T&T and Canada face off again
CANADIAN coach Holger Osieck says a decision
by this country to field a secondary squad for today's
warm-up match is of no concern to him.
He wants Canada to take full advantage of the
T&T side made up of mostly young players when both teams clash
at 4 pm (T&T time) at the Varsity Stadium, Toronto.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun yesterday, Osieck, who guided his team to a 1-0 win over T&T in the Gold Cup
semi-finals, said "I don't really know and I don't really care. What we're looking for is some competition to
prepare ourselves for the more important tasks that await us."
A few weeks ago T&T coach Ian Porterfield
had reservations about today's match because of the possibility of
Canada ending up in the same group in the World Cup qualifying semi-final round in July.
Word is that had the game, which was arranged
in January not been played, FIFA may have issued a fine on the
T&T Football Federation.
Porterfield's squad does not include several
overseas and experienced based players, including Dwight Yorke,
Russell Latapy, Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve and Marvin Andrews.
The Scotsman said fielding such a young team
had nothing to do with T&T possibly facing Canada in the next
"Our foreign-based players are not available. They need a break from the long European season so a lot of them
have made holiday plans."
Talented ones like Brent Rahim, Carlos Edwards,
Hector Sam, Kerwyn Jemmot and Addison Belfon will hope to
make full use of today's opportunity to impress Porterfield.
The more experienced players including midfielder Stokely Mason, Travis Mulraine, Gary Glasgow, Avery John,
captain Ross Russell and Sherwyn Julien will need to ensure their game in intact if T&T are to put on a good
T&T had two sessions yesterday, one in
the evening at the Varsity Stadium.
Manager Neville chance said the players were in high spirits and can expect to have a fair amount of Trinidadian
fans rooting for them later as several T&T born citizens residing in Toronto have been checking the team out since
their arrival on Wednesday.
Canada's West Ham United goalkeeper Craig Forrest
will be missing today as he's recovering from a hernia
operation. Dundee United's Pat Onstad takes his place alongside Carlo Corrazin, Paul Stalteri and Nick Dasovic.
Captain Jason de Vos will be rested. Canada face Honduras in another friendly on Tuesday before a play-off with
Cuba next month for the right to join T&T in the semi-finals.
T&T get set in chilly Toronto
By SHAUN FUENTES
COACH Ian Porterfield held two intense training
sessions with this country's senior football team at Centennial
Stadium, Toronto, yesterday ahead of tomorrow's warm-up match against Canada.
Porterfield named a young squad, including
former St Benedict's College midfielder Addison Belfon, Derek King,
Carlos Edwards, Hector Sam, Avery John, Kerwyn Jemmot, Gary Glasgow and Brent Rahim, who were all part
of yesterday's training.
Speaking from the Marriot Hotel last night,
manager Neville Chance said: "The players had two good sessions
yesterday. The weather is a bit chilly. But we are not allowing that to affect our preparations. We know that
overcoming such obstacles is a key part of our World Cup challenge. The players didn't complain and all trained
He added that goalkeeper Michael McComie did
not join the squad as a replacement for Doc's Khelwalaas'
Kelvin Jack, who was dropped for "poor attitude."
Captain Ross Russell is the only 'keeper in the T&T camp at present.
"We had a morning session at Hasely Crawford
Stadium on Wednesday and following a meeting we felt he (Jack)
didn't have the right attitude and it was better to leave him at home.
"The coach is giving some of the younger players
the chance to gain exposure at international level. Most of the
players here have been on the fringe of selection so now the coach is looking at anyone who can be added to the
World Cup team.
"As time goes on he will continue to look at
players who have the right attitude and can be added to the team,"
said Chance. T&T, who lost 1-0 to Canada in the Gold Cup semi-finals in February, are expected to train at
Centennial Stadium this morning and at Varsity Stadium later today.
Canadian coach Olger Osieck said last week
he will not be taking the match lightly. His only worry is the
unavailability of injured West Ham United goalkeeper Craig Forrest.
TRINIDAD and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop
has begun jogging and is eyeing a return to the national team in
The custodian is coming off a broken leg injury
sustained in February during a match against Bradford City,
putting him out of the Gold Cup tournament.
Weeks before West Ham manager Harry Redknapp
had been talking to Hislop about a extended contract but
that fell through with the injury. Redknapp is likely to offer an extension to his two years left on the current deal.
George Hislop, father of the former Newcastle
United 'keeper said yesterday Shaka could possibly play for the
"Hammers" in a few pre-season matches before the Premiership kicks off in August.
He added Hislop could possibly make himself
available to coach Ian Porterfield in August, a month after the
semifinal round of T&T's World Cup qualifiers gets going.
Hislop, who was in Trinidad on holiday last month, said he may return with West Ham in late July for a couple
warm-up games on local soil.
Meanwhile, former England manager Bobby Robson
here with Newcastle over the last week, spoke highly of the
former St Mary's College 'keeper.
Will Robson have liked Hislop to remain at
Newcastle? "I can't say that or else West Ham would be very much
annoyed. But he's a proven goalkeeper of quality.
He's come to England and made it big. Like
Dwight Yorke, he's come into the big times and kept his feet on the
ground and it's to their credit that they've made it," said the Newcastle boss.
Raith give Andrews pay-as-you-play deal
SCOTTISH club Raith Rovers have offered national
defender Marvin Andrews a pay-as-you-play contract on
the basis that he's also paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation when on international duty.
The big defender returned to his club after
representing T&T last Friday in a 1-1 draw with Haiti in
His two-year contract ended last month and
he received interest from English Premiership club Manchester City,
Barnsley, Hibernian and Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
Reports out of Scotland indicate Andrews wants to remain at Rovers.
"Raith Rovers FC is anxious to retain his services
if at all possible, and Marv says he's keen to stay with us if
something can be arranged. Marv is going to consider the revised offer, which would allow him to continue his
club career with the Rovers and his international career with Trinidad and Tobago," a release from the club stated.
The club also stated Andrews was offered a
new two-year contract but then decided they couldn't justify paying
his wages in their current financial circumstances, especially with him expected to miss a number of games next
season while representing T&T.
Since the beginning of this year, Raith's management were complaining about Andrews' constant leave from the
club to play for T&T and even threatened to drop him if he didn't quit international football.
But the club is now keen to keep his services
as they press for promotion next season.
Andrews is one of seven British-based players on the T&T side and national coach Ian Porterfield has hinted
about two new additions who are English-borns.
Speaking last week about his intention to improve
the current team, Porterfield said: "It's not that the current lads
are not doing well, they have done a great job but we are always looking to improve the squad. There are two
players John Stubbs (English scout) are talking to, to find out whether they are interested in playing for us. One is
with a team which has just been relegated from the Premiership and the other is with a club involved in the
play-offs to get into the Premier League."
Micah Hyde, who is of Trinidadian parentage,
is a member of Watford who were relegated from the Premiership,
while defender Kevin Austin, recovering from an achilles tendon injury, is attached to Barnsley now involved in a
play-off tie with Ipswich Town.
Hyde is coming off a knee operation which occurred last week.
Other Trinidad English-born players, Burnley
defender Ian Cox and Ronnie Mauge, are also likely to be available
for national selection when T&T's semifinal round of World Cup qualifiers begin in July.
PRO LOOK By SHAUN FUENTES
FORMER England manager Bobby Robson has endorsed
the captaincy of midfielder Russell Latapy for the 2002
"Latas" replaced Anthony Rougier earlier this month and has since led T&T to a win (3-1) and a draw (1-1) with
Robson who was here with Newcastle United last
week, was Latapy's boss at Portuguese club FC Porto four
years ago and described the Little Magician as "very professional and a skilful player."
The former Barcelona manager added while Latapy
may not have been a regular starter, when he got on the team,
he did well most times. "I know he's the captain of the Trinidad and Tobago team now. He was always willing to
listen at Porto and he's quite an intelligent player and so I feel he will make a very good captain for Trinidad," said
Latapy's Hibernian lost 2-1 to Hearts without
him on Saturday, to finish the league in sixth spot on the ten-team
Dwight's no hero
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke says
he doesn't consider himself a national hero.
The former Aston Villa player who signed for £12.6 million with the English Premier League champions in 1998
was speaking during an interview in England earlier this month.
"If I'm well recognised, yes. National hero?
I don't know. I think someone of Rivaldo's status would be nice,"
Yorke said in response to whether he felt he was a hero back home.
He rated Rivaldo as the best player he has ever come up against.
The 28-year-old added playing in the Italian League is not his aim, as he rates the Premier League as the best in
"I think the Premiership is the best. I think
the Italian is up there and the Spanish League is also very difficult.
Premiership is the most difficult. But in terms of technique it's between the Italians and the Spanish," he said.
Yorke said as a youngster he dreamt of playing
in Italy "but since I've joined United I've got no intention of playing
He scored his third goal in succession to help
T&T to a 1-1 draw with Haiti on Friday to send them through to the
semi-final stage of the World Cup qualifiers in July.
ANTHONY Rougier took home the Port Vale "Player
of the Year" award voted by young supporters of the club
which was relegated to the English Second Division.
The former T&T captain was edged into third spot for the official club "Player of the Year" award but settled for
the Celistica Cup presented to him last week.
"I'm honoured. It has been a difficult season
for us all but this is a nice finish for me. Sometimes fans think we don't
care or are not trying. But although the manager has been tough on us, I would like to thank him because I believe
he has made me stronger," said Rougier.
Time will tell whether the former Raith Rovers
winger will take up a deal at another club following Vale's
Stern vs Leeds
STERN John will get the chance to line up against
Leeds United when Nottingham Forest face them during their
pre-season campaign on July 29.
Manager David Platt said he felt the Premiership side are the perfect opponents ahead of the new season.
"Having the right build-up will be so important
to our hopes of getting next season off to a flying start. In that
sense, the match against opposition of Leeds' quality, will be a good test for us," Platt said last week.
Meanwhile, Forest have appealed to FIFA to
help them overcome the language barrier as they try to sign Saudi
Arabian star Sami Abdullah Al-Jaber to partner John next season.
John started alongside Dwight Yorke in T&T's 1-1 draw with Haiti last Friday.
DEFENDER Ansil Elcock came in for high praise
from Columbus Crew coach Tom Fitzgerald recently.
Elcock, now in his fourth season with the American
Major League club, has missed a few of the games for the
club this season because of national duty.
Fitzgerald still feels Elcock is the hardest
working player on the Crew team.
"He's a hard worker. He's got a great attitude about playing," said Fitzgerald.
He added that Elcock could play anywhere in
the Crew line-up, hence the reason for him always having a spot in
the starting team.
"It's nice to play him in midfield. In his
role he can get forward and get back with his speed. It's nice he's in
lineup, any place in the lineup."
Elcock played for T&T in a 1-1 draw with
Haiti on Friday, missing Columbus' 2-1 win over the Dallas Burn the
ENGLISH-BORN defender Ian Cox says he's looking
forward to making a return to the Trinidad and Tobago
team in July.
The Burnley player is currently out of action
after suffering a hand injury last month but is expected to take the
field again in July.
He made his debut for T&T in a 1-0 loss
to Morocco in January before asking local officials to excuse him from
international duty after signing a deal at Burnley.
However, Cox told reporters in England last week he wants to play for coach Ian Porterfield's team.
The 29-year-old Cox, who moved from AFC Bournemouth
for £500,000, will be the first Burnley player to have
an international cap in 16 years while at the club.
No "Claret" player has made an international
appearance since Billy Hamilton for Northern Ireland against Finland
Cox could probably make a return around the same time as fellow English-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge.
Soca Warriors in 'Group of Death'
TRINIDAD and Tobago are likely to face Gold
Cup champions Canada in their first game of the semi-final round
of the 2002 World Cup qualifying tournament in that country on July 16.
Canada will be involved in a playoffs with
Cuba for the final Group C spot.
Following last Friday's 1-1 draw with Haiti, T&T booked their spot in what has been dubbed the "Group of
Death" of the round robin home and away phase.
The other teams in the group are Mexico and
Panama. The latter got past Nicaragua 4-0 on Sunday to win Group
B of the Central American preliminary stage.
Fans will remember T&T drawing 1-1 with Panama last year.
Honduras will now face Haiti for the right
to join Group D which includes Jamaica and El Salvador.
The three groups of four teams in the semi-final
round will each play in a round-robin on a home and away basis
from July 12-16 to November 14-15 2000.
T&T will have to fight for one of two spots
from their group to advance to the final round next year, where three
finalists will advance to the 2002 World Cup Finals.
The top two teams from the other two groups
will also move on.
Once through, T&T are likely to come up against the other Concacaf teams including United States, El
Salvador, Jamaica and Guatemala.
By SHAUN FUENTES
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is relieved
that Trinidad and Tobago have put Haiti behind them and is now
looking forward to the semifinal round.
Speaking from Singapore on Saturday, the Football Confederation president said T&T are always noted for lifting
their game against tougher opposition and therefore being grouped with Mexico, Panama and Canada may turn
"I'm quite pleased that the Haiti match is
behind us and now look forward to a serious phase of preparation and
training after a short rest. Many of the senior players are aware that this opportunity is the last chance for them
and therefore it is incumbent upon them to put their heads down and work hard."
"The best team will now be available, though
it will still be four or five days before a match. We should therefore
use the present holiday period in England to get in some practice matches with the team.
"We in FIFA have been able to harmonise the
international calendar more than 80 percent so that when there are
World Cup qualifying matches in Concacaf, there shall be in all the other confederations at the same time, making
it very easy for the majority of our players to be available," Warner said.
The 56-year-old Joe Public owner praised the
efforts of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and Scotland
born coach Ian Porterfield.
"I believe Dwight should be commended for his
efforts. It does take a super effort and spirit for one to crisscross
the globe as he does, as a player, and still perform as well. Hats off to him and all the others as well, for making
the ultimate sacrifice.
"The thing most pleasing to me is how coach
Porterfield has been able to succeed in spite of the usual prophets of
doom and gloom and, moreover, how the players have responded to him generally.
"If Kevin Keegan were to be the coach of this
team, the critics will be the same and shall be regurgitating the same
time worn analyses which they have been making over the years without even giving him a chance to prove
himself. But say what, I guess it takes all kinds to make a world and some extras to even make T&T."
According to Warner, T&T are better off
facing the "fire" sooner rather than later.
"I'm not unduly worried about the next round. T&T always play well against better opposition and, moreover, if
we cannot overcome the members in this phase of the competition, then we are ultimately aiming for the wrong
Wrexham sign up Edwards, Sam $650,000 apiece
By SHAUN FUENTES
ENGLISH Second Division club Wrexham have signed
Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam for £65,000
($650,000) each for three years and are expected to have the two local players in their starting line-up from
Sam signed on the dotted line yesterday at
a media conference at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Edwards, who accompanied Sam on trials at the
club last December, signed his documents with Wrexham
officials, chairman William Pryce Griffith and Collin Griffith, later in the day.
The players, who will receive a tidy financial
benefit, had to wait some three months before having work permits
approved by the English Department of Employment.
Chairman Griffith was delighted about the new additions, who are the first two Caribbean players ever to join the
"My club's manager (Bryan Flynn) and his coaches
saw them play while they were in England last year and were
very impressed. They asked me if I would sign the players and seeing that we need to strengthen our team I
"During the last few seasons our play has been
predictable so these two boys are going to make the difference our
fans are looking to get from us.
"The manager is aware that we cannot expect
any wonders right away but I can assure you, the two players are
going to make appearances in our first team right away," said Griffith, who added the Wales-based club are
willing to develop a relationship with the national team regarding their release for World Cup qualifying action.
English-based agent Mike Berry said Wrexham
will also be open to any deals with other clubs that will be
beneficial to both the player and the English club.
Edwards and Sam leave with the national team for Canada today and both are looking forward to June 23 when
they depart for England.
"Most important I need to thank the people
who made this come through by helping met get the permit ... people
like Jack Warner, Richard Fakoory, Mike and the rest of the guys from Defence Force and Jabloteh. Sam and I
are just really happy at the moment.
We have been at the club already so it's just
to go there and do our best now. They say you creep before you
walk and we have now started to creep," said the former Defence Force player.
Sam mentioned that he intended to make proud
his mother who passed away in 1998.
"I am very overwhelmed especially as we had such a tough time getting the work permit. I must say thanks to my
family for their support, especially my mother who passed away in December of 1998, so now I just want to
make her proud," said Sam.
Coach Ian Porterfield was hoping to have Switzerland-based
striker Jerron Nixon available, but the player opted
out as he has a game Sunday with a club he's currently attached to on loan.
"We contacted Jerron, inviting him to return
for the game, but he has a game Sunday and we felt it best not to
have him leave at this time. We are hoping to hear from him within the next couple of weeks as to his availability to
the team for World Cup qualifying action," T&T manager Neville Chance said yesterday.
Three current overseas-based players, Avery
John, now on loan with the American A-League's Boston Bulldogs;
Gary Glasgow of Kansas City Wizards (MLS) and Travis Mulraine of the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) are in
Talented midfielder Brent Rahim, now at the
University of Connecticut, and former St Benedict's College
midfielder Addison Belfon have also been called up.
T&T have been grouped alongside Mexico
and Panama for the semifinal phase of the World Cup qualifiers.
Canada are likely to be in the same group once they get past Cuba in a play-off.
T&T's 18-man squad: Ross Russell, Kelvin
Jack, Stokely Mason, Derick King, Kerwyn Jemmot, Dennis
Lawrence, Carlos Edwards, Hector Sam, Brent Rahim, Gary Glasgow, Anton Pierre, Avery John, Travis
Mulraine, Coulson Dick, Nigel Pierre, Lyndon Andrews, Addison Belfon and Sherwin Julien.
NEWCASTLE United manager Bobby Robson jetted
out to France yesterday happy with his team's showing in
their two-match tour of Trinidad and Tobago. Robson has a prior engagement in Paris ahead of Wednesday's
Champions' League final at the Stade de France. He is expected to return to Tobago on Thursday.
Newcastle defeated a Professional All Star
team 1-0 last Friday in their first match of the "BritSoccer 2000"
series organised by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
Following his team's 4-2 win over a Tobago XI at Roxborough Sporting Complex on Sunday, Robson said: "I'm
very proud of the players. Their behaviour and attitude over here has been impeccable. We wanted to build a few
bridges here and I think we have done more than that. It's not been easy for the players during the games or in
training, but they have given their all after what has been a very tough season."
