May News

April News

Wednesay May 30th, 2001

Warner wants
level heads

FIFA vice-president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) Special Adviser Jack Warner has called on the national senior team to keep level heads after their 2001 Copa Caribe success.

The “Soca Warriors’’ won their eight regional title last Friday when they beat Haiti 3-0 in the tournament final.

However, Warner, who is in South Korea for the start of the Fifa Confederations Cup, mixed caution with congratulations.

“I’m extremely pleased that T&T, once again, captured the most prestigious football trophy in the Caribbean,’’ said Warner. “However, I pray that this success does not go to the heads of the players and staff... This tournament did show (...) that there is still much work to be done, especially in the areas of collecting and distributing passes.

“I feel very optimistic, however, that we shall overcome Honduras on June 16 and continue on our path to qualification for the 2002 World Cup Finals.’’

Warner is scheduled to return to Trinidad on June 13 in time for the World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

Copa numero ocho

COACH Ian Porterfield, in charge of the national senior football team for the past 18 months, struck gold on Friday by taking his Marvin Andrews-led squad to its eighth success in the Caribbean Football Union's Copa Caribe Championships.

The team did Porterfield, and the nation, proud by whipping Haiti 3-0 in the final before about 12,000 spectators at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Dale Saunders, Brent Rahim and Arnold Dwarika all found the net to ensure T&T the US$50,000 first prize. On its way to the final, the Soca Warriors brushed aside arch-rivals Jamaica 2-1 and slammed Barbados 5-0.

Its only blemish was a 2-1 defeat at the feet of Martinique when coach Porterfield rested several of his top players knowing that his side was already assured of a place in the semi-finals.

T&T's lanky defender Dennis Lawrence, who plays for Wrexham in the English Football League, lifted the "Most Valuable Player" award.

And, goalkeeper Clayton Ince copped the "Best Keeper" award for the third consecutive year.
Porterfield and his boys will now be looking forward to next month's (June 16) crucial fourth round World Cup qualifier against Honduras at the stadium.

John - We play for each other


Striker Stern John had no regrets at not winning the Copa Caribe Golden Boots award. Following a bright start with a double against Barbados in the tournament's opening match, John could only end the tournament with three goals, two less than Haitian Golman Pierre.

But for John, all that matters was the Soca Warriors retaining the Copa Caribe title. John said the victory meant that team spirit will be high for the World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 16.

John stated that he was a bit disappointed at not scoring in the finals. "We are playing for each other. Hopefully when the other guys join the squad, we'll keep things flowing."

John will spend a few days in Miami, USA on holiday before returning home to resume preparations for the Honduras clash.

Latas stays in touch

National captain Russell Latapy will keep in touch with some of his former teammates at Hibernian who made his stay at Easter Road an enjoyable one.

Latapy looked at the Scottish Cup final from England on Saturday as Celtic trounced Hibs 3-0. He said that he was thankful to his teammates and manager Alex McLeish for the time he spent there was an enjoyable one.

"You don't spend three years with a club and make the friends I have and not feel attached to them. I'd just like to wish them all the best. I've spoken to quite a few of the players on the phone.

I'd also like to thank Alex McLeish and all the players and coaching staff for all they have done for me," Latapy said last week.

"Latas" was expected to spend some time in Portugal as well as hold meetings with clubs interested in his services next season.

Glasgow looks to US

midfielder Gary Glasgow is anticipating returning back to Kansas City Wizards to team up with Jamaican striker Onandi Lowe. The Jamaican marksman signed with Kansas earlier this month.

Glasgow, a member of T&T's 2001 Copa Caribe squad, said he hoped that playing in the recent tournament would improve his fitness going back into the American Major League as he is very much aware that the competition for a place in the team will increase with Lowe's arrival.

Both men were also teammates at American A-League side Richmond Kickers. Glasgow said victory in the Copa Caribe was a great boost for T&T.

"Everyone worked hard and we hope the run can continue. We were without Dwight and Latapy, so it was good to see the local guys do it," added Glasgow.

Rahim pleased to win

pleased with the success this country has enjoyed over the last two weeks, midfielder Brent Rahim is urging his partners to keep the progress going into the more important World Cup qualifying matches.

Rahim is also hoping that local critics will get off coach Ian Porterfield's back which he says will also take some burden off the players.

Commenting on his goal in the final, Rahim said: "The coach told me to be on the back post as much as I could. I was reading the play all the time. When the ball came over I just tried to creep up on it on the back post."

Rahim has decided to put a trial at Liverpool on hold because of a lack of international caps and will begin playing with Joe Public, a club he chose over American MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy in order to be closer to the national team.

Trotman optimistic

Mickey Trotman returned to Rochester Rhinos on Saturday with renewed confidence after playing a part in this country's three goals in the Copa Caribe victory over Haiti.

Trotman was dropped from T&T's World Cup squad for the last match against Mexico and was not a part of the starting team in the early round matches of the Copa Caribe. "I feel very good to be on the field in the final. I wanted this chance. I think I took it with everything.

"It raises my confidence especially with me just having moved to a new club. I want to do well and I've had the support of the guys who are a great bunch and also from a great technical staff, so I'll just be patient," said Trotman.

Elcock not giving up

Columbus Crew defender Ansil Elcock felt that the timing of the just concluded Copa Caribe suited him as it allowed his return to full fitness following a knee surgery earlier this year.

Speaking after T&T's 3-0 victory over Haiti on Friday, Elcock admitted that he was not 100 per cent fit during the 1-1 draw with Mexico in April, but is now back to his best.

"Even for the Mexico game I was struggling a bit because I had knee surgery just about a month before the game, but this tournament was in good time. Right now I am on top of my game.

"I changed from the left to the right side which is a position in which I am more comfortable. That showed that the coaching staff had great confidence in me," said Elcock.

"It's pretty hard for Tony Rougier to come back and play on the right. Hopefully he'll be coming to play in another position because I'm not giving up that position easily," he added.

Andrews remembers

Midfielder Lyndon Andrews will miss Russell Latapy next season at Hibernian but he is prepared to get on with his Easter Road career. Speaking on Friday, Andrews said he will have fond memories of Latapy in the Hibs jersey.

"I think it will be very different without Russell. When I go back to Scotland, I will have to assess how things go. He's not just a teammate, he's been a good friend and he made things very comfortable for me there in my first year.

I've become pretty much in control of things in Scotland and I hope things are on the right track when I get back there," said Andrews. Andrews explained that the win was great since, "We didn't have a good game in the semi-finals."

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

Simoes rings in the changes

Sports Desk

BRAZILIAN coach Professor Rene Simoes enjoyed his first day in charge of the Trinidad and Tobago under-17 football team yesterday and wasted no time in ringing in the changes.

Simoes, who replaces Nigerian Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, is responsible for taking the national youth team—dubbed "Team 2001"—to the Fifa 2001 Under-17 World Cup tournament which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago in September.

Brazilian goalkeeping coach Francisco Santos and trainer Alfredo Montessori, both members of his staff in Jamaica—who Simoes took to the 1998 World Cup in France—also helped to conduct the session, along with former national assistant coach Clayton "JB" Morris.

Another Brazilian will soon be selected to join them as assistant coach.

Simoes, who recently enjoyed his silver wedding anniversary with wife Maria in Brazil, quickly familiarised himself with his new assignment yesterday.

His first training session with Team 2001 was held from 8 a.m. at the Fatima College ground, Mucurapo Road.

It will also be his last session at that venue, which he said was unacceptable for that level of football.

"That is definitely out," he said, with a disapproving nod.

Simoes also scrapped the team's present 4-4-2 system for a more sturdy 3-5-2.

He explained that the formation used by Onigbinde left them too exposed at centre field. He said the 3-5-2 system—which he also introduced to Jamaica—was conducive to a marking game which should better suit them in the World Cup.

"You are the weakest team in the group," said Simoes. "So you have to make some protections and try to make something to surprise them."

Team 2001 will also be withdrawn from the Professional Football League (PFL) reserve league to allow Simoes more time to organise and trim his roster.

He complained that the current 36-man squad was too big and he hoped to reduce it to 26 within the next two weeks.

Simoes has already earmarked Argentina, Paraguay and Germany for warm-up matches and hopes to have at least ten international games under his belt before September.

In just two sessions, Simoes has already spotted several other team habits in need of change. Chief among those weaknesses was concentration.

Throughout the evening practice at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Simoes ordered his players to do push-ups for infractions ranging from errant passes to slow responses to game situations.

"They switch off too easily," he said. "The way you build your sessions must be one which will remind them to keep thinking...

"When they switch off they will get push-ups again and again until they get like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger."

Simoes compared his present job to the task he faced when he joined Jamaica in 1995. It took him four years, he said, to get the Jamaicans playing the way he wanted.

However, he believes that things are less complicated for the youngsters than the national senior team.

At present, the "Soca Warriors" have just one point from a possible nine and occupy cellar position in the Concacaf World Cup qualifying group.
The Brazilian, who created history in the English-speaking Caribbean by taking Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup, explained that he will offer technical advice gathered from five years at the helm of the "Reggae Boyz".

He also expressed hope that the entire national team would begin staying at the same hotel—a reference to reports of two of the squad's more senior players sharing separate lodgings to their teammates.

"If you are at the hotel everybody must sleep at the hotel," he said. "There must be no privilege for anyone. No matter how good you are, everyone is a member of the squad...

"Things that I heard happened cannot happen."

However, Simoes will not sit on the bench with coach Ian Porterfield and will allow the Scotsman room to do his job.

"I think the senior team will be okay," he said. "There is no necessity (for me to sit on the bench)."

Still, there was a word of caution.

"No matter how big the player is..." he said, "the point is what contribution he is making for the progress of the team. I don't think about the name, I think about the contribution that he is giving to help the squad and the progress of the team.

"If it is not (good), then you don't need (him)."

For now, though, he will focus on Team 2001, who are drawn with defending champions Brazil, Australia and Croatia for the U-17 World Cup.

Peru cancel date
with Soca Warriors

SOUTH American team Peru have cancelled a proposed warm-up match against the Trinidad and Tobago national football team.

Peru were scheduled to play against the "Soca Warriors" on June 1 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, but Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps said yesterday that the game was off.

Instead, the T&TFF would attempt to arrange two friendly matches away to Guatemala for June 9 and 11.

Those two matches will serve as the only warm-up games for the World Cup hopefuls before they face Honduras in a home qualifier on June 16.
Peru's cancellation follows similar withdrawals by four-time World Cup champs, Brazil—who were to meet T&T on June 9—and South American upstarts Ecuador.

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, team captain Russell Latapy and the remaining overseas-based players are expected to join their teammates on June 5 to begin preparations for a rush of qualifying matches.

After playing Honduras at home on June 16, the Warriors will travel to Ohio to face the United States on June 20 before returning to Trinidad to host Jamaica on July 1. —Lasana Liburd


Ferguson backs Latapy sacking

Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, has joined the list of persons in support of Hibernian boss Alex McLeish's bold decision to axe Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy from his squad for the remainder of the club's season.

Latapy, whose contract at Hibs expires at month's end, was given marching orders by McLeish two weeks ago after a drinking binge with compatriot and United star Dwight Yorke.

The 32-year-old midfielder broke several clubs rules during the escapade and McLeish made the decision despite the fact that Hibs had a crucial Scottish Cup clash pending against Celtic on Saturday.

Hibs lost the final to Celtic 3-0. However, Ferguson applauded his protege's sacking of Latapy. "Alex keeps in touch quite a lot and, recently, I was admiring his decision about Latapy," Ferguson told the BBC on the weekend.

"I told him it was a decisive decision. Sometimes you have to make your stand and let them know you're in control."
Latapy is expected to return to here soon to join his T&T team-mates to begin preparation for next month's friendly against Peru and crucial 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 16.

Simoes goes to work

By Gregory Trujillo

NEWLY appointed Trinidad and Tobago Technical Director, Brazilian Professor Rene Simoes, will officially begin his duties here today.

Simoes, who was hired by the local football federation a week and a half ago but allowed to return home for a short period, will immediately take over the Under-17.

However, he will also assist T&T senior team coach, Ian Porterfield, in preparing his squad for the forthcoming friendly against Peru and the crucial 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 16.

The man who took Jamaica to its first World Cup in 1998 returned to Trinidad yesterday after spending the last couple of days in Brazil celebrating his Silver Anniversary with his family.

Under-17 captain Julius James and his teammates, now with less than four months to prepare for the FIFA World Youth Championships, have been anxiously awaiting the return of Simoes, who replaced sacked Nigerian coach Adegboye Onigbinde at the helm of Team 2001. Team manager, Russell Tesheira, echoes similar sentiments.

"In respect to Simoes' appointment, I think it's not only a plus for the Under 17s but also for T&T football on a whole," Tesheira revealed."I believe it's an excellent choice and I feel we can all benefit from his expertise."

He added: "The mood in the (Team 2001) camp has been excellent. When the guys were told that Simoes would be coming, they were very happy to hear this and it can only do well for the future of the team."

Commenting on the departure of Onigbinde, Tesheira said: "The chief has been with us for just over three years and it's always sad when someone has to depart from the set up.

"One of our goals was to ensure that everyone stayed together until the end of the tournament. The Chief has made his contribution, I cannot take that away from him, but the team has to take another level."

Simoes is the third Brazilian to coach T&T in the last decade, following countrymen Clovis D-Oliveira, now at the helm of Jamaica, and Sebastiao Perreira de Araujo.


Champs T&T

Copa Caribe kings for the 8th time

TRINIDAD and Tobago collected their eighth Caribbean Cup title when they beat Haiti 3-0 in the Copa Caribe football final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last night.

Dale Saunders sent 8,000 home fans cheering with a 28th minute goal, before Brent Rahim and Arnold Dwarika struck in the second half to secure a remarkable sixth title in the last seven tournaments for Trinidad and Tobago.

T&T were hardly threatened by the Haitians, who failed to reproduce the dazzling form which saw them whip Martinique 5-0 in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John made the first goal for T&T.

He took on the Haitian defence in an enterprising dribble and fired a shot which goalkeeper Géteau Ferdinand deflected, only for Saunders to tap in from close range.

Haiti, playing an uncharacteristically slow game, enjoyed a lot of ball possession but hardly pressured the unbeaten T&T.

Rahim deflated Haiti when he knocked in a long cross from Mickey Trotman on the right in the 67th minute to make it 2-0, and 10 minutes later, Saunders found Dwarika unmarked in the six-yard box and he slid the ball past Ferdinand to complete the win.

Trinidad and Tobago also claimed two individual awards, as lanky defender Dennis Lawrence was named tournament MVP, and Clayton Ince grabbed the Best Goalkeeper award.

Cuba, beaten 1-0 by Martinique in the third place play-off on Thursday night, took the Fair Play Trophy, and Haiti’s Golman Pierre got the Golden Boot Award as the top scorer with five goals.


(Trinidad & Tobago)—Clayton Ince, Dale Saunders, Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington, Avery John, Arnold Dwarika (Gary Glasgow-82nd), Stern John (Nigel Pierre-73rd), Brent Rahim, Mickey Trotman (Lyndon Andrews-73rd).
(Haiti)—Géteau Ferdinand, Roosevelt Désir, Frantz Gilles, Michel Gabriel, Pierre Richard Bruny, Renel Mompremier (Clément Cléjust-51st), Chrismanor Telusma, Golman Pierre (Pierre Roland-80th), Peter Germain, Likenson Chéry, Jacques Pierre.

U-17s not scared
of Brazil

Sports Desk

TEAM 2001 captain Julius James is not intimidated by the prospect of meeting World Champions Brazil in Group 1 of the JVC World Under-17 Chmapionships to be hosted in this country from September 13-30.

The St Anthony’s College player said that his teammates will not allow the reputation of the other two teams-1999 finalists Australia as well as Croatia-to get the better of them.

“First I saw Brazil even before he (Michael Zen Ruffinen, Fifa General Secretary) called it out,” he noted, “... I didn’t feel anyway particularly about it at that time because I knew we went to Brazil and played well.”
On a tour of the South American country last month, the National Under-17s were whipped 7-0 by a Fluminese Under-17 squad before earning draws with Vasco Da Gama and Flamengo.

James related that coaches there had said that in some cases some of the better players “are in the clubs rather than the national team” because of the difficulty of screening potential players in the vast country.

