October News
September News
Tuesday October 31st, 2000
Concacaf Club tourney kicks off tomorrow

JOE PUBLIC will begin the defence of its Caribbean Zone Concacaf Club Football Championship tomorrow when they face Guinness Harlem Bombers of Dominica at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya, in the first match of a double header, from 5 pm.

The other game will feature FC Sithoc of the Netherland Antilles and Robin Hood of Suriname from 7.15 pm.
Joe Public, Sithoc and Robin Hood are in Group One and they will play again in double-headers on Friday and Sunday at the same venue. Vibe CT 105 W Connection, the other Trinidad and Tobago team in the series, will travel to Antigua/Barbuda to take part in Group 3 action which also includes home side Empire FC and Harbour View of Jamaica. Group 3 games will be contested on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The winners of Group 1 and Group 3 will join the winners of Group 2 (Violette - Haiti, Paradise - Barbados, Roots Alley Ballers - St Lucia) - in the Caribbean Zone Final Group competition. The champions will come from that final competition, which will take place on December 6, 8 and 10 at a venue to be determined.

Group 1 fixtures:

TOMORROW: Joe Public vs Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica), 5 pm; FC Sithoc (N Antilles) vs Robin Hood (Suriname), 7.15 pm.

FRIDAY: Joe Public vs Robin Hood (Suriname), 5 pm; Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica) vs FC Sithoc (N Antilles), 7.15 pm.

SUNDAY: Robin Hood (Suriname) vs Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica), 4 pm; FC Sithoc (N Antillies) vs Joe Public, 6.15 pm.

Latapy wants to stay at Hibs


TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy has hinted he would indeed end his playing days at Scottish Premier Division club Hibernian. The 32-year-old midfielder dropped the clue for Hibs boss Alex McLeish at the weekend.
This while dispel

ling rumours that he may be heading off to England to join, English First Division club Queen's Park Rangers.
Shirking off the suggestion that he may move to England, the "Little Magician" seemed more interested in signing an extended deal with Hibs.In fact, negotiations talks have already been held and are expected to continue this week. "We have had some discussions on a new contract, but I don't wish to go too much into that just now," Latapy told the Scottish press.

"As soon as we come to a final agreement, we will let everyone know. But I most definitely want to stay at Hibs. I'm having fun." Last Saturday marked two years since Latapy made his debut for Hibs against Ayr United.
He joined the Edinburgh club in 1998 on a free transfer from Portuguese club Boavista after a deal with Aston Villa, who were then trying to sign him on to keep compatriot Dwight Yorke there, fell through.

And the former "Strike Squad" player was an immediate hit, leading Hibs - then in the First Division - into the top flight and earning himself the "Player of the Year" award in the process. Latapy has netted six goals for Hibs so far this season and is more than happy to complete his club career with the club he joined in 1998.
Sunday October 29th, 2000

Rougier red hot on return

FORMER Trinidad and Tobago skipper Anthony Rougier sizzled on his return to action in England yesterday.
Sidelined with an ankle injury for the past two months, the 29-year-old utility player came off the bench to steer Reading to the top of the Second Division with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Oxford. Full points enabled Reading (32 pts) to overhaul Walsall atop the 24-team table by a point.

Rougier was thrown into the game with just 16 minutes left and Oxford leading 3-2. But the T&T star did not flatter to deceive as he proceeded to deliver a brace in a 10-minute burst which bagged his side full points.
Put to run the wing, Rougier scored just four minutes after his entry when he tapped in from close range off a corner from Lee Hodges' to make the score 3-3. He completed the revival four minutes from time when he shot in between Oxford keeper Richard Knight's legs. Rougier was not the only T&T star who had success on the day.

Dwight Yorke's Manchester United remained on top of the Premiership after whipping Southampton 5-0.
Yorke came on in the 75th minute for Teddy Sheringham, who got a hattrick. And that was enough time for him to get two efforts at goal. Shaka Hislop's West Ham also earned a 1-0 win over Newcastle. In the First Division, injured T&T striker Stern John's Nottingham Forest beat Stockport 2-1. Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam's Wrexham managed a 4-3 win over Luton Town. Edwards set up one of the goals. Veteran striker Clint Marcelle also muffed the best scoring chance of the game for Hull in a 0-0 draw with York City in the Third Division.

In Scotland, T&T skipper Russell Latapy led Hibernian to a 1-0 win over Dundee United. The 32-year-old midfielder, who had earlier seen his shot cleared off the line by United defender Hasney Aljofree, set up a goal on a platter for teammate Tom McManus in the 82nd minute. In the First Division, Marvin Andrews' Livingston overran Alloa 4-0.

T&T squad in BBC film

Sports Desk

DEBUTANT film star Dwight Yorke may soon be matched by his Trinidad and Tobago teammates.

While the Manchester United £12.6 million striker has recently been featured in a documentary on his prestigious English Premier League club, the Trinidad and Tobago team may soon be involved in a show of its own courtesy the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) communications officer Shaun Fuentes conveyed to the media the interest shown by BBC Channel 4 in the national squad.

Two years ago, the BBC Channel 4 team filmed a documentary on the Jamaican national football team after the “Reggae Boyz” became the first English-speaking Caribbean nation to qualify for the senior World Cup finals.

According to Fuentes, they have now expressed interest in doing a similar story on the local squad which has already qualified for the Concacaf final stage in their bid for a berth in the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.

Documentary or not, both the BBC and the England footballing fraternity should soon be getting the opportunity for a close look at the Trinidad and Tobago squad though.

The local squad has been already booked for a tour of England this December which will run from December 17-23. T&T will be housed at the prestigious Lillehall National Sports Centre and hope to play training games against as many as five Premiership teams.

