening final round CONCACAF Zone qualifier against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday.

Ian Cox was first to the camp at the Runnymede Hotel on Saturday. He was followed by Ronnie Mauge, Marvin and Lyndon Andrews and goalkeeper Clayton Ince yesterday.

T&T skipper Russell Latapy, Carlos Edwards and Anthony Rougier are expected to join the camp today.
Porterfield had one session yesterday which lasted almost two hours. He is scheduled to hold two sessions today at Arsenal's Highbury ground.

He explained yesterday that the mood in the camp was high. "Things have gone very well since we've arrived. This is the spirit and the togetherness that we are happy to have again. This is what we've wanted."

Cooper boosts U-20 football squad


PORTUGAL-BASED striker Sean Cooper has joined the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 football team in preparation for the March 18-22 Concacaf qualifying tournament in Port of Spain.

Cooper, who is on loan to Tirsense in the Portuguese Division 3A, effectively a division four club in the domestic competition, returned to Trinidad on February 6 to join the National Youth team.

The former Futgof winger signed for Division Two club Leca last August before moving to Tirsense in December.

Cooper is one of five new players who were recently invited to join the team.

Former National Under-17 midfielder Kenyon “Bine” Trotman, Malick custodian Kevin Grayham, Tobagonian defender Junior Joseph and the Fire Service duo of midfielder Dwayne Ellis and striker Junior Spencer were also given the opportunity to stake their claims.

Conversely, former National Under-17 defenders Devin Jordan and Ronald Primus as well as Josh Stewart, Joel Alleyne and Tyronne Brown were all cut from the squad following the Under-20s Central American tour.

Manager George Joseph explained on Saturday that the latter five players had failed to seize their opportunities in warm-up games against Honduras and Panama. The technical staff, according to Joseph, thought it unlikely that any of them would improve enough to be ready for international competition by the March tournament.

The T&T Under-20 team lost all four games of their Central American tour in January. They were defeated 2-1 and 2-0 by Honduras before going under 2-0 and 3-0 to Panama.

The local squad were initially scheduled to depart for a tour of Miami on Friday but this was cancelled by technical director John Granville owing to his concerns about their inadequate performance in Central America.

Instead the young footballers will remain in training at the University of the West Indies ground in St Augustine.

The team has trained intensely—often six days a week—since December 3, 2000 and will go into camp again on Friday at UWI until Ash Wednesday.

A notable absentee from the team training was head coach Peter Granville, the younger brother of Granville (J).

Granville (P) did not travel with the team on their Central American tour owing to work commitments. He is employed with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the close proximity of the THA elections made it difficult for him to be away for such a long period of time.

Granville (P), who is in his second stint as National Under-20 coach, remains a rare sight at the national team training sessions but he insisted that he was still in charge.

The T&T Under-20s face Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium next month with the group winner proceeding to the 2001 Youth World Cup in Argentina.

Britain-based players join Porterfield


TRINIDAD and Tobago national football team coach Ian Porterfield was joined by his captain Russell Latapy and five more of his Britain-based players yesterday afternoon in camp at the Runny Meade Hotel in Surrey.

The T&T team landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Saturday evening for a two-week camp in preparation for their February 28 Concacaf World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

Defender Ian Cox was the first to join the team as he showed up at the hotel soon after the team’s 9 p.m. arrival.

Cox, who plays for English Division One team Burnley, made his only international appearance on January 18, 2000 before being kept out of the fray by a combination of injuries and club commitments.

Latapy joined Cox and the nine other locally-based players yesterday afternoon along with Hibernian teammate Lyndon Andrews, Wrexham winger Carlos Edwards, Levingston stopper Marvin Andrews and Crewe Alexandra back-up goalkeeper Clayton Ince.

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop, Reading utility player Anthony Rougier, Bristol Rovers midfielder Ronnie Maugé and Nottingham Forest forward Stern John should all join the team before their first exhibition game against Charlton Athletic tomorrow.

The T&T technical staff and the nine domestic players had their arrival in London delayed due to mechanical problems on their BWIA flight.

The flight left Piarco on schedule at 8.30 p.m. on Friday but was forced to return to base by 1 a.m. on Saturday following a brief stop in Antigua after the crew discovered mechanical problems.

Porterfield and company eventually left Trinidad at 7 a.m. on Saturday and this time enjoyed an incident-free flight to London.

The temperature on their arrival was 9ºC while the weather was overcast. It is in these conditions that T&T will do the bulk of their preparations for the upcoming midday showdown at the Kingston National Stadium in Jamaica.

The national team trains twice today at Arsenal’s Highbury ground while they trained once yesterday at the Bank of England ground in Surrey.

Latapy is Man-of-the-Match

RUSSELL Latapy and the Hibernians management are yet to sit down in the board room and hammer out a deal for the Trinidad and Tobago star midfielder. Until then, Latapy is letting his feet do the talking on the field.

Latapy was named Man-of-the-Match after he netted his team’s fourth item in a 4-2 victory over St Mirren at Easter Road yesterday. That 80th minute strike that went off the post came after he had set up the second of David Zitelli’s two goals, squaring a ball for his teammate to smack one in off the uprights in the 61st minute.

The result has propelled Hibernians past Queen’s Park Rangers into second place in the Scotland Premiership.

Only one other Trinidad and Tobago player found the net yesterday. But Carlos Edwards’s goal came in a losing effort for Wrexham.

Their Division Two match against Oldham Athletic ended 5-1 despite Edwards’ 32nd minute goal that evened the contest at that point.

Edward’s compatriot Hector Sam never had a chance to make a mark in this game since the T&T striker was not named in the line-up.

Anthony Rougier’s Reading team, though, scored a 2-1 win against Brentford although the stocky defender only entered the game in the final minute.

The situation was slightly different for Stern John. His Nottingham Forest team won by the same scoreline over Blackburn Rovers but John looked on at the proceedings from the bench.

Manchester United’s Dwight Yorke also watched from the substitute’s bench as Andy Cole, who recently signed a four-year deal with the club, notched the equaliser in a 1-1 result with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their Premiership match.

In Division One action, Ronnie Maugé’s Bristol Rovers were held to a goalless draw by Notts County.

Flight scare for T&T soccer squad

By Guardian Staff Writer.

TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield and his World Cup squad members got a big scare while travelling to England Friday night.

Moments after leaving Grenada's airport-one of the stops en route to England-the plane they were travelling on encountered mechanical problems in mid-air and had to return to Piarco Airport.

The squad of locally-based players - which included Ross Russell, Nigel Pierre, Brent Sancho, Dennis Lawrence, Brent Rahim, Mickey Trotman, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve and Stokely Mason - eventually left Piarco at seven o'clock yesterday morning.

This time, they had a safe uninterupted flight to London's Heathrow Airport. The squad touched down at Heathrow at 7 pm (3 pm T&T time) and was met by a group of English fans in the arrival lounge.

The same thing applied when the team arrived at its temporary base at Runny Mede Hotel in Surrey.
Most of the fans wanted to know if Manchester United star Dwight Yorke was with the team.

But the fans had to settle for news that defender Ian Cox, who plays with First Divison outfit Burnley, was the only player of the 12 UK-based pros named by Porterfield for the opening 2002 World Cup clash against Jamaica to have joined the squad at this stage.

And they will have to wait a little while longer for Yorke as well as he's expected later this week. Skipper Russell Latapy, Lyndon Andrews, Marvin Andrews and Carlos Edwards are scheduled to join the team today. Porterfield will hold one training session with his squad today at the Bank of England Ground in Surrey.

T&T run from Nigeria


A HASTILY arranged match against Nigeria has been shelved because if was felt that the African champions would have been too tough for Trinidad and Tobago.

When contacted by the Independent, TTFF adviser Jack Warner confirmed that the match was off.

“We did not want to disrupt the team (T&T) programme.”

Pressed further, Warner explained that an opponent of Nigeria’s quality was not needed at this stage of Trinidad and Tobago’s preparation for their opening final round World Cup match against Jamaica on February 28.

Warner added also that it was initially hoped that Nigeria would have been in England when Trinidad and Tobago were on a three-match tour starting this week. He said, however, the Nigerians would no longer be in that part of the world. The Caribbean champions are due to meet Premier League teams Charlton and West Hampton United and also lower division Stevenage Borough.

The Nigerians reported that they had named a 15-man squad for a match against Trinidad and Tobago in Nigeria. Among those named in the squad were 13 overseas-based stars and two players from the domestic league.