But the Team 2001 skipper was hurt by the reaction of the local crowd at the draw for the September Games.

“If they can react like that when I drew Brazil, then what will happen when we actually play the game?”

He was, however, looking forward to playing matches in front of his home fans ahead of the World Championship.

“We want the public to know that we can play well and make them proud,” said James.

Even if the support from the public is not forthcoming in the way that he hopes, he and his teammates are getting support from corporate Trinidad.

Yesterday, the footballers, now under the charge of highly rated Brazilian coach Professor René Simoes, received a healthy boost in their preparations for the Fifa Under-17 World Championship 2001 here in September.

Local company Oscar Francois came on board the sponsorship wagon and are to provide the team with vitamin supplies, first aid kits and toiletries from this week until the end of the World Championship in September.

Roger Rollins, sales manager for Oscar Francois, disclosed that the deal is worth close to $10,000 in supplies and will increase as time goes on. The team is also expected to receive a supply of cod liver oil within the next few weeks.

Later this month, the team will also receive 50 bibles donated by the Bible Society of the Eastern Caribbean.

These deals were negiotiated by FCoTT.

Technical Director Simoes returns to Trinidad tomorrow. Before leaving, Simoes left a short programme for members of the technical staff to complete which Assistant Team administrator Douglas James said “has been well carried out”.

In fact, a match scheduled to precede yesterday's Copa Caribe final had to be cancelled because James and his assistants wanted to ensure  sure that Simoes’s programme was duly completed.

A schedule of T&T’s warm-up matches will be released shortly to coincide with Simoes’s programme.

Copa Supremos


TRINIDAD and Tobago did not flatter to deceive at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, last night, romping home to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Haiti to lift the 2001 Copa Caribe title.

The victory gave T&T an unprecedented eighth lien on the regional title and the honour of once again being called undisputed kings of Caribbean football.

Having already copped the title in 1989, '92, '94, '95, '96, '97 and last year, midfielders Dale Saunders, Brent Rahim and Arnold Dwarika all found the net to ensure T&T kept the Copa title here.

The success was the first at the regional level for T&T coach Ian Porterfield and a morale boasting win for skipper Marvin Andrews' side heading into next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

However, Porterfield could not have been all that happy after another under par performance which only stood out because of the inability of the Haitians to reproduce the flair which had given them a semifinal win over one-time champion Martinique.

After both teams took a while to settle in, T&T took a 21st minute lead through Saunders. Lurking inside the six-metre box, Saunders shot past Haitian keeper Geteau Ferdinand into an open goal after the keeper had only managed to partially block a shot from England-based striker Stern John.

But an equally appalling display of finishing would deny the estimated 12,000 fans who turned up of more goals to celebrate in the half.

Just three minutes later, John found himself in a one-on-one with the Haitian keeper after the assistant referee's failure to flag him for an obvious offside as he ran on to a Dwarika pass.

To the chagrin of his team-mates, John put his chipped effort straight into the chest of an advancing Ferdinand and Saunders somehow could not get a boot on the loose ball inside the six-metre box with the goal at his mercy.

In the 27th minute Dwarika turned villain when he robbed last stopper Pierre Richard Bruny inside the penalty area but shot poorly at the overworked Ferdinand who parried it away to safety.

Porterfield, no doubt, would have had stern words for his players at the break. And this showed in the second half as T&T gave a better display of finishing, at least early on.

Rahim increased the scoreline in the 68th minute when he placed his shot from seven metres out high into the net after Mickey Trotman's right-side cross eluded the entire Haitian defence and team-mate John.

The Haitian resistance now broken, Dwarika completed the scoring four minutes later when he ran onto a neatly threaded pass from Trotman and placed his shot to the left of Ferdinand to the delight of the now "Mexican-style" waving fans. T&T 3 (Dale Saunders 21st, Brent Rahim 68th, Arnold Dwarika 74th) v Haiti 0


T&T - Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington, Brent Rahim, Mickey Trotman (Lyndon Andrews 80th), Dale Saunders, Arnold Dwarika (Gary Glasgow 84th), Stern John (Nigel Pierre 80th)

Haiti - Geteau Ferdinand, Pierre Richard Bruny, Frant Gilles, Likenson Chery, Jacque Pierre, Roosevelt Desir, Michel Gabriel, Chrismonor Telusma, Peter Germain, Golman Pierre (Pierre Roland 81st), Renel Mompremier (Clercant Clerjuste 52nd).


Warriors hunt 8th title

Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago football coach Ian Porterfield, by his own admission, has been “under pressure” at the helm of the “Soca Warriors”.

And there will be no room for slip-ups tonight when the defending champions take on Haiti in the 2001 Copa Caribe final from 7 p.m. at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.

The host nation is seeking an impressive eighth regional title from 11 editions of the Caribbean tournament—four of them won on home soil—and the first-prize bounty of US$50,000.

The runner-up receives US$20,000, while the third and fourth-place teams get US$10,000 and US$6,000, respectively. All other participating nations left with US$3,500.

However, midfielder Brent Rahim, T&T’s most promising player on show, believes that the champs would lose the title if they repeat their performance in a 2-0 semifinal win over Cuba on Tuesday.

“I think we definitely have to play better than we did against Cuba,” said Rahim. “It’s one thing going out there and fighting the game but we have to play football. I don’t think we can afford to stand up to 90 minutes of pressure from Haiti.

“They will eventually score.”

Rahim echoed Porterfield’s concerns about the team’s slow starts and promised that the “Warriors” would come out firing.

Porterfield should be just as concerned, though, with their inability to consistently bring the ball upfield—uninterrupted—from goalkeeper Clayton Ince through to strikers Stern John and Arnold Dwarika.

It was Cuba who showed greater appreciation for ball possession and dictated the pace of the match on Tuesday evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, although the hosts emerged winners.

The Haitians, however, are a different prospect all together.

In their 5-0 semifinal win over Martinique, they rarely seemed interested in prolonged possession and are happier to strike quickly on the break.

Captain Golman Pierre, the tournament’s leading goal scorer with five items, will be their attacking linchpin, ably assisted by strike partner Renel Mompremier.

A tall elegant striker, Pierre has paid the price for his early successes and was marked heavily in his last two group matches.

He should be watched attentively tonight as well by T&T captain Marvin “Dog” Andrews.

On the other end, Haitian defender Bruny Pierre will know all about his Joe Public teammate Dwarika and tends to run a similarly tight shop.

Like T&T’s group match against Jamaica, the midfield should hold the key to tonight’s contest. Porterfield, already without the suspended Angus Eve, must decide who will hold the reins of playmaker.

Hibernian midfielder Lyndon Andrews has not done himself justice in that role, while Porterfield has been reluctant to use either Rahim or Dwarika behind the two strikers.

The Scotsman would recall, though, that T&T’s best performance in the tournament came against Barbados when assistant coach Zoran Vranes—deputising for the suspended Porterfield—withdrew Dwarika to the midfield in the second half to telling effect.

There has been less debate over the exclusion of Vibe CT 105 W Connection captain Reynold Carrington for Joe Public midfielder Dale Saunders.

Although Carrington does not offer the mobility of Saunders, his strength—not to mention composure and distribution—may be a crucial asset against the physical Haitians.

But Porterfield has had more than just the Copa Caribe tournament on his mind of late.

Last Saturday, he was quoted in a daily newspaper as saying that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s (T&TFF) decision to hire Brazilian Rene Simoes as technical director without first consulting him was a mark of disrespect.

On Wednesday, Porterfield said “some people want to put me under pressure”, while, at the same time, insisting that the T&T squad had “improved tremendously” during his tenure.

He would be well advised to give his employers a sneak preview tonight.

Brazil cancel friendly vs T&T

Sports Desk

THE Trinidad and Tobago senior football team will not have a chance to test their mettle against four-time World Cup champions Brazil after all.

Oliver Camps, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF), yesterday confirmed that Brazil had cancelled a proposed friendly match against the Caribbean champions which was scheduled for June 9.

“Brazil is off,” said Camps. “Only yesterday (Wednesday) I got word that it was cancelled... because of the Confederations Cup. Mr (Jack) Warner, through Concacaf, relayed the information to me.”

Warner, Fifa vice-president and T&TFF special adviser, had told the local media last month that the “Samba Boys” had agreed to play the “Soca Warriors”. He also boasted then that Brazil Football Federation president Ricardo Teixeira was one of his “better friends”.

However, Brazil are presently in Japan preparing for the Confederations Cup which runs from May 31 to June 10 in Korea and Japan.

The tournament date was released by Fifa on March 9.

Still, Camps insisted that the Brazil Federation, at the time, had agreed to come to Trinidad in spite of the Confederations Cup fixtures.

“They had said yes in spite of the Confederations Cup,” said Camps. “But they have been having their own problems...I really can’t tell you why they would have said yes and then no.”

The “Warriors” are still scheduled to host Peru before their next World Cup assignment against Honduras on June 16. However, the T&TFF is attempting to shift the date of the match to either June 2 or 3.

Their next international practise game will be against Central Americans El Salvador, which is scheduled for August.

Meanwhile, Concacaf rivals Mexico play a full-strength England today before they compete in next week’s Confederations Cup against the likes of World and European champions France and 2000 Olympic Games champs Cameroon.

Martinique take 3rd
in Copa Caribe

Sports Desk

REFEREE John Callender whistled, Cuban goalkeeper Odelin Molina pleaded, then Martinique’s Marcel Gibon converted.

That sequence of events after 75 minutes of play yesterday at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar proved to be the most decisive as Martinique edged Cuba 1-0 in their Copa Caribe third-place play-off.

The victory earned the French-speaking nation US$10,000, US$4,000 more than the losing Cuban team.

But more importantly, Martinique also earned the final available spot for Caribbean countries in next year’s Football Confederation Gold Cup.

But the winning goal was not without controversy.

The Guyanese referee seemed to err in his judgement as, on the break, substitute Lauren Habricot appeared to have been legitimately dispossesed by Molina at the right side of the Cubans’ penalty area.

At the blast of Callender’s whistle to signal the spot kick, Molina leaped to his feet and, gesticulating furiously, ran directly to the referee before sinking to his knees, hands in prayer, in one last desperate attempt to change Callender’s mind.

It was futile.

Gibon sent Molina the wrong way for the game’s lone goal.

The lack of goals could be put down to the unproductive Cuban attack.
In control for most of the first half, striker Serguei Prado and midfielder Manuel Bobadilla failed to get the ball on target from good positions in the Martiniquan 18-metre area.

Prado glanced a header from Bobadilla inches wide after he was left unmarked and Bobadilla’s volley from ten metres was hit directly at a defender.

Martinique got more involved in the second half. They hit the crossbar twice—Gibon striking a right-footer smack against the structure before captain Daniel Borval encountered the same obstacle with his header at an open goal.

Gibon’s penalty came soon after and subsequent pressure from a desperate Cuban outfit, which saw skipper Molina Jeniel find the upright with his header two minutes from time, could not prevent the Martiniquans from claiming the bronze medals. And a place in the Gold Cup.

T&T goes for 'Big 8'


TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Marvin Andrews and his team-mates, with one eye on next month's 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras, will be looking for a moral boosting win against Haiti in tonight's Copa Caribe final at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from seven o'clock.

The match comes three weeks before the all-important qualifier against Honduras at the same venue when nothing else but a win will enhance this country's chances of going to Japan/Korea next year.

Lurking on the horizon for T&T is an eighth regional title, the men in red, white and black having previously won in 1989,'92, '94, '95, '96, '97 and '99 in the 11-year history of the competition.

In fact, the only other countries to notch a lien on the title are Jamaica (1991 & '98) and Martinique (1993), with one year's competition, 1990, being aborted after the July 27 insurrection here.However, despite having beaten Haiti 3-1 in last year's World Cup preliminaries and 6-0 in this tournament's semi-final in 1999, Andrews' men cannot underestimate the Frenchmen.

Indeed, Haiti will be seeking its first title ever and must be confident following its crushing 5-0 win over Martinique, the only team to beat T&T in this series, in the "semis" on Tuesday.

T&T meanwhile is coming off an unimpressive 2-0 win over Cuba, a performance which had even coach Ian Porterfield worried.To add insult to injury, T&T will also be without experienced midfielder Angus Eve, who will be serving an automatic suspension having been sent off in the Cuba win.

But Porterfield has worked feverishly with his squad over the last two days in an attempt to lift the team's standard of play and, hopefully, that work will pay off tonight. One man who is confident of a T&T victory is midfielder Brent Rahim, who assured fans a more urgent start from his team-mates tonight.

"I think we definitely have to play better than we did against Cuba," Rahim said yesterday.
"It's one thing going out there and fighting the game but way we have to play good football. The key thing for us is to be focussed and play the game the we know how to play."

Regarding T&T's laid back approach early on in the previous games Rahim said: "It could be that we're not really concentrating enough in the early stages. The coaching staff has brought that up already and everyone has to be accountable for themselves. "We have been sort of lapsing and not quick enough to the ball which is why we are being put under unnecessary pressure. But we are going to get things right."

He added: "All the players know what is at stake. We want to win the competition because this will certainly give us a boost going into the World Cup matches."Adding that they also would not underestimate the Haitians, Rahim said confidence would also be key.

"We have to give the Haitians a lot of respect. They are playing a good brand of football," Rahim said. "We have to give them the respect, but at the end of the day we know we are the Copa Caribe champions and I think we have to go out there with confidence and play like we are the champions."

T&T: Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Dale Saunders, Brent Rahim, Lyndon Andrews, Reynold Carrington, Arnold Dwarika, Stern John


I feel pressured, says Porterfield

FOLLOWING Trinidad and Tobago’s difficult 2-0 victory over Cuba in Tuesday’s Copa Caribe semi-final, Ian Porterfield said he feels pressured in his job as head coach of the senior team.

And he warned newly-appointed Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) technical director Professor Rene Simoes of the difficulty of the job.

“I think I’ve been under pressure since I came here 16 months ago. I’m under no pressure, personally...some people want to put me under pressure,” said the Scotland-born coach.

He was responding to a question concerning the appointment of Simoes as technical director.

After a testing year and four months at the helm, Porterfield had some praise and advice for Simoes.

“Rene Simoes is a lovely man and I hope that he can do the job here because it’s not an easy job.”

Porterfield stated he had helped “improve the team tremendously” and “had a great relationship” with all of his charges.

And, looking forward to tomorrow’s Copa Caribe final against Haiti, he hopes the team can improve on its slow start in matches of late.

Porterfield wants Marvin Andrews and his teammates to be faster out of the blocks in the final.

Not pleased with the moderate start to matches in the tournament, the forner Zambian national coach said: “I thought that Cuba started well and I think that is something that we have not done.  Certainly we’ve gotta improve on that for our World Cup games. We played two games against Jamaica and they scored after 20 minutes.

“After that we couldn’t score. The same happened here...We’ve complained about that (slow start) and that’s something  that we’ve got to get right.” 

Porterfield continued: “Most certainly I think we’ve got to start games a bit quicker and a lot more positively because we can do it.” 

The coach added that Andrews’ men deserved credit for a display of strong character and determination against Cuba in a game in which they were heavily challenged and ended with ten men on the field following the expulsion of Angus Eve.

“We knew it was going to be a hard game and we are delighted that we are into the we have to prepare for Haiti.”

Porterfield said that as preparation for the June 16 World Cup qualifier against Honduras, the Copa Caribe “has gone well”. 

“The mental toughness has been very good. It’s an area that we’ve got to be ready for when we play against  Honduras. I’m sure that we’ll be mentally ready for when that time comes around.”

Corneal joins 
elite Fifa body

ALVIN Corneal, former national footballer and coach, left Trinidad and Tobago yesterday for Korea/ Japan where he will link up with a selected Fifa technical committee for the Confederations Cup.

The technical study group is headed by Walter Gagg, Fifa’s technical committee chairman, and also includes Liverpool manager and former French national coach, Gerald Houllier; Argentine youth coach and technical director Jose Pekerman; and Asian technical director Lim Kim Chon of Malaysia.

The Fifa appointment is Corneal’s fifth in as many years and is the first for a West Indian in that capacity.

The Confederations Cup serves as a dress rehearsal for the 2002 World Cup which will also be held in Japan.

Corneal also featured on technical committees at the 1999 Confederations Cup in Mexico and the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Corneal was approached by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) last month to take up the post of technical director to the “Soca Warriors”.

