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Monday January 29th, 2001
Trinis stop Grenada 2-1

By Shaun Fuentes
in Grenada

Trinidad and Tobago's senior footballers completed a 2-1 victory over Grenada's senior team before an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 at Queen's Park Stadium Saturday night.

The winning goal was scored by skipper Angus Eve when he tapped home from close range in the 83rd minute.
T&T scored its opening goal in the 7th minute through Nigel Pierre. Following a good build up which started from the right back with Brent Sancho, a number of swift short passes were made just on the edge of the penalty box before Pierre got possession and neatly sent a right-footed lob over goalkeeper Alvin Felix.

Ten minutes later, Grenada equalised when goalkeeper Ross Russell parried a shot off a freekick inside the 18-metre box and Ashley Cyrus pounced on the rebound from close range to shoot home.

Pierre had another good look at goal in the 38th minute but his effort was cleared on the line by Anthony Modeste.
T&T had another good opportunity to increase the lead in the final minute when Eve sent a perfect cross from the left for Dennis Lawrence. But his header was blocked on the goal line.

T&T team - Ross Russell, Dennis Lawrence, Addison Belfon, Shurland David, Stokely Mason, Brent Sancho, Reynold Carrington, Dale Saunders (Adrian Narine 70th), Angus Eve, Nigel Pierre (Rolston James 79th), Gary Glasgow (Jason Scotland 61st).

English clubs chasing Pierre

Trinidad and Tobago striker Nigel Pierre is currently being chased by several top English clubs. Leading the chase is Premiership club West Ham, where Pierre's compatriot Shaka Hislop currently plays.

According to news out of England yesterday, Manchester United ­ where Dwight Yorke is currently employed - has also confirmed its interest in Pierre in writing.

And, according to Pierre's England-based agent Majeed Mohammed, the interested parties will be eager to see Pierre in action if he's on the T&T squad that will enter into a live-in camp in England from February 9.

"He is being chased by five Premiership clubs, who are all negotiating," Mohammed was quoted as saying.
"West Ham are probably leading the pack to get his signature at the moment. He has already been over at West Ham and he has been invited back to hopefully conclude arrangements."

Mohammed claimed an agreement was not completed when Pierre was on trial with the Hammers late last year because he had a slight ankle injury. Since then, according to Mohammed, United's Sir Alex Ferguson has inquired about Pierre.

"Sir Alex knows all about him because Dwight has been singing his praises. T&T will play Charlton (February 13), West Ham (February 15) and Stevenage (February 20) during the English tour.

"With these three matches, most of the Premiership are going to be there - primarily to watch this kid," Mohammed said. According to Mohammed, Charlton, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Southampton and Watford have also expressed an interest in the Joe Public striker.

Pierre is currently in Grenada with the T&T squad for a two-match tour. T&T coach Ian Porterfield is using the tour to fine tune his squad for the forthcoming opening final round CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on February 28. T&T will fly out to Brazil for another three games after the Grenadian stint.

Porterfield hoping for hopefuls to shine

TRINIDAD and Tobago senior football team coach Ian Porterfield is hoping that a few of the 32 players who have been in training camp here will show their worth by the time the Football Confederation World Cup final qualifying round begins in Jamaica on February 28.

Porterfield made the statement at a press conference at the TTFF Headquarters on Dundonald Street yesterday, ahead of the team’s departure for Grenada tomorrow.

With the successful introduction of Defence Force defender Dennis Lawrence to the squad last May in a friendly match against Canada, Porterfield is keeping his fingers crossed that other local talent will make their mark before the Jamaica game.

“We are going to Grenada to get a base of players. There may be three, five or six players that could be involved in the game in Jamaica and that’s what we’re hoping for,” he stated.

The Scotland-born coach revealed that a team of 20, made up of mostly local-based footballers, will play two games against the Grenada senior team on January 27 and 29 before flying out to Brazil for three warm-up matches where their opponents are expected to be Flamengo, Botafogo and America

After those tours, the coach disclosed that he will first select a squad to wing out to England on February 9 for three additional games against Charleton, West Ham and Stevenich before the team goes to the Cayman Islands on February 22 for a four-day training stint.

Then it’s off to Jamaica on February 26.

By that time, Porterfield hopes to have his team—that will hopefully include Russel Latapy and Dwight Yorke—well prepared for qualifying action.


Wrexham shells out $500,000 for Lawrence


ENGLISH Second Division club Wrexham has applied for a work permit for Trinidad and Tobago's defender Dennis Lawrence. This, after agreeing to a £50,000 (TT $500,000) transfer fee with Lawrence's local club Defence Force recently.

Lawrence, according to news out of Wrexham yesterday, will be offered a three-year deal and will link up with compatriots Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam at the club. The six-foot, seven inches defender had had trials at Newcastle United and Bolton late last year before ending up at Wrexham.

And he immediately fell in love with the club, not to mention the fact that he was made at home in England by his Trinidadian colleagues. Wrexham's boss Brian Flynn also indicated his intention to sign Lawrence.

But a long drawn out contract negotiation between Wrexham and the T&T Army had delayed the deal until now.
The 26-year-old Lawrence will fly out to England next week to complete the deal once the work permit goes through.

Speaking on the acquisition of Lawrence, Wrexham assistant boss Kevin Reeves said: "Trinidad and Tobago are presently 29th in the world rankings and Dennis has been a regular in the international side for the past two years.
'We expect to receive his work permit within the next few days - there shouldn't be any problems."

Meanwhile, Flynn is also hoping to get T&T coach Ian Porterfield to add the club to its list of opponents for the forthcoming tour of England.

T&T will undergo a 10-day training camp in England beginning February 9 in preparation for its opening final round 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Ash Wednesday (February 28).
To date, Porterfield has confirmed one game against English Premiership club West Ham but Flynn is hoping he will accept an offer to play them as well.

T&T player seeks contract in US women’s pro soccer league

  Stories by IAN PRESCOTT

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s Dalia Da Silva is attempting to become the first Caribbean footballer to play in the inaugural WUSU, the American women professional soccer league which kicks off on April 14.

The former top woman player in Trinidad and Tobago has been selected for a second WUSA draft, after failing to land a contract following the first earlier this month.

Da Silva told the Independent that she is eager to get into the WUSA  in the inaugural season because the professional league will capture the imagination of American audiences following the success of their World Cup championship women’s team.

“Without a doubt it will be bigger than the MLS (men’s professional league). You see Americans like winners and their women’s team are the best in the world. Because they have won the World Cup you have thousands of girls playing the game and that means money for investors.”

Da Silva’s thoughts have been echoed by the investors who have pumped US$ 40 million into the League. Among the investors are the United States Soccer Federation and several major media groups.

A member of Trinidad and Tobago’s national team since she was 17, Da Silva had her first attempt to get into the WUSA when she was one of 200 players selected for a “Combine”. a week long tryout before many coaches of the 8 professional teams which will form the WUSA.

In all, 800 had applied and although she had made the first 200, Da Silva was disappointed not to have been taken up by a professional team when the first WUSA Draft was made earlier this month.

Da Silva is now awaiting a second Draft later this months to see if she can still fulfil her dream of playing professional football.

Now 29, she told the Independent she would willingly give up her day job at a centre for delinquent children, to fulfil her goal.

“I am a ball player. That ‘s what I do. I would rather play ball than anything else.”

Of the 200 players on show at the Combine, Da Silva reckons that she was the lone player from the Caribbean.

“I was most disappointed because I did really well at the Combine. Both my agent and the coach of one of the teams had assured me that I had done well so I felt sure I would be signed. To say the least, I was very disappointed and I haven’t really been training since.”

    She felt that politics had a lot to do with it.

“My group had five strikers, all of whom were Americans. Without a doubt, I did better than all of these players and I was far more skilled than them. Would you believe they were all drafted and I was not?”

Hyde picks Jamaica over T&T

WATFORD midfielder Micah Hyde has apparently chosen Jamaica over Trinidad and Tobago for the rest of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Trinidad and Tobago will meet Jamaica in the first match of the Concacaf final round World Cup qualifying series on February 28.

Both teams were apparently seeking the services of Hyde who is of both Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaican parentage. Scotsman Ian Porterfield, coach of Trinidad and Tobago, had reported that he had favourable discussions last months with both Hyde and his agent.

However, the Jamaicans apparently also spoke to the player who was born in England. The Independent understands that Jamaican technical director Clovis de Oliveira is inviting Hyde and three other England-born players to join the Reggae Boyz for a friendly internationals against Bolivia on January 26 and Bulgaria on January 28. Porterfield had hoped to have Hyde in his side which tackles Grenada on January 27.

Trinidad and Tobago meet Grenada on January 27 and 29 before embarking on a tour of Brazil in which they will play several top clubs.

When the Independent contacted Trinidad and Tobago manager Neville Chance he said that he was aware that the Jamaicans had spoken to Hyde and that the final decision was up to the player.

“It’s up to him, stated Chance. Coach Porterfield had a word with him in England, so obviously we would have liked to have him, but we have left it up to him and his agent to decide.”

Chance was, however, still optimistic that Hyde would favour his Trinidad and Tobago link as he has indicated previously.

“We have still kept the channels of communication open.”

Meanwhile the Jamaicans have invited Coventry City defender and former captain Paul Williams; Bolton “Hard man” Michael Ricketts and Hyde to join their squad. Since the end of the last round, which Jamaica completed with two losses, de Oliveira had stated he would be inviting more overseas-based players, hinting he would be looking for a sweeper, a commanding midfielder and a forward.

When de Oliveira was contacted he said the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) was in discussion with Williams and Hyde but not Ricketts.

“We are in conversation with Williams and Hyde but nothing is confirmed. We have nothing finalised. We have been trying to get these players for some time. We have always wanted Hyde in the programme, it is not new,” de Oliveira said.

Of Ricketts he said: “Ricketts, not for the time being, especially as I spoke with Ricardo Fuller and he is fully recovered.”

Of the three, forward Michael Ricketts, who was being pursued by the United States last year, would be the biggest catch for the Reggae Boyz. The powerfully-built player who stands at 6’2’’ signed for Bolton Wanderers at the beginning of this season from Walsall and has been scoring freely.

Elcock back for Mexico game

Sports Desk

Ansil Elcock is likely to be back in the defensive line-up when Trinidad and Tobago take on Mexico here in April.

The Fifa Appeal Committee met in Zurich on Monday and lifted the three-month domestic ban imposed on the T&T defender by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee on January 12. And he will now only miss the first two matches of the Football Confederation World Cup final qualifying round against Jamaica and Costa Rica respectively.

While a little relieved that Elcock will return for the match against Mexico, T&T senior team coach Ian Porterfield told the Daily Express he still believes the punishment to be too severe.

"I still think it's harsh. I mean, a three-match suspension for what he (Elcock) did? When you compare that with when Zidane stamped on a player (in the 1998 World Cup in France) and got a one-match ban, Elcock's punishment is way too harsh," he declared.

The Fifa Appeal Committee established that Elcock did in fact commit "an obvious act of violence" against Cuauhtemoc Blanco when the Mexicans whipped T&T 7-0 in Mexico City. But, they decided, the foul was made "without premeditation".

Portefield agreed with the latter assessment.

"If you watch it closely on video," he said, " you would see it was just a late tackle, an accident. (...) It's sad for Blanco to get injured but that's football and accidents happen."

However, the world governing body's committee upheld the 5,000 Swiss Francs fine and the three-match ban that would include the game against Panama missed by the Columbus Crew player following the automatic suspension in last year's game.