The overseas players included Peterside Idah (Tembisa Classic/Rsa), Murphy Akanji (Julius Berger), Isaac Okoronkwo (Shaktar Donetsk/Ukr), Emeka Ifejiagwa (Wolfsburg/Ger), Ifeanyi Udeze (PAOK Salonika/Gre), Godwin Okpara (Paris Saint-Germain/Fra), Eric Ejiofor (Enyimba) , Garba Lawal (Roda JC/Ned), Karibe Ojigwe (Bayer Leverkusen/Ger), Bosun Ayeni (Lyngby/Den) , Benedict Akwuegbu AK Graz/Aut), Pius Ikedia (Ajax Amsterdam/Ned), Bina Ajuwa (Benfica/Por), Julius Aghahowa (Shaktar Donetsk/Ukr) and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Maccabi Haifa/Isr).

Warner also dismissed as “nonsense” a report out of England which said that Trinidad and Tobago had arranged a friendly against England.

The reports states: “Trinidad and Tobago are hopeful of taking England on in a friendly match in the Caribbean following discussions with the FA. An official Fifa representative from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation revealed:

“It is an initial invitation in the sense that the English FA are aware of Trinidad’s interest. They have in return expressed an interest of taking things forward in negotiation. They have actually said in good faith they would like to organ

The report also states that the English Football Association had emphasised that a friendly between the two countries this year was very unlikely.

An English FA official was quoted as saying :”We have a good relationship with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and we will endeavour to help them out as much as possible. “However, with regard to us considering a fixture with Trinidad and Tobago at some point this year, we would have to say this is premature to say the least.

The FA’s Head of International Regulations, Jane Bateman, is set to meet Trinidad and Tobago officials when T&T embark on a three-match tour of England this month.

Porterfield blanks Nixon


LEFT-FOOTED Trinidad and Tobago striker and former Caribbean Player of the Year Jerren Nixon is not in coach Ian Porterfield’s plans for T&T’s Concacaf 2002 World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica on February 28.

Club commitments, according to one source, have done for Nixon’s chances of lining up with the local squad as he was unable to join the team in camp as part of T&T’s preparations for the “Reggae Boyz”.

Nixon currently plays his football in Switzerland for St Gallen, who briefly rose to prominence last year for when they eliminated English Premier League giants Chelsea from the UEFA Cup competition.

It is understood that Nixon was prepared to travel to England to represent T&T in their three warm-up friendlies against Charlton Athletic, West Ham and Stevenage Borough but was unwilling to stay with them for the duration of the tour.

Porterfield deemed this to be an unsatisfactory arrangement as he is keen to have his players at close quarters for the next three weeks.

Nixon, who has made only three appearances under Porterfield, gives way to midfielder Evans Wise of German second division team SC Rotweiss Oberhausen.

Other notable foreign-based omissions include Craig Demmin, who was drafted by MLS club Tampa Bay Mutiny on Monday, Wrexham striker Hector Sam as well as left-backs Avery John of Shelbourne, Ireland and Brentford’s Kevin Austin whom is at present carrying an injury.

Porterfield would be pleased to welcome highly rated Burnley defender Ian Cox into the fold, though.

Cox had continually resisted the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s (T&TFF) efforts to draft him into their World Cup preparations but now seems certain to make his competitive debut at the Kingston National Stadium later this month. His lone cap came in a friendly match against Morocco last year under a previous coaching administration.

Combative Bristol Rovers midfielder Ronnie Maugé should also earn his first cap under Porterfield after a lengthy injury-induced lay-off.

Maugé broke his leg at the 2000 US Gold Cup in a group match against Mexico and only returned to the playing field in late December.

Shaka Hislop (West Ham), Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra), Marvin Andrews (Livingston), Anthony Rougier (Reading), Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United), Stern John (Nottingham Forest), Russell Latapy and Lyndon Andrews (both Hibernian) complete the foreign contingent.

They will link up with the nine locally-based players and technical staff who left for London yesterday night.

The local squad comprises Ross Russell, Dennis Lawrence, Brent Sancho, Reynold Carrington, Stokely Mason, Brent Rahim, Angus Eve, Mickey Trotman and Nigel Pierre.

Injured Hislop gets green light

WEST Ham and Trinidad and Tobago custodian Shaka Hislop has been given the all-clear to reclaim his position between the uprights after missing the Hammers 3-0 weekend loss to Liverpool.

Hislop had struggled to make it to regulation time in his last two West Ham outings against Manchester United and Tottenham Spurs after bursting a cyst behind his knee. In both games, Hislop was unable to even take goalkicks despite pulling off some decisive saves.

However, club physiotherapist John Green told the club’s official website that the six-foot-five goalkeeper could return for Monday’s Premier League clash against Coventry.

“He has been resting this week,” said Green. “So he can train on Saturday and Sunday in readiness for Coventry.”

It is good news for Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield who yesterday named Hislop among 12 foreign-based players who will join the national team to prepare for their February 28 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.

Hislop has played just one match under Porterfield but fine form and a wealth of top-class experience make him a strong candidate for the starting goalkeeper’s jersey on February 28.

While Porterfield will be grateful for the work of the West Ham medical staff, Hammers coach Harry Redknapp may be looking to get something back for himself.

West Ham is one of several England-based clubs who have shown interested in the career of young T&T striker Nigel Pierre who was named among 21 players for the upcoming World Cup qualifier.

The Hammers are one of three British domestic teams who have already offered T&T a warm-up game during their stay there.

English second division team Bristol Rovers, who hold the player’s registration, are keeping a sharp eye on the proceedings, though.

Rovers made three attempts to sign Pierre over the past two years but were turned down on each occasion by the Department of Employment.

Ron Craig, Rovers’ director, insists that Pierre will not be joining any other British club until they are financially compensated for the expenses incurred in trying to sign the Joe Public player.

Mauge back in T&T fray


TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based midfielder Ronnie Mauge is back. Mauge is one of two new European-based professionals selected by T&T coach Ian Porterfield for the team's opening final round CONCACAF Zone qualifier against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday in Kingston.

The other player is Ian Cox, also based in England, who has only played for T&T once previously. And that was in a friendly against Morocco early last year. Mauge, a midfielder at Second Division outfit Bristol Rovers, last played for T&T at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Los Angeles, USA, last February.

Unfortunately, he broke his leg in the very first game of the series against Mexico and missed the rest of the year while on the mend. Cox, who plays with First Division club Burnley, had expressed an interest in joining the T&T squad for the previous two rounds of World Cup qualifying. But these efforts were thwarted by his club's

management. However, Porterfield had a look at the pair during a scouting mission in England last December and felt they were both quality players.

Porterfield announced the 12 European-based pros to join the squad as he left with nine locally-based players - selected the day before - and his technical staff for a three-match tour of England last night.

The other Euro-based players selected by Porterfield are skipper Russell Latapy, Shaka Hislop, Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Anthony Rougier, Lyndon Andrews, Carlos Edwards, Evans Wise, Stern John and Dwight Yorke.
Hislop currently has a knee injury hence Porterfield's decision to pick Ross Russell as well.

T&T will play matches against West Ham, Stevenage and Charlton Athletic while in England.
The squad will then fly to the Cayman Islands for another live-in camp before heading directly to Kingston on February 26 for the clash against the Reggae Boyz.

T&T squad: Shaka Hislop, Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Ian Cox, Brent Sancho, Ronnie Mauge, Anthony Rougier, Brent Rahim, Angus Eve, Lyndon Andrews, Evans Wise, Carlos Edwards, Reynold Carrington, Stokely Mason, Russell Latapy (captain), Nigel Pierre, Stern John, Dwight Yorke and Mickey Trotman.

Thursday February 8th, 2001

Latapy: We must be optimistic

National captain Russell Latapy feels this country will be no push over in next year's 2002 World Cup qualifying round.

Trinidad and Tobago will battle with Jamaica, Honduras, United States, Mexico and either Costa Rica or Guatemala and according to the "Little Magician," the local outfit has done well against such teams and must enter the round-robin tournament with optimism.

Speaking to the Hibs.net last month, Latapy said "The World Cup is the biggest stage any player can perform at. It is every player's dream to perform in the finals. It is an even bigger dream to win the World Cup, but I don't think we are that good. To qualify would be great for Trinidad as an island and for the Caribbean as a region. Qualification would open so many doors for youngsters in the Caribbean.