However, Corneal and the T&TFF failed to agree on several aspects regarding the job, including the choice of national senior team coach and Corneal refused the offer.

T&TFF president Oliver Camps later told the media that they too had a change of heart and subsequently hired Brazilian Rene Simoes.

No late Copa help from Latas


TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy will not make a late appearance in this year's Copa Caribe series.
T&T coach Ian Porterfield had been hoping to draft the "Little Magician" into his side for the playoff phase of the tournament. Latapy was recently sacked by his club, Hibernian, for the remainder of the season and now has free time of his hands.

This, Porterfield felt, would help the team - also eyeing its next 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 16 - get even better in time for that crucial game.

However, Latapy has since left Scotland for Portugal to spend time with his son and family. This was the word from TTFF Press Officer Shaun Fuentes yesterday when asked if T&T would get the Little Magician for tomorrow's final against Haiti.

T&T qualified for the Copa final after shutting out Cuba 2-0 on Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium through goals from Arnold Dwarika and Stern John.

After a far from convincing performance against the Cubans, Porterfield may yet miss Latapy. While expressing happiness at reaching the final, Porterfield was concerned about the team's "sluggish" effort against the Cubans.

"We will have to start our games a bit more positively. That's something we've got to get right (for the final)," Porterfield said after the match.

In the first five minutes of the match, the Cubans - who ran rings around the T&T team with clever footwork and clean distribution - had thrown away three simple scoring chances, two by skipper Serguei Sanudo and the other by top striker Alberto Perez.

Sanudo was again the culprit in the 10th minute when he kicked feebly to T&T goalkeeper Clayton Ince with space all around.

"They (Cuba) started with a fair amount of pace. All credit must go to them. They were very lively and passed the ball very well," Porterfield admitted.

Despite this, Porterfield, who claimed he has been under no pressure in the wake of the recent appointment of Brazilian Rene Simoes as T&T Technical Director, said he felt the team had improved.

"I came here 18 months ago and have improved the team tremendously. I have a great relationship with the boys. My desire is to take the guys to the World Cup final. I am just looking at one job. In between we want to win the Copa."
Porterfield also called on persons criticising the squad to observe that in 28 games under his care, the side has won 18 times.

"Check the record, including friendly internationals, the proof is there to be seen. We've got to be ready when we meet Honduras on June 16." Martinique and Cuba clash for third place today at Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar from 5 pm.

Tuesday's lineups
T&T: Clayton Ince, Dale Saunders, Marvin Andrews, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Angus Eve, Arnold Dwarika, Lyndon Andrews (Reynold Carrington 63rd), Ansil Elcock, Stern John (Nigel Pierre 88th), Brent Rahim.

CUBA: Odelin Hernandez, Alexander Delis, Molina Marquez, Alexander Rojas, Lazaro Martinez (Luis Elejarde 46th), Manuel Gonzalez, Serguei Prado, Darien Perez, Ariel Alvarez, Alberto Perez, Jorge Urrutia.
Red Card: Angus Eve 60th.


Monday May 22nd, 2001

TNT out in full force

Sports Desk

UNLIKE the Martiniquans, who beat a weakened Trinidad and Tobago team last Saturday, Cuba will be up against a full-strength Soca Warriors unit when they step onto the field at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium from 7.15 this evening for their Copa Caribe semifinal game.

The return of striker Stern John, on an automatic one-match suspension in the home squad’s last game, and defender Ansil Elcock, who was in the USA fulfilling his MLS Columbus Crew duties, is sure to bolster coach Ian Porterfield’s team against the Group B runners-up.

T&T topped Group A despite Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the unfancied Martiniquans, who booked their semifinal berth with the win and relegated T&T’s arch-rivals Jamaica to the role of spectators for the remainder of the tournament. But the line-up that went under to the French-speaking island was without seven of the players who started in T&T’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Jamaica last week.

At the final-four stage, Porterfield, rumoured to be in danger of losing his job to newly-appointed technical director René Simoes of Brazil, is not taking any chances.

“It is important for us to do well in the Copa Caribe,” Porterfield said yesterday. “Of course, all this is in preparation for when we play Honduras in World Cup qualifying later on. ...We had already won the group so guys like Carlos Edwards, Anton Pierre, Mickey Trotman and these sort of players were given a run. But for this game all the squad is back.”

The Scotland-born coach suggested the move to use the non-regular players was tactical.

“We don’t have a massive squad of players for the World Cup,” he explained, “and if anything happens through injury or suspension, it would have been a blow to us.”

With three games in five days on the schedule, Porterfield opted to rest Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve and company. Those frontliners should be fresh and full of enthusiasm for the challenge that the Cubans will provide.

But the visitors are sure to be haunted by memories of their 1999 Copa Caribe final campaign. On that occasion, in a game played at the same venue and against the same opposition, the men from Fidel Castro’s country were undone by a John strike in the penultimate minute of sudden-death that helped T&T to a 2-1 victory and their seventh lien on the regional title.

For the Cubans to exact some measure of revenge for that defeat, they will need their in-form ace goalscorer Serguei Prado and his diminutive striking partner Alberto Delgado to be right on song.

Porterfield knows there are no guarantees at this level and although he expects a tough battle, he remains confident about a positive outcome.

“We know it’s going to be a hard game,” he noted. “They (Cuba) have been improving as the games have gone along.”

Quizzed as to whether there was some special plan in place to deal with the Cuban threat, he remained his usual non-committal self.

“We know what to do against Cuba,” was all he would say. “We are going to approach the game the best way we can and play the best we can.”

If Nottingham Forest striker John contrives to produce the best performance he can, that would go a long way towards ensuring that T&T make it to the final round of the competition on Friday.

But if he does not and no one else steps up to fill the breach, the locals could be in for another nasty surprise, full-strength unit or not.

In today’s curtain-raiser at 5 p.m., a battle of two French-speaking countries will determine who will be Friday’s other finalist.

Haiti, who topped Cuba in Group B because of a better goal difference after both teams had ended on five points, take on Martinique, who are likely to display the same fighting qualities that earned them a place in the semis ahead of the much more highly-favoured Reggae Boyz.

No surprises in
Copa Group B

HAITI and Cuba played to a 0-0 draw on Sunday night, both holding off a late surge from St Kitts and Nevis to qualify for the semifinals of the Copa Caribe football tournament.

Haiti, with a superior goal difference, ended group winners with five points ahead of Cuba, who were under pressure to avoid defeat after St Kitts and Nevis had crushed Suriname 4-0 in the evening’s earlier game at the Larry Gomes Stadium.

In the semifinals, Cuba will face defending champions Trinidad and Tobago while Haiti tackle surprise qualifiers Martinique. The Frenchmen scored an upset 2-1 win over the hosts in the final round of qualifying matches to squeeze the highly favoured Reggae Boyz out of second spot in Group A on goal difference.

Entering the final Group B match, Haiti, with a healthy goal difference, appeared safe for a top two finish in the group, but a loss for Cuba by a margin of two goals or more would have sent St Kitts and Nevis through.

The drawn Cuba/Haiti result left the Haitians with a plus-five goal difference, to lead Cuba (+1), with St Kitts and Nevis third on four points. St Kitts and Nevis, beaten 7-2 by Haiti in their opening game, before holding Cuba to a 1-1 draw on Friday night, beat Suriname convincingly.

Seretse Cannonier scored for the Leeward Islands champions in the 26th minute, while Austin Huggins (50th), Keith Gumbs (61st) and Sheldon Doynin (85th) completed the scoring with second-half strikes.

Frenchmen get it right

MARTINIQUE upset Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 on Saturday to grab second spot in Group A and advance to today’s semifinals of the 2001 Copa Caribe football tournament.

Despite the defeat, the hosts, who had already scored victories over Barbados on the opening day and arch-rivals Jamaica in the second round, also advanced to the semifinal round which will be played off today.

T&T, who topped Group A, take on the 1999 beaten finalists Cuba, runners up in Group B, while Haiti, who emerged best of the lot in Group B, take on the giant-killing Martiniquans.

Martinique got a late winner from captain Patrick Percin to beat the defending champions and clinch second spot in the group ahead of Jamaica on goal difference.

T&T, Martinique and Jamaica, who beat Barbados 2-1 in the evening’s opening game, all ended on six points.

The Jamaicans, beaten 2-1 by Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night, ended with a plus-one goal difference, to trail T&T (+5) and Martinique (+2) in the goal difference tie-breaker.

Martinique, the 1993 Caribbean champions, jumped into an eighth minute lead when Rodolphe Rano scored, but T&T levelled 20 minutes later through a Dennis Lawrence header.

Martinique, knowing that they faced elimination if they failed to win, kept fighting for the goal that would make all the difference and they eventually grabbed the winner through Percin 12 minutes from the end.

In the other game on the night, Jamaica quickly went 2-0 up on winless Barbados with England-based Barry Hayles featuring in both plays.

Hayles was brought down in the box for Wolde Harris to score from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, and Fabian Taylor headed in a Hayles cross in the 26th.

Three minutes later, Llewellyn Riley scored for Barbados, and although the Reggae Boyz stayed ahead for the win, Martinique’s 2-1 triumph over T&T later rendered the outcome merely academic.

Soca Warriors takes on Cuba in semis today

T&T back to full strength


TRINIDAD and Tobago is back to full strength for today's enticing Copa Caribe semifinal clash with Cuba at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 7pm.

The "Soca Warriors" will be hoping to bounce back from its 2-1 defeat to Martinique at the weekend and seal a place in Friday's final and one of three spots in the 2002 Football Confederation Gold Cup. Cuba finished second in Group B after holding Haiti to a 0-0 draw Sunday at Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar.

In the other match, St Kitts/Nevis shocked Suriname 4-0 with goals by Seretse Cannonier (27th), Austin Huggins (51st), Keith Gumbs (63rd) and Sheldon Doynin (87th). Haiti meets Martinique in the first match of the semifinal doubleheader at 5 pm at the Stadium.

National coach Scotland-born Ian Porterfield conducted his final session at Larry Gomes Stadium yesterday.
Stern John, who missed the last match through suspension, Arnold Dwarika and Columbus Crew defender Ansil Elcock are tipped to return to today's starting line-up.

Speaking yesterday Porterfield said he was eager for the "Soca Warriors" to get back to winning ways.
"Cuba are a team that has improved as the competition has gone on so we have to be cautious against them. It's going to be a good game and tough one as well.

While we were watching them on Sunday, we were thinking that it could be either of the three teams, Cuba, St Kitts or Haiti, facing us in the semifinal. That alone tells you how tough their group was. Cuba are a sound team and we are aware of that," he said.

Reflecting on the defeat to Martinique, Porterfield said that he took the opportunity to look at players who had seen little action previously, especially as T&T had already gone through to the next stage.

"We've tried really hard to bring players on over the last few months . We didn't get the right result on Saturday but it give us the chance to give these boys a run. Personally I felt there were some pluses, but people continue to moan and groan about the defeat.

"At the end of the day, whether we finished with seven points or nine points, we were still at the top of the group. We are continuing to work very hard on the development of some of our players. Look how well Dennis (Lawrence) has come on and young Brent Rahim has been exceptional in the tournament so far."

Porterfield added: "Now we've given all the boys a chance and now we are going to bring back the best squad together."

The coach said the experience during the visits to the schools, "has been absolutely wonderful for the players.
"I've said all along that this is a people's team. It is important for us to be able to go and relate and communicate with all these people. We have been getting wonderful vibes and to see how much these people look up to the team. It's amazing.

"I said to the guys that it shows how important it is that we do well for the country and they understand that."
Members of the T&T team made visits to Tunapuna Hindu School, St Mary's Anglican Primary School and St Mary's Children Home yesterday morning.

Midfielder Stokely Mason is the only injured player going into the semifinal clash, having picked up an ankle injury ahead of the 5-0 victory over Barbados.

Porterfield said there has been no word on the availability of skipper Russell Latapy for the remainder of the tournament but the "Little Magician" is likely to join training soon for the June 16 World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

"It will be great if we can get Russell as soon as possible because he is such an important member of the team. And as far as we are concerned, we the members of the team are his number one fans," said Porterfield.

Stern John was the scorer of the "golden goal" in sudden death extra time to give T&T a 2-1 victory in the 1999 Copa Caribe final at Hasely Crawford Stadium against Cuba. T&T also defeated the Cubans 4-1 in a warm-up encounter at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya, last year.

Alberto Perez will be the danger man for the Cubans having netted a beavertrick in their 4-3 victory over Suriname last Wednesday. Losers of the semifinal clashes meet in the third place play-off Thursday at Larry Gomes Satdium.

Spann to play in Italy


ELEGANT Vibe CT 105 W.Connection FC midfielder Silvio Spann is set to become the first Trinidad and Tobago footballer to ply his trade in Italy’s Serie A after signing with Perugia yesterday.

The 19-year-old Spann, who was a Secondary Schools Foo

tball League (SSFL) stand-out with St Benedict’s College, has spent the past two weeks in Italy on trials along with club teammate and former Naparima College striker Ateba McKnight.

Spann, son of former national star midfielder Leroy “Spanner” Spann, was at Perugia’s home stadium yesterday when the hosts drew 2-2 with Italian superstar Roberto Baggio’s Brescia to keep their dreams of a UEFA Cup berth alive.

He was signed soon after the match and will remain in Italy for the next ten days to sort out his work permit and accommodation.

McKnight, on the other hand, returns to Trinidad today to rejoin WCFC.

WCFC club president David J Williams was overjoyed to learn that his player had been signed although he refused to discuss his personal terms or the transfer fee involved.

He also pointed out that the club would soon have four players in Italy. National under-20 defender Jace Peters recently left for a trials with fellow Serie A team Brescia while 17-year-old ex-Tranquillity Government midfielder Keron Cordner and 25-year-old Brazilian Luciano Sato will soon leave for Perugia.

“His father is tremendously happy,” said Williams. “And his teammates are happy for him... The other two players going to Perugia is a celebration in itself. It’s a breakthrough to have four players in Italy.”

The south-based club won the domestic Professional Football League (PFL) title last season while also winning the league and cup honours in the under-20 division.

The success of the club—in only its third year of existence—has apparently not gone unnoticed globally and WCFC hosted Perugia scout Fabrizio Salvatore earlier this year who was instrumental in arranging trials for Spann.

The young midfielder—who was controversially omitted from national under-20 coach John Granville’s team for the Concacaf qualifying series—sufficiently impressed Perugian manager Sersi Cosmo in two practice games and several training sessions at the club.

Williams is hopeful that ex-Naparima College stopper, Peters, will follow suit.

“We feel very confident about Jace Peters,” said Williams. “Because he was picked out by Italian scouts who were here during the under-20 (Concacaf World Cup qualifying) tournament.”

Spann’s move to Serie A is unprecedented in the English speaking Caribbean.

Tobagonian striker Dwight Yorke was scouted by several Italian clubs including Juventus after his successful opening season with English giants Manchester United while Jerren Nixon of Swiss team St Gallen had once attracted the attention of Napoli—former club of Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

However neither player was the subject of an official offer.

While Perugia lack the history of Juventus, they have been steadily building their own niche in arguably the world’s most elite football league.

Most of their progress would go down to the adventurous signings of club chairman Luciano Gaucci.

In 1998, Gaucci gambled by signing Japanese playmaker Hidetoshi Nakata—the first Asian to play in the Serie A—whom he sold on within 15 months to Roma for a club record £10 million.

At present, the Perugia roster also includes Jung Hwan Ahn, the first South Korean to play in Italy, Ming Yu Ma, Serie A’s first Chinese player and Fabio Liverani, the first player of African descent to win an international cap with Italy.

Spann will be the “first” that will concern Trinidad and Tobago football fans most, though.

Open letter from Rene Simoes

DEAR Trinidadians and Tobagonians:

“Failing to prepare, is preparing for failure.”

This was said by Pat Riley, a great American basketball coach. I have followed this advice. Nothing happens by coincidence, nothing comes to your hand by chance, fruits only of your mere wish.

For things to happen, we need to dream, plan, work hard, have discipline to carry on, courage at times of trouble, and then we can win, conquer and achieve. Maybe someone, or even you, may think that my arrival is the solution to all the problems. That is a big misconception.