The committee found the three-month domestic ban to be "excessive" since the incident had not occurred during a domestic match. In addition, they ruled the suspension would have "hindered the player from earning his wages during this time".

Porterfield also thought that ban "unfair".

But life, he said, must go on. And although Elcock will be missed, the T&T coach will be sure to find a replacement for his customary left-back when they face Jamaica in Kingston on February 28.

"Ansil has been an important player. In fact, he has been outstanding, especially in recent games. But we have always been able to find replacements."

He explained that replacements had been found for Shaka Hislop, Dwight Yorke and Anthony Rougier when, for one reason or another, they failed to report for national duty. Replacing Marvin Andrews, he said, was the most difficult because of the understanding Andrews and Dennis Lawrence had developed.

Porterfield said that playing Jamaica and Costa Rica away from home in the first two games may prove difficult but T&T will need to get off to a positive start in their World Cup campaign and so had " to move on" from here.

Monday January 22nd, 2001

Planning to break the barrier


WITH qualifying games for World Cup 2002 staring us straight in the face, I have decided to take a closer look at the possibility of success or failure for Trinidad and Tobago.

T&T have never been short of talent in all disciplines of sport and moreso in football, where national teams have done well up to the most important games. Then somehow we seem to falter.

In 1967, I happened to be part of a T&T team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, which finished at the top of a group comprising Colombia, Argentina and Mexico but much to the surprise of everyone, lost to Bermuda, who finished second to Canada in another group. We choked big time. T&T produced another

great team in 1973 with the likes of Steve David, Everald


Selwyn Murren and others and although we were robbed by the referee, another good opportunity went abegging.

In 1989, another good group of players emerged. All that was needed was a draw against the USA. Everyone in T&T and nationals in every part of the world were shocked with the result. A loss to the USA by a 1-0 margin, when all that was needed was a draw. It was a classic case of overconfidence and gross stupidity by our officials, who seemed to blame everyone but themselves. I remember the then coach and the manager saying that the US team wasn’t good, having seen them in a previous game. They were getting four for sure. We ended up crying.

Then there was the Gold Cup in January 2000. We disposed of Guatemala and Costa Rica, and although beaten by Mexico, looked good for parts of that game, notwithstanding problems in defence. We lost 1-0 to Canada in the semifinal, which eventually led to the firing of the then coach, Bertille St Clair.

Is it that we tend to have a defeatist attitude when crunch time comes and lack the essential ingredients to win big games? This present squad under coach Porterfield can prove otherwise, but things need to be put in place before we achieve the desired goal.

It seems patently obvious to me as I have written in the past few months, that the coach depends on the foreign-based players totally, particularly Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy. This was clearly manifested by the performances of the team in the game against Mexico in Mexico which was literally an embarrassment and the final game against Panama at the Queen’s Park Oval which T&T managed to win by a 1-0 margin. Preparations for these games are paramount if T&T are to qualify and by preparation, I mean ensuring that everyone connected to the team must be committed to excellence. The entire organisation has to be run efficiently and this includes hiring a top sports psychologist, which is a must if this team is to succeed. There are as usual a lot of talented players around, but getting these talents to gel is what is important.

I have noticed that the coach, on his return from Scotland recently spoke about getting all the professionals released for the games to come, but what may I ask has been happening with the players at home?

From what I have been reading, all the other teams have been playing friendlies against top teams. Mexico played against Argentina recently and had two other games lined up against top opposition and this was the week before Christmas.

Jamaica have selected their local squad and also have games lined against top foreign teams. All this has been happening while our local players have been resting and enjoying the Christmas season. I have no problem whatsoever with some time off for the players after a strenuous season, but this is serious business and we seem to be the only team that has not started preparations as yet.

I read recently that two friendly games have been arranged against Grenada. What benefit can these games really bring? As I said earlier, we are depending on Yorke and Latapy coming up trumps in all ten games in the upcoming qualifiers, but we must remember that the other teams are doing their homework and it would not be easy pickings like we had against Canada and Panama recently.

Taking a quick look at the fixtures, our first game is against Jamaica in Jamaica. This is not going to be an easy game for more than one reason. Jamaica have already played in the World Cup finals and obviously would want to make a return visit to the highest stage in football. In addition, T&T have not beaten Jamaica in Jamaica for a very long time. Jamaica have an almost unblemished record at their National Stadium. A draw for T&T, at least would be a good result, a win even better. T&T then play away again against Costa Rica at altitude and again this would be a difficult proposition. I have had the experience playing in San Jose and the Central American spectators are not going to be kind to our boys.

We then have two home games against Mexico and Honduras respectively and these are must-win games as are all our home games. We then play away to USA and then have two away matches against Mexico and Honduras. Those engagements would put us to the sternest test before returning home to face USA in our last game. My hope is that by the time the USA come here, we would be home and dry as I would hate to see T&T and their supporters waiting and biting nails again down to the wire.

The planners (administrators) are the most important people in this exercise of qualifying and although in my opinion we are off to a slow start, I hope that the momentum builds to such an extent that the team will be brimming with confidence going into the first game against Jamaica. This could be an excellent opportunity for qualification to the World Cup for the first time but a lot of work has to be done by our technical people. Game-by- game analysis is a must.

I do hope that our administrators or by extension our Chief Administrator leave the technical aspects of the game to technical people and not influence coaches and determine who plays as has been the case in the past.

Good luck to all those involved in this new year on the road to Japan/Korea.

Hibs preparing for Latapy's departure


IN the face of steady competition from several teams, Scottish Premier Division side Hibernian is now preparing itself to lose the services of Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy.

According to word yesterday out of Spain, where Hibs is currently in a winter break training camp, Hibs manager Alex McLeish has effectively resigned himself to losing his key T&T midfielder with several English clubs lining up to sign him.

McLeish's problems, according to reports, stem from the limited budget he has been allocated by Hibs management to re-sign not only Latapy, but five other players who will be out of contract at the end of the current season.
Latapy has made no bones about his desire to end his career in the English Premiership.

And, after talks with Hibs managing director Rod Petrie, McLeish has apparently indicated that he will not attempt to match any bids for Latapy from suitors if they were over his budget.

In fact, McLeish is already scouting for midfield replacements while in Spain, where several European clubs have ventured during the winter break. While not speaking directly about the Latapy issue, McLeish did address the task of trying to re-sign all the players who will be out of contract.

"I hope the six all stay, but some of them might have been made offers already that we can't match," he said.
"The directors and commercial department are trying to drive up turnover so I can have a bigger budget."
On the issue of hunting for new players he said:

"The players I have looked at have not been made promises, and neither have they given any. "I have not made any offers as such to players, although I have spoken to one or two with a view to their coming in the summer - under certain circumstances."

Latapy is in his third season with Hibs. He joined it while it was in the First Division during the 1998/99 season and led it up into the Premier League. During this run, Latapy earned himself the "Player of the Year" title for both the First Division and the club.

Several clubs have been targeting the "Little Magician" for the past season and a half but Hibs has constantly rejected those offers. However, with his contract up soon, it will not be able to stop him from leaving.

Jabloteh get their Englishman

FORMER English World Cup defender Terry Fenwick will have his first outing as CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh head coach from 9 a.m. today at the Woodbrook Youth Facility in Port of Spain.

Jabloteh had initially made plans to unveil Fenwick to the media on Monday afternoon but the former Tottenham Spurs player only landed at the Piarco Airport on Wednesday night.

Fenwick replaces former national ace goalscorer Ron La Forest who steered Jabloteh to consecutive Professional Football League (PFL) Cup titles before his contract as head coach expired in December.

However, Jabloteh have not yet secured Fenwick's services for the long haul—he is here for a trial period of one week.

Fenwick will return to England next Wednesday but Jabloteh PRO Peter Miller is confident that they will get their man.

In other PFL news, Defence Force striker Jason Scotland is still waiting for an official invitation from top Greek club Panathinaikos.

The Greek outfit, who are still involved in the UEFA Champions' League, have expressed their interest in seeing the former Malick player who was the PFL's top goalscorer and most promising young player last season.

However, Defence Force manager Captain Kester Weekes and Miller—the "point of contact" between both parties—are still awaiting confirmation of a date for the trials from Panathinaikos.

Scotland, a current member of the Trinidad and Tobago senior team, is expected to stay with the Greek outfit for some three weeks.


T&T U-20s end tour tonight

THE Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 squad will get their last chance for a tour victory tonight when they play their second match against their Panamanian counterparts.

The young T&T team went down 2-0 to hosts Panama on Wednesday night for their third defeat in as many matches on tour.

They also lost 2-1 and 2-0 to the Honduras Under-20 squad during the first leg of their two-stop tour of Central America.

In the absence of coach Peter Granville, the T&T U-20 squad which is preparing for the Concacaf Under-20 World Cup qualifiers in Trinidad in March, is being handled by manager George Joseph.

Thursday January 18th, 2001

Dwight: T&T vs Jamaica will be riveting
The Pro Look with Shaun Fuentes

'If we don't qualify, I will hang up my boots in international football'

HE was not on the team during Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Bradford City on Saturday and may find himself facing a difficult fight to regain a starting position on the Old Trafford side.

But Dwight Yorke is looking ahead to Trinidad and Tobago's next World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica with great anticipation. The 29-year-old striker said he is looking forward to clashing with players in England who will be on the Jamaican side on February 28 in Kingston.

"There are a lot of English players with Jamaican parentage who play for Jamaica. So I think the game will be fascinating. There's a rivalry between Jamaica and Trinidad, like the one between England and Scotland. Hopefully, we'll get a point or three, and get off to a flyer in the group, which we need.

"It's an exciting time for us and I want to be a part of that. I want to put something back into my country because I'm probably the most famous person to come out of there in terms of football, and I'd like to think I could contribute something."

Yorke was part of the T&T side which was knocked out in the early stages of qualification for the 1994 World Cup by Jamaica. He also wore the national jersey when the United States defeated T&T 1-0 in 1989. He said the final qualifying match against the Americans on November 11 will bring back memories, but hopes that, by then, the "Soca Warriors" won't be needing a result to qualify for Japan and Korea in 2002.

"That was obviously a big disappointment for us, because we only needed a point to go through to the 1990 World Cup. I was a kid, only 17 or 18 at the time, so it was difficult to deal with such a high-profile thing. I'm a lot more experienced now...

"A lot of exciting things are happening in Trinidad at the moment and to be spearheading that is a great honour," Yorke said at the launch of Nike's schools coaching programme in England earlier this month. In the meantime, he is anxious to team up with skipper Russell Latapy and the rest of the national team.

"I think we have got a very good chance. We have beaten most of the teams that we're going to come up against and, with the likes of Shaka Hislop and Russ Latapy, we've got a very good team now who know what professionalism is.
"I think this is really my last chance and if we don't qualify, I will hang up my boots in terms of international football.
"If I didn't think we had a chance this time, I wouldn't go back. I would focus on Manchester United which I've done in the past," said Yorke, who will join coach Ian Porterfield's squad for a training camp in England from February 11.

Following Saturday's victory, manager Sir Alex Ferguson cleared the air on Yorke being left out of the team, denying reports of a bust-up between himself and Yorke. He said Yorke picked up an injury in training last Tuesday but would be fit for upcoming action.

John grateful for opened doors

National striker Stern John said in England recently that Manchester United's Dwight Yorke and West Indies batsman Brian Lara have been an inspiration to him, and that the exploits of both men in recent years opened doors to the sporting world for many like himself.