"We are in with a good chance. There are six teams in our group and three of them are going to qualify. We have played against some of them before and done quite well so we have to fancy our chances and enter this qualification group with some optimism."

Ranked 33rd among all players by FIFA last month, Latapy is set to hold contract talks with Hibernian and appears sufficiently happy to remain at the Scottish Premier League club.

He spent last week in Portugal and was then scheduled to meet his Hibernian teammates in Spain for winter-break training. About Hibs' run in the Premier League, "Latas" added "We have enjoyed a tremendous start to the season. We are midway through the season and still picking up the points and playing so well at home.

This is a great bunch of lads at Hibernian just now too, and this makes it an enjoyable place to play." Hibs are currently second behind Celtic on the Premier League standings.

Yorke says FA will go to United

Dwight Yorke is confident Manchester United will capture this season's FA Cup title. The 29-year-old striker said on Friday, he felt United would have won the title for a second straight year last season if they hadn't opted out of the tournament in order to play in the World Club championships in Brazil.

He feels United, currently sitting at the top of the Premiership table, will dethrone last season's FA winners Chelsea.
"From my point of view we are defending it. Chelsea will obviously feel they are the holders and it's up to us to try and get it off them," Yorke told Sky Sports. "We never had the opportunity to defend our cup but, hopefully, this year as we've got the chance we'll regain it again."

Yorke came off after 75 minutes in United 2-1 win over Fulham in Sunday's FA third round encounter. His replacement, Teddy Sheringham, scored the winning item. Meanwhile, Yorke is aware he will have a fight on his feet to maintain a place in the United starting line-up. But, following his recent three-match suspension, the Tobago-born striker is focussed on hitting top form as his club closes in on the Premiership title.

Yorke said his recent suspension was disappointing, especially as members of his Tobago family were over spending the holidays with him. "I am having the family over for that and so it is very disappointing that I'll now be in the stand. It is nice in some ways when people are over to have Christmas off, but I really would prefer to be playing.

I just want to be out there again. I want to be part of it," Yorke said prior to missing a Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa. "This team is all about taking your chance when you get it. It doesn't matter which position you are in, if you don't produce the goods then you'll be on the bench or out completely.

Ole Gunnar knows all about that probably more than most. However, it is what the club is all about and you have to be strong and bounce back from it. I have been keeping myself very busy by training extremely hard. The gaffer knew I had to keep myself fit and he has made sure that I have been put through my paces," Yorke told the Manchester Evening News on the weekend.

Meanwhile, Manchester City dismissed rumours they had made a bid for Yorke who has been involved in several rumours linking him to other clubs over the past couple of months.

Andrews stays with Hibs

Hibernian manager Alex McLeish revealed earlier this month that his club has signed local midfielder, Lyndon Andrews, until the end of next season. He said that if his club wanted to sign Andrews' on a two-year contract, they would have had to apply for another work permit. So, instead, they just extended his current deal.

"If Lyndon's contract had come to an end and we wanted him to sign a longer deal we would have faced having to apply for a work permit again. But our managing director, Rod Petrie, felt it was within the club's budget to take Lyndon longer and that's what we have done," said McLeish.

In related news, local duo Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam, both got starts for Wrexham in a training match with Manchester United last Thursday. But Sam didn't enjoy the best of times as he sustained a knee injury and was unable to play the entire match.

The former CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh player received a knock to the left knee from United's Michael Stewart just before half time and did not reappear after the break.

Word is that he is expected to take at least a week before fully recovering from the blow. Sam did manage to block a shot on the Wrexham goalline during the exciting 4-4 draw. Edwards was substituted by manager Bryan Flynn in the
second half.

Stern and company on TV feature

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John and British-based teammates Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and Russell Latapy were all interviewed during a feature on Trinidad and Tobago's journey to the 2002 World Cup on Western Union World Football. The programme premiered on ESPN last Saturday night.

John, recently back among Nottingham starting team, spoke briefly, saying it was the exploits of Yorke and Hislop which opened the doors for him and fellow T&T players in the United Kingdom. It was Yorke who warned viewers that T&T will be a force to reckon with in the near future.

"Look out, look out, Trinidad and Tobago is on the way up. We are ready to compete with teams in Europe and the only way to do that would be to qualify for a World Cup Finals," said Yorke.

Mauge aims to put Rovers back on top

English-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge is determined to help Bristol Rovers back among the leading teams in the English Second Division but says it will probably take him about five matches before he is back to his best fitness.
The 31-year-old player suffered a slight hamstring strain on Boxing Day against Bristol City in what was his first appearance in 10 months after breaking his leg last February against Mexico.

"I'd like to think I could be part of a resurgence, but everybody has to realise we have a massive battle on our hands. I don't want to hear anybody talking about promotion or the play-offs because he have to start moving away from the relegation zone as our first priority, and that's the only thing that matters at the moment.

"Nobody should be under any illusion that we are going to have to fight, battle and scrap for every point from now until the end of the season, and we have some long and hard months ahead. We are going to need every resource available to us and a lot of people with fire in their bellies," Mauge said last week.

The frustration of having to look on from the sidelines is over and Mauge is keen on representing both club and country again. "Its been almost 11 months now and it's been the most frustrating spell of my career. It will take me a while to adjust to the pace of the game and I still need matches under my belt," he added.

Hislop continues contract talks

Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has made up his mind. He will stay at West Ham United and expressed unhappiness last week about reports that he was experiencing problems with his contract negotiations .

"From my point of view, I have read what has been said and I have been a little bit saddened by it all. The truth of the matter is that contract negotiations have only just begun and there has never been a case where you can walk in one afternoon and walk out an hour later with a contract signed and sealed.

"These thing drag on, and in my case I didn't expect it to be any different. Just because we failed at the first attempt doesn't mean things are dead in the water. I am happy here and I want to stay here; everyone knows that," said Hislop, who has attracted interest from Chelsea. He has made it clear that his demands are within West Ham's reach and is positive there will be good end to discussions.

"I am not making ridiculous demands and I am sure everything will be sorted out in the end. There is no reason for alarm bells and I am sure things will get sorted out sooner or later. Things have to be right, not only for me, but for the club. This is the stuff of basic normal negotiations, whether you are David Beckham or a YTS kid."

Jeffrey signs with Kickers

Kevin Jeffrey has been signed by American A-League club Richmond Kickers. The former national youth player, who played the latter part of the Professional League season with CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh on loan, has been sold by American D-3 Pro League side Bay Area Seals for an undisclosed amount. Jeffrey will return to Virginia where he attended Virginia Commonwealth University.

Seals president Greg Lejnieks, said recently he expects to see Jeffrey in the MLS soon. National striker Gary Glasgow was a member of the Kickers before moving to the MLS' Kansas City Wizards.

Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.

Morrison blanks T&T

Assistant Sports Editor

TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield can officially take England-based striker Clinton Morrison off his 2002 World Cup wish list.

This because the Crystal Palace marksman has apparently narrowed the list of countries he's interested in playing for to two: England and Jamaica. Morrison, according to reports out of Jamaica yesterday, made his intention clear to a high-powered Jamaican Football Federation delegation at the weekend.

The delegation, which included JFF president Horace Burrell, secretary Horace Reid and technical director Clovis D'Oliveira, had gone to England to convince the 21-year-old Morrison to become a Reggae Boyz.And Burrell seems sure Morrison, who can also play for either England or the Republic of Ireland, will indeed join the camp.

"We met with Morrison and his agent for in excess of one and a half hours and had a detailed discussion," Burrell said on his arrival back in Kingston."He did express an interest in playing for Jamaica, despite being approached by the Republic of Ireland and England. However, he (Morrison) has made it quite clear that he would enjoy playing for either England or Jamaica."

Burrell noted that Morrison, who has a Jamaican father and Trinidadian mother, indicated he would have discussions with them before making a final decision. He has therefore asked the JFF for a few days to respond.
However, Morrison's boss at Palace, Alan Smith, has a different call on the issue.

"I think his two choices are going to be between Ireland and England," Smith said. "To be truthful - and no disrespect to Jamaica - he's got to look at a bigger scene than that. My advice would be for him to hold on a bit." But Morrison is not the only player the JFF approached in England.

D'Oliveira also spoke to Fulham's Barry Hayles and Queen's Park Rangers' Richard Langley, both new players eligible to play for either Jamaica or England. Hayles is a 27-year-old striker while Langley is a 21-year-old midfielder. However, Langley is out for a lengthy period due to injury.