Newcastle got their second win thanks to goals
by Scottish striker Kevin Gallacher, Paraguayan Diego Gavilan
and a double from Peruvian Nolberto Solano, currently linked with Real Madrid.
The "Magpies" almost went ahead in the first
minute when Steve Howie's shot came off the woodwork with
goalkeeper Ron Alfred stranded. Four minutes later, the same keeper did well in saving Gallacher's effort. Joe
Public's Cyd Gray brought the 4,000 steelband-backed enthusiasts crowd to life when he burst down the right
only to fire a weak shot wide. Gallacher, formerly of Blackburn Rovers, put Newcastle ahead with a chip over
Alfred in the 20th minute. Gavilan then doubled the lead before half time. Gray went close on two more occasions
followed by another good save by Alfred to Gallacher's shot.
Newcastle-based newspaper The Journal rated
former national Colvin Hutchinson as Tobago's top player on the
evening. He sent Rolston James through to force past keeper Shay Given. Solano increased Newcastle's lead
before Hutchinson had the home fans cheering with an 84th minute penalty.
Porterfield recalls Jerren Nixon
SWITZERLAND based striker Jerron Nixon has
been recalled to the Trinidad and Tobago team to face Gold
Cup champions Canada in a warm up encounter on Saturday at the Varsity Stadium, Toronto.
The FC Zurich player was dropped following
T&T's 1-0 loss to the Canadians in the Gold Cup semifinals for
Now coach Ian Porterfield is ready to have a look at the former Dundee United striker who was expected home
"He's a very good player. I think the lads
respected that he hasn't been fit but now he can be a valuable addition
to the squad," Porterfield said yesterday.
Back home from Friday's 1-1 draw with Haiti (4-2 winners on aggregate) which pushed T&T through to the
semifinal stage of the World Cup qualifiers, Porterfield rated the latest performance by the "Soca Warriors" as the
best of the campaign so far.
Porterfield made special mention of the two
most senior players, captain Russell Latapy and striker Dwight
"It was a performance full of character and attitude.We were playing in front of a hostile crowd who were giving
their team great support from probably two hours before the game.
"But our lads approached the game wonderfully.
They kept their composure, defended well and a lot of credit
must go to them.
"It was really a tremendous effort. We probably could have passed the ball better but the organisation and
defence was good.
After 25 minutes the Haitian crowd could have
gone home and that's credit to our players who know within
themselves how well they played.
"We've scored 14 goals, conceded three, won four and drawn two. In black and white, the boys deserved
tremendous credit for putting things together on the pitch in the short period of time we've been together.
"Dwight Yorke has been criticised in the past.
He came from another end of the globe and didn't come in until four
hours before the game and scored an absolutely wonderful goal for his country.
"The way Russell Latapy led the team by example
prior to the game, during the match and after, was really nice.
T&T are expected to train tomorrow before leaving for Canada on Wednesday.
TRINIDAD and Tobago's striker Stern John could
well be playing at St James Park in England with Premier
League club Newcastle United within the next two years.
Manager Bobby Robson, here with his team for a two-match tour, said on Wednesday he's impressed with the
striker's ability and that John has not been written off as a possible mover of the club, once his contract at First
Division Nottingham Forest is up.
The 23-year-old John was in the national team
for Friday's World Cup qualifying return leg against Haiti in Haiti,
which T&T drew 1-1.
In conversation, Robson said he was a fan of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop (formerly
of Newcastle) and T&T captain Russell Latapy who played under him at Portuguese club FC Porto.
He added, "I also know Stern John. He's got
very good potential. Unfortunately he sustained a bad injury. But I
think Stern John has a good chance of playing in the English Premier League. He's strong, quick and he's a good
Newcastle scout Roger Terrell, who has dealt
with Latapy and other Caribbean players in the past, spent more
than a week in Columbus, USA, last year trying to lure John into going to Newcastle but it turned out that he had
already agreed to a two-year contract with Forest.
Peter Miller, commercial manager of CL Financial
San Juan Jabloteh is also Newcastle's representative in
Concacaf and could end up playing a key role in getting John to Robson's club.
The former England manager said that his eyes
are open to local talent during this tour.
Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest have informed the T&T Football Federation that they are hoping to come here for
two warm-up matches in July, one possibly against the national team.
TOBAGO football fans will get their chance
to see Newcastle United in action when the Premiership club tackle a
Tobago XI at Roxborough Sporting Complex from 4 pm today.
The Tobagonians will see the second English team in action in two weeks following Sheffield United's 3-1 victory
Coach Terry Williams' squad have been strengthened
by the addition of a few players campaigning in the
Joe Public trio of Cyd Gray, Colvin Hutchinson
and Coulson Dick are expected to be in action as well as CL
Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker Rolston James. Also hoping to impress will be Arima Fire's Oz Taylor, Shelton
Williams, Handell Manswell and Darren Williams, as well as David George and Claude Adams.
Newcastle is coming off a 1-0 win over a PFL
All Star side on Thursday and will want to return home with two
victories under their belt.
Manager Bobby Robson is not underestimating
his opponents however. "We were given a good match on
Thursday and we expect another tough one when we play on Sunday," he said.
Peruvian striker Nolberto Solano, Scotland's
Kevin Gallacher, Frenchman Didier Domi, Alain Goma and
Englishmen Robert Lee and Warren Barton will be on show for the "Magpies".
Prior to kick-off, the Tobago Football Association
will launch their 2000 season with a parade of teams and club
queen competition from 1 pm.
Tobago is also expected to host upcoming matches,
involving visiting teams as part of the "BritSoccer 2000"
organised by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
THERE was no Alan Shearer to light up the Hasely
Crawford Stadium nor Kieron Dyer to show the class which
put him into the England squad at 21, but about 1,000 local fans were treated to an evening of quality football
which ended in a 1-0 victory for English Premiership giants Newcastle United over a Professional League All Star
team on Thursday.
A goal by Scottish striker Kevin Gallacher
gave the visitors victory and manager Bobby Robson kept his eye
open throughout the 90 minutes, looking at prospects on the local side and spotted a few. He wouldn't name any
but Joe Public midfielder Kerwyn Jemmot, wearing the number 14 jersey, apparently caught Robson's eyes.
"The Trinidadian side had some good individual
players. They were quick with good technical ability, nice skills,
they worked hard as a team and ended up giving us a good fight. We just won," he said after the match.
"Who was the number 14 player?" Robson queried
The former Barcelona boss added, "The match was played at a fairly brisk pace. I quite like the Trinidadian team.
They gave us a good game. It was never easy for us. We did not have an overwhelming victory. We had to play
with a lot of spirit to win the game even though we created the better chances."
There were scoring chances for both sides inside
the first 10 minutes. Gallacher's header then brought a fine save
from Joe Public goalkeeper Michael McComie.
Jemmot, Tobagonian striker Rolston James and Kittitian George Isaac (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh) had
But PFL's closest try came in the 37th minute
when Hector Sam found Isaac from the left only to have a
Newcastle defender block the effort on the line with goalkeeper Shay Given stranded.
Eight minutes after the half time break, the
"Magpies" broke the deadlock when Paul Robinson whipped in a cross
from the right for Gallacher to head past McComie's outstretched arms.
Among those on show in Newcastle colours were
Warren Barton, Andy Griffin, Steve Howey, Robert Lee
(England), Given (Republic of Ireland), Nolberto Solano (Peru) who is currently linked to moves to AC Milan
and Real Madrid and Frenchmen Didier Domi and Alain Goma.
Marvin Faustin captained the PFL side coached
by Ron La Forest.
Newcastle train at Canaan Bon Accord Ground, Tobago, today from 8:30 am and face a Tobago XI tomorrow
The first game for T&T will occur between July 12th-16th in
eithCuba or Canada.
Haitians call for Yorke, ‘Latas’
From IRVING WARD
AT last we've got a good pitch.
That was the collective sigh of relief coming
from the Trinidad and Tobago team yesterday after they turned up at
the National Stadium here for their first training session in preparation for today's return leg 2002 World Cup
qualifier against Haiti.
And the feeling was understandable . They had
been forced to play on some atrocious surfaces in their two prior
trips to the Netherlands Antilles and Dominican Republic in the series.
In Curacao, they met an artificial surface
which was hard on their ankles, knees and joints.
In the Dominican Republic, they encountered
an undulating turf which had cracks as big as four inches wide. And
even after that surface was "patched up" they had to watch their steps and were thankful to go through that game
Yesterday though, the only thing which was
done to the turf - used exclusively for football here, was the cutting
a lush green surface and the marking of the field. The cutting was painstakingly done with a lawn mower.
The Haitian authorities expect a capacity crowd
at the venue , which they say usually holds 17,000 comfortably .
But they are also expecting an even bigger crowd , perhaps in the vicinity of 20,000, in this football mad country.
Indeed, unlike the previous two away matches
the 7.5 million population here is well in tune with the game.
The country had a holiday yesterday. Flag Day
(Liberation Day) in celebration of the day they got their liberation
from France in 1804. So they are hoping they will have a double celebration today.
And they know their opponents well.
Most Haitians have been asking about T&T's
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, who was expected to
join the team last night.
But others have also called for the "Little
Magician" Russell Latapy, of Scottish club Hibernian.
One fan , who had seen him play in the two
previous World Cup campaigns called him the "Caribbean General".
However, T&T coach Ian Porterfield was
quick to point out that his team would be prepared to handle anything
from the home crowd today.
"We know its going to be a hostile atmosphere
but we know what we're going into," he said.
"Whatever happens outside the field of play,
we've got to try and channel ourselves away from that. It is 11
players against 11 and if our players approach the game in the correct and proper manner, there's no reason why
we shouldn't go back home with the right result to take us into the semi finals of the World Cup.
John joins Yorke vs Haiti
From IRVING WARD
If Trinidad and Tobago get past Haiti today,
they will be just a few steps away from the 2002 World Cup Finals
in Japan and Korea.
Skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates know
that waiting for them on the other side of today’s encounter is
the semifinal round of the Football Confederation qualifying series. And, beyond that, with continuing success, the
But today, their task is to take care of a
stubborn Haitian side in their third round return leg match-up here at
National Stadium in Port-au-Prince. Starting time for the all-important game is 6 p.m. Haitian time (7 p.m. T&T
Already with a 3-1 win from the first leg,
Latapy’s squad should favour their chances of moving on. And
yesterday in the team’s camp at the Holiday Inn here in the Haitian capital, there seemed no doubt about the
“We’re ready for the game,” said coach Ian
“We’ve got to be at our best and we know what
we’ve got to do. We’ve got to be professional, thorough, and
know our responsibilities because we know it’s a very important game for everyone connected to football in our
Porterfield added: “The training we have had
has been intense and the lads have done very, very well. Every little
effort and every little thing that we could do to make it easier for us to get the right result to take us to the next
phase, we tried.”
Porterfield has pulled out all the stops for
the game. Apart from coming with his best possible squad, he also
called in sports psychologist Anthony Watkins to chat with the players prior to the departure from Trinidad. These
sessions, he said, went down “quite well”.
But history has shown that nothing can be taken
for granted here and, despite all the efforts so far, victory is
certainly not guaranteed.
None of the members of the team has been allowed
to forget the incidents of 27 years ago when a T&T side led
by Selwyn Murren needed a victory to book a spot in the 1974 World Cup. That team scored six goals, five of
which were disallowed by the referee who was later banned for life for taking a bribe from Haitian officials—and
T&T eventually lost 2-1. And stayed at home.
With the advent of professionalism in refereeing,
a repeat is unlikely today. And this, as well as the fact that none
of the players on the current team was involved in the game then, is why Porterfield did not ask Watkins to revisit
“You can learn a lot from the past,” Porterfield
said of that 1973 occurrence before adding, “but basically, it’s
what happens this weekend that will determine where we go.”
Still T&T, who can play for a draw and
even afford to lose by no more than one goal, will not want to leave the
doorway open for misadventure.
That is why, Porterfield said, they will start
the game cautiously—and play that way for at least 25 minutes.
“We’ve got to approach the game sensibly to
look at what they have early. But we must start very professionally,
very focused, very committed, very determined and with the will and desire to succeed.”
He explained that he felt that the Haitians
would throw everything they have into attack in the early stages in a bid
to get the goals they need. But this could work against them and in favour of his side, he added, as it could open
up gaps which his forwards could exploit.
As far as the game plan for today is concerned,
Porterfield is expected to stick with the 3-5-2 system he has been
using all along. But after encountering problems with the starting combination the last time around, he seems set to
make changes today.
The most notable of these will see Stern John
finally getting his chance to partner Dwight Yorke up front in a
whole game. The Nottingham Forest marksman, just coming off a knee injury, played only in the second half of
the first leg game. But after John set up the two goals that separated the two teams in that match, Porterfield
quickly recognised what his presence brings to this team.
“In the last game, we decided to start Stern
on the bench, which was the right decision,” he said yesterday. “He
will start the game tomorrow because he has managed to get some training under his belt since then.”
T&T will also focus on shutting down Haiti’s
main playmaker, Sebastien Vorbe, and striker Goldman Pierre, who
scored their lone goal in Port of Spain. But this is the only ploy Porterfield, who is also not exactly forthcoming
when it comes to divulging strategy, would reveal.
So the T&T fans, hungry for an improvement
on the Strike Squad performance of 1989, must watch and
wait—with their fingers crossed.
From SELWYN MELVILLE,
NOTTINGHAM Forest striker Stern John will join
Dwight Yorke up front in tonight's crucial World Cup qualifier
between Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti at the National Stadium here.
Scottish coach Ian Porterfield said there will
be some changes to the team from the first encounter which T&T
won 3-1 at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
But he added there will be no major changes.
"We have done well in five games result-wise
and most certainly it would be wrong to try and change our policy
or to change our strategy," said Porterfield.
He however, defended his decision to use Stern as substitute in the home leg as the right one.
"When he arrived from England (Stern) for the
first game there was no doubt in our minds that he was a quality
player. He has managed to get a bit of training under his belt and got to know the technical staff and will start the
game," explained Porterfield.
The Haitians are also very confident after scoring a vital goal in the final stages of the first encounter.
In a stadium that is very compact and possibly
15,000 fans packed in, Trinidad and Tobago will certainly know
they are away from home.
In a country of seven and a half million and
most stricken by poverty, fans will be asked to pay an average of
US$30 to witness the match and the interest is fever-pitched in the streets.
On arrival at the airport many Haitian fans
in a friendly way made signs and statements in their local language of
what the outcome would be.
The size of the stadium makes the field look smaller than usual with high fencing for player protection in a soccer
For the entire day yesterday final preparations
to the outfield were done. One gentleman had the tedious task of
using an ordinary lawn-mower to cut the field.
However, it seems in good shape despite rain
on the island for the past two days.
The T&T team are aware of the conditions and disadvantages, but will not lean on these things. They have come
to Haiti to be positive and not negative.
The coach added that their job as a group was
to get the right result to take the "Soca Warriors" into the
semifinals of the next stage of the World Cup prelims.
In preparing for tonight's game coach Porterfield
paid closer attention to the midfield disappointments from the last
game. He did not want to point fingers, but ensured that the adjustments have been made for this return match.
Porterfield added: "It is an important weekend
of football for all concerned."
He is happy with the intensive work the players have done and will approach tonight's game cautiously.
They will first look at what Haiti have to
offer and then make the necessary adjustments. Porterfield said they did
just that in the first game and won. The only difference to the plan was that they got a late goal.
With home crowd support for Haiti the coach
believes that T&T should stay very focussed. When the game starts
there will be 11 players against 11, and if our players approach the game in the correct and proper manner there
is no reason why we should not return home with the right result to take use to the semis.
When the whistle blows for the start of the
game at 7 pm there will be positive reasons for both teams wanting a
And for Haiti, yesterday was flag day and a
national holiday. Flag day is in celebration of their liberation from
France in a battle that ensued early in the 19th century. This is election weekend and the football maybe one of the
few moments they have to enjoy in a build-up that has had over 14 political killings since March.
Meanwhile, Crew Alexandra goalkeeper Clayton
Ince joined his teammates yesterday, while Yorke was
expected last night.
TRINIDAD and Tobago ’s skipper Russell Latapy
and his teammates came in for a culture shock here yesterday,
after touching down at the Port au Prince International Airport for tomorrow’s third-round return leg World Cup
qualifier against Haiti.
The T&T delegation was stunned by the absolute
poverty which they saw on their way to their temporary base at
the Holiday Inn Hotel in downtown Port au Prince.
Having heard stories of the state of the country
before, Latapy and his men had been expecting the worst. But
nothing could have quite prepared them for what they actually met.
After arriving here, following a six- hour
flight from Piarco via Miami International Airport, the team found itself
the heart of the downtown slum area. It all happened after the bus driver, taking the team to the hotel, which is
close to the Presidential Palace, tried to take a short cut to avoid a massive traffic pile up just outside the airport.
The move would back fire though, as the back
roads, only threw the driver into a heavier traffic pile up, thanks to
the poor infrastructure and depleted conditions of the roadways—many of them paved with dirt.
Of course, the fact that there were no lights
or policemen regulating the traffic, where it seems the most daring
driver reaches his destination first, did not help the situation.
It took 55 minutes to get from the airport
to the hotel, but it was during this ride that Latapy’s squad got the
chance to firm up in their minds, what until then they had only been able to imagine. And this is what they saw.
It would appear, that the majority of the 7.5
million population live here in the city. And they do so in broken
down housing, many of them in dilapidated structures. Transportation is even worse with the owners of any type
of vehicles cramming their countrymen into them to transport them to their destinations.
Even owners of motor scooters run a quick transport
trade. However, while it was clear that the country is poor,
the Haitians seem ready to throw their full support behind their countrymen in tomorrow’s game.
The strange thing about it, once the driver
got out of the slums, the team was equally surprised to see that the heart
of the city was just as developed as any of the richer countries in the Caribbean.
Latapy’s men were jeered at and heckled by
Haitians from the time they touched down at the airport. Some of
them even dared indicate the winning result which they felt the home team would achieve. The Haitians must win
by two clear goals.
And naturally, the T&T team could not help
but wonder if some of those fans had not put some kind of jinx on
them. However, once they had settled in at the hotel, they were quickly focusing on the task at hand.