In an Umbro magazine feature in December, John said he is keen to give something back to T&T after receiving support which saw him rise to the ranks of English First Division football. "Everyone back home follows how people from Trinidad do abroad. Dwight and Brian opened the door for guys like me to come here and play.
"To play for Trinidad is something you can't explain," he beams. "We have one and a half million people and being one of the chosen few to play for your country is really good.

"I think this is our time to go to the World Cup. We've been doing great. We haven't really lost any games other than those where we'd already qualified. "We've got a great team on paper, we just need to play together. The next round is very important for us because it's the last before qualification. The first three go to the World Cup and we have a great chance," said John.

Despite being hampered by injuries for the past year and not being able to maintain a place in the Forest line-up, John is determined to bounce back and help his club gain promotion to the Premiership. "As long as we keep playing hard and working as a team, I'm sure we can be there soon," said the former Columbus Crew crackerjack.

John came on in the 31st minute of Forest's 0-3 loss to Crystal Palace in First Division action on Sunday. His club is currently in seventh spot on the table with 46 points, 18 behind leaders Fulham.

Forest signed Ipswich Town striker, Jamaican David Johnson, last week and are reportedly eying Miami Fusion forward, Jamaica's Andy Williams, who was a former teammate of John at Crew.

Portugal special for 'Latas'

Russell Latapy is on the verge of contract negotiations with Hibernian and, while it appears he will continue his professional career in the United Kingdom, the national captain said recently he still holds affection for Portugal.
The "Little Magician" spent a few days in Portugal earlier this month, before joining his Hibs teammates for winter-break training in Spain last Wednesday.

"I was in Portugal for nine years and one of the good things in football is that you make friends in the game. Some are friends for life and very true friends. I still have a chance to see them when I go back to Portugal and, with my girlfriend being Portuguese, I have another link to the country.

"I also have a son who was born in Portugal, so I love the country and enjoy going back there whenever I can. Some of my very good friends are still playing for Boavista and Porto, and I like to see them too when I go back. So, yes, I have a great deal of affection for Portugal," Latapy told Hibs.net.

The "Little Magician" said while he and some of Hibernian's attacking players have been having a good season, the team's defence deserves a lot of credit for their success so far.

"Obviously, they have a good understanding among themselves and they also have a willingness to pass the ball out of defence and come out a bit. I would go so far as to say the main success of the team this season has been the defence.

"The guys at the back are so solid, and 11 clean sheets already this term tells its own story. It certainly makes things easier for the attacking players when you know the defence are not giving much away," said Latapy.

Mauge sets up Rovers strike

This country's English-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge had 90 minutes of action in Bristol Rovers' 0-0 draw with Brentford in the English Second Division on Saturday. Mauge also saw full action in Rovers' 3-0 whipping of Plymouth Argyle last Tuesday. He set up his team's opening goal by sending through Latvian striker Vitaly Astafjevs to score in the eighth minute.

The former Lincoln City has only recently gotten back his fitness after being out for the past 10 months, having suffered a broken leg in T&T's 0-4 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup in February. Mauge said last week that he wants to put the last year behind him.

"I want to forget the year 2000 as soon as possible. It's been a disappointing first half of the season for us and we need to get back into winning ways as soon as possible," he said. Rovers are 19th on the 24-team table.

Meanwhile, Ian Cox enjoyed a solid performance in defence during Burnley's 0-0 draw with Gillingham in English First Division action on the weekend. Kevin Austin was not included in the Barnsley line-up for their 2-3 loss to Birmingham City on Saturday.

Boss credits Rougier

Reading boss Alan Pardew credited local boy Anthony Rougier for his performance in Reading's 2-1 victory over Hereford United in the LDV Trophy earlier this month.

Rougier did not end up on the scoresheet, but strikes by? first half goals from Jamie Cureton and Jim McIntyre were enough to see his English Second Division team through. Rougier delivered the cross for McIintyre's strike in the 39th minute.

"We tried a few different things and there were plenty of positives to come out of the game. I was very pleased with the performances of the two centre-halves, Jamie Cureton and Tony Rougier," said Pardew.

The former national skipper played the full 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Stoke City in League action on Saturday.
Reading are sixth on the table with 41 points. Milwall, the team of English-born goalkeeper, local Anthony Warner, are at the top of the League.

Second chance for Ince?

Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi said on the weekend that he was considering using Clayton Ince in goal, for the club's FA Cup replay against Cardiff which was scheduled for yesterday.

Ince has been out of action for the last few months after being put on the club's transfer list by Gradi. But the manager said the ex-Defence Force man would be better suited to deal with Cardiff's long throws than regular 'keeper George Bankole.

"I would think about Clayton for the Cardiff replay. We have been doing some work with 'George' (Bankole) on the long throws, but Clayton might just be better suited to combating them," said Gradi.

Ince was on the bench during Crewe's 3-1 victory over Grimsby Town on Saturday. He was also included in the club's reserve team in last week's 1-0 win over Rhyl.

His agent, Mike Berry, will be looking at possible moves for Ince within the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Shaka Hislop was forced to go off after 45 minutes in West Ham's 0-2 loss to Sunderland on Saturday due to a slight injury, according to reports. Hislop is currently being eyed by Liverpool and Chelsea.

Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation

U-20s beaten again

By Guardian Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago's Under-20 footballers have lost both their friendly international matches in Honduras.
After bowing to the Honduran youths 2-1 on Saturday, the national youngsters fell 2-0 to their opponents in the return game on Monday night.

Honduras scored both goals in the first half and held the Trinidadians at bay in the second. A report coming out of Tegulcigalpa stated that T&T played much better in the second period but was unable to score on the Hondurans. T& were due to arrive in Panama last night for a similar two-match series. They will oppose the Panamanians tonight and again Friday night.

T&T is preparing for the four-nation World Youth Championships qualifying tournament in Trinidad from March 18 to 22. The local side will open its campaign against Costa Rica on March 18 at the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

The tournament will kick off the same day with Guatemala and the United States meeting in the first game of the double-header. T&T will then face the USA in the second game of another double-header at Macoya on March 20. Costa Rica will oppose Guatemala in the earlier game.

The final day of competition will see T&T coming up against Guatemala to be followed by the USA versus Costa Rica on March 22 at the same venue. The team finishing on top of the group standings will advance to the World Youth Championships in Argentina in July.

Yorke: I'll quit if T&T 2002 W Cup bid fails

Assistant Sports Editor

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke announced yesterday that he will retire from international football if Trinidad and Tobago failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals.

"I think this is my last chance. If we don't qualify I will hang up my boots in terms of international football," the 29-year-old told the official United website. The final round of Concacaf Zone qualifying for the 2002 World Cup kicks off next month and T&T will open against Caribbean arch-rivals Jamaica in Kingston on February 28.

Yorke will be one of T&T coach Ian Porterfield's main offensive weapons, along with close friend and team skipper Russell Latapy, who plays for Scottish Premier Division club Hibernian.

The other teams battling in the ten-match round-robin series for one of three Concacaf berths in Japan and Korea next year are Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States. Yorke had also told the Internet website, Footy 365, earlier this week that he was looking forward to the game against the Reggae Boyz.

"... I think the game will be fascinating. There's a rivalry between Jamaica and Trinidad, like the one between England and Scotland. Hopefully, we'll get a point or three, and get off to a flyer in the group, which we need." The former "Strike Squad" player also revealed that he would not miss the opportunity to help his team reach the World Cup for the first time in its history.

"It's an exciting time for us and I want to be a part of that," he said. "I want to put something back into my country because I'm probably the most famous person to come out of there in terms of football, and I'd like to think I could contribute something." He also felt that the experience within the team would be a plus in what is expected to be a tough campaign.

"I think we have got a very good chance. We have beaten most of the teams that we're going to come up against and, with the likes of Shaka Hislop and Russell Latapy, we've got a very good team now who know what professionalism is." He added: "If I didn't think we had a chance this time, I wouldn't go back. I would focus on Manchester United which I've done in the past."

 Injury scare for Shaka Hislop


Trinidad and Tobago's England-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop could be sidelined for a couple weeks after picking up an injury over the weekend. Hislop injured his knee during the first half of West Ham's 2-0 Premiership loss to Sunderland on Sunday and is now fighting to return to full fitness.

The seriousness of the injury was apparent almost immediately as Hislop had to be replaced by Canadian goalkeeper Craig Forrest at the half-time interval because he could not continue playing after taking a knock on the knee. And, according to reports out of England yesterday, Hislop may be out for a a while.

The 31-year-old goalie is expected to undergo an MRI scan on the knee some time this week to determine the exact nature of the injury. But he will definitely miss this weekend's Premiership clash against Charlton.

Hislop also missed most of last season after breaking his left leg in February during action for the Hammers against Bradford.

This latest injury comes at a bad time for both Hislop and T&T coach Ian Porterfield, who intends to call on the six-foot, seven inches 'keeper for next month's opening final round Concacaf Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston.

Should Hislop be out for a lengthy period his fitness for the crucial February 28 clash against the Reggae Boyz will be a definite factor. It is still early days yet but, should it come to this, Porterfield will fall back on Clayton Ince, also based in England with Crewe Alexandra, to do duty between the uprights.

The injury also comes at a time when reports are that Premiership club Liverpool, had joined the list of clubs interested in signing Hislop should he not re-sign with the Hammers. Hammers manager Harry Redknapp is reportedly keen to sign Hislop but new contracts talks have stalled because the player is not happy with the deal being offered.

Hislop arrived at Upton Park on a free transfer in 1998 from Newcastle and almost immediately became a fan favourite, winning the "Hammer of the Year" in his first season there. Liverpool are reportedly keeping tabs on the matter and have, on several occasions, sent scouts to look at the T&T star in action this season.

Chelsea also recently expressed an interest in signing Hislop, rated one of the best 'keepers in the Premiership, should he decide to part ties with West Ham.

Wrexham still shadowing Lawrence

English Second Division club Wrexham have not given up on signing lanky Trinidad and Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence just yet.

Lawrence is, at present, training with the national senior team in preparation for next month’s World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica in February.

However, Wrexham assistant manager Kevin Reeves remains confident they will sign the six-foot-seven defender.

“We are hopeful of trying to do something with Dennis,” said Reeves on the Wrexham website yesterday.

“He is desperate to come across and play for us. We have agreed personal terms, but we now have to agree a fee with the Army club he plays for.”

Should Lawrence become a Wrexham player, he will link up with former army teammate Carlos Edwards and compatriot Hector Sam, both also members of the national senior team.

However, there is still some work to be done by the Welsh club.

Defence Force manager Captain Kester Weekes told the Express that the club is yet to receive official word from Wrexham.

Weekes maintained though that the Defence Force has no intention of jeopardising his chances of turning pro and will charge no more than a nominal transfer fee.

                         Fergie defends Yorke

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has attempted to defuse speculation about a rift between himself and record club signing Dwight Yorke after the Trinidad and Tobago star missed Saturday’s game.

Yorke was not even named among the substitutes on the weekend when United whipped table proppers Bradford City 3-0.

Instead, leading goalscorer Teddy Sheringham returned to the starting line-up to partner Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while Andy Cole was the lone striker on the bench.

However, Ferguson told the English media that Yorke was left out after picking up an injury in training.

Earlier this season, Yorke was the centre of controversy when he allegedly went home early after being told that he was not in the side to face Leeds at Old Trafford.