Of course, the JFF is hoping that both Morrison and Hayles will make themselves available for the opening final round clash against T&T on February 28.

T&T lose chance to face Angola

Sports Desk

THE Trinidad and Tobago national senior team have missed the opportunity to play an international friendly on their tour of Brazil.

The Angolan national football team is also on tour in Brazil at present and arrangements had been made for both teams to meet in a friendly match on Sunday morning.

However, the proposed warm-up match had to be postponed after, according to Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) press officer Shaun Fuentes, the Angolan team encountered difficulties in getting their equipment.

T&TFF officials subsequently confirmed to the Daily Express that that was in fact the reason for the cancellation of the game.

The Angolan national team is ranked 55th in the world—26 places behind T&T—and is in the midst of its World Cup qualifying campaign in the African region. At present, Angola lie in second place in a group which includes 2000 Olympic Games football champions Cameroon, Libya, Togo and Zambia.

At the moment, Trinidad and Tobago have been getting all that they can handle from club teams in the land of the four-time World Cup conquerors.

Yesterday, in the wake of two consecutive defeats to Brazilian club sides, national senior team coach Ian Porterfield criticised his team for making "silly" mistakes.

T&T conceded two goals from set plays—a penalty and a freekick—in their 2-1 loss to Botafogo on Monday and also gave away a penalty in their 4-3 loss to Fluminese last Friday.

Porterfield believes that the problem is rampant throughout local football and insists he is doing his best to address it.

"One of the things I noticed when I first saw football in Trinidad and Tobago," said Porterfield, "was that everyone was just clashing into each other and giving fouls away. That's something we'll learn because we can't afford to give silly freekicks away around the box.

He then went on to discuss what he called "stupid penalties". "We gave two penalties away here and in Grenada. It's cost us games here against big teams although we've matched them in every department, so hopefully we'll learn from this."

The Scotland-born coach said that his primary emphasis since taking up the post of senior team coach has been to tighten up defensively and to stop giving goals away.

Porterfield also expressed the hope that his players will avoid unnecessary bookings. In the last round of World Cup qualifying, team captain Russell Latapy, Marvin Andrews and Ansil Elcock have all had to miss games through suspension.

However, Porterfield said that the team "did very well" against Botafogo and there was an improvement in the back four as well as one or two encouraging individual performances.

He also explained that they were on a hard programme of training sessions twice daily and three games in six days.

Fatigue, the Scotsman commented, showed in Monday's 2-1 loss to Botafogo.

T&T played their final warm-up match yesterday evening against America FC and are expected back in Trinidad tomorrow morning.

The full list of players selected for an upcoming tour to England is expected to be released by the T&TFF before next week.

Victory for seniors in Brazil

VICTORY at last! Angus Eve and Mickey Trotman scored two second-half goals to give Trinidad and Tobago a 2-0 win over First Division club America FC at the club's stadium in Belfo Road yesterday.

Trotman put T&T ahead in the 56th minute with a low right-footer into the corner of the net.

Eve doubled the margin 20 minutes later when his powerful right-footer ricocheted off the inside of the upright into the America net.

T&T had a chance to make it three just before the final whistle when substitute Trent Noel squeezed his way past two defenders and sent a bullet into the underside of the crossbar. The rebound fell to Ralston James, who had replaced Nigel Pierre, but the substitute could not control his shot and only managed to get the ball over the bar.

Demmin, Rahim in MLS Draft


TOWERING Trinidad and Tobago international and Rochester Rhinos defender Craig Demmin is now the property of US Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Tampa Bay Mutiny.

DEMMIN was the sixth pick in the first round of Monday’s MLS Super Draft held in Florida, USA.

Demmin, who represented T&T in last month’s mini-tour to Grenada, has played in the US collegiate and lower leagues for over a decade and was delighted at the promotion to the offensively-minded squad.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to play in MLS,” said Demmin. “I’ve been comfortable in Rochester for three years now and I’ve had fun playing there but it’s time for a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it.

“They (Mutiny offensive players) could attack and score goals all they want, I’ll take care of defending.”

He was not the only Trinidad and Tobago player in demand, though.

Talented Joe Public playmaker Kerwyn “Hardest” Jemmott, who had a move to English Second Division scuttled last year by the failure to get a work permit, was drafted 26th in round three by New York/New Jersey Metrostars.

Jemmott joins a roster that already includes World and European Player of the Year Lothar Matthaeus, Colombian ’94 World Cup striker Adolfo Valencia and former US international standouts Tab Ramos and Thomas Dooley.

Former national youth defender Kevin Adams and University of Connecticut midfielder Brent Rahim were also drafted at 30th and 45th in the third and fourth round respectively. Adams will join countryman Ansil Elcock at Columbus Crew while Rahim—at present, on duty with the national senior team in Brazil—goes to 2001 Concacaf Club Champions Los Angeles Galaxy.

Latapy yet to agree terms

STYLISH 36-year-old French sweeper Franck Sauzee, Irish goalkeeper Nick Colgan, coach Alex McLeish and Andy Watson have all agreed new deals with Scottish Premier League contenders Hibernian.

Sauzee, who agreed personal terms on Monday, is the latest in a queue of Hibernian personnel to sign contract extensions.

Still on the negotiating list, though, is Trinidad and Tobago international captain Russell Latapy as well as Australian Stuart Lovell, Finnish striker Mixu Paatelainen and German Dirk Lehman.

Latapy, who last represented Boavista in the Portuguese First Division before joining Hibs as a free agent, was instrumental in Hibernian’s promotion to the Premier League as well as their charge towards title honours this season.

However, ‘Latas’ has made it clear that he will not sign unless the terms are right as he believes that at 32, he is getting just a little long in the tooth and so this may well be his last big contract.

Rougier’s Reading problem

IT is not often that a player gets an earful from his manager for a fine performance but this is exactly what happened to Reading forward Anthony Rougier last weekend.

Rougier was a menace to his former team Port Vale on Saturday in English Third Division action as Reading came out 1-0 winners.

But Reading manager Alen Pardew has admitted to being quite disappointed with the lack of consistency of the Trinidad and Tobago international’s performances.

“He is frustrating for the supporters and for me,” said Pardew. “But he is capable of coming up with something that little bit different and can be very exciting. He is a catalyst for the team and he was a threat against Port Vale but if we could get a bit more consistency out of him then I would be happy.”

Rougier was an instant hit at Reading’s Madejski Stadium following his £325,000 move from Vale last August. However, inconsistency and injury have since eroded his importance to the club’s cause. Pardew’s complaints mirrored similar observations made by Rougier’s employers at Scotland’s Hibernian, Raith Rovers and England’s Port Vale.

‘Dog’ tipped success

After another good showing for Scottish First Division leaders Livingston, Trinidad and Tobago defender Marvin “Dog” Andrews has been tipped by manager Jim Leishman to soon become a Scottish Premier League star.

It could not come soon enough for Andrews.

“It is something I dream about every day and I am confident we can get there,” said Andrews. “We need to believe we can do it now and it will be a great challenge for me and the rest of the team to show what we can do at the highest level.”

At present, Livingston are 13 points clear of their nearest rivals in the Scottish First Division and are all but guaranteed a place in next season’s Premier League.

Still Andrews has not forgotten those who have helped him along the way, including his former club Raith Rovers who sold him last summer in an effort to stay afloat financially.

Andrews is expected to join the national team in the United Kingdom as they prepare for their opening World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on February 28.

Botafogo pip T&T

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s senior footballers gave a creditable performance in their second warm-up encounter on their tour of Brazil, but could only muster a 1-2 defeat to Botafogo at the First Division club’s home ground in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

Despite suffering their second loss of the tour, the men in red, white and black gave a courageous display, leaving coach Ian Porterfield and his technical staff with a few things to be happy about.

On the other hand, Jamaican coach Clovis de Oliviera, looking on from the stands, was given a few warning signs.

Porterfield left Angus Eve, Stokely Mason, Shurland David, in-form striker Nigel Pierre as well as Dale Saunders out of the starting line-up.

From the opening whistle, T&T had the opposition defence on the go. Mickey Trotman, playing in midfield, and striker Jason Scotland combined inside the penalty box before Trotman’s effort was deflected wide after four minutes.

With nine minutes gone, T&T took the lead when Adrian Narine advanced into the area and laid the ball back for Reynold Carrington. His low shot was blocked by goalkeeper Ilan but Rolston James pounced on the loose ball and slotted home.