But today would be England’s based professional
Dwight Yorke and Clayton Ince’s turn to experience what their
teammates had yesterday. Both men are expected to join the team this morning having had to overnight in Miami
VISITING Premier League team Newcastle United
are expecting a competitive evening when they battle a local
Professional League All Star team in an exhibition match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7 pm.
Manager Bobby Robson held a 75-minute training
session with his side at the President's Ground yesterday and
reported that he was looking forward to the two matches.
"The place is a bit hot but we have to accept that. I think the opposition will be keen to beat us," Robson said
The 67-year-old former England manager and
player will be on the look out for any players worthy of a trial with
"We hope to forge some goodwill between the
island and Newcastle. We will have a look to see if there are a
few more Dwight Yorkes around. And we will also look into the setting up of the academies. So this trip got many
Local fans can expect to see Peruvian striker
Nolberto Solano, currently linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid,
Frenchman Didier Domi, Alain Goma, Scotland's Kevin Gallacher, Italian Alessandro Pistone (formerly of Inter
Milan), Englishmen Robert Lee (captain), Warren Barton and Steve Howie, and goalkeeper Shay Given of
Ireland in action.
Newcastle, who ended the League in 11th spot,
with a 4-2 win over Arsenal last week, play a Tobago XI on
Sunday at the Roxborough Complex in their second game of the "BritSoccer 2000" series organised by CL
Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
The local side, under coach Ron la Forest and manager Norris Ferguson is keen to make a good impression.
The squad includes national striker Hector
Sam, midfielder Kerwin Jemmot of Joe Public, Tobagonian striker
Ralston James, Sherwin Gomez, who has been invited for a trial with Sheffield United, Keith Gumbs and George
Isaac of St Kitts/Nevis, and Joe Public's goalkeeper Michael McComie.
Former national Marvin Faustin is the captain.
T&T soccer men get hostile Haiti welcome
From SELWYN MELVILLE
HAITIAN fans at the Port-au-Prince International
Airport gave Trinidad and Tobago's footballers an early
indication that their task will not be easy in tomorrow's World Cup return leg qualifier at the National Stadium
Although many of them were busy with daily
chores, they took time out with chants or by hand signals to indicate
the outcome in favour of the home team in the crucial match.
The T&T side arrived at 5.30 pm (TT time)
under rainy conditions in Port -au-Prince following a five-hour trip
which included a three-hour stay at the airport in Miami, USA.
There was heavy traffic between the airport and the Holiday Inn Hotel, resulting in a 50-minute drive. The players
appeared disappointed because of the lack of police escort as the bus driver had to make use of some back
roads to avoid a longer drive.
Captain Russell Latapy and his teammates all
arrived in good spirits confident that the Haitians will not be able to
go through from this tie judging from the 3-1 victory at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, two weeks ago.
Latapy and some of the other senior players,
including Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve and Marvin Andrews,
believe it will be difficult for the home team to get victory by two clear goals, especially with the potent T&T
attack which means that the Caribbean champions are also likely to get goals.
Officials, including Caribbean Football Union
secretary Harold Taylor, have assured that Manchester United
striker Dwight Yorke and goalkeeper Clayton Ince of Crewe Alexandra are booked on flights to arrive here
Coach Ian Porterfield will hold his first session
at the match venue at 5.30 this morning.
Local fans can tune into Vibe CT 105 for live commentary of the game from 7 pm tomorrow.
Youths get $400,000 worth of Adidas gear
SPORTSWEAR manufacturers Adidas arrived here
on Tuesday with equipment and clothing worth $400,000 to
donate to local underprivileged youngsters.
Representatives from Adidas' England company
handed out Newcastle replica items, along with other items
including football boots valued at
$ 200,000 to youngsters at the Youth Training
Centre, Golden Grove yesterday.
The CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh youth team is expected to receive full gear as part of the programme, while
several other youth organisations in San Juan will benefit from Adidas' generousity. Carole Beverley, marketing
director of Adidas Europe, was delighted to lend support here.
She said, "Adidas has been the major sponsor
for Newcastle for the past six years. Wherever Newcastle travels,
Adidas always tries to do something in the country they are visiting."
Various sizes of boots and football strips
and track suits, balls and shin pads worth 20,000 pounds will be
distributed during the remainder of the tour.
Manager Bobby Robson and members of the Newcastle
team were guests of British High Commissioner, Peter
Harborne, yesterday following a training session at President's Ground earlier in the day. The players will be at
Sports and Games and Sports Master on Frederick Street from 10 am this morning signing autographs and giving
out replica stuff to local fans.
Newcastle, whose trip has been organised by
CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh are interested in setting up two
football academies here within the next few weeks.
They journey to Tobago on Saturday, where further
talks will be held with regard them to setting them up on the
island. The Ansa McAL Group of Companies has already indicated their willingness to support one of the
The SEDLEY JOSEPH column
IT IS clear that coach Ian Porterfield will not have all his foreign-based professionals back home before the return
game in Haiti on Friday.
Dwight Yorke, for instance, has returned to
England and intends to go straight to Port-au-Prince for the game.
One or two of the other pros are likely to do the same.
Obviously, that does not give the coach much
time to get the players working closely together, something which
was lacking in the last game at the Stadium.
Some of the players had no idea where the ball
was being played and it was evident from the number of passes
that went astray that there is need for better communication between the players.
The communication problem was not the only
one; the service from the sides of the field by Angus Eve and
Stokeley Mason left a lot to be desired. In addition, there was the inaccuracy of the flighted ball to the strikers
Yorke and Stern John whose heading ability is one of the team’s strengths.
Quite a few teams have been using different
interpretations of the 3-5-2 system. T&T coach Porterfield, has
opted for a sweeper at the back with two man markers in front and a defensive midfielder in front of the latter.
Denis Lawrence filled that position in the first half against Haiti while Anthony Rougier did the honours in the
Two other midfielders, Eve and Mason, who are
mainly attacking players and cannot be relied upon to do much
defensive work, were used on the extremities of the field in that game. So that in reality the T&T defence
comprises four players, all of whom are concentrated in the middle of the field. When they are called on to make
tackles on the sides of the field, the middle becomes thin and problems arise.
T&T should use the same four defenders,
with two as definite wing-backs on either side of the field and two in
middle, either sliding up and down or with one sweeper and the other stopper in front of him.
With these four men in defence, four midfielders
can be used across the park—to no lesser effect than the five are
now being used.
It makes no sense to use attacking players
in midfield in the hope that they would defend when the time comes. It
is much better to have real defenders—more particularly wing backs—who have the ability to go up the sides of
the field and assist in attack when the opportunity presents itself. Most of the goals scored against T&T within
recent times have come from balls being played down the sides of the field behind the backs of attacking
midfielders on the sides of the field, who never seem to get back in time, thus leaving acres of room in those areas.
We cannot afford to give away goals against
Haiti, who need just two goals to advance ahead of us. They have
always been a difficult proposition at home and I remember well a 1-0 1966 loss when a penalty was given
against us for a supposed foul outside the penalty area and the 1973 defeat when we got the ball in their net five
times and ended up losing 2-1.
Team selection could be a deciding factor in
this game away from home in a tension-filled country. My team for
this return game against Haiti would read something like this:
Clayton Ince in goal, Marvin Andrews and Shurland
David as stoppers, Anthony Rougier and Brent Sancho as
wing backs. My midfield is Arnold Dwarika, Ansil Elcock, Russell Latapy and Mason. Latapy and Mason would
be the two men on the extremities of the field with Elcock and Dwarika, in the centre of midfield.
Latapy’s workrate is nothing like it used to
be, as was noticeable in the last couple of games. Secondly, he is the
best server of the ball and I can see some good accurate crosses coming from him to Yorke and Stern John up
Dwarika is a good passer of the ball and can
support the attack well. Elcock is not a particularly good passer of
the ball but his workrate is high and he can come back and help defensively. If he is selected this is where I would
play him. Mason gets the nod over Eve at the moment, not that he is playing well, but I don’t see any other player
in the present squad to fill midfield except perhaps Travis Mulraine.
Sancho is fit, quick and not afraid to go into
the tackle and he has convinced me that he could be an asset in
I don’t think that this team could do any worse than the last one.
By IRVING WARD
IAN Porterfield has called in a sports psychologist
to help his team prepare for Friday’s match against Haiti.
In preparation for the all-important third
round return leg 2002 World Cup qualifying game in Port-au-Prince, the
Trinidad and Tobago coach has asked sports psychologist Anthony Watkins to hold a couple sessions with the
Watkins held his first session with the squad
on Monday and had another yesterday prior to the team’s departure
for Port-au-Prince today.
And in another first, Dr Calvin Inalsingh will
also be travelling to Haiti as the team doctor to take care of any
medical emergency that might crop up.
Team Administrator Neville Chance told the
Express yesterday that he expected both specialists to play key roles
in the team’s preparation.
“We want to have the fellas to mentally focused
for the game,” Chance said. “The group dynamics of the team
must be very powerful because we expect a very tough game. Watkins is not so much coming in as a psychologist
but as a motivational speaker because what you really want in Haiti is a total team effort.”
Chance noted that Watkins’s brief was to mentally
prepare the team to handle the pressures they are likely
encounter in Haiti which is a seething cauldron of protests.
Initially, there were fears that the game might
have to be moved from the island owing to the politically related
violence rampant there in the run-up to long awaited general elections.
But T&TFF president Oliver Camps confirmed
yesterday that the Caribbean Football Union did not feel the
situation warranted any special attention because the incidents were restricted to “certain areas of the islands”.
And in response to a request from the T&TFF
that security be beefed up, CFU secretary Harold Taylor flew into
Haiti himself in advance of the touring party on a kind of reconnaissance mission.
T&T assistant manager Neil Mollineaux and
assistant coach Clayton Morris also flew to Haiti yesterday to make
advance preparations for the team’s arrival.
All of that, Chance explained, was to ensure
that the team would be able to give its full attention to
Porterfield has named an unchanged squad for
the game. And led by skipper Russell Latapy, the players already
assembled here—including Stern John, Anthony Rougier, Ansil Elcock and Angus Eve—began preparing for the
game a week ago.
Two England-based players—Manchester United’s
Dwight Yorke and Crewe Alexandra’s Clayton Ince—are
expected to be the last to complete the 18-member squad when they arrive in Haiti tomorrow morning.
Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Marvin Andrews, Shurland David, Sherwyn Julien, Ansil Elcock, Brent Sancho,
Anthony Rougier, Dennis Lawrence, Angus Eve, Stokely Mason, Carlos Edwards, Lyndon Andrews, Russell
Latapy, (Capt) Nigel Pierre, Arnold Dwarika, Stern John, Dwight Yorke.
RUSSELL Latapy and the T&T team leave this
morning for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, confident of getting the right
result in Friday's return leg to send them through to the semifinal stage of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign
scheduled to begin in July.
The contingent of players along with Latapy,
Nottingham Forest striker Stern John and Chester City's Angus Eve
have been in training under coach Ian Porterfield over the last week.
Other overseas-based players Anthony Rougier
(Port Vale), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Ansil Elcock
(Columbus Crew) and Brent Sancho (Charleston Battery) arrived in Trinidad on Monday. They will be joined by
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and goalkeeper Clayton Ince in Haiti on Thursday.
Manager Neville Chance and Yorke's local representative
Tim Nafziger, both gave the assurance that Yorke will
play on Friday. The 28-year-old Yorke was said to have returned to England last week to move into his new
Cheshire mansion and collect his Premiership medal.
Yorke said on Friday he didn't mind missing
United's celebrations on the weekend. He represented T&T against
Haiti at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
T&T have to protect their 3-1 advantage and coach Ian Porterfield is prepared for the toughest game of the
campaign so far.
The former Zambia coach said yesterday the
team did a lot of work. However, it was unfortunate that a number
of the players for Friday's game was not part of the planning.
"Obviously it's going to be hard in Haiti. They've got an election coming up so there's a lot of hype in that country.
We even heard rumours that the game may have been shifted to Miami. We certainly hope we are well
protected," said Porterfield.
T&T will end up in a semifinal group alongside
Mexico, Haiti, and either Honduras or Panama once they hold off
the Haitians. The losers of the current tie will meet the losers of Honduras/Panama for the right to end up in a
semifinal group with Jamaica.
In a warm-up match yesterday T&T defeated the Defence Force 2-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium with goals
by Latapy and Nigel Pierre.
Yorke rates Van Basten the best
TRINIADADand Tobago striker Dwight Yorke rated
former Dutch striker Marco Van Basten as the best
goalscorer of all time during an interview which was broadcast live internationally on Friday. Yorke also said
former Argentina captain Diego Maradona was his idol while growing up.
"I had a couple. I think Maradona was one and
John Barnes the other," Yorke said in response to who were his
boyhood heroes.When asked whom he thought was the best goalscorer, Yorke said "It's gotta be Van Basten for
me. Simply because he scored the difficult ones as well as the simple ones.
"People might argue Gerd Muller was a great
goalscorer because he got into great positions and scored. Van
Basten, however, got himself into difficult positions and still managed to score!" He added his favourite
Premiership strikers were Dennis Bergkamp and Italian Gianfranco Zola.
Yorke scored his second goal in consecutive
games for T&T in a 3-1 win over Haiti last Sunday. He also scored
in a 4-2 win over Guatemala in the Gold Cup.
He joined Aston Villa in 1989 and after two
seasons since signing a £12.6 million deal with United in 1998,
Yorke said Brazilian striker Rivaldo is the best player he has ever come up against.
"I think Rivaldo. When we played Barcelona
last season we had a 3-3 draw in Barcelona. He's an exceptional
player. He goes past players and does things with the ball no ordinary player can do. He scores really important
goals too. I don't think I've come across anyone better than him," he said.
Latapy to lose captain
midfielder Russell Latapy will lose captain
John "Yogi" Hughes for next season as Hibernian manager Alex
McLeish has not offered the 35-year-old defender a new contract. Hughes' contract ends at the end of this
season and will probably consider retirement or look for a new club after McLeish said he was too old.
The former Celtic player, who came here with
Hibernian in January, is a huge favourites among Hibs supporters.
Latapy was made full-time captain of T&T earlier this month and could find himself in line to wear the armband for
the club with which he has one year left on contract .
Latapy is set to be joined by local player
Lyndon Andrews at Hibernian next season. McLeish has confirmed that
he will sign Andrews but warned fans not to expect another "Little Magician."
"He is a good player, there is no doubt about
that. He doesn't give the ball away. He's very quick, very strong, not
the biggest admittedly, but smaller players need that little bit of something extra. He is not a Latapy in terms of the
way Russell beats people in the last third of the pitch but Lyndon is known for his dribbling skills.
"However, playing a deeper role than Russell
he needs to be careful where he attempts to beat people," McLeish
said last week.
Currently, Andrews is awaiting his work permit.
"We are looking to get Lyndon on a year's contract, a deal which
wouldn't commit either party long-term. That would let us see how he settles in Scotland and if everything works
out, we'd look to do something longer term," added McLeish.
Rougier like a brother to English player
Former England under 21 and Sheffield United
striker Marcus Bent says Anthony Rougier is like a brother to him.
The 21-year-old Bent who was here last week with Sheffield, played with Rougier at Port Vale before joining his
"I know Tony personally. I stayed with him
for a while and he's like my older brother for whom I've got a lot of
respect," said Bent.
He also spoke highly of Trinidadian players
now in England and says he expects to see more local players entering
the English Leagues.
"I like Dwight (Yorke) and there's another
good guy at Nottingham Forest, Stern John. I like foreign players,
particularly Jamaicans and Trinidadians, because they've got the flair and skill. I see a lot of talent over here. The
guys are young and big. The guys we've played against have a lot of talent.
"I just think they need the right coaching
and they'll be able to come over to England any day," he said. Bent, who
is wanted by Premiership club Wimbledon, has Jamaican parents but gave up the chance to play for the Reggae
Boys by representing England at a FIFA under 21 tournament three years ago.
"I had the chance to play for Jamaica but at
the time I wanted to play for England. Once you play in an under 21
tournament, you can't play for another country." Bent enjoyed his stay here saying "Most of all I enjoyed the food,
the rice and chicken, the roti and crabs. It's all good, healthy food. The girls are nice as well and the beers. The
Carib is nice, it's better than Budweiser too," said Bent.
Forest after partner for Stern
Nottingham Forest are on the look out for an
experienced striker to partner Stern John next season. Club
chairman Eric Barnes has told manager David Platt the club will give financial backing for a striker which, together
with John, should make them favourites for promotion into the Premiership next season.
Saudi Arabian striker Sami Abdullah Al-Saber
is one of the players being targeted. John was unable to play a full
season for Forest after he suffered a ligament injury in January. He netted three goals with his last coming in his
final game last month.
Mauge wants to bounce back
A week after being offered an extended one
year deal with English Second Division side Bristol Rovers,
midfielder Ronnie Mauge is anxious to return to action to help his club go after promotion next season.
Mauge missed the last three months because
of a broken leg sustained in the Gold Cup in February. The
30-year-old who is now tied to Rovers for the next two seasons, said it was difficult to watch his team fight for
promotion but miss out after being in contention.
The offer came out of the blue and was a great gesture. It just goes to show the calibre of club I am now playing
for. The least I can do is prove equal commitment to Rovers by accepting it.
We are all still reeling from missing out on
promotion, but we have to bounce back next season. I can't help feeling
if just one of the midfield players like myself who suffered long-term injuries had stayed fit we would have at least
made the play-offs," Mauge said last week.
He is likely to return to action in July when
Rovers begin their preseason campaign and will also want to rejoin the
national team for the semi-final stage of the 2002 World Cup qualifying tournament.
Paris St Germain after Avery
French giants Paris St Germain is reportedly
interested in defender Avery John. Reports out of Ireland where
John is based with Bohemians. FC stated St Germain, Nantes and unnamed Italian Serie B side are after John.
The former Presentation College, San Fernando,
captain, is currently on loan with American A-League side
Boston Bulldogs, the side he played with before going to Ireland. Bohemians have already offered him a new
two-year deal. John was in the national team for the early matches of the World Cup campaign but missed the
recent 3-1 win over Haiti because of club commitment. He may be recalled soon.