Ferguson also had some choice words for Yorke in September after the striker returned home from international duty.

At present, Yorke is with the rest of the United first team in southern Spain for a brief mid-season break.

                      Hammers lose Hislop

West Ham United manager Harry Redknapp has temporarily lost the services of goalkeeper Shaka Hislop through a knee injury.

Hislop has been having problems with his knee for some time and was considered lucky to have lasted 90 minutes against Manchester United on the previous weekend.

However, Hislop could not continue past the halftime interval on Saturday against Sunderland and was replaced by Canadian Craig Forest.

He now seems certain to miss this Saturday’s fixture against Charlton Athletic.

The injury comes at a time when Hislop's value has been soaring thanks to his heroic shot blocking efforts.

Last week, a survey in Match of the Day magazine rated Hislop as the sixth best custodian in the English Premier League with three saves from every four shots this season.

Ahead of Hislop is Leicester City’s Tim Flowers (first) as well as Manchester United’s Fabien Barthez, Sunderland’s Thomas Sorensen, Ipswich’s Richard Wright and Coventry’s Magnus Hedman.

Little wonder then that Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has already indicated an interest in the Trinidadian should the Hammers fail to re-sign him.

              Latas warned to keep it reasonable

TRINIDAD and Tobago national football team captain Russell Latapy was among several Hibernian players who received a veiled warning from their employers over contract negotiations.

Latapy’s contract with the Scottish Premier League team expires this summer and, as the Hibs management prepare to re-negotiate terms, they insist that there is only so much money in the kitty.

“If there is a big gulf in their demands for a pay rise and we can’t meet it, then there’s not a lot we can do,” said coach Alex McLeish.

“We’ve got to understand they have to earn what they can as they have a relatively short career, but I hope the gap isn’t too great.”

Latapy has been a key figure for Hibs this season with some brilliant midfield play which earned him a spot among Fifa’s top 40 players of 2000.

Porterfield: We are devastated

Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago senior team coach Ian Porterfield is keeping his fingers crossed that Fifa will reconsider their ban on national defender Ansil Elcock.

This after the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) appealed the ban on Elcock.

Just six weeks before T&T’s opening final round Concacaf World Cup qualifier against Jamaica, the normally conservative Porterfield admitted to being stunned at the three-match international ban handed down by the world governing body.

“Obviously we are all devastated really,” said Porterfield.

“To be notified just a few days ago that he would be suspended for a further three games is a really big shock.”

On Friday, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee slapped Elcock with a three-match international suspension, as well as a three month ban from domestic competition and a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs for a “dangerous tackle” against Mexican striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco during a World Cup qualifying game.

The T&TFF countered with a written appeal on Sunday after discussions between president Oliver Camps, secretary Richard Groden and special adviser and Fifa vice-president Jack Warner.

Elcock’s punishment follows a plea to the world governing body from the Mexican Football Federation who asked that the Columbus Crew defender be banned indefinitely and the T&TFF forced to pay Blanco’s medical bills.

However, Porterfield believes that the automatic one-match suspension for a red card offence is punishment enough.

“Look at (Zinedine) Zidane who stamped on a player (in the 1998 World Cup tournament) and got a one match ban,” said Porterfield.

“Elcock did not stamp on anybody and he got a further three match ban.”

Camps agreed and explained that the T&TFF had appealed on the grounds that the punishment was too severe on all three counts.

“I do not know of such a severe ban on any national player for a tackle,” said Camps, who has been involved in international football for close to three decades.

“Certainly never for a Trinidad player! If someone strikes a referee or so that is a different story. But not for an infringement like that.”

The suspension rules Elcock out of T&T’s away World Cup qualifying fixtures to Jamaica and Costa Rica as well as their home match against Mexico in April.

Mexico, who are expected to be without the injured Blanco until May, lost 1-0 when they visited Port of Spain last year but avenged their defeat with a 7-0 mauling of T&T in Mexico City.

Porterfield admitted to the Daily Express that the left back position has been a difficult one to fill.

Barnsley full back Kevin Austin—who won his only national cap in a lacklustre 1-0 win against Panama last November—has been the only player used in that position during T&T’s Concacaf semifinal round campaign.

But Austin is, at present, out of favour at the English First Division team and has not played in a competitive domestic game for the past three months.

Elcock indicated last year that he would not be returning to Mexico after receiving numerous death threats at his Trinidad home from irate Mexican fans.

Should Elcock hold true to his word, it would mean that Porterfield would have his player available for just six of T&T’s ten World Cup qualifying games.

Public face Mexicans without Dwarika

Sports Desk

NO Trinidad and Tobago club has ever scored a goal at the final stage of the Concacaf Club Championship, let alone won a match.

It is with this depressing statistic in mind that Caribbean Club champs Joe Public tackle Mexico's 1999 Torneo Invierno winners Pachuca CF from 8.30 pm tonight at the Titan Stadium, Fullerton, California.

Their job was made even harder through the loss of inspirational striker Arnold Dwarika to injury.

Dwarika, a former Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) Player of the Year, was forced to miss the trip after receiving a knock in a friendly game against the T&T Under-20 team last Tuesday.

Without him, Public may be forced to use team captain and national midfielder Angus Eve alongside young striker Nigel Pierre. The playmaking duties are likely to fall to the wily Kerwyn "Hardest" Jemmott whose performances last season earned him another recall to the national senior team.

Together the trio must find a way past a Pachuca team boasting of the best defence in Mexico.

In 17 games so far this season, Pachuca have conceded just 18 goals but their solid rear-guard play has often gone unmatched by their offence.

Their unimpressive tally of 24 goals scored though, is the reason why they languish, at present, in sixth spot.

Public would be consoled by the fact that a whipping is unlikely to be on the cards.

Their first appearance at this stage in 1997 resulted in a 8-0 drubbing at the hands of DC United.

Their defence held out for a more respectable 2-0 defeat in 1999 against Chicago Fire but the game was just as one-sided.

United Petrotrin is the only other team to represent the Caribbean region in the Concacaf Club Tournament.

They lost 1-0 to DC United in 1996 with an ageing squad that included former Strike Squad captain and present Public assistant coach Clayton Morris.

Morris forms a two-man coaching team along with recently appointed head coach Zoran Vranes.

However manager Richard Abraham was not brimming with confidence when he spoke to the Daily Express before the team's departure for Los Angeles.

"This time our team is less well prepared than our previous teams," said Abraham.

"We have only had five days preparation because it's out of season for us. Also the new technical appointments slowed us down as we had to wait for the arrival of our new coach.

"It puts us at a disadvantage as the Mexican league as well as the Costa Rican and Honduran leagues are all in mid-season."

Public played just two warm-up matches before leaving for the US. They defeated the Red Devils—a fete match team—6-0 before being held to a 1-1 draw by the Under-20 squad.

Jabloteh recruit  Terry Fenwick

FORMER English international defender Terry Fenwick has been named as the successor to former CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh head football coach Ron La Forest.
The 41-year-old Fenwick wore England colours in 1986 when the English fell in the quarterfinals to a famous double strike from Argentine Diego Maradona. Fenwick is expected to arrive in Trinidad tomorrow.

La Forest was allowed to leave Jabloteh at the end of last season after his two-year contract with the club expired. In his tenure, Jabloteh were twice winners of the PFL Cup but league success eluded the Bourg Mulatresse outfit.

Last season, Jabloteh ended in third spot behind winners W.Connection FC and runner-up Defence Force.

The appointment of Fenwick follows a clear-out at Jabloteh who released seven first team players last month.

Team captain Dale Saunders as well as Keith Pierre, Daleon Sinnette, Barry Swift, Sherwin Gomez, Don Morris and former national standout Marvin Faustin were all released for reasons varying from indiscipline to poor performance.

TTFF appeals Elcock ban

Assistant Sports Editor

THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Football Federation yesterday officially appealed the FIFA ban levelled on Ansil Elcock.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee slapped a three-match World Cup ban on the key United States-based defender on Friday, effectively ruling him out of action until T&T's fourth final-round Concacaf Zone 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras in June.

The ban was handed out after the FIFA Disciplinary Committee reviewed evidence from last October's penultimate Concacaf Zone semi-final round clash between T&T and Mexico in which Elcock was sent off late in the second half after a crunching tackle on striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

Apart from the three-match World Cup ban, which will eliminate Elcock from T&T's matches against Jamaica (February 28), Costa Rica (March 24 or 28) and Mexico (April 25), Fifa also banned Elcock from activity with Columbus Crew for three months.

However, yesterday, TTFF president Oliver Camps confirmed that his orgsanisation was appealing the decision because of its severity. "I felt it kind of strange that the decision was made in the first place given the fact that Elcock was already sent off," Camps told the Guardian yesterday.

"We really feel the ban is too harsh and that's why we are appealing. We aren't appealing the decision, really, but the severity of the ban." Camps made the decision after consultation with TTFF secretary Richard Groden and TTFF special advisor Jack Austin Warner over the weekend.

Elcock has been a standout in the T&T defence for the past six years. And Camps admitted that they felt inclined to stand up for the player. "I haven't actually spoken to Elcock but I'm sure he'll take heart in the fact that we are not just letting it go just like that. But I'm really feeling it for him right now."

Camps said the ultimate aim of the appeal was to get the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which can now also increase the penalty having been asked to revisit the matter, to shorten the length of the ban in both cases. However, noting that he had no idea how long it would take the Committee to meet and reply on the matter, Camps said they could now only hope for a positive response.

Monday January 15th, 2001

Panathinaikos summon Jason Scotland


DEFENCE Force and Professional Football League (PFL) leading goalscorer Jason Scotland will leave for Greece next week
after being summoned to trials by top European club Panathinaikos.

Scotland, who made his national senior team debut in November against Panama, is coming off a promising 2000 season when
he was adjudged the PFL’s Most Promising Player as well as the top goalscorer with 22 goals.

The trials have been organised for Scotland by CLF Jabloteh marketing manager Peter Miller whom Defence Force manager
Captain Kester Weekes described as “a point of contact between both parties”.

Miller told the Daily Express that he informed Panathinaikos about Scotland after the club had approached him about a “less
talented player” in England.

Panathinaikos is at present riding on some excellent form in the UEFA Champions’ League which saw them progress from a
group including former Cup winners Juventus of Italy, Spanish La Liga champs Deportivo La Coruña and Germany’s Hamburg.

However, they are seeking a striker to add punch to a solid defence and midfield spearheaded by Portuguese linkman Paulo
Sousa and Danish sweeper René Henriksen.

Scotland will get a chance to stake his claim as he has been invited for an initial 14-day trial.

He is expected to leave for Greece next Thursday or Friday and now seems likely to miss Trinidad and Tobago’s friendly
internationals against Grenada on January 27 and 29.

Granville's second coming

Sports Desk

THE score at the end of last Tuesday’s friendly encounter between Joe Public and the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 football team read 1-1. But in spite of what the scoreboard said, the broad smile that adorned the face of national youth coach Peter Granville testified to a victory of sorts.

On the University of the West Indies ground in St Augustine, the youngsters rushed to shake the hands of their football idols whom they had given a torrid time for most of the afternoon. Fourteen of the 18 players fielded by Joe Public had had national senior team experience.

On the perimeter of the ground, Granville exchanged pleasantries with Joe Public coaches Zoran Vranes and Clayton Morris as well as the on-looking Ian Porterfield, Jimmy Blanc and Alvin Corneal.