T&T maintained control up until the 22nd minute when Leandro Eugenio curled a freekick into the upper right-hand corner of the goal. Botafogo could have pushed ahead in the 40th, but Dennis Lawrence came to the rescue, clearing off the line. But ten minutes into the second half, the lanky defender turned villain, unfairly pushing a Botafogo striker inside the area. Valdson converted the penalty to give the home team a 2-1 lead.

T&T pressed for the equaliser, but the Botafogo defence held firm, ensuring victory.

T&T’s final warm-up match of the Brazil tour, against America FC, will be played this evening.

Following yesterday’s game, de Oliviera said he is expecting the February 28 World Cup qualifying clash between T&T and Jamaica to be one of the toughest battles of the final round.

“Our preparation has been very good. I’ve just come back from England and now that I’ve seen T&T play, I have no doubt that this first game will very hard. The most important thing is that we’re on peace. There must be no violence, no disrespect. It’s a battle to see who’s the best on the field.”

The Jamaica line-up on February 28 is likely to include England-born players Barry Hayles and Clinton Morrison.

Monday February 5th, 20001

T&T tackles Botafogo today

TRINIDAD and Tobago will play its second warm-up match of its tour of Brazil against First Division team Botafogo today (approx. 7 am T&T time).

A previously scheduled game against the Angola national team had been forced to be postponed because of the late arrival of the team's equipment. The game was originally scheduled for yesterday but then pushed back to tomorrow morning.

However, coach Ian Porterfield decided against playing that match because it would mean T&T playing Botafogo today, Angola tomorrow morning and America FC tomorrow evening, according to T&T Football Federation communications officer Shaun Fuentes.

The team trained Saturday morning and then went to the Maracana Stadium in the evening to view a cup game between Vasco de Gama and America FC. Vasco came away 1-0 winners. There have been reports that Jamaica coach Clovis de Oliviera will be in Brazil to view T&T's match against Botafogo today.

However, Porterfield is not worried about de Oliviera's spying mission. "I would expect that. We are playing for World Cup stakes, so obviously they are going to watch us and we are going to watch them. We respect that and understand that. He's Brazilian and I gather he's coached in Trinidad so he'll know something about some of our players like Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Angus Eve and others.

"We know we got to do our preparation correctly. We know it's going to be a hostile atmosphere in Jamaica similar to when we played in Haiti, even moreso, but we've just got to address the situation."

Commenting on the current trip to Brazil, Porterfield said: "This trip is really to give the group of players who are going to the United Kingdom and be in the team to play Jamaica, a good fitness level. Hoepully we'll learn a few things and it will educate the younger players. At the end of the day I think it is important to give the younger players and opportunity because only then we will know their capabilities.

"The likes of Jason Scotland, Trent Noel, Claude Adams, Cyd Gray, Adrian Narine and others are all being given a chance. I am happy with Brent Rahim's attitude. He's done good. He's got to relax a bit more and play to his good points.

"I took the boys to see a First Division game on Saturday to let them see how the people play in this part of the world because teams like Mexico and Costa Rica are going to play a similar type of football."

About Friday's game against Fluminense which T&T lost 4-3, the Scotland-based coach said: "We lost a couple of unfortunate goals early in the game, but we fought back well. It was a good training game for us, but I was disappointed with the way we defended at times.

"Obviously we had some new players in the team. We gave Belfon and Adams a game and also played Sancho at centre back during part of the game." Porterfield said Dennis Lawrence, who also played at centre back, and NiIgel Pierre were outstanding.

Cascadia Hotel to sponsor U-20s

By Gregory Trujillo

TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Federation will be saving some extra cash this year on hotel accommodation when it encounters its busiest schedule ever with the staging of three major international competitions.

Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre has agreed to sponsor the National Under-20 team with accommodation at its facilities at Ariapita Road, St Ann's. The hotel will not only be making its wide range of facilities available to the Under-20 footballers but to all visiting teams.

The agreement was signed last Friday by Peter Gillette of the Gillette Group of Companies, owners of the hotel, and Oliver Camps, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.

Because of the sponsorship, it was stated by FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF "boss" Austin Jack Warner, that the TTFF will be absolving at least 40 per cent in hotel expenses.

"The possibility of a loss will be greatly reduced as a consequence of the hotel's sponsorship," said Warner.
The Under-20 footballers are expected to benefit from the deal from March 18-22 for the duration of the World Youth Cup qualification series against Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United States at the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

The visiting teams will also be housed at the hotel at a reduced price. One of the advantages of the sponsorship, said Warner, is that the hotel is situated five minutes away from the city.

He said that there were discussions with other hotels who said that "they could not match " the offer by Cascadia.
The hotel will also be made available to all teams taking part in the Under-17 World Cup (12 in Trinidad and four in Tobago), as well as the Copa Caribe in May involving eight teams.

T&T face Botafogo test

THE Trinidad and Tobago national football team face the second test of their Brazilian tour from 11.30 a.m. today when they play first division team Botafogo in Rio De Janeiro.

On Friday night, T&T—minus most of their foreign based players—began their training tour with a 4-3 loss to Fluminese.

The visitors conceded two early goals to the Brazilian outfit but levelled the score by the interval with strikes from Nigel Pierre and Mickey Trotman. Another Pierre item—20 minutes into the second half—gave T&T a 3-2 lead before Fluminese responded with two unanswered goals.

Pierre, who represents Joe Public in the Professional Football League, has now scored five goals in three matches this year for the national team. His converted penalty kick in last November’s qualifier against Panama means that he has scored in each of T&T’s last four games.

His Public teammate Michael McComie got his chance between the uprights against Fluminese while speedy wingback Cyd Gray won his first cap when he replaced Shurland David in the second half.

There have been reports that Jamaica’s Brazilian coach Clovis De Oliviera will be in Brazil to view today’s match. However, T&T coach Ian Porterfield is not concerned about his spying mission.

“We are playing for World Cup stakes,” said Porterfield. “So obviously they are going to watch us and we are going to watch them. He’s Brazilian and I gather he’s coached in Trinidad so he’ll know something about some of our players like the Dwight Yorkes, Russell Latapy, Angus Eve and others.

“We know we’ve got to do our preparation correctly.”

Porterfield explained that the Brazilian tour was a good opportunity to raise the fitness level of the players who will be selected for the trip to the United Kingdom.

Porterfield also carried the squad to view a Brazilian Cup game—which Vasco Da Gama won 1-0 over America at the Maracana Stadium—in the hope that it would help to educate his players on a style of play also used by the Central American teams. He singled out University of Connecticut midfielder Brent Rahim for his positive attitude so far although he added that Rahim still needed to “relax a bit more” and play to his strengths.

Lanky defender Dennis Lawrence and Pierre also received special mention for their performances although he admitted the team defended poorly at times.

Rahim, Lewis tipped for MLS picks

The University of Connecticut duo of striker Darin Lewis and midfielder Brent Rahim were both tipped as possible first round US Major League Soccer (MLS) draft picks by the Internet Soccer.com

Lewis, who tallied 11 goals and ten assists for the College Cup champs, and Rahim, now on duty with the Trinidad and Tobago national team, were named among a shortlist of 12 players expected to be snapped up by MLS scouts.

Powerful national defender Craig Demmin, who campaigns with A’ League team Rochester Rhinos, was among the invited players for the MLS draft exhibition match but was not earmarked for promotion.

Internet Soccer believes that Rahim will join countryman Ansil Elcock at Columbus Crew while Lewis is tipped to sign with Concacaf 2001 champs Los Angeles Galaxy.

Latapy wants lucrative deal


TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy will stay with Scottish Premier Division side Hibernian, if the price is right.

The 32-year-old midfielder, along with five other teammates, are currently engaged in new contract negotiations with the Edinburgh club. Moments after learning that club boss Alex McLeish had signed a long term deal to coach the club, the "Little Magician" made it clear that he would follow suit if a lucrative contract was in the offing.

"The manager has been doing a fantastic job at the club and it is only right there should be some continuity," Latapy told reporters yesterday. "Everything starts at the top and, now that Alex has signed a new deal, hopefully it will fizzle its way down to the players. This is definitely a good thing."

He added: "The manager (McLiesh) has signed because he was satisfied with what was put in front of him and, hopefully, it can be the same for the players. "The club is not going to sign players that they are not interested in and, likewise, the players are not going to sign contracts that they don't like and aren't happy with."