UK Magpies fly in
By SHAUN FUENTES
ENGLISH Premiership football team Newcastle
United will be hoping to give Trinidad and Tobago fans a taste of
the class which has made them one of the most popular and respected clubs in the UK.
The Magpies are expected to arrive here today
with manager Bobby Robson for an eight day stay in the
The are billed to come up against a Professional
League XI on Friday at the Concacaf Centre of Excellence at
Newcastle will also be setting up academies
here and will finalise most of the arrangements on this trip.
"Trinidad has excellent facilities and a professional
league. The standard is improving all the time and through visits
by clubs like ours we will accelerate their improvement," Robson said in England last month.
Newcastle's matches including one against Tobago
on Sunday is part of the "BritSoccer2000" organised by local
club CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
Fans will get the chance to see the likes of
Scottish midfielder Kevin Gallacher, Greek defender Nicos Dabizas,
Peruvian striker Nolberto Solano, Italian Alessandro Pistone, Didier Dome, Silvio Maric, Duncan Ferguson, Gary
Speed and goalkeeper Shay Given in action.
England striker Alan Shearer and Kieron Dyer
were forced to miss the trip because of national commitments.
The former club of T&T goalkeeper Shaka
Hislop, have never won the Premiership but have tasted FA cup
success on six occasions, taking the title in 1910, 1924, 1932, 1951, 1952 and 1955.
They were champions of the First Division in 1905, 1907, 1909,1927 and 1993 and won Division Two in 1965.
TRINIDAD and Tobago's Scotland born coach Ian
Porterfield is keeping an eye out for players who may be able
to improve the local squad for the remainder of the 2002 World Cup qualifying soccer tournament.
Porterfield indicated this after viewing Friday's
0-0 draw between Sheffield United and Joe Public at the Concacaf
Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
Among those who would have left a good impression
included young striker Sherwin Gomez, who has been
offered a trial by Sheffield, midfielder Kerwin Jemmot and former national Terry St Louis.
Word is that former nationals Shawn Boney and
Irasto Knights, both based in the United States are hoping to get
back on the T&T side. There are also a couple English borns being looked at.
"Obviously there were one or two potential
players here. Look at young Kerwin Jemmot, he did well tonight but
has not been training and hasn't been involved for various reasons.
"Myself, assistant coaches Jimmy Blanc and Clayton Morris and the rest of the staff have been looking and are
basically always trying to improve the squad we've got. But don't get me wrong, our lads have done well and I'm
pleased with their progress.
"What I try to do in our training sessions
is bring in different players from various clubs. I've got Anton Pierre
(Defence Force defender) in for the next few days to train with us and we'll look at him because we've got a game
against Canada coming up for which we will probably use a young squad," said Porterfield.
Word is that US based midfielder Brent Rahim
and Travis Mulraine will be called for the Canada friendly.
The former Zambia coach received criticism
following some of his decisions in last Sunday's 3-1 win over Haiti,
particularly for leaving Stern John out the starting team.
"I look closely at each game. Being a football coach you are always going to be criticised because everyone's got
their own opinion. I had asked Nottingham Forest about Stern John. I know their physiotherapist and assistant
manager very well.
"The information that I got was that he was
probably only 75 percent fit at the time. I had to assess deeply
because I didn't want to make any mistakes. I think the decisions that were made were professional, sensible and
were the correct decisions.
"Obviously, there are one or two departments
that need to be worked on. Now we address the next game and
we have to pick the squad that we believe is going to be the best side on the day," said Porterfield.
Overseas-based players Anthony Rougier, Ansil
Elcock and Brent Sancho arrived yesterday while Marvin
Andrews was expected later on.
Russell Latapy and Stern John remained here
after the last match and they will leave with the squad for Friday's
return leg against the Haitians.
Dwight Yorke and Clayton Ince will join them
in Haiti on Thursday, team administrator Neville Chance said
LOCAL giants Joe Public were one goal away
from pulling off a victory over English First Division club Sheffield
United but had to settle for a 0-0 draw because of some untidy finishing in an exhibition match at the Concacaf
Centre of Excellence, Macoya on Friday night.
The 1999 "Team of the Year" led by guest midfielder
Angus Eve, held their own against the visitors and could
have easily gotten victory in front of a respectable crowd. But even so they had to thank goalkeeper Michael
McComie for some important saves.
CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh , organisers
of the match, were also pleased that their striker Sherwin Gomez had
a decent match in the visitors' uniform.
Within the opening minutes, Sheffield looked
more hungry for goals but were lucky that Eve didn't get enough
power on his shot to get past defender Andrew Woodward with 'keeper Simon Tracy beaten.
Referee Richard Piper was kept busy throughout
as the players began acting as though they were playing a final
rather than a friendly.
Sheffield's Rob Kozluk was cautioned for stamping
Sherwin Julien. Joe Public's Nigel Pierre and Rudinei Cardoso
were also yellow carded and second half substitute Adrian Narine was given marching orders for hitting an
opposing player whose back was turned in the dying stages.
On 20 minutes, Philip Jagielka had McComie
scrambling to save his effort from close range.
Five minutes later, Sheffield's top striker Marcus Bent collected and unleashed a dipping effort from about 20
yards out which struck the upright.
Soon after the impressive Bent combined with
local boy Gomez but the latter couldn't get enough on his shot.
Eve, Pierre and Marc Borde had missed chances before half time. McComie then did well to keep out Jagielka's
A minute after the restart, Kerwin Jemmot forced
Tracy to push around his left post.
Narine and Terry St Louis then entered the Public attack and both had good tries at goal but neither that nor the
late singing from the dozen Sheffield fans present could inspire a goal.
Local boys Gary Gibbings and Edison MacFarlane
will be given a run by Sheffield when they face a Tobago XI at
Roxborough Complex in their final tour match today from 4 pm.
Sheffield return to England on Wednesday.
Jamaica keep eye on T&T
TRINIDAD and Tobago's main Caribbean rival
Jamaica sent a scout to observe the local side in their 2002
World Cup qualifying match against Haiti last Sunday.
Jamaica assistant coach Peter Cargill was sent
by head coach Sebastiao Lazaroni and sent in a report to the
Brazilian on Monday.
Lazaroni recently replaced countryman Rene
Simoes at the helm of the Jamaican side.
Cargill said that T&T's attacking play was impressive but was fragile in defence. He pointed out that T&T's use of
the ball in defence was a low point in the 3-1 victory.
Cargill described the local outfit as "basically
an attacking one - the front six players are excellent, but around the
back they lack a little organisation."
He told the Jamaican Observer newspaper that
the introduction of Nottingham Forest striker Stern John added
some sting to the T&T attack but the locals were never able to play a fluent game.
"The Haitians surprised the Trinis in the first
20 - 25 minutes with attacking, confident play, but as the game
progressed, Trinidad and Tobago got better, especially when they introduced Stern John at the start of the second
They (Trinidad) were never fluent in their
play and took a long time to get the motor running, but John's
introduction changed the game. He created a penalty shortly after entering the game and raised his team's level of
play. They are very good offensively.
Dwight Yorke, John, Arnold Dwarika and Russell
Latapy are real topclass players, but they were not clinical
yesterday (Sunday). The chemistry was not there although they were the better team."
He added that while the Haitians were better
technically he is "not so sure they are that organised. One good thing
is that they worked as a team."
Jamaica's other technical members , assistant
coach Carl Brown looked at Antigua/Barbuda's match against St
Vincent and the Grenadines match in Antigua, and physical trainer, Glydiston Ananias was at the
Along with T&T, those previously mentioned
teams could end up alongside Jamaica in the semi-final stage.
If T&T fails to get past Haiti, they will
face either Honduras or Panama for the right to end up in Jamaica's group.
T&T are billed to take on the Jamaicans in two warm up games on July 2 and 9.
T&T players can do better says Sheffield Utd manager
SHEFFIELD United manager Neil Warnock believes
Trinidad and Tobago is loaded with talented footballers but
that will only be beneficial if they can settle to playing organised football.
He was speaking during a media briefing and
discussion with officials of clubs in the local Professional League at
Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Warnock currently here with the English First
Division club seems interested in what T&T have to offer and may
arrange a trial for striker Sherwin Gomez and Gary Gibbings in July.
Warnock said local players were technically
inclined but would excel if they can be better disciplined and, "use a
bit more of their brain on the field."
He pinpointed CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh
midfielder Otis Seaton during his team's 2-0 loss to Courts
Caledonia AIA on Wednesday.
"His problem is he thinks he's a good player.
He's a good player but if he continues to think that way, he'll be a
nobody. That's why the most difficult thing for you guys is to get the players to play the game simple. The game is
simple but it's the players who make it complicated," said Warnock.
He mentioned that Scotland-born coach Ian Porterfield,
as coach of the national team, could play a major role in
"I know Ian Porterfield is here now. I feel
the organisation is the main aspect that needs to be improved with
regards to play on the field. The players have got so much technical ability, if you can get the organisation, I think
you'll go from strength to strength.
"If you can get more people to use their brain
and ability as well, you'll go a long way. When you look at
yourselves five years ago to now, you see that you are far greater," said Warnock, who previously managed Notts
County, Plymouth Argyle, Bury and Huddlesfield. He became manager of Sheffield U. last December, taking
them from 23rd to 16th spot.
Based on Wednesday's match, he said, "The counter
attacking is tremendous. The first touch of the players I felt
was quite incredible."
TRINIDAD and Tobago's warm-up match against
Canada will go ahead as scheduled on May 27 at the Varsity
Stadium in Toronto.
T&T face the team which knocked them out
in the Gold Cup semi-finals despite reports that coach Ian Porterfield
decided to pull out because of the possibility of both teams ending up in the same group of the semi-final stage of
the 2002 World Cup qualifying.
Earlier this week, Canada coach Holger Osieck
expressed displeasure with T&T pulling out but local manager
Neville Chance said yesterday that the match will go on.
Word is that a large amount of match tickets
have already been sold.
"The match has not been cancelled. But we are still working out the details as to which players will be available for
the game on May 27," said Chance.
The Toronto Sun newspaper reported that Canada
officials were first aware of T&T's intentions of pulling out
through a report in this newspaper on Monday in which FIFA Vice president Jack Warner mentioned that the
game was off.
"We definitely needed that game to prepare
for our World Cup qualifying matches. They (T&T) are the ones who
insisted on playing us in May. But nothing surprises me in (the Football Confederation)," said Osieck.
'Eastern Lions' tackle Sheffield Utd
JOE PUBLIC will aim to give a good account
of themselves when they meet English First Division club Sheffield
United in an exhibition match at the Concacaf Centre of Excellence, Macoya from 7 pm tonight.
The "Eastern Lions" will, however, be without
national striker Arnold Dwarika following a request by the national
team officials that he beleft out to avoid risk of injury ahead of this country's return leg World Cup qualifier against
Haiti next Friday.
Fellow national players Nigel Pierre and Stokely
Mason will be given some time on the field tonight said Public
manager Richard Abraham.
Local duo, forward Sherwin Gomez of CL Financial
San Juan Jabloteh, organisers of Sheffield's tour, and Gary
Gibbings, formerly of St Anthony's College may be given a run with the English club with the possibility of earning
However, it is unlikely that they will sign
contracts soon as neither has international experience making it difficult
secure work permits.
Meanwhile, Sheffield manager Neil Warnock is
likely to make one or two experiments in the matches. He may
play talented Wayne Quinn in midfield with a view to using him in that position next season, as well as youngsters
like Phil Jagielka and Adam Burley.
Striker Marcus Bent and Curtis Woodhouse will
be hoping to give the local fans a good show. Warnock is trying
to convince both men to extend their two year contracts.
Bent was also wanted by English Premiership
clubs Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Scottish champions
Defender Shaun Murphy, the club's only full
international did not make the trip as he is on duty with Australia.
They journey to the sister isle to take on a Tobago representative team on Sunday at Roxborough.
Everything seemed to be in place for a good
football match on Sunday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Large
sections of the crowd had come out dressed in red as requested, there was a bright sun overhead and the
showers of the previous afternoon had put some ease in the ground underfoot.
I remembered what some of the then top administrators
had said in 1989, when we lost 0-1 to the US although a
draw would have put us through to the World Cup finals in Italy: the Stadium turf should have been sprinkled to
ensure a T&T victory. That thought was chased out by another: the InterForever Sports people must be smiling all
over their faces at the size of the near capacity crowd.
They are to receive 50 per cent of the gate
receipts. Soon the game had begun and, to my surprise, the Haitian
forwards were venturing forward although their coach, former player Emmanuel Sanon, had made no secret of the
fact that he would have been content with a draw. But they were maintaining a tight defence as well, no doubt well
aware of the capabilities of Dwight Yorke and the price they would pay for leaving him unmarked.
T&T were in control of the midfield for
long periods at the start and Yorke had the first try on goal, his header
from around the six-metre box skimming the crossbar and going over. Skipper Latapy seemed intent on getting
most of his passes to Yorke and that made it easy for the defence to cut quite a few of them off.
Soon, the Haitians had gained in confidence
and were beginning to string passes together in midfield. But the
openings they created did not allow strikers Ménélas and Pierre to get shots at Clayton Ince in the T&T goal.
Credit also has to be given to the T&T
defence which, although still guilty of giving away the ball when in
possession, looked much more organised than in the past.
Even when they fell behind to Marvin Andrews’s
well taken goal, the Haitians were not deterred. And Ménélas,
finding himself free in between defenders—shades of Canada’s goal in the Gold Cup!—forced a brilliant save out
of Ince with a header. Ince again saved the side moments later when Désir, given acres of space, opted to shoot
from about 25 metres out.
Stern John was only introduced at the start
of the second half, a decision for which many have roundly criticised
coach Ian Porterfield, who claimed he did not want to gamble on his fitness. I share the view that the Nottingham
Forest striker should have been in the starting line-up. In football, you simply do not deliberately save your
best–or one of your best—players for last.
Anyway, John made an immediate impact although
the midfield seemed to go to sleep at the start of the second
period. He and Yorke had to be either jumping with a defender or collecting with a defender at their backs
because the ball was only coming to them long and high out of the T&T defence.
Dwarika had been pushed back into midfield
with John’s entry and it was one of the rare combinations between
the midfield and the strikers that led to the second goal. John looked suspiciously offside in the build-up to the
third goal but the referee allowed him to get away with it despite appeals from the Haitians.
T&T won the game, it is true, but Porterfield
has little to be ecstatic about. To begin with, the usual last-minute
lapse reduced a very comfortable 3-0 cushion into a less secure two-goal margin.
Secondly, the service from the midfielders
to the forwards throughout the game was poor. My favourite national
footballer, Russell Latapy, has been shirking his responsibilities as chief playmaker and for long periods was
invisible. In addition, Dennis Lawrence and Anthony Rougier should not be on the field at the same time as they
play almost exactly similar roles on the team.
Thirdly, it was almost laughable to see how
often the crosses from the flanks were wasted although the two men
up front—at least in the second half—are excellent headers of the ball.
So there is a lot of work to be done before
we can feel sanguine about our chances of reaching Japan/Korea. But
we will have more to say after we see how we fare against the Haitians on their own turf in Port-au-Prince.
Porterfield: We did our homework
TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield thought
long and hard before picking his final XI for last Sunday’s
third round 2002 World Cup qualifier against Haiti at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Despite his team’s 3-1 victory in the game,
the 52-year-old coach has come in for some sharp criticism from the
public after another sub-par performance from the Russell Latapy-led side.
The biggest area of dissatisfaction was Porterfield’s
decision to use Arnold Dwarika as Dwight Yorke’s striking
partner in the starting line-up ahead of Stern John.
This ploy yielded little reward in the first
half and John, who was getting his first run with the team this year after
coming off a knee injury, eventually came on after the interval to show up the decision-makers by setting up the
two second half goals.
However, Porterfield explained afterwards that
he made his decision after consulting the physiotherapist at John’s
Nottingham Forest club.
“I sat and thought about Stern John long and
hard because I was tremendously impressed with him in training,”
“But I also did my homework on him. He’s only
just coming back to full fitness and I analysed and assessed
whether he’s really ready to go.”
Adding that he also had two other strikers—Arnold
Dwarika and Dwight Yorke—in his arsenal, he noted that he
“had the luxury of three very good players and I had to try and make the right decisions because I could only play
two front players, I felt.”
Declaring that another factor to be reckoned
with was the recent successful partnership between Yorke and
Dwarika at the Gold Cup when John was out with his injury, Porterfield explained: “That’s why he (John) took
part in the second 45 minutes. I can’t do this thing willy-nilly and just say ‘let’s go out and play Mickey Mouse
football’ because we’ll go nowhere that way. Nowhere at all.”
He also attempted to justify his decision to
go with both Anthony Rougier and Dennis Lawrence, a pair of
essentially defensive-minded midfielders, in the middle of the park with Latapy.
Explaining that he used Angus Eve, Dwarika,
Yorke and Latapy as his “positive players” in attack, he said he
opted to go with the Rougier/Lawrence combination to keep the team “well organised”.
He admitted, though, that things did not work
out quite as planned owing, in part, to the failure of some of the
players to discharge their responsibilities efficiently.
“To be fair, I think Haiti is a very good side
and it was a bit difficult for me to sort out just how to approach it
(game),” he said. “No matter who you play, you’ve got to win the game and we’ve won the game.”
“Okay, maybe people will say the combination
could have been better in different ways,” he conceded. “But I felt
we made the right decisions at halftime and obviously we got a 3-0 lead which was good.
“And I can see little things and little chinks that we’ve got to improve on. So there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Admitting that the performance could have been
better, Porterfield nevertheless said he was happy overall, having
achieved the desired result.
“No one’s ever satisfied because you can always
do better,” he argued. “But I would think that a 3-1 scoreline is
a decent result.”
“I thought,” he continued, “that in the first
45 minutes we sat off the Haitian team a little bit and they always were
to the ball a bit quicker than us. But we adjusted and scored three goals. Obviously we’re a bit disappointed that
we conceded a goal.”
Haitian striker Golman Pierre scored on the
stroke of full time to reduce the margin for the return leg on May 19 in
Port-au-Prince to a more manageable two goals.
Of the lapse in defence that led to the Haitian
goal towards the end, Porterfield commented: “We didn’t want
them to score a goal. That was the only disappointment for me.
“3-0 would have been a marvellous score for us but 3-1 makes it a harder game for us in Haiti.”