Granville hopes to soon prove himself worthy of such illustrious company.

“These boys we have selected are totally committed,” said Granville prior to the start of the friendly. “And I believe they will do quite well. I think we are right up there with any team we’re going to play in the tournament.

“We just need to be committed, we need to be focused, we need to concentrate for 100 minutes and I think we have the tools here for success.”

On Tuesday, against a bewildered Joe Public team and a seething Vranes, Granville’s boys at least showed that there was credit in his philosophy.

And, while the soft-spoken coach has never outwardly appeared short on self-confidence, he would recognise the need to offer tangible evidence to all—save perhaps his Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) employers.

His last stint at the helm of the Under-20 squad has not been forgotten, if only because Granville has done little since then—or before then for that matter!

The T&TFF has so far failed to acquiesce to requests by the Daily Express for the résumés of Granville and his technical staff. That includes manager George Joseph, goalkeeping coach Kelvin Jack as well as the coach’s brother John Granville and Englishman Jim Kellman who are both listed as “technical advisors”.

However, football fans will remember that it was with Granville at the helm that T&T were crushed in all three group matches at home in the 1998 U-20 Concacaf Qualifying Series.

They lost 3-1, 4-0 and 6-1 to Canada, Costa Rica and the United States respectively.

Since then Granville has enjoyed a short stint as head coach of Professional Football League (PFL) team Doc’s Khelwalaas before he was re-appointed by the T&TFF.

It is in theory rather than in practice that Granville has so far distinguished himself. His résumé is understood to be replete with coaching certificates gained

For that matter, the same can be said of most—if not all—of the current technical staff.

His brother, Granville (J), is a former custodian and goalkeeping coach at English club Reading but he has never managed a professional team.

Kellman, it is understood, has also never coached professionally despite being a qualified coaching instructor.

Joseph was involved with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force football team in the mid-80s and was a low-key assistant to coach Bertille St Clair on the national senior team recently.

While 24-year-old Jack—still an active player with Khelwalaas—was capped at every level of national football but has never commanded the number one jersey since Under-14 level.

It is hardly the combination that makes an intimidating think tank but Granville believes that they will get it right this time.

“It was my first tournament going in as a head coach,” said Granville in reference to his first outing at the helm of the Under-20s. “You think you have prepared properly but...

“We played some 21 games which included our international tour to England. Two losses, 18 wins and a draw and then came the tournament... What I am doing differently this time is in terms of preparation.”

With his two technical advisors in train, Granville is confident that his team will be fitter and better without the ball than his last squad.

There were promising signs of that in the game against Joe Public.

Porterfield would not have enjoyed seeing his combative midfielder Stokely Mason being regularly outfoxed by nippy winger Nigel Daniel.

Equally disconcerting for Vranes was the failure of his experienced central midfielders to deal with the bundle of energy that was Michael Celestine.

Under-20 striker Devon Mitchell and promising utility player Collin Samuels both worked hard on the day despite going unrewarded while sweeper Devin Jordan and custodian Daurance Williams also performed creditably. But there is still much to be done.

Neither of St Benedict’s midfielder Silvio Spann nor El Dorado’s Kwame Wiltshire have yet quite lived up to expectations in their roles as playmaker. On the flanks, the pace and dribbling ability of Daniel and Josh Johnson was noticeably not matched by their distribution.

Their on-going tour of Honduras and Panama will further test the resolve of the squad as well as the ability of players and technical staff to adjust to contrasting styles and game situations.

In March, T&T will host an United States squad full of graduates from their campaign in the 1997 Under-17 Junior World Cup where the Americans placed an impressive fourth—the best ever World Cup placing by a Concacaf nation.

They will be led by 18-year-old Germany-based forward Landon Donovan who was voted among the top three players of that tournament and recently made his senior team debut with a match-winning goal against a full strength Mexico team.

Granville’s squad must not only outdo this team but the Guatemala and Costa Rica youth teams as well if T&T are to capture the one World Youth Cup spot at stake. It is a tall order for any coach in charge of a team traditionally starved of resources.

Granville will give it his “best shot”.

“The experiences of the last tournament,” said the Tobagonian, “have taught me one or two things that I have tried to implement this time around. But only time will tell.”

The football fraternity will certainly wish him better luck in his second examination. He is likely to need all of it.

John aims to turn it around

The Pro Look with Shaun Fuentes

The last few months have been frustrating for Stern John as he sat on the bench, watching his Nottingham Forest teammates in action.

But, the 24-year-old striker who has knee injuries, is determined to force his way back into the form that saw him destroy defences while playing in the American Major League two seasons ago.

"It's been very frustrating," says John, "as I've not been able to stay injury-free. But, when I come back this time I'll stay away from injuries and start putting the ball in the back of the net. I need to get a little more match practice and get back fit. It's a big club and everyone knows what I can do, I just need to show it," John told Umbro.com last month.

He has made five full appearances and six off the bench for Forest this season, scoring just one goal.
There isn't a better time for him to be back than when this country faces Jamaica in its World Cup match on February 28.

John came on in the 83rd minute in Forest's 0-1 loss to Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday. Forest is currently 9th in the standings.

Yorke says burden's never too high

Dwight Yorke says the burden of high expectations of himself and other Manchester United teammates is never too high. The 29-year-old striker, forced to miss United's 0-1 loss to Liverpool on the weekend due to suspension, was speaking to reporters in England last week. He added: "

We have been successful in getting through the group phases (Champions' League). The expectation at United is very high. Everybody expects us to win on every occasion. But the burden isn't too much for the players. We go out with the intention of winning every match.

"It has been a year of halves for me. After finishing top scorer for the second season and winning another championship, I find myself on the bench. But, I am determined to come back."

Yorke, who has been rumoured by the English Press to be part of a swap deal with Liverpool's Robbie Fowler, will miss United's next two matches against Ipswich Town and Aston Villa on December 23 and 26. United is top of the Premiership table with 40 points.

Lewis set to be top pick in MLS draft

Striker Darren Lewis is anxious to begin playing professional football. This was indicated when he spoke to reporters in the United States prior to helping the University of Connecticut to the American NCAA title with a 2-0 victory over Creighton earlier this month. He has been tipped as a top pick in next February's American Major League Soccer draft.

"I look forward to pro soccer. I know I have a future ahead of me. I want to play somewhere, anywhere - MLS or wherever. Last year I dribbled a lot. This year, I do a lot more passing because I've had two or three guys on me. In one game against Notre Dame, I had a striker marking me.

It's funny. That's why I haven't scored a lot this year. I've had to play provider because they're marking me up. I had more freedom last year. Now it's a little bit difficult. But, I still pull out the tricks because they don't look for them," said Lewis.

Hislop solid as usual

Shaka Hislop turned in another fine performance in goal to help West Ham United to a 1-1 draw with Everton in the Premiership over the weekend. Hislop, was tested early in the encounter, having to push out Stephen Hughes' attempt and then forced wide a header by Kevin Campbell.

However, Hislop was beaten by Steve Watson's shot from 15 yards out after 75 minutes. Frederic Canoute's strike in the 83rd minute gave Hislop's team a share of the points. The "Hammers" are in eighth spot with 26 points on the table.

Mauge return delayed

Ronnie Mauge's comeback from injury was delayed last week when he had to sit out Bristol Rover's match with Reading because of the flu.

The former Plymouth Argyle midfielder was looking forward to wearing a Bristol jersey again but will have to wait a little while longer. Manager Ian Holloway did not include him in the team which lost 0-3 to Stoke City over the weekend.

Wrexham praises Edwards

Carlos Edwards came in for high praise from Wrexham manager Bryan Flynn after scoring an eighth minute opener in his club's 2-1 victory over Brentford on Saturday.

Flynn said Edwards was undoubtedly in top form, but warned his players not to become complacent in the closing stages of their future matches, like they had done over the weekend.

Meanwhile, local midfielder Clint Marcelle was unable to take the field for Third Division side Hull City on the weekend because of a foot ligament injury. His team fell 1-2 to Torquay United. Marcelle, fresh from signing a deal with Hull until the end of the season, will be hoping to recover before the end of 2000.

Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.

Female football star leaves for NJ

By Everard Gordon

Amanda Cruickshank is the star of the St George's College Girls' football team and, also, the star pupil of the Fifth Form.

This year, she led the team to the knock-out championship in the Secondary Schools Girls Football tournament and they were runners-up to the perennial winners, Toco Composite.

Looking at her, you would never believe she is a fabulous footballer - a very normal -sized girl, pleasant and almost shy personality. "When she is on the field she is a different girl," said her coach, George Valentine.

Last Friday, I was invited to St George's to witness a presentation and farewell function for Amanda by her teammates. The function was a revelation and resulted because Amanda, her parents and two brothers are going to Glasboro, New Jersey, where she will be completing her education and where her father takes up a position at a university.

The girls individually gave small addresses, all attesting to the fact that they will miss her, Amanda, the person, not merely the footballer. They talked about her inspirational qualities, on the field and in the classroom. The occasion was charged with emotion and an outpouring of love.

One young lady said, "I watch her playing such brilliant and energetic football, and then coming to school next day, doing good work and being so breezy, and I wish I could be like her."

Her teachers also spoke glowingly of her discipline and her ability to concentrate on what she had to do. Mrs Patel was very glowing in her remarks about a girl who was the embodiment of all the school wishes to see in its students.
Coach Valentine knows a thing or two about footballers, and especially girl footballers. He trains a team of young women who give men a hard time in matches in the east, and his daughter Tamara is a member of an American college team, which recently won its conference title.

He says, "From the beginning I recognised Amanda was the highest calibre of player. She had been playing with her brothers and other boys from an early age and she understood the game and its tactics. She kicked well, played a high standard of football, and she wants to win. She never gives up or accepts defeat and it is difficult to beat her."

He, too, was enthusiastic about her quality as a student and asserted, "she brought her intelligence into the game. She is a coach's delight. She listens and learns quickly."

She is a midfielder because of her vision of the game, and she is such a superb play maker but she has excellent skills and is a good dribbler because of her ball control. "Do you know in just eight games she scored 18 goals which included five hattricks. She failed to score in only one game."

Amanda is from a family of well educated people. Her father is a lecturer in mathematics and two elder brothers are also in education. She is a straight A student in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, additional mathematics, English language and literature.

"So, what do you want to do when you grow up?" I asked her. She had no hesitation in replying, "I want to study medicine, though I don't know yet what branch I would like to specialise in."

Her team and schoolmates wish her the very best in her new environment and feel sure she will be one of the young ones who gives her country a good name wherever she may go. They sincerely hope she achieves her goals and returns to uplift the country by her example.

Public bid to restore pride

Sports Desk

JOE Public Football Club fly out for Los Angeles, USA tomorrow hoping to erase some unpleasant memories in the Concacaf
Club Championship.

Joe Public finished fourth in last season’s Professional Football League (PFL) but earned the right to represent the region by
virtue of capturing their third successive Caribbean Club Championship title.

However, their regional successes have meant little at Concacaf level.

In their first outing in this competition in 1998, they were turned back by US Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit DC United by
a humiliating 8-0 scoreline.

In 1999, the result was less earth-shattering but no less one-sided as they fell 2-0 to fellow MLS team Chicago Fire.

And the fact that the Eastern Lions are, at present, going through a transition period does not augur well for their chances.

Yugoslav Zoran Vranes—who also had a stint with the team in 1997—has had less than a week in charge of his team since his
appointment in December.