Latapy, who joined the club in 1998 on a free transfer from Portuguese club Boavista, has quickly become a crowd favourite at Easter Road. And, while admitting that his stay at the club he helped earn promotion from the First Division in his first season was a good one so far, Latapy revealed everything would have to be right for him to stay on for what is likely to be the rest of his career.

"I am very happy here and my family is quite happy, so I would definitely love to stay. But in football, as in life, there are no guarantees. "It is still too early for me to say that I am going to stay or I am not going to stay. All that I can say at this point in time is that we have sat down and we are having negotiations."

Any deal Hibs chief executive Rod Petrie offers Latapy at this stage is likely to tie him up to the club until his retirement. And, well past his prime, the "Little Magician" may have about two more good seasons before his price tag - rated at £2m (TT$20 million) at one point last year by McLeish - goes down.

But at the end of the day Latapy promised that whatever the outcome, it was going to be in the best interest of both parties.

"We will agree on what is best for the club and what is best for myself - but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to stay at Hibs."

Marcelle’s club can’t pay

THE professional future of former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder Clint Marcelle was thrown in doubt yesterday after his employers Hull City declared that they had “no cash”.

Hull City, who campaign in the English Third Division, have been experiencing financial problems this season and have literally pleaded with bigger clubs to purchase their players.

The sorry state of affairs came to a head yesterday morning when the players were told by directors Andy Daykin and Dave Cappin that there was no money to pay them.

City chairman Nick Buchanan also faces a race to head off a winding up order issued by the State for unpaid taxes.

Marcelle and his teammates—who include Jamaicans Ian Goodison and Theodore Whitmore—are likely to continuing playing unpaid until the club finds its way out of its financial hole although it is in contravention of the players’ contracts.

The City management would have been further dismayed by news of Whitmore’s recent injury as they were hopeful of selling off the player to help them stay afloat.

Whitmore was injured in a vehicular accident in Jamaica on Sunday night in which Jamaican international teammate and one-time City trialist Steve Malcolm was killed.

Goodison is still expected to rejoin City in time for today’s match at Cheltenham.

Marcelle last represented T&T in a 2-1 friendly international loss against Costa Rica on January 26, 2000. He was still a student at Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive when he won his first cap.

His professional career included stints in Portugal and England with the highlight being one season in the English Premier League with Barnsley.

Marcelle’s spectacular strike which earned Barnsley a Premiership berth in 1997 is still considered the most important goal of that club’s history.

Cascadia help U-20 footballers

THE Cascadia Hotel is now the official hotel for the Concacaf U-20 World Cup football qualifying series which will be staged in Trinidad from March 18-22, 2001.

At a media conference held at Cascadia yesterday afternoon, Peter Gillette, chairman of the Gillette Group of Companies, announced they would help to sponsor the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 football team coached by Peter Granville.

Neither Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps nor Gillette was willing to reveal the sum of money that will be given to the young nationals.

In exchange for this undisclosed sum, though, the T&TFF has agreed to house the host team as well as the visiting Under-20 squads at the Cascadia Hotel.

The hotel will further offer reduced rates to all teams and several complimentary rooms for the hosts.

The other three teams participating in the U-20 Concacaf series are Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United States.

The group winner will progress to the U-20 World Cup tournament which will be staged in Argentina.

Apart from Gillette and Camps, Fifa vice-president and T&TFF special adviser Jack Warner, T&TFF general secretary Richard Groden and T&TFF vice-president Raymond Tim Kee were all present to witness the symbolic signing of the contract.

J'ca coach to spy on T&T

By Guardian Staff Writer.

Assistant Sports Editor

TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield may have to keep an eye out for his opposite number, Jamaica's Brazilian coach Clovis D'Oliveira, even before the two teams clash in their opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier in Kingston.

Porterfield and his squad are currently in Brazil continuing preparations for the all-important clash on February 28.
The squad will play three games against Flamengo, Botafogo and America while there before heading to England for another three matches against Charlton, West Ham and Stevenage.

However, word out of Jamaica yesterday was that D'Oliveira is planning to get a lead on the opposition by heading to Brazil to spy on T&T.

"I will watch them for a day or two, especially against Botafogo," D'Oliveira told the Jamaican press. D'Oliveira, however, was more concerned about losing the services of key striker Onandi Lowe so close on the heels of the death of veteran player Stephen Malcolm, who died in an accident on Sunday hours after representing the Reggae Boyz in a friendly against Bulgaria.

Lowe was handed a two-match ban by FIFA's Disciplinary Committee Tuesday, stemming from his sending off during a World Cup semifinal match against Honduras last October. Lowe was red carded in the game after he retaliated by head-butting Honduras' Reanaldo Clavasquin, who had kicked him.

Clavasquin was also red-card for the incident and was given a similar two-match ban. The Brazil-born D'Oliveira was naturally upset at losing one of his most potent attackers.

"Why now? It (incident) happened in October. Why now? "They waited until we showed our hand against Bolivia and Bulgaria. They realised that everything was going smoothly," D'Oliveira complained.

However, he added: "Although we have lost the most powerful striker in CONCACAF, we have many powerful strikers to replace him. We will be okay." Lowe has already sat out one game and will be eligible for Jamaica's second round qualifier against Mexico in March.

Lowe has been a torn in the side of the T&T defence since he was converted from a defender to a striker by former Reggae Boyz coach Brazilian Rene Simoes.

The last time he faced the T&T defence, during a friendly last July at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, he scored a hattrick in a 3-1 win. The T&T defence will also be without experienced defender Ansil Elcock, who is serving a three-match suspension, for the Jamaica clash.

The Columbus Crew player was slapped with a three-match ban by FIFA after being sent off for a crude tackle on Mexico's Cuauthemoc Blanco in a semifinal clash in October. He will not only miss the Jamaica game but T&T's second round clash versus Costa Rica in March as well.

T&T footballers tackle Fluminese

Sports Desk

THE Trinidad and Tobago football squad will continue their preparations for the Concacaf World Cup qualifying series today when they tackle Brazilian club Fluminese from 6.30 p.m. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It will be T&T’s third friendly this year after 2-0 and 2-1 victories over the Grenadian national squad.

Coach Ian Porterfield’s outfit will then face the Angolan national team in an international friendly at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Angola are ranked 55th in the world at present—26 places behind T&T—and are in the midst of their World Cup qualifying campaign. They are second in a five-team CAF group which includes Olympic champions Cameroon as well as Libya, Togo and Zambia who were once coached by Porterfield.

Only the group winner will progress to the 2002 World Cup finals co-hosted by Korea and Japan.

T&T, who face Jamaica in World Cup qualifying battle on February 28, will conclude their tour against Brazilian teams Botafogo (11.30 a.m., Monday) and America FC (6.30 pm, Tuesday) before returning to Trinidad next Thursday.

There will be six additions to the touring party which went with Porterfield to Grenada.

Joe Public custodian Michael McCommie and Defence Force full back Anton Pierre have both been given opportunities to force their way into the World Cup squad.

Lanky CLF Jabloteh stopper Kerwyn Jack, Doc’s Khelwalaas attacker Ashford Leggerton, as well as the Public duo of Michel Peters and Cyd Gray will all hope to make their debuts in the sweltering heat of Brazil where the temperature is now in the vicinity of 40ºC.

But T&T will have to do without powerful defender Craig Demmin and striker Gary Glasgow who returned to the United States this week. Demmin has been selected to play in the US Major League Soccer (MLS) draft while Glasgow rejoins MLS club Kansas City Wizards for pre-season training.

There will be the chance for the technical staff of the local squad to improve themselves as well in the country of the four-time World Cup champions as they are expected to attend courses conducted by Professor Neto.

The T&T technical staff reads Porterfield, manager Neville Chance, assistant manager Neil Mollineaux, assistant coaches Jimmy Blanc, Michael Maurice and Clayton Morris, trainer Wayne Lawson, physiotherapist David Cumberbatch and team doctor Dr Calvin Inalsingh.

The local squad arrived safely in Brazil yesterday morning and is based in the Atlantico San Sui Hotel, Rio De Janeiro.

PFL reserve league coming


THE PFL hopes to have a reserve league in place when league action starts in April.

Its commissioner Colin Prevatt told the Express that the reserve league will hopefully contain ten teams—eight from the existing PFL clubs and two from successful applicants who had to meet a January 31 deadline.