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Porterfield
warned, “but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t go there and
get the result to take us to the semifinal.”
But the Scotland-born coach added that there
would have to be a lot of improvements heading into the return
game. However, with several of the professionals heading back to their clubs to conclude end-of-season business
there, his preparatory work with the team will again be hampered.
However, the coach hastened to add that it
was a problem that team coaches “with players in Europe” had to
deal with and said that he and his technical team would again sit down and map out a strategy to ensure that the
T&T seniors would again came out on top in two weeks’ time.
Wednesday May 10th, 2000
TRINIDAD and Tobago's captain Russell Latapy
will not mind playing against Scotland if this country advances
to the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.
The 31-year-old midfielder based in Scotland
with Premier League club Hibernian, said that by being first time
qualifiers, T&T would obviously not be favourites in the tournament, but the pressure would be on the Scotsmen if
they were to be grouped together.
"If we were to qualify and play Scotland it
would be fantastic but it wouldn't matter who were in our group, we'd
always be the underdogs and favourites to go out right away. But if we were to get Scotland I think all the
pressure would be on the Scots. It would be nice to think that Kenny Miller (Hibernian teammate) could be part
of it all, too, he's a smashing player and definitely has the chance to be part of it all if Scotland qualify.
"Perhaps it would be better, though, if we were kept apart if we do make the finals, Hibs fans would then have
two teams to support," said 'Latas.'
He sees T&T as strong competitors for a
spot in Japan/Korea.
"This is probably one of the best squads that we've ever had, so definitely we have to give it a good shot."
While Latapy was with his national teammates
for Sunday's game against Haiti, his Scottish club were hammered
5-2 by champions Rangers but hit back with a 2-0 defeat of Motherwell on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a London Hibs supporters jersey
autographed by the "Little Magician" and Dwight Yorke is currently
up for bid at Hibs, with the funds going towards his local foundation for underprivileged youngsters.
A fan has already bid £200 before the
deadline on May 20.
Yorke to play more often
Striker Dwight Yorke says he is likely to face
little problem in being available to represent this country in World
Cup qualifying matches later this year.
Speaking last week, Yorke thanked the T&T
Football Federation for allowing him to miss earlier games, but is
aware that he will be needed for the crucial matches coming up.
He therefore intends to let United know that T&T will need him on a regular basis for later World Cup matches.
"This is the situation now where we get into
real crunch time and this is one of the reasons I'm here. I don't see it
being a problem. I have to come because I want to be part of it," said Yorke who stressed that T&T are in with a
great chance of reaching the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.
Yorke scored in T&T's 3-1 win over Haiti
on Sunday, his first goal since a 4-2 win over Guatemala in the Gold
Cup last February.
He currently has 23 goals in the English competition
and was never worried about not being able to match his
form of last season which brought him 29 goals.
"Yeah it's been good. It's something I've worked
extremely hard on as you know all players at top level go
through a phase of not performing as you'll like to. But you continue to work hard and you are determined and
you believe in your ability as you've always done. I'm just happy to be back scoring again," said Yorke.
His official biography written by Hunter Davies is now on sale in this country.
Manchester want Marvin
Newly promoted English Premier League club
Manchester City, are currently eyeing local defender Marvin
The big defender said after Sunday's 3-1 win
over Haiti that he would be holding discussions with interested clubs
on his return to Scotland this week.
He added that Hibernian, Barnsley, as well as Dutch side PSV Eindhoven were tracking him.
Andrews' two-year contract with Scottish First
Division club Raith Rovers ended this month and despite already
being offered a new contract, he may leave the club after management asked him to choose club over country
ahead of the Haiti clash.
Andrews gave a solid performance for T&T
on Sunday, also scoring his third goal of the campaign.
"I thank God for giving me the opportunity
to score the goal because I pray a lot. I really am happy to score for
my country. It is always good to get a goal from your defenders because everybody looks to Dwight Yorke and
these players to score," said Andrews.
Stern ready to work
Stern John was not used in the Trinidad and
Tobago starting line-up in Sunday's 3-1 win over Haiti because of a
John did enter the game at the start of the
second half and made an immediate impact on the T&T attack
alongside Dwight Yorke.
However, the 23-year-old striker is willing
to continue working his way back to full match fitness in order to
regain his spot.
"Yeah I'm looking forward to it. Actually my
club and the T&T Football Federation have a good understanding
right now and are willing to work together as much as we can, as long as they don't take me away for friendly
games and stuff."
Forest defeated Stockport 3-2 on Saturday and
John was happy about the result.
Word is that Nottingham are eager to visit this country some time soon for a couple exhibition matches.
Rougier can deal with it
Midfielder Anthony Rougier said that he and
other overseas-based professionals are able to cope with the change
from playing with their clubs to wearing a national jersey.
The former T&T captain and other overseas players only joined T&T in training last Wednesday.
He admitted that it was difficult to switch
to a more defensive role after playing as a striker for Port Vale.
"You're a professional footballer so you learn
to cope with things.
"We learn to deal with situations which may seem uncomfortable. For the best of the team and the country you
just have to the best you can and pray to God that that will be enough," said Rougier.
Vale have been relegated to the English Second
Division and it remains to be seen whether Rougier will look to
another club. He missed nine games for Vale this season including their final of the season, a 1-0 loss to
Wolverhampton Wolves on Saturday.
'Chubby' for Hibs
Midfielder Lyndon "Chubby Andrews is likely to be playing with Scottish Premier League club Hibernian when
the new season begins.
Andrews, currently attached to Vibe CT 105
W Connection, had been on trial with Hibs recently.
Connection president David John Williams said
on Sunday that "Chubby" is only awaiting approval of a work
permit before signing a deal. Hibs are also said to be interested in local boy Dennis Lawrence.
Andrews sat on the bench during T&T's 3-1
victory over Haiti on Sunday.
Glasgow sees MLS action
Striker Gary Glasgow replaced American Preki
in the 82nd minute but could not find the mark in Kansas City
Wizards' 0-0 draw with Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
Glasgow was able to set up a goal in Wizards' 5-0 win over Colorado Rapids the previous weekend.
Former Joe Public defender Keyeno Thomas replaced
Paul Bravo in the 64th minute during the Rapids' 2-1 win
over the Colorado Rapids last week, while his local teammate Travis Mulraine came on in the final minute of San
Jose Earthquakes' 2-1 loss to New England Revolution.
Kansas are currently top of the Western Division
with 20 points with Colorado (12 points) third and San Jose
fourth with eight points.
John loses FA Cup
Defender Avery John missed T&T's 3-1 win
over Haiti in order to represent Bohemians FC in last Friday's Irish
FA Cup final replay.
John reportedly had a good match, but Bohemians went down 1-0, missing out on a chance to win the tournament
for the first time in eight years. They finished third in the League.
The good news for John is that he was named
"Player of the Year" by the club's supporters group.
John has signed a one month deal on loan with American A-League side Boston Bulldogs and is expected to
line-up with them later this month. John is likely to sign a new two year deal with Bohemians.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago football coach Ian Porterfield
is hoping to have a full squad of players available for
training at least a week before the 2002 World Cup return leg qualifying match against Haiti on May 19.
Porterfield indicated this following Sunday's
3-1 win over the Haitians at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Realising that T&T need to avoid defeat
by two goals, the former Chelsea coach pointed out that some
overseas-based players only joined the training last Thursday but refused to use that as an excuse for not playing
fully as a unit.
"That happens the world over when you have
players playing in Europe. All teams have players playing abroad
and you have to accept that. We hope as soon as possible players could return. We've got to address that
situation," said Porterfield.
"There have been a lot of pluses and as the
competition grown hopefully we will grow in it. We will hopefully
become a better unit," he added.
Captain Russell Latapy is expected to remain
here for the rest of this month as he has already been excused by
Hibernian but there remains a question mark over the early presence of some of the other overseas players.
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke was
scheduled to leave for England last night to play in United's final
Premiership game on Sunday against his former club Aston Villa.
Yorke's local representative Tim Nafziger said he is likely to join the local squad in Haiti next week for the match.
Latapy added it is always likely to be difficult
to get players together in good time for training.
"It's very difficult at the moment with all
the travelling involved. The nucleus of our team play either in Europe
the United States with the result that sometimes we have 12 players travelling back and needing to rest rather than
being able to train twice a day and work on basic organisation of the team," Latapy said in Scotland, prior to his
Porterfield has admitted that Stern John added some life to the attack in the second half but defended his decision
to leave him out of the starting team.
"Stern John has only played one game for his
club. I think if you analyse and assess, he's got a little bit to go. I
and thought about Stern John. He's now coming back to full fitness. People have got to understand that. It was
always my intention to introduce him in the game. We felt we'll just bring him on at the right time and he did very
well. We always have to have something up our sleeves," said the Scotsman.
WINNING, they say is contagious.
And at first glance, one would have to concede that a 3-1 scoreline in favour of the home team, would have left
Trinidad and Tobago feeling relatively comfortable going into their away game against Haiti on May 19.
But no member of the technical team could really
be satisfied with the performance of the "Soca Warriors" last
For most of the game, Trinidad and Tobago lacked
cohesion and the fluidity with which they played in some of
the Gold Cup matches earlier in the year, was notably absent.
Stern John's performance in the time that he
was allowed on the field showed that he is close to being back to his
best after his injury. It's double trouble with him and Yorke when they start together and spend any length of time
on the field. Let's hope that is soon.
Anthony Rougier was not in the same mood as when he played in the Gold Cup. He looked a little jaded and
maybe he needs a rest. Afterall, he is a tireless workhorse and this may be having its effect on him.
I was very impressed with Marvin Andrews and
perhaps if we can get three others as competent as he is, coach
Porterfield's problems in defence would be sorted out. Maybe in time to come, Rougier could be considered for
one of the wing back positions.
Home or away, I don't think this Haiti team
is good enough to beat T&T by three clear goals. But I also didn't
think T&T deserved to score three goals on Sunday.
So when we play the return game, it must be
almost as if the first game at home was drawn. Unlike the Haitians
who came here hoping for a draw, we must play to win. We have a much better group of individuals.
The problem could well be how we use these
individuals to get a real team effort for the remainder of our
By DOUGLAS ALEXANDER,
IT CRACKLES across the Atlantic from Port-of-Spain,
Trinidad, yet even the considerable obstacles of an
international mobile phone call from the seat of a moving car in the Caribbean cannot disguise the fact that Ian
Porterfield's accent has not moved an inch from Dunfermline, where it was formulated.
In those childhood days, Porterfield was also
forming his football skills during endless hours of practice with Billy,
his brother. The accent and skills have been heard on training pitches from Aberdeen to Zimbabwe since.
Few careers have bounced round the globe quite
like the 52-year-old's. His
latest assignment as national coach of Trinidad and Tobago along with a
technical director's brief at Joe Public, the nation's leading club, sees him
chasing a dream rather than air miles, though. Porterfield believes he and the
Caribbean nation can stamp each other's passport to the next World Cup finals.
Porterfield was named national coach on March
1, succeeding Bertille St Clair, but he also doubled as a hostage
negotiator. He dismisses talk of a revolt by players, led by Dwight Yorke, of Manchester United, angry at St
Clair's removal from office. The diplomacy instead involves obtaining the release of players such as Yorke, Russell
Latapy and Marvin Andrews from managers such as Alex Ferguson, Alex McLeish, who played under Porterfield
at Aberdeen, and
At the moment, backs are being scratched so
that favours will be returned later during the arduous route Trinidad
and Tobago must plot to the next World Cup.
On Sunday, they defeated Haiti 3-1 in the first
of a home and away qualifier they hope will take them into a final
group of six teams. He also guided them to victories over the Dominican Republic in their two earlier qualifiers.
Three teams from that group will then represent the Concacaf region in Japan and South Korea.
Porterfield would have "broken the ice" with
Yorke this week.
"I sympathise with big Alex at Hibs and Peter Hetherston at Raith Rovers
because they haven't got huge squads and I know from my own time as a club manager how hard it can be to lose
an important player. On the other hand, clubs have got to realise that if they sign players from Africa and the
Caribbean, they will lose them time and again during the season."
The Scot straddles the fence better than most,
having experienced life on both sides of it. Still known around the
world for the goal which helped Sunderland lift the FA Cup in 1973 at the expense of Leeds, he was a club
manager at Sheffield United, Rotherham, Reading, Aberdeen and Chelsea.
After leaving Stamford Bridge in 1993, he helped
Zambia recover from an air crash, in which several members of
the national squad were killed - taking them to within a point of the 1994 World Cup finals. He then coached in
Saudi Arabia and made a brief return to Britain with Bolton in 1996 before becoming national coach of Oman in
the Middle East.
Porterfield's extensive CV attracted Jack Warner, vice-president of Fifa and a
driving force for football in the Caribbean, who wanted him to oversee the nation's football development. Trinidad
and Tobago are widely accepted as having the best technical players in the region, but are often let down by a
lack of organisation and overindulgence in tricks and pretty passing.
"People say we are better than Jamaica, but
Jamaica went to the last World Cup
and we didn't. There must be a reason for that," Porterfield said.
"It's similar to the situation I experienced
in Zambia, where there was plenty of raw talent and skilful players, but
we had to look past the pluses and analyse the minuses to try and get some discipline. We are moving in the right
direction with the emergence of players like Marvin Andrews.
He's learning to play centre-half the Scottish
way. He wants to win. He can pass the ball, but he knows his priority
is to clear it.
"My grandfather, father and uncle all taught
me bits about football and I practised my shooting so much with my
brother we joked that he should have become Scotland's goalkeeper. Here, football knowledge isn't passed
down the generations as much, so you have to coach the young players, hoping the penny will drop and they will
realise their potential."
Porterfield misses Britain, particularly his
six children who live in Surrey and Sunderland. He has agreed to a
three-year contract with Warner and suspects
it will be the last adventure in his globe-trotting travels. After that, a return home and a job coaching young players
at one of the youth academies being established by clubs in Scotland and England would suit.
His dream job, he admits, is unlikely to happen.
"Everybody would love to
manage their country and I am no different," he said, "but I have been away from Scotland since I was a young,
young boy, while Craig Brown has stayed there, done his time as Andy Roxburgh's assistant, and knows the
players who are around."
He may not succeed Brown but, like the Scotland manager, Porterfield is a good ambassador for his nation.
By IRVING WARD
TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield yesterday
came in for some harsh criticism from several quarters.
The 52-year-old Scotsman incurred the wrath
of several members of the footballing fraternity despite T&T’s 3-1
victory over Haiti in Sunday’s third round 2002 World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Many commentators seemed to feel that the team’s
performance was so poor that a trip to Korea and Japan now
Former national players Ken Butcher, Dr Alvin
Henderson and Sedley Joseph were among those offering
assessments of Porterfield’s work since his appointment to the job in March.
All three agreed that the team was not currently
playing as well as it was several months ago. And while they
agreed that some improvement had been made in the defence, they felt midfield had now reached a level which
could pose major problems in the future.
“I think we have gone a bit backwards,” Joseph
“Maybe it is too early to pass judgment but,
comparing things with how we played in the Gold Cup, I have not
seen any improvement. There is a lot of work to be done between now and the return game. And beyond.”
He added that all the blame should not fall
on Porterfield as some of the players were not playing to their “true
Butcher felt the main reason for this could
be that Porterfield, who replaced former coach Bertille St Clair, did not
have the necessary pedigree.
“I do not have a problem with a foreign coach
but we must give the job to the person who is best suited,” he said.
“Portefield’s résumé to me does
not demonstrate that he has the experience at World Cup level. If you are
removing Bertille, bring somebody who was either on the fringe of reaching the World Cup or had that
Henderson felt that the transition period between
coaches was part of the problem. While St Clair preferred the
Brazilian style of play, using short passes, Porterfield—on the evidence of Sunday’s game in particular, seems to
prefer the long passing game.
“I don’t think he (Porterfield) is over-emphasising it (long passes). It has ha
ppened because the midfield passing has deteriorated
over the last several months from game to game.”
He said the absence of former skipper David
Nakhid, whose organisational skills and vision were a real plus,
might be a factor in this. But he suggested blooding the US-based duo Brent Rahim and Travis Mulraine before
bringing back the aging Nakhid. Both players, he feels, can support Russell Latapy who, all agree, is either now
past his best or is yet to accept that he has to do more work in the middle of the park.
Team selection on Sunday, was also a major
It was felt that Stern John was the best option
to partner Dwight Yorke while Arnold Dwarika could have been
used in the middle, as he was in the second half. Dennis Lawrence, substituted at the half after a poor showing,
has the quality to play the defensive midfield role. Furthermore, Lawrence and Anthony Rougier should not have
been used together, especially when the aim was to get goals.
Wingers Angus Eve and Stokely Mason, the commentators
felt, let the team and strikers down by failing to
produce quality crosses and defending the flanks.
Butcher expressed the view that the more senior
players on the team—including Latapy, Yorke and Hislop—held
the key to the team’s future.
“These guys have to go to him quietly and work
with him and then pull all the guys together because this is their
last attempt at a World Cup,” he said.
“He (Porterfield) does not have time to put
his stamp on our game and therefore they need to discuss a system of
play that will suit the team with him because they know their teammates best.”
Henderson also felt that, with arguably the
best team ever on paper at his disposal, it would all come down to how
much the team wanted it.
“There are pros and cons but it will come down
to how the players and the coaches correct mistakes and work
from there,” he ended. “That will decide whether we reach the World Cup or not.”
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior football team
could have a few new faces within the next few weeks.
Currently, Englishman John Stubbs is on the
look out for English players eligible of representing T&T and word
that he has already come across a couple.
However, their names have not been disclosed.
After being recommended by T&T coach Ian
Porterfield last month, Stubbs was appointed by the T&T Football
Federation as a scout who will monitor all national players in Europe.
While not underestimating the ability of T&T's current players, FIFA vice-president Austin Jack Warner says
there is now a constant search for new players.
"There is now a constant search for possible
overseas players in the English League as well as constant review of
the performance of the present batch of players, through Stubbs, an English scout who is now on the Federation's
payroll. While I have no report of any specific players being recommended so far, I'm aware that John is active in
the field and shall be submitting a report shortly," said Warner.
Already, England-born midfielder Ronnie Mauge
has represented T&T before being sidelined with a leg injury
during the Gold Cup and is expected back in the fray within the next two months.