Vranes is the third Public head coach over the past 12 months and this will be his first overseas assignment with Jack Warner’s
squad. Concacaf youth director Keith Look Loy and the duo of Alvin Corneal and Jamaal Shabazz guided the Lions at their
two previous Concacaf appearances.

On the playing field, talismanic striker Arnold Dwarika—the only player to compete in either campaign—will again be expected
to provide the bulk of the thrust.

He is supported by captain Angus Eve and teammates Stokely Mason, Kerwyn Jemmott, Alvin Thomas, Nigel Pierre, Cyd
Gray, Adarryl John, Coulson Dick, Donovan Thomas and Michael Mc Comie—all of whom will be playing in their second

Haitian defender Pierre Bruny, Brent Sancho, Mickey Trotman, Adrian Narine, George Dublin and Dale Saunders—who
recently signed as a free agent from CLF Jabloteh—are all making their first trip. While defensive left-side midfielder Sherwyn
Julien has appeared in the competition once before with United Petrotrin who were edged out 1-0 by DC United in 1997.

The Public technical staff is headed by Richard Abraham and includes manager Sam Joseph Phillip, assistant coach Clayton
Morris, equipment manager Ikin Williams and physiotherapist Lennox Murray.

Public face Mexican club team Pachuca CF from 8.30 pm on Tuesday January 16 in a knockout fixture at Titan Stadium,
Fullerton, California.

The other six teams involved in the tournament are Toluca (Mexico), CD Olimpia and Real CD España (Honduras), LD
Alajuelense (Costa Rica), DC United and LA Galaxy (both USA).

The champion and runner-up will both progress to the Fifa 2001 World Club Championship.

Monday January 8th, 2001

MLS calls Darin Lewis ...but T&T ace may not answer


TRINIDADIAN Darin Lewis has what many American footballers (sooccer) would die for but he is not necessarily dying to keep it.

Twenty four-year-old Lewis, who led Belmont Seconday to the 1992 Coca Cola Intercol title, has returned home after establishing the University of Connecicut as the top soccer team at college level in the United States.

His success has seen him highlighted big and bold on the cover of latest issue of Soccer America which is the United States premier soccer magazine.

His position on Soccer America’s cover has turned into a big thing at UCON and also at Mercer where he was before. More importantly, his success almost certainly guarantees him a first round draft pick which will see him earn a professional contract with a team in American Major League Soccer (MLS). The MLS, it will be remembered, is where Trinidadians Stern John, Ancil Elcock, David Nakhid, Evans Wise, Mickey Trotman, Gary Glasgow, Travis Mulrain, Keyano Thomas and Brian Haynes have played.

Lewis is not entirely thrilled by the prospect of MLS soccer.

“I am not so sure I want to play in the MLS because of the kind of money they pay. In the MLS they are looking to pay me U.S$30,000 per year. I can work and make more money than that. Right now they have a new women’s professional league in the United States and the women are guaranteed a minimum of U.S$30,000. I have friends who have been drafted who are getting U.S$38,000.”

The son of Carol and Steve “Darkhorse” Pierre, hopes instead to pursue opportunities in Europe and already there are options in Portugal and Germany. His American coach too is not to eager to see his star forward tied up with the MLS. Lewis is awaiting a phone call but in the meantime he has been drafted into Ian Poterfield’s Trinidad and Tobago World Cup qualifying squad and begins training from January 8.

Lewis though is no stranger to the national team having formed a striking force with Angus Eve four years ago. he now wants to play right midfield where he can take on players. That position though seems to have been cemented by Eve who has sparked during theWorld Cup qualifiers.

Lewis though is undetterred.

“I don’t mind sitting on the bench and having to come on for somebody. All I want to do is play for Trinidad and Tobago.”

He feels that since going to the United states he has become a more mature player.

“Before when I was with the national team coach Jimmy Blanc would tell me that I was working to hard and I should let the ball do more work. What we had was both me and Eve doing the same thing. Now I am more prepared to pace myself and let the defenders come to me. I am more intelligent and will not necessarily do as much dribbling as I did in the past.”

Lewis is also prepared to put his studies on hold while he tries to make the senior team or land a professional contract.

“My school programme allows me to leave and still return to complete my scholarship at a later date. It’s similar to a Liberian defender on my team called Chris Gbandi who won the Hermann Trophy. That means he is the top player in the country. He is a junior and he will be leaving school two years early because he is hot now and everybody wants him.

If he was to stay and we did not do so good next year, his time might pass so he has to go now. But at UCON that will not affect his scholarship so he can go and play and wehen he is finished he can still come back to school and finish his degree.”

Lewis is contemplating the same plan. Having already completed an associate degree in sociology at Mercer County Community College, he is comtemplating deffering the completion of a degree in sociology at UCON to a later date.

Lewis says that 2000 may have been the best season he has had in college soccer.

“But it was very hard. My first year I came from a lower division school and was going to this big school so no one knew me. That way I was able to gallery on them goes big. This year was different because they were more prepared for me and most times I had two and three men marking me in a game.”

Still Lewis was able to find the back of the net ten times, which is just one short of his 1999 tally. He also scored in both the Playoff semifinal when they beat SMU 2-0 and the final in which they stopped high-scoing Creighton 8-0.

The Playoffs, he says were easier because the three teams from the West did not know much of them and did not resort to the crude hacking tactics they allowed the smaller but speedy UCON team the space it needed to run .

The NCAA title has been the climax of four years in which he was able to reach the Final Four playoff without winning the NCAA Championship. In his first season with Mercer they were beaten in the final by Yavapie for which Trinidadian Kelvin Jack and Kevin Jeffery played. They lost the semi-final in 1998 and also last year event though Lewis was able to net a 35-yard scorcher.

The 2000 season saw Ucon making no mistake at all.

Lewis feels that sucess must in a big way be credited to coach Ray Reid’s scouting programme.

“The other team normally goes to England and Australia for the big players while out coach has tried to get the best players from all over.  He also tries to play a short passing game, more Brazilian -while the others play the longball a lot.”

Reid was able to assemble a team inluding Trinidadians Darin Lewis and Brent Rahim, a Honduran who played against Trinidad and Tobago at youth level, a Colombian, three Liberian and a Guatemalan.

Costa Rica earns last CONCACAF World Cup berth

MIAMI, 6 JanUARY 2001 (Reuters) - Rolando Fonseca scored two goals and assisted on another as Costa Rica defeated Guatemala 5-2 on Saturday to clinch the final CONCACAF berth from Group E in first-round World Cup qualifying. A crowd of 50,000 was on hand at Miami's Orange Bowl stadium, including Costa Rican president Miguel Angel Rodriguez, for the playoff for the final CONCACAF berth.
The playoff became necessary after the Central American rivals finished the first round tied with 10 points. Each team beat the other 2-1 at home, and each had a plus-three goal differential, forcing Saturday's match to be staged at the neutral site.

With the victory, Costa Rica joined the United States, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad in the final round of World Cup qualifying, beginning next month.

Each teams will play the other five twice in the final qualifying round with the top three qualifying for the 2002 World Cup finals in Korea and Japan.

Costa Rica and Guatemala have the oldest rivalry in Central America, having met 56 times. Costa Rica leads the series 26-15-15 with a 7-5-3 edge in World Cup qualifiers.

Guatemala, wich was in the hunt for its first World Cup appearance, must now wait another four years for a shot.

Guatemala opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but Costa Rica struck five times before Guatemala put the ball in the goal again.

On the opening goal, Claudio Rojas stole the ball and cleared midfield with a pass to Juan Carlos Plata, who dribbled into the penalty box and crossed from the left side toward the middle. Carlos Ruiz raced Costa Rican goalkeeper Alvaro Mesen, beating him to the ball and kicking it into the net as the two collided.

Guatemala's celebration and lead was short-lived as Costa Rica quickly answered with an equalizer on a goal by Paulo Wanchope in the seventh minute after Guatemala twice failed to clear the ball from its own zone.

Costa Rica seized the lead for good in the 43rd minute, when Fonseca passed to midfielder Rodrigo Cordero about 40 meters out and ran through to receive a brilliantly-placed center pass from Cordero. Fonseca got behind defender Luis Swisher and drove the ball into the center of the net.

Fonseca, who is well-liked in Guatemala where he plays for top Guatemalan club CSD Comunicaciones, made a key play on the back-breaking third goal in the 58th minute when his corner kick was headed into the net by Reynaldo Parks.

Less than 60 seconds later, Fonseca made it 4-1 with a blast from 30 meters out into the left corner of the net.

Jafet Soto, who came in for Parks, scored the fifth goal for his country late in the second half before Ruiz netted his second goal of the night for Guatemala on a penalty kick in the final minute.

TTFF names Latapy as 'Footballer of the Year'

RUSSELL LATAPY will represent men's football and Leslie Ann James women's football respectively at the WITCO Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in February this year.

Latapy, the Trinidad and Tobago's captain, was a unanimous choice after being voted the 33rd best player in the world last year.

His selection was made last Saturday by a three-man panel comprising Jack Warner, FIFA vice-president and advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association( TTFF), TTFF's president, Oliver Camps and secretary Richard Groden.

Latapy, who plays for Hibernian in the Scottish Football League, was named "Sports Personality of the Year" when the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) held its function last Friday.

Hislop steers Hammers in FA

By Guardian Sports Writer

Trinidad and Tobago's England-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop had yet another adventurous work-out between the uprights yesterday.

The six-foot seven inches keeper was kept busy as West Ham just edged out Second Division Walsall 3-2 in a third-round FA clash. Hislop did well to keep the Hammers ahead midway through the first half when he turned a header from Walsall's Argentinean Brett Angell around the post.

With the score then 1-1, Hislop was called into action on the stroke of halftime to keep Hammers in the game. That time he parried a close ranger header from Angell out of danger. After Frederic Kanoute scored the second of his double then set up another for teammate Frank Lampard to put the Hammers 3-1 up, Hislop let an 88th minute goal slip by. But he would not be beaten again.

In another game, Trinidadian defender Ian Cox's Burnley was held to a 2-2 draw by Third Division Scunthorpe. Cox had a goalward bound header cleared off the line in the first half for the First Division Burnley.

In Second Division league action, former T&T skipper Anthony Rougier's Reading was edged out 4-3 by Millwall. Rougier came on after 33 minutes but was unable to change the outcome of the game.

Defender Kevin Austin's Brentford also drew 1-1 with Northampton. Austin did not get any action though. In the Third Division, Clint Marcelle came off the bench nine minutes from time for Hull in a goalless encounter with Maccelsfield Town. And over in Scotland, big T&T defender Marvin Andrews' Livingston drew 1-1 with Airdrie.

Friday Janaury 5th, 2001

Chelsea tracking Hislop

By Irving Ward

Trinidad and Tobago's England-based professional Shaka Hislop is currently being eyed by Premier Division club Chelsea.

According to reports out of England yesterday Chelsea are now following Hislop's on-going contractual talks with his current club West Ham, which also campaigns in the Premiership. Should these talks break down, Chelsea are apparently prepared to make a bid for the six-foot-seven inches T&T keeper.

Hislop is currently seeking a long term contract extension and better wages with the Hammers but is not happy with the deal they have initially offered.

Chelsea meanwhile may soon be in the market for a keeper as its current number one man, Ed de Goey, hinted recently that he may not play past the current season in England.

De Goey is out of contract at the end of the current season and has so far not given any indication that he wants to stay beyond the end of this campaign, believing that at 34 years of age, he would rather finish his career in his place of birth, Holland.