I am only part of a very large group that must be well equipped and work in harmony in order to be productive and give the players strength, security and hope.

But how will this group achieve such harmony?

Finding a diagnosis:

We need to research with former players, coaches and executives to find out what we can get from teachings in the past so they can be put to practice in the present. We must find out what the players expect of the team and of themselves.

The public must let us know what are its expectations and how much does it wish to see a winning team.

From the public and private sectors, we have to know how much they believe in the national teams and the Federation. We also want to map the tournaments for all leagues and different categories.

Objectives for the future:

Short term: The Under 17 and the senior teams will be our immediate priorities. Both have very hard missions ahead of them, but what seems extremely difficult or even impossible for men, is extremely easy for God, if we only put it in His Hands.


1. Vertical integration of the players and the coaches in the various categories.

2. Horizontal integration between the coach of each of the national teams and the tournament in his category.

3. Creation of permanent coaching staffs.

4. Diet program for all the players with the sponsorship of a food company.

5. Make the players more aware of international competitions and accustomed with playing at

international level, through the sponsorship of an airline.

6. Qualification of coaches for all levels.

7. Creation of a medical, psychological and spiritual staff for the teams.

8. Identification of possible future sponsors.

9. Financial participation from the Government.

10. Creation of a public relations department.


1. Increase the technology of the Federation and become part of FIFA’s computer network.

2. Qualify the different national teams for the World Cup Finals.

3. Professional championship in Trinidad and Tobago.

4. Contract between coaches and all the club teams

5. Refund of every dollar spent by sponsors in the form of exposure time in the international media.

6. Increase the number of players who play for teams abroad.

7. Creation of an insurance for the players.

8. Creation of a standard game philosophy for all the national teams.

9. Creation of an Under-15 National team.

10. Salary for National players.

11. Advertise Trinidad and Tobago in a positive manner in order to attract more tourism and foreign investors.

12. Change the manner in which people cheer at the Stadium (football is different from cricket). The public must become the 12th player, moving with every touch of the ball, making the opponent aware that they are not playing in their “turf” but at the same time remaining respectful.

At the beginning I spoke about dreaming and I enforce that the dream is the oxygen of human beings. It gives us energy as we get up in the morning and courage to make it come true.

However, I also want to remind you that those who fail, dream too. Dream alone will not

guarantee success.

The difference between the loser and the winner is that the loser will dream, but have no courage to act on the dream or to regain strength and learn lessons after small defeats or obstacles.

The winner has courage and determination to act in order to achieve his goals, and the perseverance and knowledge to not be taken down by temporary defeats, and learn from obstacles so that he can achieve his dream.

I want to invite you to dream, act, persevere and to participate in great achievements.

I ask God to continue being our guide, showing us the paths that we must follow.

With Faith and hope,
Rene Simoes.

Big $$ loss as
Boyz take exit


CARIBBEAN Football Union (CFU) general secretary Harold Taylor is expecting a financial backlash in the 2001 Copa Caribe tournament after the first round exit of the Jamaican national football team.

The Jamaican “Reggae Boyz” were eliminated from the 2001 Copa Caribe tournament on Saturday night after the host nation Trinidad and Tobago fell to a shock 2-1 loss against Martinique.

The defeat did not affect the “Soca Warriors” place atop the Group A standings but it meant that the Martiniquans had sneaked ahead of Jamaica by virtue of better goal differential.

Jamaica and Martinique both ended the group stage with six points but the Boyz managed just four goals while the Martiniquans scored five times in two games. Both teams had conceded three goals.

Although expressing his praise for Martinique, Taylor believes that the tournament would be poorer without Jamaica.

“We had already foreseen a loss,” said Taylor. “But it would be a bigger financial loss without Jamaica... If you look at the world rankings of course they are one of the better teams in the region.”

Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) president Oliver Camps was unhappy with the loss and told the Daily Express that he would have liked another match-up against Jamaica in the tournament’s closing round.

However he said that the rest of the tournament was just as significant as a place for the 2002 Gold Cup competition was still at stake.

“I never like to lose a match,” said Camps. “Mr (Jack) Warner, like myself, was very disappointed with the loss... It would have been more interesting for us to have Jamaica in the tournament to match our strengths against them.

“I would expect that without Jamaica there would be a drop in interest.”
Camps also said he was disappointed that Joe Public attacker Arnold Dwarika was not used against Martinique although he stressed that he did not want to interfere with the work of the technical staff.

“As a spectator, I’d have wanted to see Dwarika come on,” said Camps. “Especially after he played so well against Jamaica. But I don’t know the reason for it so I don’t want to criticise anyone in the technical staff.” Jack Warner, Fifa vice-president and T&TFF special adviser, could not be reached for comment.

Porterfield: No regrets
over Martinique

TRINIDAD and Tobago national senior team coach Ian Porterfield has said that he has “no regrets” after their 2-1 2001 Copa Caribe defeat to Martinique at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday evening.

The loss did not affect the “Soca Warriors’” position atop the Group A standings but meant the elimination of rivals and two-time Caribbean champions Jamaica.

Jamaica, who edged Barbados 2-1 earlier that evening at the same venue, needed the hosts to at least draw against their unfancied opponents for them to progress. However it was Martinique who stole a place in the semi-final round of the competition. Porterfield was in no mood to offer any condolences to Jamaica’s Brazilian coach Clovis De Oliviera. “In the end of the day, football is football,” said Porterfield in the post-game press conference. “All I am interested in is Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Boyz would look at their own faltering offence as the main reason for their first round exit.

Without key strikers Onandi Lowe, Deon Burton and Ricardo Fuller, De Oliviera’s team managed just four goals in three Copa Caribe group matches.

They grabbed two of those items in the first 20 minutes of their final group match against Barbados on Saturday.

Wolde Harris needed just 13 minutes to get on the scorecard via the penalty spot while Fabian Taylor doubled their lead, six minutes later, with a simple header from a Barrington Hayles crossball.

Instead of then going for the jugular, though, the Jamaicans relaxed allowing Barbadian striker Llewellyn Riley to ghost behind the defence and crash home a consolation item in the 29th minute. The Boyz, like in their 2-1 group loss to T&T, never got back on track offensively and were lucky to take all three points after a masterly performance by Barbadian skipper Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge It left Jamaica hoping that their main rivals would finish the job for them by at least securing a draw against Martinique.

Porterfield’s starting line-up—which excluded seven starters used in their group win against Jamaica—clearly showed that the Scottish coach had no intention of doing them any favours.

—Lasana Liburd

Reggae Boyz takes Copa Caribe exit

T&T bows 2-1 to Martinique

By Gregory Trujillo

MARTINIQUE squeezed into the semifinals of the Copa Caribe Football Championship Saturday night at the expense of Jamaica, one of the favourites, along with host country Trinidad and Tobago.

The Martiniquans did so by scoring a shock 2-1 win over defending champion Trinidad and Tobago in the second match of a Group A double-header at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Earlier, Jamaica paid the penalty for not defeating Barbados by a wider margin coming away with only a 2-1 victory.
After the final round of matches in the four-team contest, the Soca Warriors, Martinique and the Reggae Boyz all finished with six points.

Goal difference had to decide the outcome and T&T and Martinique advance with plus six and plus two respectively ahead of the Jamaicans, who had plus one.

Going into the match against Martinique already assured of topping the group, coach Ian Porterfield opted to rest key players Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve, Lyndon Andrews and Dale Saunders.

In addition he was without the services of main striker Stern John, who was one out the match having picked up two yellow cards in previous matches against Barbados (5-0) and Jamaica (2-1), and over-lapping wing back Ancil Elcock, who rushed back to the USA to play for Columbus Crew.

With six players absent, forward Trent Noel made his international debut and Anton Pierre, Gary Glasgow and Carlos Edwards were introduced in the starting line-up for the first time in the tournament.

The Marvin Andrews' new-look unit found themselves trailing after eight minutes when unmarked Rudolphe Rano beat goalkeeper Clayton Ince from six yards out.

On a counter attack, the Martiniquans found the T & T defence too low and skipper Andrews, the central defender, was left with the task of trying to mark two forwards, one of whom was Rano.

The Soca Warriors levelled the scores in the 29th minute when a left side free kick by Avery John was headed home by lanky defender Dennis Lawrence, who was scoring his first goal at international level.

After rescuing T&T twice before the interval with spectacular saves, Ince had a quiet period on the resumption until the 79th minute when he misjudged a shot from creative midfielder, Patrick Percin and allowed the ball to slip through his hands and into the net.

Percin, who was causing all sorts of worry to the local midfield and defence, ran into an open area and slapped a 30-yard right footer that Ince appeared to have covered the chest-high ball flying through his hands.

In the post-match interview, coach Porterfield, in defending his tacticts to rest some of his key players, said, "we knew we had topped the group so we wanted to give some of the younger players an opportunity to play."

"We need to keep developing and improving the players because we need to think about tomorrow," he added. "It cost us a victory but I can assure you that it won't happen in the big games." Jamaican coach, Brazilian Clovis de Oliviere had been complaining that his team was not scoring goals and Saturday was no different against a determined Bajan side.

As a matter of fact, it was the Reggae Boyz that had to hang of for dear life in the second half in which Barbados completely outplayed the 1998 World Cup finalist.

The two semi-finalists from Group "B" were decided last night. The three teams battling for those positions were Haiti, Cuba and Suriname. Today will be a rest day with the "semis" scheduled for tomorrow at the National Stadium. T&T will be playing the opening match at 5 pm.

Saturday's teams:
T & T: Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Reynold Carrington, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Anton Pierre, Carlos Edwards, Brent Rahim, Gary Glasgow, Nigel Pierre, Trent Noel. SUBS: Mickey Trotman for Glasgow 55th; Lyndon Andrews for Noel 73rd.

MARTINIQUE: Eddy Heurlie, Laurent Lagrand, Ludovic Clement, Patrick Percin, Paul-Herri Clorus, Jean-Marie Agathine, Ludovic Mirande, Serge Chillan, Pascal Lina, Xavier Bullet, Rodolphe Rano.
SUBS: Daniel Borval for Rano; Loic Lupon for Bullet 72nd; Judes Vaton for Percin 81st.


French fight for warriors


BUOYED by their 2-1 win over arch-rivals Jamaica, the national football team will bid to maintain their 100 per cent record this evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

All but assured of a place in the semifinal stage of the tournament after their Jamaica triumph at the same venue on Thursday evening, the “Soca Warriors” face Martinique from 7.15 p.m. in 2001 Copa Caribe Group A action.

The Jamaicans need a win over Barbados today to book their spot in the next round although a draw would suffice if T&T down the Martiniquans in the second match of the double header.

The Reggae Boyz face table-proppers Barbados from 5 p.m.

Barbados scored their first goal of the tournament on Thursday when forward Llewellyn Riley converted from the penalty spot. But a double from Martinique captain Rodolphe Rano—who missed their opening loss against Jamaica—and a powerful left-footed freekick from Ludovic Clément secured the win for the Frenchmen.

Martinique, 1993 Caribbean Cup champs and three time finalists, will be hard pressed to repeat the trick against the resurgent hosts.

The Warriors head the group with six points and a plus six goal differential while Martinique and Jamaica have three points apiece. Martinique have the slighter better goal difference but they will be mindful that Jamaica play their final match against the Bajans.

T&T have already won an impressive seven Caribbean titles from 10 completed editions of the competition while they have only lost once at home.

On Thursday, the Warriors savoured the sweet taste of revenge against the Boyz who beat them at the same venue in the 1998 Caribbean Cup final, whipped them there 4-2 last July and edged them 1-0 at Kingston, Jamaica, in the first game of the 2002 Concacaf World Cup qualifying final round.

Yugoslav Zoran Vranes, who controlled the bench in the absence of suspended coach Ian Porterfield, was a picture of contentment.

“This will help our confidence,” said a beaming Vranes in the post-game conference. “Our next game will be easier.”

He would not have been nearly as pleased with his side at the halfway stage of the game. Jamaican custodian Donovan Ricketts was virtually untested at the break while a 1-0 lead for the Boyz after a tight first half would have encouraged his bench.

The Boyz took the lead in the 16th minute through US Major League Soccer (MLS) forward Wolde Harris who slotted home after a collision between teammate Andy Williams and opposing custodian Clayton Ince while contesting a right-side cross.

Not a well orchestrated finish but still a fair reflection of the game at that stage.

Compact in the midfield and quick to the tackle, the Jamaicans had slowly wrested control from their hosts who seemed to be struggling for cohesion.

Then, inexplicably, the Jamaicans stopped playing football.

Perhaps it was complacency—it would have been their third straight win over T&T—or a lack of confidence in their offence owing to the absence of several key strikers including the always menacing Onandi Lowe.

Whatever the reason, the Jamaicans opted at their peril to sit back and their hosts thankfully accepted control of the game.

Still it took a shrewd tactical change to undo the work of Jamaica’s Brazilian coach, Clovis De Oliviera.

Twelve minutes after the interval, off went the anonymous playmaker Lyndon Andrews and stylish Joe Public striker Arnold Dwarika retreated from the forward line to take his place. It proved to be the game’s defining moment.

With Theodore Whitmore and Andy Williams both unwilling to shadow Dwarika, the dreadlocked maverick offered his best 45 minutes in a national shirt for the year with a display of thoughtful, insightful play and precise ball movement.

Jamaica had no answer and De Oliviera was left ruing the absence of his experienced players by the end of regulation time. Still Dwarika did not have a direct role in either T&T goal.

The equaliser came after Jamaica defender Shavar Thomas clattered into opposing striker Stern John and his teammate Angus Eve firmly sidefooted home from the box edge.

Twenty-two-year-old midfielder Brent Rahim —one of the finds of the tournament thus far—got the winner seven minutes later when the Jamaican defence failed to clear a low raking right-side cross from the overlapping Elcock.

The result was all the more important for the Warriors as they will be without John—the record scorer in a Caribbean Cup finals—who picked up his second successive caution for a handled ball.

But, as Jamaica’s assistant coach Carl Brown pointed out, T&T have been helped immensely by their bench and promising Public forward Nigel Pierre is more than capable of bridging the gap.

It is the depth of the Jamaican roster that may hold the key to their chances of dethroning the Warriors.

It is a point that was not lost on the perceptive De Oliviera either.

“Once we get past this round,” he told the media. “I hope to have Onandi Lowe.”

The tournament, he was saying, is far from over

Win over Reggae Boyz lifts team morale

T&T goes for jugular

TRINIDAD and Tobago will be going all out for Martinique's jugular today when it rounds off its preliminary round schedule in the Copa Caribe series at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 7.15 pm.

Skipper Marvin Andrews' side is already assured of a place in next week's semifinal round, having achieved a morale-boosting come-from-behind 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Jamaica Thursday night at the same venue.

However, according to assistant coach Zoran Vranes, Thursday's victory may only be a sign of things to come.

Indeed, with another Reggae Boyz match-up possibly on the cards in this series, Vranes feels T&T has made a psychological chip in the Reggae Boyz armour. "This victory for us was very important," Vranes, deputising for head coach Ian Porterfield, said after Thursday's win.

"Not only for this competition, but this built our confidence. We showed ourselves here that we can change a result in 45 minutes against them (Jamaica). Next game will be easier, I think."

Pointing out that the technical staff was not happy with T&T's laid back approach in the first half, Vranes said it made the adjustments for the second session.

"We had absolute control of the game in the second half. I hope that we meet again because it's important. We'll do our best against them and of course I expect to win again."

After Jamaica's Wolde Harris gave the visitors a 16th minute lead, Angus Eve (64th) and Brent Rahim (71st) brought T&T back. Andrews also revealed afterwards that the victory had been a big boost for his team.

"We are very confident that we can win this tournament," Andrews said. "That's the only way we can win. If you don't believe you can win, it's best we drop out of the tournament. It (victory over Jamaica) will be a very good boost for us."

Noting that T&T was without the likes of Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, Andrews said the team could only improve from this campaign.

Jamaican coach Clovis D'Oliveira was naturally upset at the loss. "There is no excuse for the loss. Trinidad and Tobago deserved to win the game but the most important thing is it isn't finished."

He admitted that scoring was still a main concern for his team but felt confident his side could bounce back against Barbados in today's opener from 5 pm. Once a place in the play-offs is secured, D'Oliveira said the team was likely to draft in big striker Onandi Lowe.