Burnley defender Ian Cox also made his debut
for T&T in a 0-0 draw with Morocco in January and may rejoin
the squad soon.
Barnsley defender Kevin Austin is coming off
a leg injury and is keen to join T&T. Young Aston Villa player Jloyd
Samuel and Watford's Micah Hyde are also eligible of wearing the national jersey. Hyde has also been invited to
play for Jamaica.
Warner is also not ruling out the possibility
of a few warm-up games in the near future.
T&T's match against Canada scheduled for May 27 in Toronto has been cancelled because of the possibility of
both teams ending up in the same group in the semifinal stage.
A quadrangular tournament from July 12-15,
involving Jamaica, Nigeria and Cameroon at Wembley Stadium,
England, may also be cancelled. The semifinal round of qualifying matches is scheduled to start around that period
and there have also been reports that Wembley may be unavailable because of a concert.
TRINIDAD and Tobago’s senior footballers, now
bidding to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and
Korea, will play two practice matches against arch-rivals Jamaica in July. The second of the two games, to be
played in Trinidad on July 9, will be part of the Millennium Sports Festival, being organised by the Ministry of
Sport and Youth Affairs.
Sports Minister Manohar Ramsaran, whose brainchild
the Festival is, launched the event yesterday at a luncheon
at the Holiday Inn. The Festival, which commences next week with the first round of cricket matches, comprises
an Under-23 limited overs cricket competition, five football matches and a “gala awards function” to honour 100
top sport achievers of the 20th Century.
At yesterday’s launch, Ramsaran stressed that
the purpose of the Festival was to bring sport to the people in a
way that would mark “the end of the second millennium or the start of the third one” appropriately. The emphasis,
he said, would not be so much on competition as on competing and the theme of the event would be “unifying our
nation through sport”.
The Minister noted that his ministry would
take the opportunity to honour not only outstanding players and athletes
but “administrators, adjudicators and journalists as well”.
At yesterday’s launch, Trinidad and Tobago
Cricket Board president Alloy Lequay explained that the teams in the
cricket competition will be drawn from zones organised according to boundaries of the regional corporations.
After three preliminary rounds involving five groups, there will be quarterfinals on June 6 followed by semifinals
one week later.
The grand finals are scheduled to come off
on Friday June 16 under lights at Guaracara Park.
Fifa vice-president Jack Austin Warner promised
a “low-priced” treat for football fans. The footballers will start
their Festival campaign with a game at the newly refurbished Jamaica National Stadium on July 2 and then come
home for the return clash a week later.
The Festival continues on July 12 when Warner’s
Professional League club, Joe Public, take on West Ham of the
English Premiership at home. Two other games are included in the event—a match between the Brazilian and
Nigerian women’s team on July 14 in Trinidad and Trinidad and Tobago’s match against Canada in Toronto on
July 16 should they get past Haiti and into the next playoff round as expected.
The Special Project Committee charged with
the responsibility of making the event a success is chaired by
Warner. Omar Khan, PowerGen Corporate Communications Manager is vice-chairman while the other three
members are Neville Chance, Dr Iva Gloudon and Hasely Crawford.
Sheffield are the first of four English
teams that will be here over the next few weeks to be part of the "BritSoccer
2000" organised by local club CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
Joe Public come up against the visitors in an exhibition game at Concacaf Centre of Excellence, Macoya, Friday.
Sheffield will then face a Tobago XI at Roxborough
Sporting Complex Sunday.
English Premiership club Newcastle United will also come here next month followed by AFC Bournemouth and
HAITIAN football coach Emmanuel Sanon referred
to his team's late strike in yesterday's 3- 1 loss to this country
as a "Golden Goal."
Sanon appeared displeased with some of the
decisions by referee Peter Prendergast but he said the last minute
goal gives them a better chance of advancing to the semi-finals stage with a victory at home on May 19.
"I mean 3-1 doesn't put us out but 3-0 would
have been difficult. It was an important goal for us away from home.
We are happy even though it would have been nice to win but we were never out of the game.
"They (players) know what they have to do when
we play the second leg," said Sanon, who added that he hadn't
seen T&T in action previously.
T&T coach Ian Porterfield was disappointed
that his side allowed the late goal but was optimistic that they would
advance following the return leg to join Mexico, Canada and either Honduras or Panama in the semi-final round
"Obviously they (Haiti) are very happy and
3-0 was a very comfortable result for us. But when they got their goal
it was disappointing really. We can't change that.
"These things are going to happen but we have to pick ourselves up and address the situation. The Haiti team has
been training hard and we know it's going to be a hard game in Haiti.
"No one's ever satisfied but I will think a
3-0 scoreline is a decent result and defensively we weren't bad. I thought
there was a lot of determination and passion," said Porterfield.
Among yesterday's huge crowd was Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, sprint star Ato Boldon and West Indies
batsman Brian Lara, and they appeared happy with the result.
T&T will resume training later this week.
AUSTIN Jack Warner, president of Concacaf and
vice-president of FIFA, yesterday signed a deal for Trinidad
and Tobago to institute an eight year contract with L-Sporto International Inc. with value of more than US$13.5
million to this country's football.
Signing for L-Sporto was senior vice-president
George Principe. The agreement took place at the Holiday Inn
before the World Cup qualifying match between Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti.
Before a gathering graced by the presence of
Sir Geoff Hurst, ambassador for England's World Cup 2006
campaign, Dr Urs Lindsi, deputy general secretary of FIFA, president of the TTFF, Oliver Camps and members
of the media, the FIFA deputy general secretary, Dr Linsi expressed his pleasure in noting the advanced
organisation of Concacaf, He had inspected the various new stadia for the Junior World Cup and was satisfied
with the state of progress in the projects.
Wanda Fisher, the vice-president of L-Sporto
Brand and New Business development, said she was delighted
with the progress made with the TTFF and the atmosphere of the proceedings. She said she looked forward to a
long association with the TTFF.
Sir Geoff continued to promote England's bid for the 2006 World Cup and said he hoped for support from this
The cheque is to be used for complimentary
equipment support for the senior team, the Under-23 Olympic team,
Under-20 World Cup team, Under-17 World Cup team and the Women's national team, as well as for a youth
development programme and for support and cash bonuses.
There will be as a result of the sponsorship,
substantial product discounts for all TTFF clubs with free super
practice balls with purchases by the clubs.
National team tournaments and international exhibition matches and technical and training costs will be supported.
Annual football events targeting the building
back of the fan base of support of the Trinidad and Tobago friendly
games and tournaments will be upported by the fund.
L-Sporto is aiming at creating community based
goodwill relations with the offer of exciting, challenging football in
the products they manufacture and design for peak player performance and pride in who and what they represent.
L-Sporto hopes to give them the vision to empower a stake in becoming World Cup Qualifiers at any level.
John’s ready to take his place
ENGLAND-BASED professional Stern John is eagerly
anticipating teaming up with Dwight Yorke up front for
today’s third round World Cup qualifier against Haiti.
The 23-year-old striker is just coming back
from a knee injury and, like Yorke, this will be the first time he is
representing the country in the qualifying series.
But, pointing out that the injury was not yet
100 per cent healed but “getting better by the day”, John said he could
not wait for the opening whistle.
“I wanted to be here because it was a long
time I haven’t played with Dwight,” John said of today’s game.
“And it’ll be a great feeling to play with
him again. The last time we played was against Jamaica and we did well.
Hopefully, we could give the Trinidad and Tobago public something to cheer about and get a good result.”
However, coach Ian Porterfield has remained
tight-lipped about whether he will be using the duo at all. He has
had to toss into the pot the fact that John is just returning to full fitness.
So while the Scotland-born coach has already
determined that John is a “classy” striker, he may not risk him
John, however, is ready to go.
“My fitness is there but it’s not my full match
fitness,” he told the Sunday Express. “My confidence is there too.
I’m not worried about getting hurt and as long as I step on the field I’ll give 100 per cent.”
John is also looking forward to participating
in the entire campaign.
“This is the best chance I think we’ll get
in a long time, especially for Dwight and Latas and those who have
maybe their final chance to get to the World Cup,” he said.
“And I think everyone is focused and want to
play hard and so get to go to the World Cup.”
By IRVING WARD
WHEN they step onto the field at the Hasely
Crawford Stadium today, Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers
will be hoping to be surrounded by a sea of red.
And so a call has gone out from the authorities
for the thousands of fans who propose to be present for today’s
crucial 4 p.m. World Cup qualifier against Haiti to wear something red—or white or black!
Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield and
his squad who are bidding to reach the semifinal round of the
2002 World Cup series are hoping that the red human tidal wave will so overawe their guests that getting past
them on the field will be child’s play. And so when they travel to Haiti on May 19 for the return leg, they will have
a comfortable cushion to buffer them against unforeseen circumstances.
But whatever happens in the stands, T&T
and will feel that, led by seasoned professionals Dwight Yorke and
Russell Latapy, they have enough in their arsenal to do the job.
The off-the-field battle for the captaincy
expected to take place between the two and standing skipper Anthony
Rougier should have no effect on the on-the-field. The word from team manager Neil Mollineaux yesterday was
that Porterfield would be naming the captain at a team meeting before the game today.
Porterfield has been able to put together his
strongest squad of the campaign to date and must be eager to see
how they will perform on the field.
"We’re ready,” he said on the eve of the match yesterday, adding,”This is a very, very important game for us.
And, since Monday, we’ve worked hard and the programme went quite well.”
Interestingly, one of Porterfield’s biggest
problems today is likely to be selecting the starting XI. The team appears
almost to pick itself but with three top strikers—Yorke, Stern John and Arnold Dwarika—in the fray, the coach
has no choice but to drop one of them or adjust the current 3-5-2 system.
He can switch to 3-4-3 and use all three men.
But Yorke, as he has done with United, can also play quite well
just behind two lead strikers or even back in midfield with the “Little Magician”, giving Porterfield a number of real
However, the 52-year-old coach was tight-lipped
about his strategy, saying only that he felt his squad could do
the trick today.
“I believe that if we perform in the right
way, we can get the result we need. And I believe that the lads have got
the spirit, they’ve got the togetherness and I certainly believe there’s no reason why we shouldn’t get a good
In the most memorable meeting between these
two teams, T&T scored four times and lost 3-1. That was in Haiti
in 1973 when, needing a win to advance to the 1974 World Cup Finals in Germany, had three of their goals
disallowed by a referee who was later banned for life after he was discovered to have taken a bribe.
But T&T have had the better of the exchanges
in recent times, disposed of the Haitians 6-0 the last time they met
in the regional tournament last year. So the memories of 27 years ago may be forgotten for today. However,
Porterfield will be asking his players to give the visitors the utmost respect.
“I think we always knew Haiti were a good team.
You always give every team respect but we knew that the
(Netherlands) Antilles and Dominican Republic weren’t the quality of Haiti.
“I mean, Haiti is one of the better teams I’ve
seen and I think that for other competitions they don’t prepare well,
but for the World Cup, they’ve been doing their work for a long time. They are a very useful outfit and we’ve got
to be on song Sunday.”
Today, the visitors will be depending heavily
on the prowess of striker Golman Pierre to get much needed away
goals. He has scored 11 goals in their four matches to date in the tournament.
This is all the more reason why the defence,
most likely marshalled by Shurland David, will have to be at its best.
“They’re scoring goals so our backline has
got to be really switched on. But I feel that we’ve got the organisation
at the back a little bit better than we had before.”
He added: “This is also a bigger game and hopefully
that’ll make us respond a bit better.”
Many of the T&T players will also be familiar
with the Haitian winger Gabriel Michel who played with Vibe CT
105 W Connection last season. He is expected to be part of the midfield which should also feature the
experienced Chrismonor Thelusma, Wilfred Montilas and Carlo Marcelin.
And pointing out that “it would be wonderful” to get past Haiti over the next two legs, Porterfield explained that he
had prepared his side for that as well.
“I’ve emphasised to the boys ever since I came here that there’s a hill behind you,” he said. “We’re claiming that
“And when we get to the top of that hill,” he added, “we go to the World Cup final. It’s a long shot, a long, long
road. “But that will only make it clear,” he ended, “that we really want it.”
POSSIBLE STARTING LINE-UP: Clayton Ince, Shurland
David, Marvin Andrews, Brent Sancho, Ansil
Elcock, Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve, Russell Latapy, Arnold Dwarika, Stern John, Dwight Yorke.
TRINIDAD and Tobago will be depending on a
squad of highly experienced and skilful players to demonstrate
how strong their chances are of advancing to the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup by scoring a commanding victory
over Haiti at the Hasely Crawford Stadium today from 4 pm.
Not since a 2-0 loss to the United States in
a 1998 World Cup qualifying match and a 2-0 win over Jamaica in
1998, has such a team of available players will line-up for T&T.
The team includes Manchester United striker
Dwight Yorke, Hibernian midfielder Russell Latapy, Nottingham
Forest forward Stern John, Port Vale's Anthony Rougier, Chester City's Angus Eve, Crewe Alexandra
goalkeeper Clayton Ince, Raith Rovers' Marvin Andrews, Charleston Battery's Brent Sancho, Columbus Crew's
Ansil Elcock plus the local talent of Arnold Dwarika, Stokely Mason and Nigel Pierre.
The Soca Warriors must fancy themselves of
putting on a good show and achieving a desirable result ahead of the
return leg on May 19.
A spot alongside Mexico, Canada and either
Honduras or Panama in the semifinal stage is at stake.
Injured West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, Bristol
Rovers midfielder Ronnie Mauge, Burnley's Ian Cox,
Mickey Trotman, and Germany based Evans Wise and young Brent Rahim will surely be hoping their teammates
Latapy feels this is probably the best T&T
squad together in a long time.
Coach Ian Porterfield is likely to use a 3-5-2 formation based on his drills in training but there is a question mark
over his front line.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield says
he has four quality strikers to choose from but
admits he will not have the easiest of tasks in deciding who to leave out in tomorrow's match against
Haiti at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Manchester United's Dwight Yorke is certain
to start, a likely partner for Stern John.
Gold Cup All-Star Arnold Dwarika and Joe Public striker Nigel Pierre are the others.
Porterfield said he will not start the game with three forwards.
"No we will not play three forwards at the
beginning of the game. Probably we could as the game goes
on," Porterfield said earlier this week.
He said during a practice session Thursday,
"Stern has come back from a very bad injury. You see the
quality of the boy. He's got magnificent attitude, great touch on the ball. He's not 100 percent fit, but
certainly he is still a very important player for us.
"And what can you say about Dwight, well he
has done everything but the World Cup is the one thing
he hasn't done so maybe this is a big challenge for him. Arnold Dwarika's a boy I've got a lot of
admiration for. So we've got three very good players and we also have young Nigel Pierre," said the
former Chelsea coach.
Time will tell how he forms his team and whether
he considers using Dwarika in midfield from the start.
The 52-year-old coach said he's been trying
hard to improve T&T's defence.
"Obviously I think that you build a football team first from the back and I've tried to do that from the
very start. The lads have worked very hard. Our back line has got to be really switched on. I feel that
we got the organisation at the back a little bit better.
This is a bigger game (against Haiti) so hopefully
it will make us respond a bit better. There's still
things they got to improve on but I certainly see an improvement from the beginning," said Porterfield.
Chester City's Angus Eve and goalkeeper Clayton Ince arrived on Thursday and trained yesterday.
TRINIDAD and Tobago will be hoping to get over
Haiti in convincing fashion to serve as a warning to future
opponents in their 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Overcoming Haiti will push T&T through
to the semifinal round robin group phase against Mexico, Canada and
winners of the Panama/Honduras tie.
National coach Ian Porterfield, Manchester
United striker Dwight Yorke and FIFA vice president Jack Warner
are all mindful the Haitians will be no walk-overs, but there is no worry that a desirable result for T&T will not be
achieved at home.
Second leg has now been shifted to May 19 because
of elections in Haiti on May 21. The original date of the
game was May 20 but the Government has decreed no public events can take place after 6 pm on that day.
Speaking from Washington DC, USA yesterday
where he's attending a seminar, Warner predicted: "T&T will win
the match Sunday and produce a brand of football that should serve as a warning to future opponents.
It will really be the best team which has ever
been put together in this country in the history of organised football."
Yorke said at the stadium yesterday said, "Well
from what I have gathered in having a brief conversation with the
manager, this is certainly one of our hardest qualifying games."
By IRVING WARD
England-based professional Dwight Yorke has
long put the firing of his coach and mentor Bertille St Clair behind
And now, with his mind focussed on the one goal which has so far eluded him in his still relatively short career, the
28-year-old Manchester United striker is ready to play his heart out for Trinidad and Tobago.
His aim is to take the team to the 2002 World
Cup in Korea and Japan.
Twice before, in 1973 and 1989, T&T came
close to reaching the world’s foremost footballing stage but fell at
the last hurdle.
But now, with a team that boasts some of the
best talent in decades and Yorke at the helm, T&T may well be set
to change their luck.
And their £12.6 million man is ready to lead by example.
“I look around now and assess the team and
the players that we have,” he said yesterday, “who are playing at the
very top levels. This will certainly be the best opportunity of us getting to the World Cup.”
“The clock is also ticking,” he added, “and
I’m on the old age scheme. But I’m excited and quite confident that
we’ve got a very good chance of getting to the World Cup.”
The former “Strike Squad” player is also eager
to pass on his knowledge to the younger players.
“I’ve been out there a long time now,” he declared,
“and I’ve seen and played against the best players in the
When I was young, I had people like JB (Clayton
Morris) and Brian Williams who I looked up to at that time.
Certainly, this is my time now, where people look up to me. I have no problem with that. It’s a challenge for one
and something I can deal with.”
But first, T&T must take care of Haiti
over two legs, beginning this Sunday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“We know what Haiti are like. They’re going
to be very difficult to play against. But with the quality players, like
Russell and the guys around me, I think we’ve got a very good chance.
“What we’re expecting is just to try and have
a good game,” he continued, “and win. If we can do it in style, we’ll
do it that way but I’ll be very happy just to get the result—even without playing extremely well.”
The former Aston Villa player explained too
that the two-leg tie was likely to be “one of the hardest” for the team.
This was why he had made himself available.
“I’ve always stressed, where World Cup qualifying
games are concerned, that I will always try and be available as
much as I can. Now we’re getting to the real crunch time and so I’m here.