If Chelsea do go after Hislop they will probably have to fork out at least £5m (TT$50m), the current price tag West Ham have set on him.

 Under-20s beaten

Guardian Sports Desk

A team made up of several top home-based senior players and some attending school in the United States stopped the successful run by the National Under-20 footballers preparing for the Youth World Cup qualification on Tuesday at the UWI ground, St Augustine.

Led by local "Footballer-of-the-Year" Reynold Carrington, the combined team, paced by two first-half goals by Sid Patrick and Kevin Jefferys, shut out the youngsters 2-1 in the second of a three-match series. The Under-20s won the first game last week 5-1. So, the teams will go into the farewell match tomorrow at the same venue, from 4 pm with a 1-1 deadlock.

Carrington was brought into the side along with goalkeeper Ardrian Thomas, Keno Thomas, Adaryll John, Randy Guerra and Barry Swift. Devon Mitchell, who scored a hat-trick in the opener, was again on target, netting the lone item for the youths in the second session.

The team will be moving into a live-in camp on Friday and is expected to oppose a side coming out of the Defence Force on Sunday at the St Augustine venue, from 4 pm. A 21-member party will fly out on Thursday for a two-match series each in Honduras and Panama. They will be spending 12 days abroad.

Joining the team enroute to Honduras will be Canadian-based Jonathan Westmaas, a Trinidad-born player who is currently studying in the US. Westmaas, who has been living in Canada for the past 15 years, is 19 years of age. He is a central midfielder.

Hislop buys more beers for Yorke

ON Monday evening, West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop was again left with the responsibility of picking up compatriot Dwight Yorke’s tab as hosts Manchester United whipped them by three goals to one.

Old buddies, Yorke and Hislop have maintained a long-term wager whenever both players meet in the English Premier League with the losing party buying the drinks.

It may have seemed a fair deal at the time—Yorke then campaigned for Aston Villa—but it went distinctively sour for Hislop since Yorke’s record transfer to United in 1998.

West Ham have not defeated United since 1995 and Yorke again rubbed salt in Hislop’s wounds with the game’s final item from a diving header.

Yorke has now scored in every game against Hislop since his move barring his debut for United in a goalless away tie with an overall tally of four goals in as many matches.

It was not for want of trying by Hislop though.

In a one-sided affair, the six-foot-four custodian had a brilliant performance turning away excellent efforts by rampant midfielders David Beckham and Ryan Giggs as well as Yorke.

In fact had it not been for Hislop, according to one British journalist, United may have easily repeated the 7-1 trashing they handed the Hammers last season.

It is unlikely to have made much of a difference when both players met at the bar though.

Sam versus Stam

HECTOR Sam could find himself facing one of international football’s finest defenders today as English Second Division team Wrexham entertain Premier League giant Manchester United today in a friendly game.

United coach Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed that he would use the game to give an outing to Dutch stopper Jaap Stam—the world’s most expensive defender before Rio Ferdinand’s £18 million transfer—as well as strikers Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham who are all returning from injuries.

However Sam would need a change of heart from manager Bryan Flynn if he is to rub shoulders with such illustrious company.

Sam has had little playing time over the past two months and again remained rooted to the bench as Wrexham were held to a 0-0 draw by Wigan on Monday.

His international teammate Carlos Edwards, has been a key player for Wrexham this season though and seems a cert for the game which has the Welsh town gripped in excitement.

Dog bites back

NATIONAL defender Marvin “Dog” Andrews made an impressive return from injury on Monday and, at the same time, came dangerously close to biting the hand that once fed him. Andrews, who plays for Scottish First Division team Livingston, capped off a solid showing by creating his club’s second goal as they beat Raith Rovers 2-0.

It was Rovers who initially brought Andrews into professional football after signing him from then Semi Professional Football League (SPFL) outfit Carib FC.

Stern still on shaky ground

STRIKER Stern John remains on shaky ground as Nottingham Forest coach David Platt continues his search for a talented striker.

Despite a bright start since his transfer two years ago, John has failed to establish himself as a reliable goalscorer at Forest—undone mainly by a recurring knee injury.

After being used as a starter for two games on a trot, John would have been moaning his failure to capitalise as he was back among the substitutes on Monday. He watched the entire match from the sidelines as Forest downed Birmingham City 2-0 without him.

John’s confidence would not have been helped by news that Forest scouts were now targeting 18-year-old Scottish striker Kiegan Parker.

The former El Dorado Senior striker would hope to recapture his lost form and Platt’s attentions as soon as possible.

Latapy stars again for Hibernian

By Irving Ward

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy was once again in the spotlight in the Scottish Premier Division yesterday.

For the second time in four days, the 32-year-old midfielder steered Hibernian to a crucial victory, this time 3-0 over Dundee at his club's Easter Road ground. On Saturday, Latapy had given Hibs a 1-0 victory over Dundee United with an injury time penalty, his fifth goal of the season.

Yesterday was no different for the "Little Magician" as he had a hand in all three of his team's goals.
Latapy sent the home fans wild after just six minutes when he found teammate Ulrik Laursen on the flank with an intelligent pass from midfield.

Laursen in turn served in a cross to Mixu Paatelainen who headed powerfully past 'keeper Marco Roccati. The former "Strike Squad" player struck again four minutes from the interval when his corner kick created havoc in the Dundee six-metre box. David Zitelli was the first man to the loose ball but his shot was touched across the line at the last minute by teammate Paul Fenwick.

John O'Neil completed the scoring for Hibs, who remains on course to book a place in the Champions League, with a long range effort midway through the second half. Once again, Latapy was involved in the build up and served O'Neil with a pass which opened up the scoring opportunity from 20 metres out.

O'Neil shot and the effort deflected off Dundee's Barry Smith leaving Roccati flat-footed as the ball entered into the left hand corner of his net. The win kept Hibernian in second spot on 54 points. Leaders Celtic have 63 points, while Glasgow Rangers are in third place with 51.

There was also good news for Latapy's compatriot Marvin Andrews in the Scottish First Division. Andrews played the full 90 minutes as his Livingston team shut out Raith Rovers 2-0. Andrews set up his team's second goal for teammate Alex Burns. He sent a powerful defensive header into the path of Burns who eluded a static Raith defence before running through unchallenged on Dutch keeper Guido Van de Kamp and sending a precise chip into the net.

Andrews also hit a header just wide off the goal during injury time in the first half. Livingston moved 10 points clear atop the Division One table with the win.

Monday January 1st, 2001

T&T’s W/Cup runneth over

Lasana Liburd chronicles a positive football year 2000


* The foreign-based trio of Ronnie Maugé, Ian Cox, Chris Charles are all given national team debuts. Cox rules himself out of the upcoming Gold Cup tournament while Charles fails to make the grade.

* Stern John is ruled out of action for five months by a Belgian specialist for a knee injury sustained on duty with Nottingham Forest.

* Former Malick defender Brent Sancho joins a long list of players who claimed victimisation by coach Bertille St Clair for reasons having to do with their hairstyles.


* Shaka Hislop delays his return for the Gold Cup to represent West Ham in an English Premier League match. He breaks his leg in the game.

* Maugé also breaks his leg in T&T’s opening game against Mexico which ends in a 4-0 loss. But T&T rebound with successive victories over Guatemala and Costa Rica before losing 1-0 in the semifinals to eventual winners Canada.

* Disharmony surfaces in the national camp in the lead-up to the Canada match after the T&TFF publishes players salaries following reported demands for pay rises by members of the team. Ex-skipper David Nakhid slams the move as a “breach of trust”.

* Dwight Yorke plays in only the two group matches before being ruled out by club commitments and then a 48-hour injury. A T&TFF doctor rules him unfit to play on Thursday but he goes on to represent Manchester United on Saturday.

* St Clair is axed within 24 hours of the semifinal defeat. Nakhid, a two-time T&TFF Player of the Year, Switzerland-based winger Jerren Nixon, Joe Public custodian Michael McComie and Cox—who had just signed with Bournemouth—learn via a media release that they would not be eligible for national selection until an unspecified date. Assistant coach James Balfour is also dismissed.

* T&TFF technical director Edgar Vidale, saddled with the task of breaking the news to St Clair, subsequently resigns while several national players (including Yorke) threaten to withhold their services from the team.


* Scotsman Ian Porterfield and 1989 assistant team manager Neville Chance are named to head new technical staff on the eve of T&T’s March 4World Cup qualifier against Netherlands Antilles. Hosts whip the Dutchmen 5-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium with defender Marvin Andrews scoring the first goal of the 2002 World Cup competition.

* Army defender Dennis Lawrence makes an unimpressive debut in the win while Sancho receives a surprise call

* Andrews and defender Ansil Elcock are the only foreign-based players to turn up for the return leg which T&T draw 1-1 to progress.

* The T&T U-17 squad hosts USA, England and Mexico in a dress rehearsal for the 2001 Junior World Cup and are humbled 6-1, 5-0 and 2-0 respectively.


T&T defeat Dominican Republic 3-0 at home and 1-0 away respectively in W/Cup qualifiers. Striker Mickey Trotman, first capped under St Clair, tears the ligaments in his left knee in the second match.


* Yorke returns to the national team and scores in both legs as T&T better Haiti 3-1 at home and draw 1-1 away.

For the match in Port-au-Prince, the T&TFF enlists the services of psychologist Anthony Watkins and Dr Calvin Inalsingh.

* The young national duo of striker Hector Sam and winger Carlos Edwards sign three-year deals for Wales-based English second division team Wrexham, earning them some £1,041 per week.

* Nixon rejects approach from Porterfield to play in friendly away to Canada in which goalkeeping coach Michael Maurice is controversially named as Ross Russell’s deputy between the uprights. T&T lose 1-0 in dull affair in which they failed to register a single shot on goal.


* Jamaica cancel friendly match against T&T scheduled for Kingston and JFF president Horace Burrell declares that he cannot sell a T&T match to the Jamaica fans without Yorke and Russell Latapy.

T&T, minus their foreign-based stars, travel to Barbados where they draw 0-0.

* The women’s team have a rough time in the US Gold Cup where eventual champions USA and runner-up Brazil both rout them 11-0. In their final group encounter, they manage a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica.


T&T’s preparations for the Concacaf semifinal stage continue with a 2-1 away loss to St Vincent and a 4-1 home win over Cuba. A 4-2 to Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in the Millennium Football Week provokes heavy criticism since Yorke, Latapy, Andrews and Stern John are in the starting line-up.

Jamaican striker Onandi Lowe scores a hattrick in the match and his teammate Theodore Whitmore declares after the fact that the Trinidad defence had made it easy for them.

* Fifa vice-president Jack Warner surprisingly comes under attack in the media from former national U-14, U-20 and U-23 goalkeeper Richard Goddard who accuses him of “jeopardising the lives of some of the most talented footballers in the world”.

Continues on next page

* The national team bounces back with consecutive victories over Canada (2-0) and Mexico (1-0) in which the defence performs admirably. Latapy’s goal against Mexico is his first under Porterfield and his first in Trinidad since 1996.

* John misses both games through a recurrence of the knee injury.

* More heartache for the women footballers who lose 14-0 and 11-0 at home to Brazil in two friendly matches during the Millennium Football Week.

* The national under-17 squad finally produces a positive showing, crushing Grenada 6-0 in T&T’s only victory in the Millennium Football Week.