Prevatt said the purpose of the reserve league was “to fill the gap for those players who don’t get to play regularly for their teams”. And since the next level of competition after the PFL is the national Under-20 competition, he revealed that those players over 20 will now have an opportunity to get some competitive action.

Games in the reserve league are expected to run during the same week PFL matches are to be played in the shortened 2001 season. The PFL will have only rounds of competition owing to Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in World Cup qualifying action this year.

But, according to Prevatt, the league also serves another purpose.

With this mandatory procedure of having new teams spend, at minimum, one year in the reserves, the PFL will have a chance to determine if a team is able to support itself in the PFL proper. The relevant criteria are whether they have a venue, are able to raise their bond ($750,000), have a good management structure as well a good youth support base.

One of the main aims of this introductory league is to facilitate the development of young players. Prevatt explained that one of the criteria will be that each team must field at least four Under-20 players who are also citizens of T&T.

The other goals of the reserve league, Prevatt said, are to accommodate players coming off injury as well as give players who have lost their form an opportunity to regain some confidence at an easier level.

The league will also serve to give players coming out of the national zonal competitions a trial which will permit the eight PFL teams to observe them in action.

Thursday February 1st, 2001

Porterfield for the defence

Sports Desk

IAN PORTERFIELD yesterday described the Grenadian national football team as “tough” and “competitive”. The Trinidad and Tobago football team head coach was at the time attempting to defend to the media assembled at the Carib Brewery hospitality suite the choice of warm-up opponent as well as his team selection.

The media conference was called for the official handing over of a $400,000 cheque from Carib to Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps.

But Porterfield soon found himself forced to explain to the media why T&T were playing against Grenada while their Concacaf opponents were battling the likes of Argentina, Bulgaria and Bolivia.

Grenada’s 2002 World Cup campaign lasted just two games before they were eliminated by Barbados while they failed to qualify for the 2000 Copa Caribe tournament.

“Grenada probably gave us as tough a game as Jamaica got against Bulgaria,” said Porterfield. “... They were two good training games. Very tough, very competitive.”

Trinidad and Tobago defeated Grenada 2-1 on Saturday night and again 2-0 on Monday in preparation for their opening Concacaf final round group match against Jamaica.

Jamaica defeated an understrength Bolivian team 3-0 last Friday before holding Bulgaria 0-0 at home on Sunday. Bulgaria, who qualified for the last two World Cup tournaments, also defeated Mexico 2-0 in their brief tour of the Concacaf region.

Jamaica fielded British-based players in both matches including Derby County’s Deon Burton and Darryl Powell, Bradford City’s Jamie Lawrence and Hull City’s Ian Goodison and Theodore Whitmore.

However, Porterfield said that the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) was “lucky” to get its overseas players and that the local public should not expect the same.

“It’s impossible to get players,” said Porterfield. “You think I won’t like Russell Latapy to come and play in every game? Or Dwight Yorke or Shaka Hislop or Tony Rougier? It just can’t happen.”

Porterfield, who recently slammed previous technical staffs for forcing overseas players to return for “Mickey Mouse games”, insisted that he would not jeopardise the “bread and butter” of his key players.

The Trinidad and Tobago team leaves today for Brazil where they will continue their preparations with three friendlies against club teams.

The Scotsman admitted that he did not yet know exactly who those teams were although manager Neville Chance explained that they would come from a shortlist of Botafogo, Flamengo, Americana and Bunga FC.

There have been two additions to the local team with Joe Public winger Cyd Gray replacing Gary Glasgow while Michael McComie joins the squad as cover for Ross Russell.

Russell was replaced during T&T’s second friendly against Grenada after receiving a blow to the midsection but he will still travel with the squad.

Glasgow has been allowed to return to pre-season training with US Major League Soccer (MLS) team Kansas City Wizards. However, Porterfield explained that he would need some more time to recover his form after sustaining a broken leg during domestic competition last year.

After the Brazil tour, the national footballers will return to Trinidad before flying out for England where they will play friendly games against Premiership teams Charlton Athletic and West Ham United as well as amateur club Stevenage Borough.

T&TFF send condolences to ‘Shorty’

TRINIDAD and Tobago national football team head coach Ian Porterfield and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps both expressed their deepest sympathies yesterday at the passing of Jamaican midfielder Steve “Shorty” Malcolm.

Malcolm died in a car crash on Sunday which also involved influential England-based midfielder Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore and Charles Ewan, a friend of Malcolm’s.

Whitmore was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon while Ewan’s condition is said to be stable.

“It was a very sad moment,” said Camps. “I am glad to hear that the other player (Whitmore) was able to be released from the hospital. I hope that he recovers quite quickly.

“I have already sent (JFF president Horace Burrell) an e-mail and I will send something more formal.”

Porterfield never got the chance to meet Malcolm, a stalwart of the “Reggae Boyz”. However, he also sent his deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.

He also said that the national team was praying for a quick recovery for Whitmore.

“I hope the lad comes through,” said Porterfield. “We were all very devastated. All of our team and management staff sent a prayer for the team’s family before yesterday’s training session.”

Trinidad and Tobago face Jamaica at the Kingston National Stadium in the opening game of the Concacaf final group stage on February 28.


Yorke & Cole still United’s best pair


MANCHESTER United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been signing the praises of evergreen ex-English international striker Teddy Sheringham recently.

But British soccer fans have not yet forgotten the heroics of Tobagonian striker Dwight Yorke in tandem with his buddy Andy Cole.

In a Soccerage UK poll held last week, almost one third of the voters named Yorke and Cole as the United’s best strike partnership available.

They were followed by the pair of Sheringham and Norwegian Olé Gunnar Solskjaer who received 24 per cent of the votes—five per cent below the leaders. The pairings of Cole and Sheringham and Yorke and Solskjaer were third and fourth respectively.

The fans opined that a Yorke/Sheringham or Cole/Solskjaer partnership were the options with the least chance of success. Only nine per cent of Soccerage’s members voted for either.

In spite of this vote of confidence, Yorke’s future at Old Trafford remains open to speculation as Ferguson continues to woo Dutch hitman Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Yorke has only started 17 games this season for the “Red Devils” and was again used as a late substitute in their FA Cup defeat to West Ham on Sunday.

Many believe that, should United sign Van Nistelrooy, Yorke would be the striker to give way as Cole and Sheringham are both close to signing new deals while Solskjaer is in the middle of a long-term contract.

Possible destinations for the club’s record signing are Spain and London—where he could either join close friend Mark Bosnich at Chelsea or compatriot Shaka Hislop at West Ham.

However, Ferguson has repeatedly denied any intention to sell one of his four strikers while Yorke has insisted that he will remain at Old Trafford and fight for his place.

Latapy awaits Hibs offer

With his contract nearing its expiry date, Trinidad and Tobago and Hibernian FC playmaker Russell Latapy will hope to be as commanding in the boardroom as he is on the pitch.

Latapy has been Hibernian’s most valuable player since he joined the club three seasons ago and was recently voted among Fifa’s top 40 players for 2000.

The T&T captain will be hoping that such accomplishments increase his bargaining power as he prepares to negotiate for what he expects to be his last big contract.

It is unlikely to be a walk in the park though as manager Alex McLeish has already warned that the club only has so much money and is not prepared to over-extend itself financially.

Latapy is one of six players whose current contract with the Scottish Premier League contenders ends in the summer.

Australian midfielder Stuart Lovell was first to the negotiating table and he rejected outright the initial offer made by Hibs.

There is no sign that the Hibernian boardroom discussions have begun to affect the club’s performances just yet.

Hibs thrashed First Division Clyde 6-1 on Sunday in the Scottish Cup. Latapy did not figure among the scorers and was replaced by countryman Lyndon Andrews early in the second half.

Stern rediscovers scoring touch

Former ElDorado Senior striker Stern John has rediscovered the thrill of scoring—but only in a closed-door friendly.

John scored a hattrick last Monday for Nottingham Forest but could not prevent his team falling 4-3 to Peterborough in a practice match.

Still the triple strike is sure to be a welcome boost for the young forward who has struggled to make an impact with Forest this season.

Shaka Hislop hammers United

West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop was still in school when Manchester United suffered their last FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford some 12 years ago.

United’s loss of that intimidating record as well as Hislop’s ability to finally go one up on friend and countryman Dwight Yorke would have made the Hammers 1-0 FA Cup upset all the more sweeter.

It is the first time Yorke has ever had to dip in his pocket since both players decided that the loser would buy drinks whenever they met on the field—and then Yorke moved to Manchester.