Thursday's teams:
Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Ansil Elcock, Dale Saunders, Angus Eve, Arnold Dwarika, Lyndon Andrews, Stern John, Brent Rahim.

SUBS: Nigel Pierre for Lyndon Andrews 57th; Gary Glasgow for Eve 68th; Reynold Carrington for Saunders 83rd.

JAMAICA: Donovan Ricketts, Shane Crawford, Barrington Hayles, James Lawrence, Andrew Williams, Theodore Whitmore (capt), Tyrone Marshall, Marco Mc Donald, Omar Daley, Wolde Harris, Shavar Thomas, Claude Davis.
SUBS: Fabien Taylor for Hayles; Jermaine Johnson for Daley; Shane Crawford for Mc Donald.


Simoes steps up

Sports Desk

IAN PORTERFIELD'S job at the helm of the Trinidad and Tobago senior football team is safe.

This according to Professor René Simoes who made the statement yesterday at a media conference at the Queen’s Park Oval to introduce the Brazilian.

Simoes arrived in the country on Wednesday night to sign a three-year contract for the post of Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) technical director. The 48-year old Brazilian will also replace chief Adegboye Onigbinde as head coach of the national Under-17 team for the September 13-30 JVC Under-17 World Cup to be hosted in this country.

Among Simoes’s main functions is the restructuring and remodelling of football in T&T as well as recommending to the T&TFF executive committee coaches, instructors or trainers at national and regional level.

The T&T World Cup 2002 qualifying campaign is currently in low gear, with Porterfield’s men having earned just one point from three matches to occupy the cellar position on the six-team table.

And although the T&TFF declined to discuss details of Simoes’s salary, the Brazilian is expected to cost the local football federation-and the T&T government who are said to be “assisting” with the appointment-a tidy packet. Simoes’s monthly salary as coach of the Jamaican national team was reported to be some US$35,000. And Simoes is said to have turned down an offer for a position in the United Arab Emirates to take up the appointment here in T&T.

But if the Scotland-born Porterfield had any fears that his job may be in jeopardy, the Brazilian put those to rest.

“Coach, there is no talk about replacing or moving you so you can sleep very well,” he joked to Porterfield. “We are going to do everything to make you feel as comfortable as possible.”

Simoes further explained that his role was to help build on the foundation that Porterfield had put down.

Comparing T&T’s start to the Jamaicans’ in the France 1998 campaign when the Reggae Boyz had mustered two points from their first four matches, the former Jamaican coach expressed the view that T&T’s fortunes could be reversed.

Simoes also identified finance as a major contributor to the Jamaican’s success in 1998. He disclosed that on his arrival there in 1995, that country’s football budget was a mere US$1.5 million. It subsequently rose to US$4 million which Simoes described as a minute sum on the global level.

“That amount represents just 10 per cent of what Brazil spent. It is, as the Jamaicans say, chicken feed.” He implored the country-including corporate T&T-to get behind the team in its time of need. Simoes also explained how he came to decide to take up his new post.

He said he debated between the offer made by Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and the one extended by the United Arab Emirates.

The deciding factor, he claimed, was the proximity of T&T to Miami where two of his three daughters reside.

Simoes added that he had always liked the T&T team for the quality of its footballers who include Manchester United star striker Dwight Yorke and national skipper Russell Latapy, who contract with Hibernian has just unofficially expired. But he has his personal favourite.

“The best team player,” he declared, “is discipline.” Refusing to be drawn into commenting on Latapy’s latest brush with the law, Simoes noted that players wearing the national colours should be “role models for the youth”.

Simoes is to meet today with the T&TFF and Under-17 technical staff to work out the schedule of preparation for Team 2001.

Also at this meeting, it is expected that the names of the three Brazilian technicians-a trainer, assistant coach and goalkeeper trainer-to help Simoes with the preparation of the national Under-17s before the World tournament will be revealed.

Simoes leaves after that for Brazil to celebrate his silver anniversary with his wife Maria before returning to Trinidad on May 27 to take up his official duties.

Cuba, Haiti show off

Sports Desk

FEW countries in the Caribbean can boast of a wealth of history comparable to that of Haiti or Cuba. On Wednesday, with an explosion of offensive football, the two countries displayed some of their resources in sport as well at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence in Macoya.

Haiti moved atop Group B with an emphatic 7-2 win over St Kitts/Nevis while Cuba edged Suriname 4-3 in a tense affair.

Both Group B teams can book their place in the 2001 Copa Caribe semifinal today with wins at the same venue.

Haiti play Suriname from 5 p.m. while Cuba face St Kitts/Nevis at 7.15 p.m.

Neither match-up may appeal to the general public of Trinidad and Tobago who will be more interested in the performances of the host nation and their arch-rivals, Jamaica.

But it is hardly a gamble to suggest that the number of domestic Professional Football League (PFL) coaches, scouts and managers will be doubled at the Centre of Excellence today. Two players, in particular, will be deserving of the credit for this influx after showing off their wares on Wednesday evening in the most appealing of fashions.

Little is known of Haitian captain Golman Pierre outside of his own country and even less can be said of diminutive Cuban striker Alberto Delgado.

But that is likely to soon change.

In an evening of open, swashbuckling football, Pierre and Delgado both bagged four items apiece to set themselves firmly on the road to attaining the tournament record of ten goals, currently held by T&T striker Stern John.

It was also the first time since 1998 that a player has managed as many goals in one game. Martiniquan Rodolphe Rano grabbed his beavertrick in a 5-1 win over Dominica while John tallied four in an 8-0 trouncing of the same team—en route to breaking compatriot Leonson Lewis's then tournament record of seven goals.

Pierre looked fully capable of getting as many in just the first round.

An elegant player more dangerous for his movement off the ball than on it, Pierre buried two each from head and boot with some well timed runs into the opposing penalty area.

It was like trying to mark a phantom and St Kitts were hardly the first to fall victim to the majestic Haitian.

It took Pierre just six 2002 World Cup qualifying games for him to amass an enviable 12 goals—Honduran Carlos Pavón is second with 10 goals while Dwight Yorke has five from nine outings. Pierre also had five items in Haiti’s three Copa Caribe qualifying games.

Two strikes from Luicadet Olman and one from Clercant Clerjuste completed the rout while Alexis Saddler and former CL Financial Jabloteh striker Keith Gumbs got two consolation items for the Kittitians.

If Delgado lacked Pierre’s poise, he compensated for it adequately with focus and effort.

While Pierre ghosted menacingly at St Kitts’s backdoor, Delgado, on the other hand, simply broke the front door down. Still it was Suriname who set the pace in the second game of the double header.

Barely a minute had elapsed before Surinamese striker Benny Kejansi capitalised on a defensive error to drive past opposing custodian Odelin Molina. They doubled their advantage in the 28th minute from the penalty spot after Gordon Kinsaini was upended in the box by Cuban defender Alexander Driggs.

Suriname left-back Malcolm Weibolt was the beneficiary this time and sent Molina the wrong way from the ensuing spotkick.

Then came an impressive 32-minute spell from Delgado which left the mainland country and less than a hundred vocal supporters reeling.

A 76th minute goal from substitute Clifton Sanvliet made for a close finish and the Surinamese thought they had secured a point in the dying seconds of the match.

A low drive from captain Orlando Grootfaam was partially blocked by Molina and Ifenildo Vltjer, another substitute, bundled in the rebound only to be ruled offside.

Still the controversial decision ensured that the spotlight remained on the individual prowess of the diminutive Delgado.

Thrice he capitalised on low passes from his teammates to run on an take unerring aim. His most special strike, though, came in the 36th minute and levelled the scores at two goals apiece.

Out on the right flank, Delgado spotted Surinamese custodian Roel Tempo drifting off his goalline in anticipation of a cross that never came. A swing of Delgado’s right boot and an inch perfect lobbed effort exposed his error of judgment and a furiously backpedalling Tempo could do no more than push the ball further into his own net.

There will almost certainly be PFL representatives at the Centre of Excellence today anxious to see him repeat the trick.

T&T stops Reggae Boyz

TRINIDAD and Tobago yesterday shot to top of Group A after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over arch-rivals Jamaica in the feature match of a CONCACAF Copa Caribe Championship double-header at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The victory, which avenged T&T's recent 1-0 World Cup loss to the Reggae Boyz, gave the home team a maximum six points from two games. The Jamaicans fell to joint second with Martinique, which won yesterday's opening game 3-1 against Barbados, both teams on three points.

Joe Public duo Angus Eve and Brent Rahim accounted for both T&T goals in the second half after Wolde Harris had given the Jamaican's a 16th minute lead.

Rahim pounced on a loose ball in the 71st minute before beating keeper Donovan Rickets from close range after United States-based defender Ansil Elcock's floated cross, following an overlapping run, caused havoc in the penalty area. Minutes before this, Eve had given T&T a lifeline when he levelled the scores in the 64th minute.

Lurking inside the penalty area after a long ball forward from T&T goalie Clayton Ince caused some havoc among the Jamaican defenders, Eve put a well-placed right-footer to the left of Ricketts. Rahim, who also scored in T&T's 5-0 rout of Barbados on Tuesday, then sealed the issue.

T&T played the game with assistant coach Zoran Vranes at the helm as coach Ian Porterfield was restricted to the stands while serving a one-match suspension, having been ejected from the opener against Barbados.

Yesterday's results:

T&T 2 (Angus Eve 64th, Brent Rahim 71st) v Jamaica 1 (Wolde Harris 16th) Martinique 3 (Rodolfin Rano 23rd, 59th, Laurence Lagrand 80th) v Barbados 1 (Llewellyn Riley 30th pen.)
Meanwhile, at total of 16 goals, including two beavertricks, were scored on day two of the tournament Wednesday night at Dr João Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

When action in Group B began, Haiti mauled St Kitts/Nevis 7-2 with its skipper, Golman Pierre, netting four of the goals.

Alberto Delgado Perez repeated the performance for Cuba in the other match, as he scored all four items in his side's 4-3 victory over Suriname.

After 17 minutes, Suriname was two goals up, Benny Kinsaini scoring in the third minute and Malcolm Weibolt netting a penalty in the 17th.

Perez got into the scoring act in the 32nd minute and followed this up two minutes later with another strike. And before the teams could settle down in the second half, Perez scored again to give the Cubans a 3-2 lead. In the 65th minute, he increased his team's lead only to see Suriname fight back to score again through Clifton Sanvliet in the 81st.

Suriname found the net again in the last minute of the match but referee Godfrey Bowen of the Cayman Islands ruled the goal off-side.

Wednesday's results:
Haiti 7 (Golman Pierre 25th, 53rd, 80th, 83rd, Luicadet Olman 8th, 45th, Clercant Clerjuste 90th) v St Kitts/Nevis 2 (Alexis Saddler 3rd, Keith Gumbs 75th)

Cuba 4 (Albert Delgado Perez 32nd, 34th, 46th, 65th) v Suriname 3 (Benny Kinsaini 3rd, Malcolm Weibolt 17th pen, Clifton Sanvliet 81st).

Simoes: I'm no saviour

By Gregory Trujillo

BRAZILIAN coach Rene Simoes believes it was an act of God which led to his appointment as Technical Director of Trinidad and Tobago's football.

However, the man who took Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France, has warned he should not be expected to repeat the feat.

Indeed, Simoes yesterday made it clear to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and fans alike he did not come here as a saviour. Rather, he has come to assist the current T&T technical staffs in the hope of turning things around.

The Brazilian explained yesterday he had asked FIFA Vice-president Jack Austin Warner for 48 hours to think over the offer before he eventually decided to accept the job.

And he said on the day in question, when Warner called a second time to settle the deal, he was about to pick up the phone to confirm another coaching job elsewhere. "It was an act of God," Simoes said at a press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain.

With that, Simoes said he came here only to be part of the team to make a contribution and share his experience.
Having coached a number of Brazil's national youth teams, Simoes said he remains amazed T&T has not yet qualified for a World Cup Finals.

"With the quality and talent you have in Trinidad and Tobago, it's amazing the country has not qualified for every World Cup. So something must be changed," Simoes said. "I did not come here as a saviour. Absolutely not. If somebody thinks that, because I am here, they are wrong."

Professor Simoes, who flies back to Brazil today to celebrate his silver anniversary and will return on May 27, believes T&T has some of the best facilities in the CONCACAF region. This, he said, would help the team's programme over the next couple months.

"Having proper facilities makes your work much easier," he revealed. He said the programme which he discussed with TTFF president Oliver Camps had both short term, immediate term and long term strategies.

In the short term, Simoes said he would be concentrating on improving the T&T Under-17 squad for the FIFA Youth World Cup here in September.

Simoes immediately replaces Nigerian Chief Adegboye Onigbinde as coach of the Under-17s and expressed shock at the fact that while the TTFF had been pumping a lot of effort and money into the preparation of Team 2001, it had only played two internationals in two years.

In comparison, he said the USA's Under-17s had had more than 55 international games so far in preparation for the competition. "So we are far away, playing only three to six games," Simoes said.

"But the money was there, the thought of the Federation was there, so something was wrong. I am only here to make things change, not be a saviour." Simoes' other short term plan is to help take T&T to its first World Cup Finals.

T&T currently stands at the bottom of the CONCACAF Zone table with just one point from three matches. But Simoes is no stranger to this type of situation having led the Jamaicans to France after an equally disappointing start in which the Reggae Boyz had lost its first four games in the final round of qualifying before the turnaround.

Simoes congratulated T&T coach Scotland-born Ian Porterfield for the work he had done so far with the team and asked that "we join efforts to make the dream become possible." "I didn't come here to take your place," he told Porterfield.

Simoes, a noted disciplinarian who has spent his last 30 years as a player, coach and technical director, also mentioned that all his players will have to be disciplined.

"I don't care how good you are. Team unity comes through discipline," Simoes said. "If you don't get players to perform you don't go any where. The entire nation has to come together in order to take this team to the World Cup."



Thursday May 15th, 2001

Warriors seek revenge
against Boyz


THE stakes are not high as at the ongoing 2002 World Cup qualifying series but there is enough to suggest a spirited affair tonight when Trinidad and Tobago hosts Jamaica from 7.15 p.m. at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in the 2001 Copa Caribe competition.

Trinidad and Tobago, dubbed the “Soca Warriors”, will seek to avenge a 1-0 World Cup defeat away to Jamaica and a 4-2 loss at this same venue to the “Reggae Boyz” last July.

The Boyz, who brought just four starters from their February win over T&T, will view today’s clash as a dress rehearsal for their World Cup qualifying return leg in Trinidad on July 1, 2001.

The clash of the Caribbean’s premier football nations follows a 5 p.m. match between group rivals Barbados and Martinique at the same venue.

Both teams got off on the wrong foot Tuesday evening at the Larry Gomes Stadium with Barbados falling to an emphatic 5-0 defeat courtesy the tournament hosts.

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John, who was given the nod ahead of in-form Nigel Pierre, warmed up for tonight’s clash with a double against the “Bajan Rockets” while Arnold Dwarika, Reynold Carrington and Brent Rahim chipped in with a goal apiece.

Jamaica were typically more economical with a 1-0 win over Martinique in the opening game at the Malabar Stadium.

The result flattered the Frenchmen, though, who defended ferociously en masse but still struggled to keep the industrious Jamaican five-man midfielder at bay.

New England Revolution midfielder Andy Williams got the game’s only goal with a low bullet in the 59th minute. But the Boyz spurned several golden chances to put the game well out of the reach of the unambitious Martiniquans.

The Soca Warriors were never likely to be as patronising against a decidedly inferior Barbadian outfit even without team captain Russell Latapy and Manchester United sharp shooter Dwight Yorke.

Latapy and Yorke have both recently attracted news headlines for the wrong reasons after a “drinking binge” last Friday that may have far reaching implications on their careers.

But where the veterans erred, 22-year-old University of Connecticut (UConn) midfielder, Rahim, showed the audience of roughly 2,000 spectators that there was still plenty to admire in red, black and white strip.

Earmarked by many to inherit Latapy’s playmaking duties, Rahim constantly tormented his marker with a potent mixture of athleticism and vision capped by his first national senior team goal.

National senior team coach Ian Porterfield was not on the bench to see it, though.

The Scotsman was given marching orders from Aruban referee Harlem Villar Pollo for allegedly making a nuisance of himself from the sidelines during the first half.