* Anthony Rougier transfers to lowly English Second Division team Reading for £325,000.

* Former “Strike Squad” midfielder Hutson Charles gets a national team recall for a friendly against Guyana. The game ends 0-0 but Charles is not called upon for W/Cup duty.

* T&T crush Panama 6-0 in W/Cup action at home with Yorke and Angus Eve notching doubles. The game marks Nixon’s first appearance for Porterfield although he is substituted before the interval with a groin strain.

* Warner subsequently declares that Porterfield is the “best (coach) this country has experienced in its history”. He also said that close to $9 million have been spent on the team so far with just $2 million coming in via gate receipts.

* The issue of W/Cup television coverage rights remains clouded with T&TFF president Oliver Camps admitting that he did not how much was owed to T&T or exactly when it would be paid.

* Witco Sports Foundation chairman and former national captain and manager Sedley Joseph slams the women’s team as an embarrassment in his Express column. His article draws a sharp response from Women’s Association president, Dr Iva Gloudon, also published in the Express.


* T&T whip Canada 4-0 at the Oval to qualify for the Concacaf finals with two group matches remaining. Marvin Andrews is expelled from the match for a late tackle. John returns to line-up but again fails to score his first item for Porterfield. He finishes the year goalless for T&T, having managed just four appearances.

* Yorke, Latapy and his clubmate Lyndon Andrews are all censured by their club coaches for returning late after missing their flight in post-game celebrations. Yorke subsequently announces that he will skip T&T’s remaining two games to try to regain his place at United.

* Former national Under-20 and Doc’s Khelwalaas coach Peter Granville is named as head coach to the national Under-20 squad.


* Latapy and John both rule themselves out of T&T’s away game against Mexico while Ian Cox also passes on the chance for his first W/Cup cap. Instead US-based defender Craig Demmin is recalled.

* Psychologist Watkins and Dr Inalsingh are again taken with the team, which is hammered 7-0. Inalsingh shoulders much of the blame as the team struggles to cope with high altitude after late arrival in Mexico City on his recommendation. Chance also admits that money could have been a factor in their decision to travel less than 48 hours before the match.

* Ansil Elcock is expelled for a brutal foul that left Mexican idol Cuauhtemoc Blanco injured and out of the game for six months. Elcock subsequently receives numerous death threats at his Trinidad home and vows never to return to Mexico.

* Fifa resist pleas from the Mexican Football Federation to ban Elcock indefinitely and to order the T&TFF to pay his medical bills.


* Porterfield again makes vain overtures to Cox as T&T prepare for their final W/Cup qualifier against Panama. Nixon is also among declining pros. Warner declares on a UNC platform that he paid to have game played locally—instead of in Panama as originally scheduled—because T&T does better when Prime Minister Basdeo Panday is present.

* T&T go on to win drab affair 1-0 with West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop, Adrian Narine, Jason Scotland and Otis Seaton all making competitive debuts.
* National Under-17 coach Nigerian Chief Adegboye Onigbinde asks to be excused from a CFU tournament to be held in Trinidad on the grounds that his team is inadequately prepared.

The tournament is eventually cancelled because of the non-appearance of two of the three teams slated to appear.


* T&T captain Latapy is ranked 33rd by Fifa among the world’s top footballers of 2000. W.Connection FC and national midfielder Reynold Carrington are named T&TFF Player of the Year.

* Porterfield makes an official visit to Britain and declares on his return that Cox will join T&T’s W/Cup effort. He also pays a visit to Micah Hyde, a Watford midfielder of Jamaican and Trinidad and Tobago parentage, who he said may be a possible replacement for Latapy.

* Porterfield ends year with record of 10 wins, four draws and four losses while Eve and Yorke are his leading goalscorers with seven items—six of Eve’s goals coming in W/Cup qualifying action.

* Arnold Dwarika and Yorke are the highest T&T scorers for the year under both coaches with eight strikes each—two less than the 10 John scored in 1999.

* T&TFF president Oliver Camps gives Chief Onigbinde a vote of confidence to continue preparing the Under-17 squad for the 2001 Junior World Cup. Englishman Jim Kellman and ex-Reading custodian John Granville are both officially named as technical advisors to the national Under-20 squad.

Latapy, Yorke shine

Latapy, Yorke shine

TRINIDAD and Tobago's British-based professionals Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke were in the spotlight yesterday.

Latapy scored a last minute winner for Hibernian in the Scottish Premier Division while Yorke, in his first game back from suspension, helped Manchester United to a 1-1 draw against Newcastle in the Premiership.

Latapy's item came from the penalty spot seven minutes into stoppage time, although only three minutes had been signalled by referee Alan Freeland.

Latapy ignored lengthy protests to drill the penalty past keeper Alan Combe for his eighth goal of the season.

Leaders Celtic remained atop with 60 points from 23 games, Hibernian has 51 from 24 and Glasgow Rangers 48 from 22 games.

The "Little Magician" had another fine game yesterday, setting up three clearcut chances for teammate David Zitelli alone.
He was also denied a second half goal by a brave save from Combe after he had dribbled into the penalty box.

Yorke meanwhile had several good efforts at goal well saved by Newcastle keeper Clarence Acuna.
And when he managed to beat Acuna in the 65th, defender Warren Barton blocked his goalbound shot.

Striker Stern John was the only other Trinidadian to see action on a day when cold weather forced the postponement of several matches in Britain.

John, recently back from injury, got a rare chance to start in a 0-0 against Norwich in the First Division.
He had two three good chances at goal but could not break the deadlock.

Gamblers on a roll

LASANA LIBURD comments on the state of football in 2000

NO thrill, I have been told, beats good high stakes gambling. Nothing beats the exhilaration of life on the edge, regularly challenging the odds and emerging victorious just often enough to remain in the game.

But forget Caesar’s Palace; forget Ma Pau or any of Trinidad and Tobago’s more popular gambling establishments. Let attention turn instead to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s (T&TFF)
Port of Spain headquarters and the adrenaline rush being experienced there these days.The festive season is sure to have been marked by much back-slapping and toasting among the gentlemen entrusted with organising the world’s most high-profile sport in this country.

As the new millennium kicks off in earnest, Trinidad and Tobago enjoy their highest ever Fifa ranking—29th of the 203 Fifa member countries—and are poised to become only the second country in the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify for the senior World Cup finals. So there is certainly plenty to celebrate.

Ten games to go and much reason for optimism after a whirlwind qualifying campaign which saw the boys in red, black and white book their spot for the Concacaf final round ahead of World Confederations Cup champs Mexico and at the expense of 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup winners Canada.

But discerning eyes see all the difference in the world between the smug smirk of a gambler on a roll and the satisfied self-assured, I-always-had-it-covered smile of a shrewd administrator whose meticulously crafted plan has worked like a charm.

In the T&TFF think tank room, there are smirks aplenty. This despite a year of startling highs and lows when curious decisions—and even more surprising results—have been commonplace.

Just ask former national senior team coach Bertille St Clair.

Famed as the mentor of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, St Clair steered T&T to the completely new heights of the 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal round.

Up until February last, T&T had never managed to even qualify from their first round group and had often returned with a heavy debit in the goals against column.

St Clair’s reward for his achievement—as well as that of his general manager Richard Braithwaite, assistant coach James Balfour and captain David Nakhid—came within 48 hours of the 1-0 semifinal defeat by Canada.

He would have been looking forward to the start of T&T’s World Cup qualifying campaign—just six days away—when Technical Director Edgar Vidale entered his hotel room to inform him that the T&TFF had given him the sack.

The explanation came, not surprisingly not from TTFF president Oliver Camps but from Concacaf vice-president and T&TFF advisor Jack Warner.

“I have consistently said that in spite of our success and victories, I still find the team to be technically deficient in several areas,” he declared. “Particularly with regard to our defence and, to a lesser extent, our midfield. I felt all along that we would pay for those deficiencies.”

Enter Ian Porterfield—initially brought to Trinidad to coach Warner’s club team Joe Public. The Scotsman was officially named as the national head coach all of 24 hours before the country's first World Cup qualifier at home to the Netherlands Antilles.

T&T duly defeated the Dutchmen 5-0 to launch the new coach’s ship. Then, with some cosmetic tinkering by Porterfield and huge performances from the reliable trio of Yorke—who had threatened to withdraw his services after St Clair’s sacking—playmaking captain Russell Latapy and sturdy defender Marvin Andrews, Team T&T steamed past all comers into the Concacaf finals, one ten-match step away from Japan/Korea.

All’s well, as the old adage says, that ends well.

At Under-17 level, there is still much work to be done. Nigerian Chief Adegboye Onigbinde is yet to justify the T&TFF’s faith in him, a faith which on the available evidence, seems entirely misplaced and ill-founded.

Onigbinde—whose salary is reported to be some $20,000 per month—has been at the helm of Team 2001 since 1998. His results in that period would embarrass any of the many unpaid local coaches who preceded him in the post.

In 14 games against Caribbean opponents, Team 2001 has drawn twice and lost seven times, including a 4-0 hammering at the feet of Suriname.

Their performances against opposition from outside the Caribbean have been even more disheartening. In a triangular tournament against Mexico, England and the United States earlier this year, they conceded 13 goals and scored just once.

Still the Chief coaches on. And he is still being given the funding to continue his job up until the 2001 Juniors World Cup, to be held locally—a historic first for the Caribbean.

“We are confident that we will get the team playing at the level that we want,” said Camps, leaping as
usual to the Chief's defence.

The president had been decidedly less generous two years ago when he sacked then national Under-17 coach Muhammed Isa whose team had topped its Caribbean Football Union groups.

“We all looked at the performance of that Under-17 team and we were totally dissatisfied with it,” Camps told the Express then. “But we are not going to continue to hide our heads between our legs...You see, we tend to be the winners in the Caribbean all the time but we cannot move that step ahead.

“We feel that it’s the time to stop it and if, to do so, it is necessary for us to bring a foreign coach, then we will bring him.”

God bless foreign coaches!

National Under-20 coach Peter Granville will therefore be comforted by the addition of two overseas-based “technical advisors” to his staff in the persons of his brother, John Granville, and the second Englishman Jim Kellman.

Granville (P) has held this portfolio before. In 1998, his Under-20 squad lost 3-1, 4-0 and 6-0 at home to Canada, Costa Rica and the USA respectively to end at the rock bottom of the Concacaf Youth World Cup qualifying group.

One wonders what conclusions Mr Warner draws from the T&TFF’s decisions. The obvious dearth of
competent local coaches is a sad reflection on the success of the Concacaf-funded João Havelange
Centre of Excellence. Operational since 1997, its written declared aim is to improve the level of
football in the region.

The national women’s team, which has had some rough times this year, would be a fine candidate for
its services. In their last five games, they conceded 49 goals against Brazil, Costa Rica and the US and
have since turned down an invitation to play in the CFU tournament.

Still, reckless of embarrassment, in 2001, Porterfield and his staff—headed by veteran local coach Jimmy Blanc—will attempt to help their boys earn berths against against the likes of France, Brazil, Holland and Argentina.

They seem unworried by the team’s sterile offensive play when either Latapy or Yorke is absent or by
their shortcomings on the flank both in attack and defence—with the notable exception of Joe Public
skipper Angus Eve.

But then Lady Luck has regularly donned the red, white and black strip this year. And the gentlemen of
the TTFF, confident in the knowledge that they enjoy the full support of the newly elected government,
will continue to roll the dice and hope that the Lady does not decide to cross the floor.