It was no easy feat for Hislop.

The ex-St Mary’s College goalkeeper made fine saves to deny United skipper Roy Keane as well as playmaker David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Andy Cole before West Ham managed the decisive goal in the 75th minute. Italian Paolo Di Canio broke clear of the opposing defence and, as French custodian Fabian Barthez appealed for offside, Di Canio kept his nerve and steered the ball home.

Yorke was brought on as a late substitute for midfielder Nicky Butt as United ended the match with all four strikers on the pitch. That was still not enough to beat Hislop on the day.

Morrison waits on the call

Clinton Morrison says that he will not be rushing on any decision concerning his international future. The 20-year-old striker is eligible to represent T&T, England, Jamaica and the Republic of Ireland. He is also on the verge of selection on the England under 21 squad.

"I know I'm going to have to make up my mind sooner or later but I'm just going to sit tight at the moment. I think I will play international football, I think I've got the ability but I may as well keep my options open.

"I have to admit it is between England and the Republic. And England is the one I've always dreamed of playing for as a kid," he added. Time will tell for which country the tall and talented striker plays.

Demmin waits on future call

Defender Craig Demmin will know over the next few weeks if he will return to the Rochester Rhinos for another season. The powerfully built player helped the Rhinos to the American A-League title last year and is a favourite among the fans. In recent times, he has been eyed by clubs in the American Major League Soccer (MLS).

Speaking on the weekend, Demmin said he was prepared to continue playing for the A-League club. Demmin suffered a torn hamstring last year but was able to fight his way back to full fitness before being called up for national duty against Mexico at the Azteca Stadium. "Right now my fitness level is at a good level and I'm working hard along with the other guys looking forward to being part of the national team."

Hard work pays for Scotland

Non-stop hard work has paid off for Defence Force striker Jason Scotland. Scotland made his debut for Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup qualifier against Panama at the Queen's Park Oval last November. According to the former national under 23 forward, earning national selection and finishing as the PFL's leading goalscorer resulted from endless hours of training and belief in himself.

"The first season in 1998, I struggled trying to get up there with the big guns like Gary (Glasgow). The season after I finished third among the top scorers and this season I was able to come out on top among the scorers. I worked very hard." There have been reports that he is going on trial with Greek side Panathinaikos soon.

Rougier wants First Division

Anthony Rougier could ask to be excused from Trinidad and Tobago's friendly against Stevenage Borough in England next month as he attempts to help Reading FC back into the English First Division. That game is scheduled on the same day Reading are travelling to Oldham Athletic.

Rougier hopes an agreement can be reached to allow him to continue Reading's climb to promotion. "I've already spoken to Alan Pardew. It's more important for me to play for Reading and help them get into Division 1," said Rougier, adding that he has no intentions of doing anything to jeopardise his international career.

Rovers will miss Mauge

Bristol Rovers will have to do without T&T English-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge later this year when he is called to represent his country in the World Cup qualifiers. Mauge is keen not to abandon his international ambitions, especially when his country tries to book its place in the 2002 World Cup finals.

"It would be easy to dwell on what happened when I got injured (against Mexico in February, 2000), but I could just as easily have broken a leg playing for Rovers. I just hope if the situation arises we can work out a way in which I miss as few club games as possible. It's always a great honour to represent your country," said Mauge.

Ian Holloway will hardly welcome the prospect of his key midfielder missing any games as Rovers struggle to move clear of the Second Division relegation zone.

MLS clubs keep tabs on Sancho

American Major League clubs Colorado Rapids and Miami Fusion are keeping a close eye on Brent Sancho who played with American A-League club Charleston Battery last year. Sancho has received several offers over the past two weeks.

However, he has decided to put a contract on hold, preferring to concentrate on national duties. His agent, Englishman Gaham Smith is also looking at possible trials with clubs in Europe.

Sancho, who played last season with Joe Public, was with the national team in Grenada on the weekend and played the entire 90 minutes of T&T's 2-1 win. He is scheduled to depart with the local squad for a one week training camp in Brazil today.

Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the T&T Football Federation

Carib gives $400,000 more to T&T football

CARIB yesterday continued its support to the Trinidad and Tobago 2002 World Cup squad by donating another $400,000 to the kitty.

The donation was made to TTFF president Oliver Camps by Carib CEO Horace Bhopalsingh at the Brewery in Champs Fleurs. And the cheque could not have come at a better time as T&T flies out from 9 am today for a three-match tour of Brazil.

The squad will play Flamengo, Botafogo and America during the stint and T&T coach Ian Porterfield has added Joe Public duo Cyd Gray and Michael McComie to the squad for the trip. Gray comes in for United States-based striker Gary Glasgow who has returned to his Major League Soccer side, Kansas City Wizards.

The squad is just back from a successful two-match tour of Grenada where they beat their hosts 2-1 and 2-0.
Porterfield yesterday defended his decision to play against such weak opposition saying that in the absence of his foreign-based professionals, he had no choice. "We are not good enough to go and play big teams and that's why we need to develop the younger players at this point in time," he said.

"The main part of our preparation will be in the UK when we will, hopefully, have all our players. I'm not disappointed with our programme. We'll be ready when we play Jamaica." Of the Grenadian tour he said: "We've had two hard games. There's been a lot of pluses and there are things we've got to improve on.

"But this is all part of our preparation and I'm sure that these two games will get our lads back into match fitness which is very important." He added: "I think the attitude and desire to fight and compete was very good which is obviously what we're going to need in coming months,"

T&T SQUAD: Ross Russell, Brian James, Michael McComie, Dennis Lawrence, Shurland David, Cyd Gray, Claude Adams, Craig Demmin, Addison Belfon, Brent Sancho, Stokely Mason, Angus Eve, Brent Rahim, Dale Saunders, Reynold Carrington, Nigel Pierre, Mickey Trotman, Trent Noel, Jason Scotland, Adrian Narine, Rolston James.

 Corneal: Let's sell football through youths

By Gregory Trujillo

FORMER top national sportsman, Alvin Corneal believes that Trinidad and Tobago should start now to put things in place for the staging of the World Under-17 Youth Football Championships, which is due to take place here later this year.

While giving the feature address at the fourth awards ceremony of Joe Public Football Club on Saturday at the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Corneal pointed to several areas which he felt needed to be worked on immediately.

"Areas like selecting volunteers, alerting hotels that people will be coming in and making extra provisions for tours need to be addressed," the former national coach said. He explained that it will not only be soccer players visiting but also their families. "That's how it works all over the world."

Corneal also mentioned that T&T needed to market the tournament, which will be the biggest ever to be staged locally. "Let the public know it is a big thing for us. We are going to have at least 200 journalists and they are not only coming to see football but to see how a small country like ours could get to host a World Cup.

"We've got to show them our management capabilities and facilities and prove that we can supply to the world with an environment that is satisfactory to soccer." Corneal also said that out of the staging of the tournament the business sector will benefit because it will be able to expose its items to manufacturers.

He explained that businessmen will be coming in to see what they could sell to T&T. "They will also be scrutinising our transport system, our passion for the game, how hospitable and courteous we are and things to that effect, " he added.

"They will also want to see how user-friendly our transport system is. Do we provide maps for those who want to rent cars to go on site-seeing tours etc." Corneal, who has been to several World Cups, said that it is all of these factors by which the world will judge T&T.

He also noted that when Brazil qualify for a World Cup, their policy was to come two to three months before to start to promote their side in some village close to where they play. "They will give out tee-shirts and caps and meet the villagers and mix with them so that by the time the World Cup is ready they would have support. That has been their pattern."

Corneal ended by reminding the organisers that they must start now because there is limited time. "We must show the world what we can do. The duty is for the citizens to do their part. The people must promote it and make it a success."

Jack Warner, owner of the club, in his address pointed out that he spent $3 million on the club last season.
Because of the indifferent performances of the side in the PFL (Professional Football League), he said that at one point he was thinking forgetting of the idea of continuing with the side.

"But thanks to certain people around me, I was advised to have a change of heart and I am glad I did," he said.
Haitian player Pierre Bruny, a defender, was voted "Most Valuable Player" of the PFL team.

Other MVP's were Michelle Chin-Albert (Jane Public), Devin Jordan (U-20 National League), Keith Aaron (Reserve Team), Sterling O'Brian (Under-20 Eastern Football Association), Kevon Cassie (U-17 EFA) and Faud Abu Bakr (U-15 EFA).