But, by then, Barbados were already downstream and with little hope of discovering the proverbial paddle.

From the kick off, Barbadian skipper Gregory Goodridge offered T&T custodian Clayton Ince a regulation catch with a shot from inside the centre circle.

It was a hollow attempt as the Rockets soon settled into a defensive structure that gave their hosts far too much room to settle.

John, who had managed just one goal in eight outings under Porterfield prior to Tuesday, resembled a teenager in a CD store.

It was probably indicative of the poor form which has plagued him recently that he needed as much as 25 minutes to open his account with a low finish from a Dwarika through ball.

Earlier, the former El Dorado Senior schoolboy had threatened to bring the house down with an audacious backheel from a right side cross only for opposing defender John Parris to pull off a goalline clearance.

Harris did not get long to savour his timely interception, though, as he was ejected in the 27th minute after his second bookable offence on the lively John.

By the 48th minute, the Warriors could have already begun thinking ahead to tonight’s clash thanks to a fierce strike by Dwarika in the 42nd minute and a close ranged finish from John—three minutes after the interval—after a low raking cross from his cousin Ansil Elcock.

But it is not in the nature of T&T national outfits to pass on an easy meal.

When Yugoslav Zoran Vranes—deputising for Porterfield—sent on Reynold Carrington for the slightly injured Dale Saunders, he would have had no more than consolidation on his mind.

Carrington had other ideas, though, and his first move was to send a venomous right footer past Stoute in the 72nd minute to consign the Bajans to a rout.

Two minutes later, the cheeky Rahim added to their misery with a low shot that squirmed under the body of the burly custodian.

The Jamaicans are unlikely to be as accommodating.

No hard feelings, says
Chief Onigbinde


CHIEF Adegboye Onigbinde is a relieved man after his dismissal as head coach of the national Uder-17 squad. And after the Nigerian irons out some conditions of his contract, he will be ready to head back home.

Ongbinde was replaced by Brazilian Rene Simoes at a meeting on Tuesday which included Fifa vice president Jack Warner, TTFF president Oliver Camps, TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and all of the Team 2001 technical staff except Onigbinde.

Simoes, who led Jamaica a World Cup appearance in France in 1998, has also been appointed as TTFF technical director for a period of three years. The 48-year-old was expected in the county last night to sign his contract.

His predecessor, though, told the Express that he was informed of the termination of his contract via a TTFF letter on Tuesday.

His sacking came after his comments over the weekend blaming TTFF for compromising the progress of the Under-17 squad ahead of the September 13-30 JVC Under-17 World Cup championships to be hosted in this country.

It also followed Warner assertion on the weekend that there would be a “shake-up” in the technical personnel.

But the Chief, who assumed the post in 1998 was quick to add that he has no regrets. “I see it as a relief....I don’t regret having to come here,” he claimed. “It’s part of the things I’m destined to go through in my life.”

He added: “I have learnt a lot since I came here, not only in technical terms, but in how people handle things at this level. No Trinbagonian can be a stranger to me anywhere in the world now. My perspective has been broadened.”

Asked if he believed he was a scapegoat for the TTFF, Onigbinde put it this way:

“I leave the public to judge that because I haven’t hidden anything from the public.”

As happy as he is for the experience though, Onigbinde recognised that things did not go that smoothly during his three-year tenure at the helm.

His requests for exposure to top-class international teams, proper training facilities and live-in camps repeatedly fell on deaf ears.

“ I have had real difficult times executing my programme. It has not been a very easy period for me...but I’m satisfied that I have done my best within the limits of the resources made available to me.”

Onigbinde now hopes his exit will bring Simoes the support and resources he was deprived of during his term as coach that would make his former charges more experienced and prepared for the World tournament.

The Fifa instructor’s focus now, though, is hammering out some details of his contract with Groden next week before preparing to return to his homeland.

“I think I definitely will want to go back home. I hope to part as friends without any animosity and hard feelings.” he ended.

Simoes heads for T&T

FORMER technical director of Jamaica's football programme, Rene Simoes will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago today to take up his post as new technical director of the twin-isle's football programme.

Simoes, who guided Jamaica to their historic World Cup appearance in France 1998, replaces Alvin Corneal, who was recently axed. He will be in charge of all national teams.

The Brazilian joined the Jamaica team in November 1994 but resigned after a poor Gold Cup campaign last February. He has since worked with a number of clubs in his homeland, the latest being Portuguesa.

Technical director Clovis de Oliveira was pleased with the announcement of Simoes as the new technical director for T&T. "It is going to be wonderful... as far as I know he is going to take care of the basic age group teams but as I know the big man soon he is going to be in charge of everything as he deserves it. He is one of the best coaches in the world and I have said that many times and I respect him a lot."


Copa Caribe begins today

Warriors start defence

Sports Desk

TRINIDAD and Tobago kick-start their Copa Caribe title defence from 8 p.m. tonight at the newly opened Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima where the locals take on Barbados in the second match of a doubleheader.

The game follows a match-up between former Caribbean Cup winners Jamaica and Martinique.

There is plenty for national senior team coach Ian Porterfield, who recently revealed his appreciation for statistics, to savour about today’s 2001 Copa Caribe clash.

For football fans who turn out to support the “Soca Warriors”, it will be their first taste of senior international football in Arima since April 6, 1997 when a youthful T&T team lost 3-2 to Grenada at the Municipal Stadium.

Arima’s last taste of competitive action was three years earlier during the 1994 Shell Cup tournament when a T&T squad led by midfielder David Nakhid visited the borough for a group match.

Concacaf president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) special adviser Jack Warner will remember today as a momentous occasion for the unveiling of the Larry Gomes Stadium—one of the designated venues for the 2001 Under-17 World Cup.

For Porterfield, though, it will be a chance at bagging his first major title since his appointment on March 3, 2000 in the revamped regional tournament.

The decision by the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to change the tournament from an annual to a bi-annual one is likely to add prestige to the games while the winner and runner-up have the incentive of automatic berths in the 2002 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Porterfield will fancy his chances at becoming the third foreign coach to bring home a regional title following German Bernard Scholl (1992) and Yugoslav Zoran Vranes (1995 and 1996).

The other successful local coaches were Everald “Gally” Cummings (1989 and 1984) and Bertille St Clair (1997 and 1999).

None save Vranes’s 1996 squad were as formidable on paper as Porterfield’s.

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke has still not ended his self-imposed exile from the Caribbean Cup which dates back to an unfortunate injury he sustained during the 1993 tournament.

Team captain Russell Latapy—who was axed by Scottish Premier League club Hibernian (See Page 54)—is also out as are West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, Bristol Rovers hardman Ronnie Maugé and Reading utility player Anthony Rougier.

However, Porterfield should have enough quality on tap with players like the Joe Public duo of Arnold Dwarika and Angus Eve nearing top form while their clubmates Nigel Pierre and Brent Rahim seem to be improving with every match.

Clayton Ince, the Caribbean’s best goalkeeper for the past three tournaments, will start in goal, covered by the towering defensive pair of lanky Wrexham stopper Dennis Lawrence and Livingston’s Marvin “Dog” Andrews.

So with T&T boasting seven titles from 10 editions of the Cup, Porterfield can be forgiven for feeling confident about his team’s chances of a convincing victory today.

They will be tested by a Barbadian team whose level has dropped some way since their heroics in the 2002 World Cup qualifying series.

The “Bajan Rockets” stole headlines last year with a remarkable run of World Cup qualifying results which saw them eliminate Cuba and edge Costa Rica 2-1 at home. From there, though, it was all downhill and, by their last two qualifying games, coach Horace Beccles revealed, there was an average of just nine players attending training sessions.

Barbados only squeezed into the Copa Caribe finals as the best second-placed team behind Suriname and will be without more than half of the team that represented them in the World Cup tournament.

Veteran goalkeeper Horace Stoute, who only recently rejoined the team, Bristol City midfielder Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge and talented sweeper Wayne Sobers represent the core of the Rockets.

The Bajan offence will almost certainly center around their 2000 Player of the Year Llewellyn Riley, an energetic but uncomplicated striker.

Still it is the Warriors’ northern rivals, Jamaica, who will get first turn at the Larry Gomes Stadium.

With former Trinidad and Tobago coach Clovis D’Oliviera at the helm, the “Reggae Boyz” will be eager to familiarise themselves with the local surfaces.

They will relish an opportunity to regain the regional title they won in 1998 at Port of Spain. But they will be mindful of the significantly higher stakes involved in the return World Cup qualifying leg game against the “Warriors” on July 1.

They should find the Martiniquans, one of only three successful teams in this tourney, to be a tenacious mixture of physique and skill.

Latapy in line for Copa place


RUSSELL LATAPY'S continuing misfortunes with his Scottish club Hibernian may prove to be a boon for Trinidad and Tobago. But, for the moment, nothing is cast in concrete.

It may well be that coach Ian Porterfield will have the services of the “Little Magician” for the Copa Caribe tournament that starts today with a doubleheader at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar. But Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president Oliver Camps is awaiting word from the 32-year-old national midfielder.

“Well, once he contacts us, we are going to know exactly what is going on with him,” the TTFF boss responded to a Daily Express question yesterday. “We haven’t heard from him yet. But I expect Mr (Neville) Chance would contact him soon.”

Camps explained that the TTFF had arrived at an agreement with Latapy that he would not participate in the May15-25 Copa Caribe competition “because of his club commitments.” But recent developments in Scotland have freed the midfielder from any commitments with Hibernian.

On Friday night in Edingburgh, Latapy was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol when the local police found him driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Latapy was driving with long-time pal and Manchester United star Dwight Yorke in his metallic blue Volkswagen Beetle. There were, reports say, two unidentified women with the pair in the car.

The four had shortly left a popular bar in the Scottish city when they were stopped. A breathalyser test showed the national skipper to have had three times the allowable limit of alcohol on his breath.

After charges were laid, Latapy was made to walk to his nearby home before returning on Saturday to collect his car.

Manager Alex McLeish promptly had his inspirational midfielder fined £10,000 (two weeks’ worth of wages) and declared that “Russell will never play for the club again.”

But the Hibernian boss insisted that the action was punishment for Latapy’s absence at Friday’s training session ahead of the Edingburgh derby with Hearts which ended in a goalless draw.

“It’s nothing to do with the alleged driving offence,” Mc Leish was reported as saying. “It is purely a footballing decision and I had to take action for the good of this club.” It certainly was not to Latapy’s benefit. Although McLeish was quoted as saying that Latapy had “accepted full responsibility for his actions”, the T&T player is now without a club—or a contract.

Mc Leish also expressed concern over Latas’s form during the last few games, claiming that he was so out of sync that he ran the risk of being omitted from the line-up for the season finale against Celtic.

“I don’t think he has been as good a player as he had been before,” McLeish explained, “and I don’t think he has been as fit as the other players for one reason or the other.” One of the reasons, the Hibernian boss adds, may be the influence of his long-time pal Yorke, noting that it was a shame that Latapy did not deem the football side “as important as his nights out.”

TTFF boss Camps was less willing to commit himself on Latapy’s indiscretions. “I wouldn’t like to comment on that,” he ended, “because I don’t know what the circumstances are at this time.”

T&T hungry for Copa success

Undisputed Caribbean Cup kings Trinidad and Tobago will be going all out for success in this year's Copa Caribe series, which kicks off this evening at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.

In fact, T&T is hoping that a good performance here will turn a spiraling World Cup qualifying series around.
Tonight, Barbados will be the first Group A hurdle in T&T skipper Angus Eve and his squad's way from 8 pm.

And according to manager Neville Chance, T&T-seven-time champions- has two important agendas in this tournament.

"Without losing the focus on the Caribbean championship, we have two important objectives before us at the moment," Chance said yesterday.

"One is to be the Copa Caribe champions and the other one is to qualify for the World Cup. Those are the two immediate goals we have, but one is linked to the other." T&T has won five of the last six Caribbean Cup titles and seven overall.

But coach Ian Porterfield will be without several experienced players including Scotland-based skipper Russell Latapy (Hibernian) and the England-based quartet of Dwight Yorke (Manchester United), Shaka Hislop (West Ham), Anthony Rougier (Reading) and Ronnie Mauge (Bristol Rovers).

Still he has 10 foreign-based pros to call upon including Stern John (Nottingham Forest), who will spearhead the attack in Yorke's absence, goalkeeper Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra)-a two-time "Best Goalkeeper" in this series- and defenders Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew), Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham) and Marvin Andrews (Livingston).

He also has the Joe Public quartet of Nigel Pierre-who has been in fine form in recent times-, Arnold Dwarika, Eve and Brent Rahim along with Vibe CT 105 W Connection midfielder Reynold Carrington.

All in all, Porterfield should be quietly confident that his side can start the series with a win. Lifting the title eventually, is also just as important to the morale fibre of the team.

"This is a really important period for the team, in terms of consolidation, in terms of re-energizing every aspect of their play, in terms of focus and a number of things," Chance admitted.

"There are some psychological things that we hope to achieve during the Copa Caribe. But we want to go beyond that and we want to go to the next phase and qualify for the World Cup as well."

Porterfield, under pressure in recent times, is also preoccupied with the impending World Cup task. But he will also know that failure in this series could indeed spell the end of his reign.

"Obviously, we don't have the big players like Dwight Yorke and these sort of guys. But certainly we have a good bunch of lads and they have competed well," Porterfield said going into today's game.

"We know the Copa Caribe is going to be somewhat difficult but we do want to win the competition the same as the other seven teams. It's our intention to win this Cup but the main preparation is obviously for three crucial World Cup games in June and July." Barbados will be making a return to the competition after a seven-year hiatus.

Leading the challenge for the Bajans will be experienced goalkeeper Horace Stoute, England-based midfielder and skipper Gregory Goodridge.

In the opening game from 6 pm, Jamaica will take on Martinique. Group B matches start tomorrow at the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, with Haiti facing St Kitts/Nevis, and Cuba meeting Suriname.

Dwight Yorke in Latas wild ride


HUNDREDS of football fans, both locally and abroad, were left bemused yesterday after it was learnt that Trinidad and Tobago's England-based professional, Dwight Yorke, was in the company of Russell Latapy when the latter was allegedly arrested for drunk driving in Scotland on Friday.

News of the T&T duo's indiscretion was sent around the world yesterday through various forms of the media. Initial reports out of Scotland had only revealed details of the Little Magician's brush with the law.

According to reports, Yorke - who campaigns with Manchester United - and two unidentified females had accompanied Latapy during what was a night out on the town which turned sour when police stopped the "Little Magician's" car.

At the time, according to police reports, Latapy was stopped after his Volkswagon Beetle was observed weaving onto the wrong side of the road in the Edinburgh city centre of Stockbridge.

Latapy was breathalysed immediately and found to be over the legal limit. Both players were then taken down to the Gayfield Square police station where Latapy received a second test - which also turned up positive - and was subsequently charged.

Yorke was asked to wait while Latapy was "processed" but both players had to take a taxi home afterwards as the car was detained by police after the latter received bail and was allowed to go.

Hibs boss Alex Mcleish sacked Latapy on Sunday after revealing that during his night on the town, Latapy had not only missed the club's practice on Friday but also violated a policy which forbade players to drink 48 hours before games. He was also to be fined two weeks' wages.

Hibs had two games left in the season, including a May 30 Scottish Cup final date against Celtic. However, yesterday, Hibs supporters backed McLeish's move saying they felt Latapy had insulted them.

Stuart Crowther, editor of the Hibs.Net fan Web site, yesterday revealed that his message boards had been going "bananas" with angry fans wanting to comment on Latapy.

"They are absolutely furious. The Hibs supporters feel badly let down and, frankly, cheated. The fans feel that Latapy has shown them no respect at all. It will be a long time, if ever, before they'll feel able to forgive him," Crowther said.

Bill Alcorn, general secretary of the Hibs Supporters Association, added: "I think the fans are 100 per cent behind McLeish. It's very sad it's ended this way. Latapy thrilled the fans for so long, had the chance to leave the club gracefully but now he goes in disgrace."

Yesterday, Latapy remained indoors at his £250,000 flat in Edinburgh's New Town as local reporters camped out outside his house in an attempt to get a comment from him on the matter.

However, through TTFF communication officer Shuan Fuentes, Latapy said he was still awaiting official word from Hibs on the matter.