“I have to come to represent the team because,
as I said, there’s a good chance of us getting to the World Cup
and I want to be part of it.”
He also explained that, should T&T get
through to the next phase of the competition, his availability would be
last problem the team officials would have to deal with.
Just over two months ago, Yorke did not have
the same kind of drive though.
The Tobago-born player was almost driven to
tears in a hotel room at the Ramada Hotel in downtown Los
Angeles after St Clair was unceremoniously sacked as coach of the senior team following their 1-0 Gold Cup
semifinal loss to Canada.
In an interview with the Express, Yorke had
threatened to quit international football, so disgusted was he with the
decision at the time.
But the TTFF have stuck to their guns and Scotsman
Ian Porterfield has since been given the task of taking T&T
to the World Cup mountain-top.
This, Yorke says, is a decision he will now
“have to live with”. And he has already discussed it with St Clair, with
whom he says he will always have a “special bond”.
“It was sad at the time the way how things
happened. But we all live and learn. I respect the Trinidad and Tobago
“The new manager has come in,” Yorke ended,
“and as far as I’m concerned, he is the one in charge. I’m here to
play for him and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bertille situation is far long gone now.”
NOTTINGHAM Forest striker Stern John so badly
wants to be part of Trinidad and Tobago's line-up again he's
willing to risk injury after having just recovered from one.
Off course, another break down is far from
the wishes of his team-mates and fans.
The 23-year-old John said yesterday he had strong hopes of partnering Dwight Yorke up front against Haiti at
Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, Sunday and hoped to see T&T to a 5-0 advantage going into the away
"It's a long time since I've played with Dwight
and it will be a great feeling to play with him again. Hopefully we
can give the Trinidad and Tobago public something to cheer about and get a good result," said John, who last
partnered Yorke in T&T's 2-0 win over Jamaica in March 1998 when he netted.
John last played for T&T in a 3-2 loss
to Honduras in October last year before sustaining a posterior cruciate
ligament injury which sidelined him for about three months.
He recovered before the five months which doctors said he would be out for.
As much as I continue playing I'm just getting stronger and stronger.
"Fitness is there but not full match fitness.
I'll do as much as I can for my country and the confidence is still there.
I'm not worried about getting hurt. As long as I step on the field I'll give 100 per cent," said John.
He said the entire squad seemed focussed on
reaching Japan/Korea in 2002.
"It's a great chance for us. This is the best chance I think we will get for a long time, especially for Dwight and
Latas (Russell Latapy), who may have their final chance to get to the World Cup. I think everyone is focussed and
want to play and get to the World Cup," said John at the Stadium yesterday.
By SHAUN FUENTES
MANCHESTER United wonderboy Dwight Yorke has
put past him the sacking of Bertille St Clair as coach of
this country's senior football team and is now ready to use his experience and prolific scoring ability to lead the
"Soca Warriors" into the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.
He will lead T&T's attack against Haiti
at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Sunday.
The 28-year-old striker said this during a
chat with the media before a training session at the Stadium yesterday.
After the exit of St Clair following T&T's
1-0 loss to Canada in the Gold Cup semifinals, Yorke appeared to have
had taken the decision hard.
But that's now an old feeling and he's now prepared to work with new national coach Scotsman Ian Porterfield.
"It was sad at that time the way how things
happened. But hey, we all live and learn and I spoke to coach Bertille
St Clair who everyone know is my mentor and I have a special bond with, but I respect the Trinidad and Tobago
(Football Federation) decision. The new manager has come in and as far as I'm concerned he's the one in charge
and I'm here to play for him and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bertille situation is long gone now," said Yorke.
Yorke flew in from Barbados Wednesday night
along with former West Indies captain Brian Lara, after
celebrating the batsman's 31st birthday on Tuesday.
His previous appearance in World Cup action was a 2-0 loss to the United States there in 1996.
Yorke mentioned he's not getting any younger
and hoped his experience is an asset to the present squad.
What does Yorke bring to T&T?
"I hope a little bit of experience because I've been out there for a long time now. I've played against the best
players in the world. And a little bit of stability. My experience and with Russell around and people like Stern John
you could only add the experience but I hope I can pass on some of the things that I've learnt and talk to the
coach and talk to the younger players. I see that as my role. When I was young, you got people like JB (Clayton
Morris) and Brian Williams who I looked up to at that time."
Quizzed about taking up the captaincy, the
former "Strike Squad" member replied: "Well this is the first time I'm
hearing about it. I don't read the tabloids. I think that if that is the result then fine but I've got no qualms about
captaincy of the national team. For my choice, people like Russell Latapy who I've always looked up to as a
player and as a person. My first choice would be Russell."
Present skipper Anthony Rougier earlier said:
"I've worked hard to do the best for my team and the country. The
most important thing is qualifying for the World Cup."
Yorke is excited about wearing the national jersey Sunday.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to
playing with the guys again. This is the situation now, we get into the
real crunch time of the World Cup qualifying and this is one of the reasons I'm here. I'm quite confident that we've
got a very, very good chance of getting to the World Cup. I want to be part of it."
Latapy, appearing fully focused, said: "Most
of the boys are back and we are ready to play football, we should
win. Personally I'm getting old," adding, "we just want to get on with the business and enjoy the life." T&T will
continue training at the Stadium today with Angus Eve and goalkeeper Clayton Ince expected to join in.
"I'VE emphasised to the boys ever since I came
here that there's a hill ahead of you and we're climbing that hill
and when we get to the top of that hill we go to the World Cup finals. It's a long shot, it's a long, long road."
Those were the words coming from Trinidad and
Tobago coach Ian Porterfield after holding a training session
with the national team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, preparing for Sunday's 2002 World Cup qualifier against
Haiti at the same venue.
Porterfield called for the media, as well as
local fans, to make the 2002 drive a national effort rather than depend
solely on the effort of the players.
Team administrator Neville Chance echoed similar thoughts.
"This is all about representing Trinidad and
Tobago. And I speak for myself and all the other members of the
technical team. We have to understand that a national team includes all of us. If you look at the scoreboard you
see T&T versus USA or Costa Rica but not the players' name or anything else.
"We all have our part to play. I am doing it
as team administrator, the players do theirs, the fans have their thing
do and the media have the role to play also," said Chance.
He sees his experience of the 1990 campaign as a valuable asset to the current team.
Also part of the technical unit now is former captain Clayton Morris as assistant coach, Michael Maurice as
goalkeeper coach and equipment manager Ikin Williams, all members of the team during The Road to Italy
"What I think is good about this is that in
1989 we would have had a number of experiences and while I am not
one to dwell in the past, I believe we can learn from that and head to the future," he said.
Meanwhile, Porterfield said he is aware that Haiti will be T&T's toughest opponents so far in the campaign.
"We know the Antilles and the Dominican Republic
weren't the quality of Haiti. Haiti is one of the better teams
I've seen and I think for other competitions they don't prepare well but for the World Cup, they've been doing
their work for a long time.
"The Gold Cup was probably the start of their
preparations, maybe even before that. They have a very useful
outfit and we have got to be at our best but I certainly believe that if we can prepare in the right way, we can get
the right result," said the ex-Zambia coach.
By IRVING WARD
TRINIDAD and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield will
finally be able to smile today.
The Scottish-born coach’s squad for Sunday’s
crucial 2002 third round World Cup qualifier against Haiti will be
up to full strength with the arrival of British-based players Angus Eve and Clayton Ince.
Eve and Ince, who arrive tonight, will be the
final pieces of his World Cup squad puzzle for the Frenchmen.
But Porterfield had already had a big grin
on his face yesterday after seasoned players Russell Latapy and Dwight
Yorke made a detour to Barbados on his way
from England where he took part in birthday celebrations with long
time friend, former West Indies captain Brian Lara, the day before.
Both Yorke and Latapy will therefore run out
with their teammates for the first time today.
The other overseas pros invited, England-based
Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Stern John (Nottingham Forest),
Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Brent Sancho (Charleston Battery) and Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew), all
joined the squad within the past 72 hours.
This will be the strongest squad that Porterfield
will field in the competition to date.
Both John and Yorke, who will form a strike
force on Sunday, have not taken the field since the start of the
World Cup campaign in March.
The 23-year-old John had been recovering from
a knee injury while Yorke’s busy schedule with Manchester
United made it impossible for him to join the team during their 6-1 first round and 4-0 second round aggregate
wins over the Netherlands Antilles and the Dominican Republic respectively.
TTFF president Oliver Camps meanwhile confirmed
yesterday that they did not need to get Fifa involved to
secure Ince’s release from Crewe Alexandra.
The First Division club had initially been
reluctant to let the goalkeeper go because they wanted him as cover for
first choice David Kearton for their crucial final game of the season against Barnsley this weekend.
But Fifa vice-president Jack Austin Warner,
perhaps in anticipation of possible trouble with some of the players,
had sent a strong warning signal to any would-be offenders.
“I want to give you the assurance that every
single player that this country needs for Sunday, it will get,” Warner
“I have the resources and the means to get
the players and once the country needs the players we shall have
Crewe did not bother to call Warner’s bluff
And speaking yesterday Ince, who had also missed
T&T’s last game against the Dominican Republic, was a
“Everything’s okay now,” he said adding, “I’m
just waiting on Angus to get here now. Our tickets are already
confirmed and we’ll be on the flight out tomorrow (today).”
Warner shouts a warning
Beware of Haiti
By IRVING WARD
FIFA vice-president Jack Austin Warner has
sent out a warning signal to Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup
squad as they head into Sunday’s crucial third round game against Haiti.
According to the 57-year-old football official,
the men in red, white and black must go in with all guns blazing as
the Frenchmen will present a very stern test for them.
“I saw Haiti at the Gold Cup and they had improved
tremendously,” Warner said said.
“But they are now about 100 per cent better
than they were at the Gold Cup and we shall be very foolish to play
The winner of the two-leg tie, the return game
being played on May 21 in Port-au-Prince, will advance to the
semi-final phase of the Football Confederation zone qualifying series.
There they will come up against the likes of
powerhouse Mexico, Canada and either Honduras or Panama in a
four-team round-robin series. The top two teams at the end of this series will advance to the final phase of the
qualifying series where the top three will book their spot in Japan and Korea.
The prospect of meeting both Mexico and Canada,
both of whom beat T&T at the Gold Cup in February, has
not been taken well by many footballing fans.
Some have even suggested that T&T throw
the game and take another route to the semis.
The loser of the tie will face a playoff game
with a Central American opponent and victory there will qualify the
winner for another grouping which features Caribbean arch-rivals Jamaica.
But while the draw—conducted last week by Fifa—may
not favour T&T, Warner says the only way forward is
“I have received many calls from people asking
whether I would not want us (T&T) to lose the match against
Haiti,” Warner revealed.
“I have made it emphatically clear each time
that we shall win every game as if its a World Cup final. So I expect
Sunday’s game to be very keen and I expect, of course, to get success.”
However, the draw—which Warner himself took
part in—remains a sore point for the TTFF advisor.
“I took part in the draw and I was very disappointed
at the outcome. But then I said to myself that if we intend to
be a true World Cup country, we have to be able to overcome teams as Canada, Mexico and Honduras.
“And therefore, after a while, I began to become
consoled by that factor. But initially I was very very
disappointed because I have found that, over the years, Jamaica has been consistently having a very easy draw
and we have not. And each time, I take part in the draw this seems to happen so it means that next time, I will be
Warner was also of the view that T&T need
not make any adjustments to their preparation regime to cater for the
tougher opponents in the next phase should coach Ian Porterfield’s side get past the Haitians.
“It would seem to me that we must use the time
between the matches against Haiti and the next round for some
team building and some team tactics. Most of our matches are not lost on the field of play but in the dressing
rooms and in the planning stages. And once we can have team tactics that can overcome these opponents we
won’t have a problem,” he ended.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago will today intensify their
preparations for Sunday's 2002 World Cup qualifying match
against Haiti at Hasely Crawford Stadium, MUucurapo.
Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke is among
the list of overseas-based professionals expected to train at
the Stadium this morning.
Yorke's local representative Tim Nafziger said
yesterday, "I spoke to Dwight on the phone a bit earlier and he
confirmed that he would be here later tonight. Dwight did have some business to see about which was why he
didn't come in yesterday (Tuesday) as expected," said Nafziger.
Yorke's late arrival doesn't appear to be a
problem for coach Ian Porterfield as the other "pros" coming from the
United Kingdom, (Angus Eve, Russell Latapy, Marvin Andrews, Stern John and captain Anthony Rougier) were
not asked to train until today.
Meanwhile, Haiti will arrive tomorrow and are
booked to stay at Holiday Inn, same hotel as the "Soca Warriors" .
Victory in the two-legged tie will put T&T
through to what has been dubbed the group of death comprising
Mexico, possibly Canada who have to defeat the winners of the Cuba/Barbados tie, and either Panama and
Honduras in the semi-finals in July.
Failure to overcome Haiti will mean T&T having to meet the runners up of the Haiti/Panama tie in a playoff for the
right to end up in a semi-final group comprising Jamaica, the winners of the St Vincent and the Grenadines versus
Antigua/Barbuda tie , and either Belize, El Salvador or Guatemala.
Word is that the Haitians may be pressing for a draw Sunday.
Charleston Battery defender Brent Sancho said
this was the feeling after a conversation with Haitian defender
Gilbert-Jean Baptise who is his teammate at the American club.
"The feedback we have gotten is that they are coming all to play for a draw as they feel it will suit them perfectly
when they play us in Haiti on May 21," he said.
There was some doubt over the availability
of Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Clayton Ince but he will arrive today.
Ince was on a flight out of London yesterday morning.
The 'keeper's English-based agent Mike Berry
confirmed yesterday that Crewe had released Ince despite earlier
reports that he might be kept in England for their match against Barnsley Saturday.
"The good news for Trinidad is that Clayton
is on the flight for Trinidad in the morning. Clayton has been training
hard all week. He's fully fit and rearing to go for his country.
"He didn't go back home for the match against
the Dominica Republic last month and that showed that he was
concerned about the plight of Crewe. The fact now is that Haiti are playing well and Trinidad needs to have their
best players even though I feel they will beat Haiti. The club felt it was fitting that he return to play for his country,"
Berry said yesterday.
Wednesday May 3rd, 2000
The 31-year-old West Ham custodian returned to England last week after
a short stay here while recuperating from his broken
Almost immediately after touching down, he reported to the West Ham
doctors where he had the protective cast on the leg
And after being given the all-clear following a check-up on the progress
of the leg, Hislop returned to the club’s Chadwell
Heath training ground to continue his recuperation.
Soon after his first workout, Hislop told reporters: “It’s going well,
I’m doing okay. Everything’s going to plan regarding the
The six-foot-plus goalie sustained the injury in a 5-4 Premiership win over Bradford City in February.
Unfortunately, the injury not only ruled him out of action for the Hammers
but for T&T as well as he was also set to fly out
immediately after the game to don the red, white and black at the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Vale still sour over Rougier
CURRENT Trinidad and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier will make his return to the national team this Sunday against Haiti.
But his departure from English club Port Vale was not exactly given the blessings of his manager Brian Horton.
Vale have already been demoted to the Second Division but, not for the
time this season, Horton expressed dissatisfaction
over Rougier’s absence from the club.
The talented utility player will miss Vale’s season closer against Wolves
on Sunday, the eighth game of the season he will sit out
owing to international commitments.
Vale lost six and drew one of those seven matches. And, according to
Horton, Rougier’s frequent outings with T&T is one of
the main reasons for Vale’s dismal season.
“He has missed a lot of games and it has cost us,” Horton told the press.
“We might have got him off if it (the World Cup qualifier) had been
a relegation game and meant a lot to us, but their authorities
can invoke the (Fifa) rule if they wanted.’’
This situation is expected to influence Rougiernow that they ’s future
at the club, which is currently gearing up to offload several
of its key players in the off-season will have to cut costs for the 2000-2001 season.
The 28-year-old player is in his second year with the club which he
joined from Hibernian for a fee of £750,000 at the start of
the 1998/99 season.
ENGLAND-based professional Ronnie Maugé’s hopes of returning
to action before the end of the Second Division season
were dashed earlier this week.
This after the talented Bristol Rovers midfielder removed the cast on
his broken left leg on Tuesday and realised that he could
not possibly make a comeback before the start of the next season.
Maugé suffered the injury in action for Trinidad and Tobago against
Mexico during the Gold Cup in February and has been
sidelined ever since.
During his absence, Rovers—who at one time led the division—have been
hot and cold and have now seen their hopes of
gaining automatic promotion to the First Division disappear.
Their only hope now of moving up is to qualify for the four-team playoffs for one remaining promotional spot.
To do so, they must win their final game of the season against Cardiff this weekend.
Maugé, who has now watched his team win just one of its last
nine games, has been having a rather uneasy time on the
“It has been a nightmare—definitely the worst spell of my career. When
I got injured we were flying high and the only question
in my mind was whether we would go up as champions or runners-up,” he told reporters recently.
“It’s easy to say in hindsight that I regret having played in the international.
But I am proud of my country and the injury might
just as easily have happened in a League game.”
Maugé is now hoping to return in time for Rovers’ pre-season activity in July.
But he now faces a fitness programme to rebuild the muscles in his leg before he can return to the training fields.
By IRVING WARD
NATIONAL custodian Clayton Ince is in a dilemma.
With Trinidad and Tobago’s crucial third round World Cup qualifier against
Haiti less than five days away, the England-based
goalkeeper appears to have a decision to make: club or country?
Ince is one of ten foreign-based players invited by national senior
team coach, Ian Porterfield, for Sunday’s all-important game
at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. But officials at his First Division club, Crewe Alexandra, are refusing to release him.
So while most of the players have answered the call and have already
arrived, England-based skipper Anthony Rougier and
Stern John and Scotland-based Marvin Andrews among them, Ince’s participation remains up in the air.
A distraught Ince told the Express yesterday that he is eager to return home but his hands are tied.
“Right now, I just have to sit back and see what happens,” Ince told the Express.
“My agent is currently trying to mediate between the two parties, the
T&TFF and the club, to see if we can’t resolve this thing
to everybody’s liking.”
“But there’s still time,” he added, philosophically, “so I’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Crewe manager Dario Gradi is arguing that, with the club still not sure
of First Division survival, Ince must stay for the season
finale against high-flying Barnsley this weekend.