Latapy's situation, should it escalate any further, may very well put a damper on T&T's Copa Caribe series and forthcoming 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras in June. T&T begins its defence of the Copa title tonight at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar from 8 pm.


Friday May 11th, 2001

Brighton striker may play in Copa Caribe

English-born striker Bobby Zamora who guided Brighton to the English Third Division title may represent T&T in the Copa Caribe later this month after indicating his willingness to play for the "Soca Warriors." Zamora was contacted by coach Ian Porterfield.

The 20-year-old striker has been the most influential player at the club, scoring 23 League goals and netting 31 times overall this season. Zamora has been linked to Premiership clubs as well as Wigan and Cardiff.

Brighton boss Mickey Adams insisted "The club can afford to keep him (Zamora). As I keep telling everyone, apart from Wigan and Cardiff we have not had any other official approaches for him. All the speculation regarding Bobby and indeed myself is nothing more than newspaper talk."

Joe Public's Henry signs with Wildcats

Defender Nigel Henry has signed for American A-League club Hershey Wildcats and has been tipped by club officials to be a vital contributor to their challenge for the Northern Conference title.

The 25-year-old former Joe Public and Caledonia AIA player signed a one-year deal on loan from the Caledonia AIA club.

He originally went on trials with MLS side New England Revolutions which were keen to sign him but had to withdraw from a deal because of foreign-play restrictions, according to reports out of Hershey.

Henry impressed the Wildcats management during a 10-day trial after his American-based Agent Attorney Roget Bryan arranged and negotiated the trial and contract.

"Nigel is an excellent ball winner. Nigel gives us a little more speed and athleticism in the back than we've had before," said Wildcats head coach Bob Lilley. Henry played the entire 90 minutes of the Wildcats opening 4-0 win of the season against Indiana Blast on two Sundays ago.

In related news, local striker Kevin Jeffrey netted a 28th minute penalty to help the Richmond Kickers to a 3-2 win over the Nashville Metros last Friday.

Yorke hopes to make it four titles

Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke was as pleased as punch as his team collected the Premier league title at the weekend. He paid tribute to manager Alex Ferguson's plot. "The manager was obviously delighted but made it clear we must do it again next season. He wants us to go down in history as the first team to win the title four times in a row."

Yorke said that following the game which his team lost 0-1 to Derby but still won the title, the manager told them that no team had won four times in a row. He got us together and said: "Well done, now let's make it four in a row."

Yorke stated that as soon as Fergusson said that, there was a sense that all the players were determined to make sure that this happened next season.

David Platt commends Stern John

Nottingham Forest Manager David Platt has commended striker Stern John for his all-round contribution to the club's performances this season. "For the last five or six games, he has looked a lot better. He's a lot fitter and his all-round performances have been excellent," said Platt.

John spoke recently of his new striking team-mate David Johnson and the fact that representing T&T has helped him regain fitness. "We form a good partnership because we work for each other. If we make a bad pass, we just continue playing."

John said that while travelling to represent T&T in the World Cup qualifier in the last few months has been tiring, he's prepared to face the burden. "Playing for Trinidad and Forest has given me one or two games to get my match fitness back," said John.

Relief for Hislop's Hammers

Following a dreadful run of just one victory in nine English Premiership matches, Shaka Hislop and his West Ham team-mates were relieved to have scored a 3-0 victory over Southampton on the weekend. The result left the "Hammers" five points above relegation.

Hislop produced some fine saves on Saturday and was complimented by manager Harry Redknapp who said he intends to add a few new players to his club for next season.

"It was important that we win. It's been a difficult few weeks and today was always going to be tense. We have to add to our squad because the Premiership will be even tougher next year. We need three more players if we are going to get back in the top half of the table. West Ham are in 14th spot with 42 points with one match remaining.

T&T trio face Juventus, Man United

Dennis Lawrence, Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards will match skills with the players of Juventus and Manchester United when Wrexham hosts a four-team tournament in August.

Aston Villa and Manchester City will be the other clubs in the tournament - a testimonial for Wrexham boss Brian Flynn and Assistant Manager Kevin Reeves.

Edwards scored a first half equaliser for Wrexham in their 3-1 victory over Welsh champions Barry Town last Tuesday in the first leg semi-final clash of the Welsh Premier Cup. Edwards suffered an ankle blow in the second half and had to be taken off nine minutes from the end. Sam also saw some action in the closing 13 minutes.

Edwards recovered to come on in the 81st minute of Wrexham's 0-4 defeat to Bristol Rovers in English Second Division action on the weekend. Lawrence played the full 90 minutes but his T&T team-mate Ronnie Mauge was not in the Bristol line-up. Wrexham are in 10th spot on the standings with Rovers lying in 21st position.

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


T&T in same group as Brazil


TEAM 2001 captain Julius James put his hand in pot D and pulled out Brazil.

The audience witnessing the draw for the September 13-30 Fifa World Under-17 Championships at the Tobago Hilton last night sighed audibly and then there was laughter.

Brazil had been drawn in the same group as hosts Trinidad and Tobago—Group One—in the 16-team competition.

The Soca versus Samba clash will take place at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium during the preliminary rounds of the two-week tournament.

But Brazil is just one of coach Adegboye Onigbinde’s main concerns.

At the opening ceremony at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on September 13, T&T’s first opponents will be Croatia, who beat England 4-1 to be the third European team to qualify for the tournament. And rounding out Group One are Oceania champions Australia.

In Group Two, already labelled the “group of death”, African champions Nigeria will be up against Japan, France and USA, winners of Group A in Concacaf qualifying.

Group Three features European champions Spain, and Oman, Argentina and Burkino Faso.

And finally Concacaf Group B champions Costa Rica will do battle with Iran, Paraguay and Mali in Group Four.

Group One matches are scheduled for the Hasely Crawford Stadium, while Group Two will be based at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.

Group Three has two locations to choose from—the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium at Marabella and the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

The Larry Gomes Stadium at Malabar will host the teams from Group Four.

The groupings as they were drawn last night are:

Group 1
1 Trinidad and Tobago; 2 Croatia;
3 Australia; 4 Brazil.

Group 2
1 USA; 2 Japan; 3 France; 4 Nigeria.

Group 3
1 Oman; 2 Spain; 3 Argentina;
4 Burkino Faso.

Group 4
1 Mali; 2 Paraguay; 3 Iran;
4 Costa Rica.

T&T gets Brazil, Peru for World Cup warm-up

Latapy out Copa series


Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his team-mates will get the chance to test their skills against four-time World Cup champions Brazil and Peru in the build-up to their next 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

The local football federation yesterday announced it had managed to draw both Brazil and Peru for friendlies here next month in an attempt to mould the squad into a more cohesive unit for the all-important Honduras qualifier on June 16.

T&T will first play Peru on June 1 before tackling the mighty Brazilians eight days later at venues to be determined.
Latapy's men will also play Grenada next week in the opening of the Eastern Football Association, while an invitation to a four-nation tournament in honour of former West Indies pacers Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in Antigua, next month as well, has also been extended.

However, while Latapy is expected to be available for the two big warm-ups, he has been ruled out of forthcoming Copa Caribe series, which starts next week.

According to TTFF president Oliver Camps, Latapy has been left out of the regional series due to club commitments.
Latapy's club, Hibernian, will be involved in the Scottish Cup final on May 30 against Glasgow Rangers. The same is expected to be the case with Latapy's compatriot and Hibs team-mate Lyndon Andrews.

A question mark also hangs over the availability of Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke. The 29-year-old marksman, according to Camps, will be involved in contractual talks with United during the period of the Copa series and is doubtful.

"We have made a request for all of the foreign-based pros asked for by the technical staff except Latapy, due to club commitments," Camps said yesterday. "Yorke is also questionable as well because he will be involved in talks with United. But we are leaving this open for now."

He added: "However, we expect to have a very strong squad for the Copa Caribe because, while we have not received any confirmation from any clubs as yet, several of the foreign-based players have expressed a desire to play."

T&T will meet Jamaica in the opening game of the Copa series on May 15 at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. The other teams in the group are Martinique and Barbados while Group B comprises Haiti, Cuba, Suriname and St Kitts/Nevis.

Asked whether he felt bringing a powerhouse like Brazil was not a mistake, Camps answered in the negative.
"The technical staff asked for these games and we obliged because if we didn't they would say that we are denying them of the opportunity," Camps said.

"Surely, the team (T&T) can only benefit from playing these games. The more games these guys play together the better."

T&T is now at the bottom of the six-team CONCACAF table with one point and needs victory against Honduras to keep its hopes alive of advancing to next year's World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea.

‘Warriors’ to face Brazil

Sports Desk

FOUR-TIME World Cup football champions Brazil have agreed to meet Caribbean champs Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly match on June 9.

So says Fifa vice-president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) adviser Jack Warner.

Warner, who organised the game on behalf of the T&TFF, told the Daily Express yesterday that the Brazilian Football Federation (BFF) have already confirmed their willingness to play the “Soca Warriors”.

Only the question of the venue still remains to be settled and, by today, Warner should know whether the Brazilians will travel to Trinidad to play what would be a historic friendly.

Trinidad and Tobago have never played the Brazilian national senior football team in either a friendly or competitive match.

“The president of the BFF is a Fifa member and one of my better friends,” said Warner. “The cost will be negotiated... It will be their full World Cup team.”

The game would be part of the Warriors’ preparation for their 2002 World Cup qualifying match at home to Honduras on June 16. It should be preceded by a friendly against another South American opponent, Peru, on June 1.

However, Warner said that the match against Peru, also scheduled for Trinidad, is still being negotiated.

Team manager Neville Chance expects to have his full quota of overseas-based players for both games as the British football leagues—which employ 13 capped T&T internationals—close in May.

Although T&T have never been tested by a Brazil senior team, the local Under-20 squad defeated their Brazilian counterparts 4-2 in 1991 at the then National Stadium in Port of Spain. Both teams had already qualified to play in the 1991 World Youth Cup in Portugal.

The Brazilians, perennially ranked number one in the world, are currently going through a bad patch in their World Cup qualifying campaign. They suffered a 1-0 away loss to Ecuador in March and a 1-1 home draw to Peru last week.

Off the field, too, things have not exactly been hunk-dory as BFF president Ricardo Teixeira has already been brought before two congressional panels of enquiry into football corruption this year. However, the Brazilian football team has retained its top ranking in world football despite their current modest fourth placing in the South American qualifying table.

Trinidad and Tobago are at the bottom of the six-team Concacaf World Cup qualifying table.

Brazil’s next World Cup qualifying match is on July 1 when they play away to Uruguay while Peru play Ecuador on the same day at a neutral venue.

The T&TFF will be anxious to have both matches come off following recent cancellations from Ecuador and Nigeria.

Ecuador cancelled a proposed friendly against T&T last month saying that the match would have “negatively affected” their training programme. The Nigerian cancellation was due to the uncertainty surrounding the team recently.

The Nigerian Football Association sacked their Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere last month after a dismal run in their World Cup campaign.

A more immediate concern for national senior team coach Ian Porterfield, though, is the 2001 Copa Caribe tournament which begins on May 15 in Trinidad.

The top two Caribbean nations will proceed to the 2002 Concacaf Gold Cup tournament while T&T will also get an opportunity to avenge their World Cup qualifying defeat to arch-rivals Jamaica.

The Jamaican “Reggae Boyz” are drawn in the same group as T&T and both teams will meet in the tournament opener at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on May 15.

Chance confirmed that the technical staff will seek to field their strongest team possible in order to prepare positively for the remainder of their 2002 World Cup campaign.

However, Chance said that he was still uncertain about the composition of the squad for the regional tournament.

The Warriors will prepare for the Copa Caribe with an exhibition game against Grenada next Thursday at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence, a match which also marks the opening of the Eastern Football Association (EFA).

The end of the W/Cup


All too suddenly, qualifying for the World Cup is not important—or is being made so to seem. How else are we to interpret statements made by Concacaf president and TTFF special adviser, Jack Warner, to the effect that qualifying for the World Cup was not that important and that if Trinidad and Tobago lost the April 25 match against Mexico, it was “not the end of the world”.

In the event, T&T earned their first point in the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup qualifiers with the 1-1 draw against the powerful Central Americans. Before I discuss the game, let us look a little more closely at Warner’s pronouncement.

Last year, the Fifa vice-president had put great emphasis on T&T’s winning the Gold Cup. Indeed, so important was it that after the loss to Canada, the then Coach, Bertille St Clair and a few players, including David Nakhid, were sent packing. It was generally agreed that St Clair’s dismissal had less to do with the team’s performance in that tournament than with the presence in Trinidad—ostensibly to coach Joe Public Football Club, of one Ian Porterfield.

Could it be that there is a link between the sudden decline in the importance of the World Cup and Porterfield’s contract?

The national coach and his assistants too warrant some comment. It’s difficult not to wonder out loud whether they see the same games as everyone else. The reason is that, contrary to the widespread view that the team is not playing well, after all three games played so far, Porterfield’s reaction has been startingly similar.

Essentially, he said, “The lads played well, they were wonderful, and all we need now is for everyone to get behind the team.”

He also commented, after the Mexico game, on the results of the other games in the group and expresed the hope that the other teams would do us the favour of beating one another.

What Porterfield and company are in fact doing is wishing and hoping where we need to make concrete plans. Where is the plan for earning the oh so critical victories in the four home matches. We seem not to have had any serious programme leading up to the first three games. Indeed, between the Costa Rica and Mexico games, the team had one practice game—a run against W Connection on the Sunday immediately prior to the match. Who could consider that proper preparation for taking on the team ranked number 12 in the world?

Certainly, if we expect the public to pay $200 and $300 to see the matches, we can’t expect to pinch pennies in the team’s preparation. Let us not forget that this team is as yet to give a convincing performance on the field and, indeed, has managed just one goal in three games. People don’t mind paying, but they need to get value for money, and right now the feeling is that we are being sadly shortchanged.

And it might be useful to note that the best people to run football are those who know about playing the game, not necessarily those who know how to make money from it.

And so to the Mexico match. The visitors could easily have been ahead by two goals very early in the piece as within the first ten minutes the Central Americans missed two glaring chances. Then, a brilliant Marvin Andrews header from an Angus Eve left-side corner gave T&T the lead. I saw the team at practice on the Monday before the game at a session where they put a lot of emphasis on corners, freekicks and other dead ball situations. It paid dividends. But there were also plans to move out of defence by stringing passes together. Whatever happened to them? What we saw was defenders hitting long aimless forward balls in an attempt to find Dwight Yorke and Stern John in between four or five defenders. Although a goal down, the Mexicans, in contrast, were coming out of defence with seven or eight passes, using proper build-ups to reach the T&T last third.

I could see no plan for the midfield. How do we intend to create opportunities for the strikers? Russell Latapy played almost 80 per cent of the game in his own half of the field, leaving Brent Rahim virtually alone with the responsibility of making inroads. And where was the support from the midfielders on the rare occasions the strikers got the ball?

How many passes did Yorke and Stern John receive from the midfielders that gave them a chance of a shot on goal? Just two shots were taken by our strikers in the entire match, one of them coming late in the match when Yorke ran on to a pass from the “Little Magician”.

The defence played well, particularly Marvin Andrews and Dennis Lawrence who was outstanding at the stopper position. But what of the passes from these two and their co-defenders Anthony Rougier and Ansil Elcock?

Almost every time the ball was played long out of the defence, it went straight to a Mexican player and the visitors were coming back in at the defence in waves.

After T&T were reduced to ten men, Claudio Suárez, the opposition skipper, abandoned the stopper position and joined the midfield to search for the equaliser. They eventually got it from a brilliant opportunist goal by Pavel Pardo.
Only luck prevented us conceding two goals in the last ten minutes. First substitute Jared Borguetti, with his back to goal just outside the six-metre box rolled the ball into the path of Pardo, who inexplicably kicked wide from close up. Then it was the turn of Borguetti himself who, with only goalkeeper Clayton Ince to beat, kicking outside from the edge of the six-metre box.

But it is worth remembering that every day is not Wednesday April 25 and if we fail to prepare the next time around we should be prepared to fail in our bid to go all the way to the 2002 Finals. But maybe, as Mr Warner would have us believe, it really is no big thing.

Fans beg for goals


IT rained beer and soft drinks in the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday.

The shower was fleeting—only as long as it took hundreds of fans in the Carib stand to toss the drinks in the air in celebration—when Trinidad scored their first goal in the 14th minute of the game against Mexico.

But that was the only time the drinks were wasted as the opportunity for that kind of celebration never came again.

Spectators were instead forced to spend their time cheering or booing as they howled for goals.

From as early as 2 p.m. the mood in the Oval was light, as alcohol flowed even before the game started.

It continued throughout the pre-game show where several performing artistes, including Machel Montano, frolicked in front the stage—all in an attempt to keep the winning mood going.

It worked with the spectators, but the players didn’t completely deliver.

A plan by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) to place entertainers at strategic points in the stand to keep the tempo flowing seemed to have fell through.

Nikki Crosby was spotted in the Carib stand, but except for complaining to a friend during the long-winded opening prayer, she didn’t seem to do much outside the normal spectator cheering. There were no reports of any other celebrities working in the stands but some hyper fan tried their best to get the crowd going when the enthusiasm lagged.

The Laventille Rhythm Section actually did that job best and they kept up an unflagging—for the most part— rhythm throughout the match.

At the entrance to the grounds, during the pre-show, two men competed against each other—showing their artistic skills with a football. It turned out that they were practising for the Carib “How long can you keep it up” contest.

A young man walked away with $5,000 for keeping a football in the air longest.

As the Carib promotional girls led him away in victory, another competitor—a balding rasta man—fell to the ground shaking his head and rolling. The pain of losing seemed to be too much for him and he had to be coaxed up by an official who watched him walk away.

The celebratory mood after the first goal soon quietened as Mexico defended their goal relentlessly. Most times the bound-to, have-to must-win attitude was apparent but no more drinks were thrown into the air.

They stood quietly for a while and suddenly the tempo from the Laventille group rose to a fever pitch and people started chanting encouragement for the home team.

The chants rose and fell for the rest of the game.

At one point, nearing the final minutes, the hymn “Amen, Amen” was sung. It seemed that only prayers would help us win at that point.

But no love was lost on the Mexicans.

Every time one fell—which they seemed to do quite often, even at the slightest knock—a cheer went up from the crowd on the grounds. And when they made a good play, the crowd booed. Even when Angus Eve was ejected in the first half, he was heralded by cheers.

The emotions were mainly in the uncovered stands—where people stood, waved flags, bawled, screamed, and clutched their heads as the games progressed. But in the covered stands they clapped...and clapped—only standing when it was absolutely necessary.

It seemed that people with painted faces had the most energy and at least one man kept up a running cheer and later others tried to get the crowd going in the hopes of getting another goal out of Trinidad and Tobago.

FIFA vice president Jack Warner came in for more knocks when, at the end of the game, one man who jokingly described himself as a “dedicated Mexico fan” said: “Jack Warner cause this (the loss). If he had put the price at $100 to sit anywhere more people would have been here to cheer them to the win.”

Tickets for the grounds cost $100 and stands $200.

About ten minutes before the final whistle, enthusiasm again picked up when Mexico’s Rafael Marquez was sent off.

Unfortunately, the screams were a death cry and suddenly the game ended—Mexico one, Trinidad and Tobago one, fans disappointed.

Soca Warriors get a lifeline


AFTER 270 minutes of football, the Trinidad and Tobago national football team got their first point of the 2002 Concacaf World Cup qualifying final round yesterday with a 1-1 draw against Mexico at the Queen’s Park Oval.

In a game where either team seized momentum only to concede it through petulant use of the arm, the Soca Warriors would rue three lost points but could hardly feel aggrieved by the result.

Nor should the visiting El Tricolor outfit for that matter.

The pre-game cross talk between the Trinidad and Tobago and Mexican Football Federations suggested 90 minutes of open warfare but, in the end, yesterday’s qualifier could be described as football’s answer to chess.

The play was gripping and thoughtful but was much too tight to please the crowd of roughly 10,000 persons grown accustomed to the swashbuckling football of the semi-final rounds.

Trinidad and Tobago and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke was the afternoon’s main casualty.

There were two neat spin moves by Yorke and one shot that just missed the far post but, those rare moments apart, the Tobagonian was as restricted as the two Lincoln Navigators held, at present, by the local Port Authority.

To the relief of the local crowd though—and no doubt embattled coach Ian Porterfield as well—the T&T defence was almost as economical and generally offered protection to goalkeeper Clayton Ince.

It was a far cry from the team that were gunned down 3-0 away to Costa Rica a month ago if only in terms of their patience and discipline while defending.

And, after 194 barren minutes, T&T finally opened their “goals for” account.

Fourteen months ago, it was Scottish-based defender Marvin “Dog” Andrews who gave Porterfield his first goal in the opening 2002 World Cup qualifier against Netherland Antilles.

Yesterday afternoon, with the Soca Warrior’s World Cup ambitions in the balance, he provided an encore.

From a left side corner kick, Andrews rose to meet an inswinging Angus Eve cross with a firm downward header that bumped off the ground and into the roof of Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez’s net.

There was a brief rise in aggression soon after but three quick yellow cards by Kuwaiti referee Kameel Saad Mane—one for T&T’s Anthony Rougier and two for Mexico’s German Villa and Rafael Marquez—kept the game well under control.

Then came Eve’s error of judgement.

Mane was talking to lanky stopper T&T Dennis Lawrence when Mexican left wing back Marco Antonio Ruiz went down clutching his face.

A check by Mane with his assistant revealed the home fans’ worst fears and Eve was sent to the showers for improper use of his forearm.

If the visitors felt that three points were now there for the taking, though, they had another thing coming.

By the interval, the Mexicans were in control stroking the ball from side to side but unable to get to the flanks—their favoured mode of attack—thanks to the patient and disciplined work of their opponents.

Yugoslav coach and new T&TFF “defensive co-ordinator” Zoran Vranes may have been forgiven a curt smile in the dressing room.

There would be a more in-depth test of the Joe Public coach’s credentials after the break, though.

On went livewire midfielder Jesus Arellano and Jared Borgetti, the T&T’s tormentor in chief last October with a hattrick in their 7-0 win at the Azteca Stadium, and something always looked likely to give.

It would be on the end of the red, white and blacks.

The Warriors dug in creditably but could only preserve their clean sheet for another 15 minutes before Mexican midfielder Pavel Pardo brought the guests on level terms with a right footer which surprised custodian Clayton Ince.

In his defence, Ince could hardly have gotten a good look at the ball with the majority of his teammates, at the time, defending at the edge of his box.

The game had finally swung the way of the green, red and whites.

Fourteen minutes later, it swished the other way as Marquez was given marching orders for handling the ball from a Mexican corner kick.

It was a shocking piece of amateurism for a defender who is rumoured to be just months away from a US$20 million move from French team Monaco to European giants Real Madrid.

Still Mexico had the best chance to take all three points.

With just ten minutes remaining, the skilful Arellano turned inside Elcock and feinted past Rougier before his left footed attempt deflected obligingly for Borgetti.

The small group of Mexican travellers rose to their feet in expectation but, Borgetti got his co-ordinations embarrassingly wrong and sidefooted the ball harmlessly wide at Ince’s far post.

It was the luck of the green that Porterfield had pleaded for in a pre-game match conference on Monday.

More than Andrews’ header, though, it was Borgetti’s blunder that handed the Warriors a World Cup lifeline although they remain at the foot of the six team table.

They would hope to make good use of it, in three weeks time, when Honduras come visiting.

Porterfield: We’re still in the race


HE WAS not all that satisfied. But Trinidad and Tobago senior football coach believed the team performed creditably after playing with ten-men for most of their third round World Cup qualifying round game against Mexico yesterday at the Queen’s Park Oval.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw, giving T&T its first point in their Korea/Japan campaign.

Playing at home, it was not the result Porterfield had in mind after his team lost their first two games against Jamaica (1-0) and Costa Rica (3-0).

But Porterfield feels that Angus Eve’s sending off in the first half put paid to T&T’s chances of securing a victory against “el Tricolor”.

“Of course, it was a game we really wanted to win...but we were disappointed that Angus Eve was sent off. You know we started very well but we are playing the number 12 team in the world and after we lost Eve, we knew it was going to be very hard and we did very well in the circumstances,” he said

Eve was given marching orders from Kuwait referee Kameel Saad Mane. after he was adjudged to have struck Antonio Ruiz ten minutes from the interval.

Porterfield admitted that the ten-men situation was a “setback” and gave the more skillful Central Americans more time on the ball.

In the final analysis, though, the Scotland-born coach explained, the “door is not closed” as yet.

And he harbours the hope that while the road will be a difficult one from here on, T&T can still make it to Japan/korea.

“When the draw was made I said that qualifying for the World Cup is not going to be easy...confidence-wise, had we won the game today it would have given us a boost but with the attitude the players have shown there’s no reason why we still can’t get back into the race.”

Porterfield’s Mexican counterpart Enrique Meza wanted three points from the game.

Meza’s side had not benefitted from playing on the Oval pitch before yesterday’s match. But Meza did not use that as an excuse.

“They took a little while to get accustomed to it but my players eventually adapted to the pitch. Although it would have been ideal, we had to make the best of what we had.” Meza stated.

“Although we were hoping for the win,” Meza rattled in Spanish “we didn’t get it but we came away at least with one point”.

Draw = Lose

T&T drops vital points in home game vs Mexico

By Irving Ward

TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy and his teammates remained at the bottom of the CONCACAF Zone 2002 World Cup mountain yesterday, after Mexico snatched a 1-1 draw in their crucial third-round encounter at the Queen's Park Oval.

The result, although giving the home side its first point of the campaign, left T&T rooted to the bottom of the six-team table.

And, pending the results of last night's other two group games between leaders United States and Costa Rica and Jamaica/Honduras, yesterday's result may yet come back to haunt T&T down the road.

However, Latapy's side, and midfielder Angus Eve in particular, have only themselves to blame for the loss of two vital home points.

Eve left his teammates out in the cold after he foolishly played into Mexico's hands in the 34th minute when he was sent off for retaliating against Antonio Ruiz.

The ejection, which came in the 34th minute, turned the game on its head, neutralising what had been a brilliant start and leaving T&T fighting desperately to preserve its slim lead.

Putting on a game face, Latapy's men - ironically urged on by a surprisingly small crowd estimated at 9,000 - fought hard, but finally yielded just after the hour mark when Mexican midfielder Pavel Pardo got the equaliser for the visitors.

World Cup history will show, though, that it is still possible to come back from such a slow start. And with another home stand against Honduras on June 16, Latapy's side will have to keep the faith and dig even deeper in its quest to take T&T to its first-ever World Cup finals. Yesterday's game started well enough for coach Ian Porterfield and his new technical staff, though.

After weathering an early storm from the Mexicans, T&T - with five changes to the team which lost 3-0 to Costa Rica - took a 15th-minute lead through Scotland-based Marvin Andrews. The Livingston defender arrived unmarked inside the six-metre box to head a left-side Eve cross past the desperate lunge of Mexican goalie Oscar Sanchez.

Thriving on the energy of the opening goal, the T&T midfield - led by Latapy, Ronnie Mauge, Brent Rahim, given his first chance to start, and Eve, pressed for another goal.

But Eve would then throw away everything T&T had worked for by giving the Mexicans, known for their unsportsmanlike tactics, the opening they were hoping for just after the half-hour mark. The play which sparked the nonsensical sending off, did not even involve Eve.

Anthony Rougier was fouled by Mexican striker Antonio de Negris and referee Kameel Saad Mane, having awarded T&T a free kick, had actually been talking to Lawrence some distance away after he stepped in to push the player from his T&T teammate.

Off the ball, Ruiz spat on Eve and the Joe Public player - who had been used to promote T&T's war campaign in the build-up to the match - lost his head and elbowed his man in full view of the entire Oval.

Ruiz bundled over clutching his face, and after the Mexicans protested, referee Mane consulted with one of his assistants before producing the red card.

T&T then held on till the break but the Mexicans pressed hard for the equaliser immediately after the restart.
And, after again initially holding off the opposition, T&T relinquished the lead. After Ince had managed to parry an effort from substitute Jared Borguetti, the T&T defence failed to clear the loose ball far enough down field.

The ball eventually made its way to Pardo and he unleashed a powerful right-footer from 22 metres out into the upper right-hand corner of Ince's net. Thereafter, T&T fought desperately for another goal.

But the visitors countered with swarming defence and the odd, swift counter-attack. And although they lost Rafael Marquez to a second yellow card 15 minutes from the end, they kept T&T out to preserve a crucial point.


Villa linked to Yorke

TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based striker Dwight Yorke could well be on his way back to former club Aston Villa.

According to reports out of England yesterday, Villa boss John Gregory is apparently considering a move for Yorke as an option during the summer.

Yorke's future at Manchester United came under the microscope recently when Sir Alex Ferguson purchased Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven for a club record £19m.

According to Villa sources, Gregory is considering a move for Yorke - who left Villa for United for a then record £12.6m in 1998 ­ as he seeks to revamp his club's fortunes.

However, United are reportedly not willing to sell Yorke for less than the price they purchased him back then.
But Villa is not apparently keen to dish out this kind of money for Yorke, whose name has also been linked to clubs such as Chelsea and West Ham.

Yorke has scored only 10 goals this season for United but has not had the best of relationships with Ferguson. Only time will tell what the future holds for Yorke.

T&T not finished yet

By Gregory Trujillo

TRINIDAD and Tobago's coach Ian Porterfield believes the 2002 World Cup door is not yet closed for his team.
T&T found itself rooted to the bottom of the six-team CONCACAF Zone table with one point after being held to a 1-1 draw by Mexico (4 pts) at the Queen's Park Oval.

The result, pending the results of two late games last night, could still be detrimental to T&T's cause in future.
But Porterfield still believes there is a way to Japan and Korea.

"There's no reason why we can't get back in the race," the Scotland-born coach said after yesterday's game.
In fact, Porterfield remained confident his players will bounce back in the remaining seven matches, starting with the next home encounter against Honduras on June 16.

T&T took an early 15th minute lead through defender Marvin Andrews. But that advantage was neutralised in the 34th minute when Angus Eve was sent off for retaliating against Mexico's Antonio Ruiz, who had spat on him in an off the ball incident.

Although admitting he did not see the incident which resulted in Eve's dismissal, Porterfield said he was disappointed with the ejection, which came when his side was on top.

"Obviously, I mean it was disappointing when Eve was sent off. We knew it was going to be a hard game."
He added: "It was a game that we really wanted to win. We got one up, but after that it was really a question of playing against the 12th best team in the world. We did very well. I am happy with the performance."

The coach also felt the back four of Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Ansil Elcock and Anthony Rougier had played well as a unit. He also pointed out that forward Stern John, returning after injury, played his best game in the series to date. "I was actually pleased with the boys," he noted.

In defending the system being played, Porterfield said: "I think the system is good. I changed the system to have four players in the back and it has worked well." Porterfield also said the negative remarks that had been circulating since the team's defeats to Jamaica (1-0) and Costa Rica (3-0) had impacted on his players.

"All the negative talk has had an effect on the players. It has put more pressure on the guys," he argued.
Porterfield called on the country to enjoy the success of the team.

"We have a quality team that appears comfortable when on the ball," he said. Mexican coach Enrique Meza meanwhile admitted the match was difficult from the beginning and became more complicated when T&T scored in the 15th minute.

"By the end of the first half we had settle down," said Meza, whose side was unable to get a feel of the ground conditions the previous day because of a mix-up in schedule. "We came here hoping for a victory. Winning was on our minds. I think we played well and I hope we will improve from here," Meza said.

T&T 1 (Marvin Andrews 15th) v Mexico 1 (Pavel Pardo 61st)
Red card: Angus Eve 34th (T&T); Rafael Marquez 75th (Mexico)
- Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Ansil Elcock, Anthony Rougier, Brent Rahim (Lyndon Andrews 84th), Ronnie Mauge (Dale Saunders 73rd), Russell Latapy, Angus Eve, Stern John (Arnold Dwarika 79th), Dwight Yorke
Mexico - Oscar Sanchez, Claudio Subrez, Rafael Marquez, Dulio Davino, Antonio Ruiz, Daniel Osorno, Pavel Pardo, German Villa (Jesus Arellano 46th), Victor Ruiz, Francisco Palencia (Jared Borguetti 55th), Antonio de Negris.