“They (club) are saying that it is just as important for them to have
me here,” the former Defence Force custodian said,
“because we are not yet in the safe zone and will be fighting to stay up till the end of the season."
“They contend that if something should happen to the number one keeper
(David Kearton), they must have a good back-up
because it’s a crucial gameand they don’t want to be caught out.”
Fifa regulations allow the T&TFF to demand Ince’s return and Fifa
vice-president and T&TFF adviser, Jack Austin Warner,
indicated yesterday that he would use all his resources to ensure that all the players coach Porterfield requested will be
But Ince admitted to being more than a little worried about the Fifa
big stick being waved at the Crewe management since it
could affect his future at the club.
“They haven’t exactly said it in direct words yet,” he confided, “but
the gaffer keeps saying that it makes no sense paying a
player if he’s never here.”
“I don’t want to leave under these circumstances and have bad blood
when I return,” Ince ended. “I have my future to think
about. If they (T&TFF) take it to the higher authorities there’s bound to be a spinoff.”
Asked by the Express which he would choose if a choice could not be
avoided, Ince declined to respond, saying that there are
still “many pros and cons to be weighed up”.
By SHAUN FUENTES
MIDFIELD magician Russell Latapy is aware most
fans feel the present calibre of players is the best that Trinidad
and Tobago has ever had and is keen to give his best effort to see his country through to the 2002 Japan/Korea
World Cup Finals.
Latapy is back home for T&T's next qualifying
match at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, Sunday against
Haiti, who he says may be tougher opponents than expected.
"Things will certainly get tougher from now
on. I haven't seen Haiti recently, but the reports I've been getting from
around the Caribbean say they are quite well organised with a couple of good players. We think we have a fairly
decent chance of getting to the World Cup Finals, a lot of people say this is the best squad of players we have
ever had. I think we are as good as anyone in the region and we have to fancy ourselves against anyone," Latapy
told Edinburgh reporter David Hardie at the weekend.
The 1989 "Strike Squad" member said he was
happy the T&T Football Federation agreed with Hibs to play him
in only two World Cup games so far and was also thankful Hibs coach Alex McLeish and national Scotland-born
coach Ian Porterfield were able to work hand-in-hand concerning his availability.
"The club understands that it is every player's
dream to play in the World Cup Finals and happily there's a good
understanding between the parties," he said.
The "Little Magician" pointed out that Mexico,
2000 Gold Cup champions Canada; the United States, Costa Rica
and Jamaica as the teams capable of making life difficult for T&T later in the journey.
"Mexico have the advantage of most of their
players playing within their country but the new professional league
which has started in Trinidad must raise standards in our country.
"And on paper we are as strong, or maybe stronger,
than most teams. There are not many countries in our part of
the world who can boast a £12.6 million striker as Dwight Yorke, for instance," said "Latas".
Playing in Japan/Korea remains Latapy's dream
and he's ready to give his all to T&T .
"Just to get to the finals for the first time would be brilliant. If I'm being realistic I'd have to say that at 31 this will
probably be my last chance. It wouldn't be impossible if I were 35 and in good condition, but there is a lot of
young talent coming through," ended Latapy.
He will no doubt be looking forward to playing
alongside Yorke, who is expected here today along with other
European-based players, including Angus Eve, Stern John, Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews and Anthony Rougier.
T&T will train at the University of the West Indies Ground, St Augustine, today.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago duo Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam have finally
been granted work permits after five months delay and are expected to leave
for England to begin three-year contracts with English Second Division
club Wrexham next week.
Both players, now in the T&T senior team camp at the Concacaf
Centre of Excellence, Macoya, were jubilant on receiving the news from
English-based agent Mike Berry yesterday morning.
Sam, a 22-year-old striker of CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh was a relieved man.
"Finally things have worked out. This is a major stepping stone
for me and also the country I think. I'm just overjoyed at the moment and
I'm really proud that me and Carlos now have the chance to play in England.
I will like to thank everyone who has contributed this, the entire Jabloteh
organisation, my agent Mike and also the national team including Bertille
St Clair (former national coach)," the ex-Queen's Royal College player
Edwards, a former St Anthony's College member was equally elated and is looking forward to rejoining the Wrexham camp after spending last December on trial there.
"It's a new start for me and I'm looking forward to putting my
best foot forward for myself and for this country. I now have the opportunity
to go out there and represent T&T. "The club is not very big but they
were wonderful when we were there last
time. They treated us like if we were already part of the team," said the Defence Force midfielder.
Edwards also thanked Berry, Fakoory and Army manager Major Brian
Paul for their efforts in making the deal come through.
Previously, two appeals were turned down by the English Department
of Employment for the duo's work permits.
But Berry refused to give up and despite not having any dealing
with local striker Nigel Pierre, is hoping that he can also get his permit
in order to rejoin Second Division side Bristol Rovers.
No financial detail have yet been released but Jabloteh director
Fakoory said, "It's a fairly good package for both players and their local
National goalkeeper Ross Russell was also on trial with Wrexham, Crewe Alexandra and Bristol Rovers and is likely to return to England when a goalkeeping spot becomes vacant.
By SHAUN FUENTES
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke did not join the Trinidad
and Tobago camp yesterday as expected but he is scheduled to do so later
Team officials could not give the reason for Yorke's delay but
federation president Oliver Camps was certain that the "Duke" would be
in town today ahead of Sunday's 2002 World Cup qualifying game against
Haiti at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Up to late yesterday, Yorke's local representative Tim Nafziger
said that Yorke may not be available for a T&T training session this
morning "I'm not sure whether he would be coming in tonight but he
will be in the country tomorrow (Wednesday)," Nafziger said last evening.
Nottingham Forest striker Stern John, Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers)
and Anthony Rougier all arrived on Monday and along with Hibernian midfielder
Russell Latapy who came in on Sunday, were excused from joining the camp
immediately because of their long travelling hours.
Porterfield will have a light session today and will intensify
the training tomorrow at the Hasely Crawford Stadium when Ansil Elcock,
expected yesterday, Charleston Battery's Brent Sancho and the already mentioned
overseas players will be involved.
Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Clayton Ince is expected here today and Chester City midfielder Angus Eve arrives tomorrow .
Irish based defender Avery John has been excused from Sunday's match as his club Bohemians FC meet Shelbourne in an FA Cup final replay on Friday.
Porterfield said a possible change of the captaincy from Rougier
to either Yorke or Latapy was indefinite.
"I don't know anything about a different captain at this time. We have had different captains in the last few games because Rougier was not with the team.
What we have to do first is pick a team that will play well and win
the game," said Porterfield. The Scotland born coach is not taking Haiti
lightly and preferred not to think about the semi-final stage which could
see T&T in Group C along with Mexico, Canada and Honduras or Panama.
"We know it's going to be a hard game on Sunday and we just have to concentrate on getting a good result. What I want is to have a group of players doing well together.
"We are not in the semi-finals as yet so let's leave that thought
for after we get past Haiti following the second leg on May 21. Obviously
we know about the group and that gives us a wonderful incentive to do well
in the leg with Haiti."
With the availability of Yorke, John and Joe Public striker Arnold Dwarika, Porterfield said he will decide later this week how the three players will be used.
By IRVING WARD
SENIOR British-based professionals Dwight Yorke
and Russell Latapy are in a two-man contest to take over the
captaincy of the Trinidad and Tobago team from Anthony Rougier.
And of the two, although Latapy has already
led the side in Rougier’s absence, coach Ian Porterfield appears to
be favouring the Manchester United striker.
The decision is not likely to be made immediately.
It will be announced a day or two before the May 7 first leg
third round World Cup qualifier against Haiti.
According to T&T Team Administrator Neville Chance, Yorke looks a shoe-in for the honour.
“Almost everybody has been enquiring about
who will take the captain’s arm band for this game,” Chance told
“And I have to admit now that Yorke, because
of the fact that he has gained so much experience and developed
significantly in England as a top player, is high on coach Ian Porterfield’s list. Some thought was given to him
among the others which include Russell Latapy and Anthony Rougier himself.”
The situation has of course developed because
Porterfield has been forced to nominate a captain on a
game-by-game basis since the start of the World Cup campaign. This has been due to the frequent unavailability
of the senior foreign-based players.
However, Yorke, Latapy and Rougier are all available for this game making it the strongest to date.
And posing the leadership problem for Porterfield and his technical staff.
“We don’t want to take away anything from Rougier
because he’s the current skipper. But it’s not a case of
you’re sacking Rougier or Latapy. What you are doing is looking at the importance of the situation.
“Latapy skippered the team the last time around.
Rougier did before and now we are looking at Yorke because
of the commitment that he has shown and the fact that this type of leadership may be just what we require for this
Pointing out that all of the senior players
will be consulted, Chance noted that the final decision was Porterfield’s
and Porterfield’s alone.
“Before he (Porterfield) makes a final decision
he will sit down with the senior players so that everybody will be
aware of exactly how he is thinking. But we will look at the situation from all sides and examine it closely because
we have to make sure that we make a decision which is going to be win-win for everybody.”
He added: “I can assure you that after those
discussions, the decision will be best for the team in short term, in
medium term and in the long term.”
Latapy was expected to join the team on Sunday
but was kept back in Scotland tying up some business matters
He is now due in tomorrow. Yorke is expected today while Rougier was scheduled in last night.
Meanwhile, Chance also explained that the team
was warming to the prospect of meeting both Mexico and
Canada if they advanced to the semifinal stage of the competition. Both teams were pooled in the same group
which T&T could advance to should they get past Haiti in the forthcoming two-leg tie.
But Chance said while the group will undoubtedly
be one of the toughest in the next phase of the competition, it is
a challenge they will have to accept.
“Once you are at war, you have to go into battle,” he said.
“We knew that, whatever happens, we would have
had to meet all those teams at some point in time or the other.
Naturally, we would have liked to meet them a little later, by which time we would have had some more games
under our belt.”
He added: “We can’t control the draw but we
have now to control the things that we can which is to get our best
team together and prepare the best that we can.”
T&T have so far taken care of the Netherlands
Antilles 6-1 on aggregate and the Dominican Republic 4-0 on
aggregate in the first and second round respectively. The return leg against the Haitians is scheduled for May 21.
By SHAUN FUENTES
MANCHESTER United striker Dwight Yorke will
report for training with this country's senior team Wednesday
Yorke's local representative Tim Nafziger confirmed
yesterday that Yorke will be here to wear the national jersey
when Trinidad and Tobago come up against Haiti in a 2002 World Cup qualifying match at the Hasely Crawford
Stadium, Mucurapo, scheduled for 4 pm Sunday.
T&T Football Federation president Oliver
Camps mentioned that Yorke was expected here tomorrow along with
the other English-based players, including captain Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve, Stern John and Clayton Ince.
They will be training at University of the West Indies Ground, St Augustine, Wednesday.
Hibernian midfielder Russell Latapy was scheduled
to arrive home last night.
Yorke notched his 23 goal of the season for United in a 3-2 win over Watford on Saturday. His 67th minute
strike was his 150th goal in the English Leagues.
Yorke tallied 98 goals at Aston Villa before
scoring 29 last season at Old Trafford.
Saturday's goal was also his 20th Premiership of the season, making him the first Manchester man to do so since
Brian McClair in 1989.
Nafziger said there was never any doubt of
Yorke playing against Haiti. "The position that we took never
changed. We asked that he be excused from the Dominican Republic tie and the T&TFF agreed and United were
quite happy. All that time Dwight said he would be playing against Haiti even before United got knocked out of
the Champions' League and that hasn't changed," said Nafziger.
Plans are also being made to have Yorke autograph
copies of his official biography here possibly following
Sunday's match at the Stadium.
While coach Ian Porterfield is likely to have
a full compliment of fit overseas based professionals for Sunday's
qualifier, defender Marvin Andrew's career with Scottish club Raith Rovers may be affected by it.
Andrews has been asked by Raith management
to put club before country or quit playing for them.
The First Division side narrowly missed promotion
into the Premier League and claimed they played without
Andrews for too many vital games while he was representing his country.
Andrews lined up for T&T during the Gold
Cup in February and has since played in each of T&T's World Cup
It is understood that Raith are having to cut
costs and assistant boss Kenny Black said with Andrews expected to
miss at least 12 matches next season if T&T were to progress, the club could not afford to pay for his absences.
"We would like Marvin to remain here for as
long as he can. If we can find a solution to him being called up so
often, then great. However, we can't afford the same situation as last season when he was called up for games in
which they had comfortable leads," Black told the Daily Record recently.
Andrews' two-year contract comes to an end
later this month and already English First Division side Barnsley and
Scottish Premier League's Hibernian are interested in him. There were also reports in the English Press stating that
Dutch club PSV Eindhoven were looking at him.
Andrews said recently he would consider extending
his stay at Rovers after a new two-year deal was offered in
February. Other overseas-based players, including Brent Sancho (Charleston Battery) and Avery John of Irish
club Bohemians FC will also return home early this week.
By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago's senior footballers could
end up alongside Mexico and possibly 2000 Gold Cup
champions Canada in the semi-final round of the 2002 World Cup qualifying tournament if they were to get past
Haiti in their final Caribbean qualifying zone leg next month.
Draw for the semifinal round of qualifying
in the Football Confederation for the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World
Cup was held yesterday at FIFA's Sonnenberg headquarters in Zurich, determining the three groups of four teams
that will begin play in July.
The 12 teams will be known after completion
of the Inter Zone round in mid-June, when runners-up of the three
Caribbean Zone groups will play runners-up of the two Central American Zone groups, along with Canada.
Winners of the Caribbean Zone and Central American Zone groups will be determined when play is completed
after the third weekend of May.
The three groups of four teams will each play
in a round-robin on a home-and-away basis from July 12-16 to
November 14-15. Top two teams of each group go through to the final round, where three finalists will advance
to the 2002 World Cup Finals.
The three Football Confederation finalists
from FIFA World Cup France, 1998 were seeded into the final round -
Jamaica, Mexico and the USA. Costa Rica were also seeded into the final round, the four countries in all
reflecting the Confederation's participants in the last three World Cup Finals.
In the draw, each country was also drawn to
a schedule number (for example, D1, D2, D3 or D4), each
corresponding to a schedule of matches.
Results of the draw for Football Confederation
semifinal round 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying:
C1: Winner Central American Zone B (Honduras or Panama).
C3: Winner Inter Zone Round 1 (Canada v Runner-up Caribbean Zone1).
C4: Winner Caribbean Zone 3 (Trinidad & Tobago v Haiti).
D1: Winner Central American Zone A (El Salvador, Guatemala or Belize).
D2: Winner Interzone Round 3 (Runner-up Caribbean Zone 3 v Runner-up Central American Zone B).
D3: Winner Caribbean Zone 2 (St Vincent/Grenadines v Antigua/Barbuda).
E1: Winner Inter Zone Round 2 (Runner-up Caribbean Zone 2 v Runner-up Central American Zone A).
E3: Winner Caribbean Zone 1 (Barbados v Cuba).
E4: Costa Rica.
DATE PERIOD 1: Wednesday, July 12, Sunday,
DATE PERIOD 2: Saturday, July 22, Wednesday, July 26.
DATE PERIOD 3: Tuesday, August 15, Wednesday, August 16.
DATE PERIOD 4: Saturday, September 2, Sunday, September 3.
DATE PERIOD 5: Saturday, October 7, Wednesday, October 11.
DATE PERIOD 6: Tuesday, November 14, Wednesday, November 15.
NATIONAL defender Dennis Lawrence is being
stalked by Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, team of
local midfield star Russell Latapy.
It is understood that Hibs' manager Alex McLeish
liked what he saw of the lanky Defence Force player during the
club's visit here in January and is still interested in him.
Lawrence has been brought onto the national
team by coach Ian Porterfield and has played in three 2002 World
Cup qualifying matches as a midfielder.
A source in Scotland couldn't confirm when
a possible trial will be arranged but word is that local side Vibe CT
105 W Connection are making attempts to sign Lawrence. It is left to be seen what transactions, if any, Hibs will
make with the South-based club.
St Lucian striker Earl Jean, now on loan with Hibs, may be back in the Connection line-up next month.
Jean came on in the final minute in Hibs' 1-1
draw with Celtic last Saturday and then saw full action in the Under
21's 3-1 win over Rangers on Monday.
The Army who won their first match of the Professional
League this season, 2-1 over Doc's Khelwalaas on
Wednesday, are also currently awaiting word on a possible transfer of midfielder Carlos Edwards.
He and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker
Hector Sam are hoping to have work permits approved before
joining English Second Division's Wrexham.
Meanwhile, McLeish told the Edinburgh Evening
News yesterday that he will not jeopardise T&T's chances of
qualifying for the 2002 World Cup by asking Latapy to continue this season after Saturday's game against
Aberdeen. "Latas" will therefore miss Hibernian's remaining four matches against Rangers, Motherwell, Dundee
United and Hearts.
"They (T&T) are desperate to qualify, they
feel they have a great chance and have to go for it. We will not stand
in the way of the internationals Russell has coming up. We just can't stand in his way," said McLeish.
By SHAUN FUENTES
NEWCASTLE United chose Trinidad and Tobago
over several football powerhouses including Brazil, Holland
and South Africa to set up an academy which will allow local youngsters first class training facilities and a learning
This was revealed by the club's commercial
manager Alec King at a press conference at the Hasely Crawford
Stadium last Wednesday.
King and Newcastle education officer Phil McBride
are here on a ten day visit to help set up the academy with
CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, the local club behind the venture.
They are now sorting out sponsorship deals with local and England based companies to support the academy.
The centre is expected to be launched in May
when the club comes here for a preseason tour.
King revealed that the centre will be fully
operating within the next six months.
"We see this as a long term project. We are
probably the first club in the world to do such a thing at this level.
clubs' manager Bobby Robson is obviously interested in this country because he could have gone elsewhere," said
Three schemes will be used to assist school
children in their education.
Already Malick Senior Comprehensive is one of the schools approached to be part of the project.
One of the schemes titled "Scoring goals for
success" will involve teachers at the selected schools assessing
students, marking them according to their exam results, attendance rate and code of conduct. At the end of a
six-week period, once a target mark is attained, the youngster will receive free football training and gear from
There will also be setting up of training camps in San Juan.