Coach Ian Porterfield confirmed this upcoming tour which will coincide with the end of the domestic Professional Football League (PFL).

The one-week camp will cater for 26 players and arrangements for the duration of their stay will be handled by English Football Association chairman Jeff Thompson and Simon Kennedy of English marketing company Time Management Global.

More pressing for Porterfield is T&T'’s final semifinal Concacaf group stage qualifier against Panama on November 15.

“It is a game we would like to do well in,” said the Scotsman. “We are trying to bring in some new players who haven’t played in the last 12 months or so through injury or unavailability. Players like Shaka Hislop, Ian Cox and David Austin.”

Sources indicate that University of Connecticut midfielder Brent Rahim and German-based midfielder Evans Wise may also be in line for a return to national service. Porterfield would neither confirm nor deny this, saying only that the squad would be announced next week by manager Neville Chance.

Two players who have been ruled out of this match are national team captain Russell Latapy and leading goalscorer Yorke.

Neither player will be needed by his club for active duty owing to the suspension of European domestic football on a day of global World Cup qualifying action.

Porterfield refused to comment when asked if the pair had been given a rest and merely repeated that they would be not used in the game.

Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico are the two teams advancing from their group to the six-team Concacaf World Cup qualifying final stage which begins next year.

Wrexham ready to buy T&T defender


     TRINIDAD and Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence is on the verge of being signed by English Second Division
     club Wrexham AFC. The only thing apparently keeping the Welsh club from securing Lawrence's signature on a
     contract will be the asking price by his current club, Defence Force.

     That price, according to news out of England yesterday, could be as much as £100,000 (TT$1m).
     The 27-year-old Lawrence journeyed to Wrexham - where his compatriots Carlos Edwards and Hector Sam
     now ply their trade ­ for a trial recently after Premiership club Newcastle United suggested he join another club to
     gain experience playing in English conditions. The advice had come from Newcastle boss Bobby Robson, who
     indicated that while he was indeed interested in signing Lawrence, he would only be willing to do so in time for
     next season.

     And after less than two weeks at Wrexham, the T&T star has so impressed manager Brian Flynn, that he is ready
     to fork out the cash. Flynn had long made up his mind about signing the six-foot seven-inch Lawrence yesterday,
     having seen him play in another reserve game against Stoke City Wednesday night. But Flynn realises a deal is still
     a long way off.

     "We would like to take things another step further and that now comes down to money," Flynn said.
     "We will have to wait and hear what his club in Trinidad want for him. But I hope that we can come to some
     arrangement that suits both parties." Lawrence is also keen to stay on at the club. "I went to Newcastle United and
     they seem very interested in signing me, but as time went on I decided that I had to look elsewhere," the T&T star
     told the Wrexham Web site yesterday.

     Pointing out that Bolton Wanderers had also been wooing him but that Sam and Edwards' high praise for
     Wrexham had swayed him towards the club, Lawrence added: "I wanted to come along and have a look for
     "I would be very interested in talking over a move to join the club. I want to play in the Football League and
     Wrexham looks like the sort of place that would suit me and in return I would look forward to helping the team."
     Lawrence's England-based agent Mike Berry, also confirmed Lawrence's desire to join the club.
     "A lot of clubs are interested in Dennis but he wants to play for Wrexham," he concluded.

Thursday October 26th, 2000

Yorke back among the goalscorers

AT this stage last season, Dwight Yorke had scored nine goals in 14 matches for Manchester United.
But injury and indifferent form has kept him out of the team this season, with just four starts and a few more appearances off the bench. However, the 28-year-old former Aston Villa marksman, who scored his first Premiership goal of the season on the weekend, is now being backed by teammate Ryan Giggs to continue adding to his tally.

Yorke netted in a 3-0 win over Leeds United on Saturday to keep United atop the standings.
Giggs, considered one of the best wingers in the Premiership, said he was really pleased for Yorke: "Hopefully Yorkie will go on to get a lot more goals now. You have to play well to keep Yorkie and Ole (Solskjaer) out of the side."

Yorke is also happy to be back among the goalscorers and is focussed on performing to his best ability.
"I've just got to keep my head down and take one game at a time and hopefully, if I get a run in the team, I can score a few more goals," said Yorke, who turns 29 next month.

Latapy keeps up pressure

Russell Latapy scored his sixth goal of the season in Hibernian's 6-2 romp over Hearts in the Scottish
Premier League on the weekend. Latapy has received praises from several former Scottish greats, officials and teammates. Gordon Rae, a Hibs captain during the 1970's, described Latapy as a joy to look at.
Latapy is in the middle of contract negotiations with Hibs who has indicated interest in a long term contract.
Hibs face Dundee United on Saturday.

Shaka in form

Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has found his rhythm and has been credited for a number of good performances for West Ham United in the Premiership in recent weeks. But the former Newcastle United keeper has not been
getting the best support from his defenders. Hislop turned in another good showing on Saturday but defensive lapses saw the "Hammers" go down 1-2 to Arsenal.

West Ham are currently struggling in 18th spot on the standings with eight points. Earlier this month, Hislop was involved in a clash with teammate Igor Stimac, which left the latter being stretchered off on injury. "I had to put the incident to the back of my mind for the remaining couple of minutes and concentrate on the game. But I rushed to see him afterwards and the first thing he asked was: 'Did we get a point?'

That took a load off my mind," said Hislop. The former Reading custodian will be hoping to make a return to the national team line-up and time will tell if he is recalled for next month's World Cup qualifier against Panama at the Queen's Park Oval.

Sancho in second

Defender Brent Sancho finished in runners up spot in the "Rookie of the Year" contest in the 2000 American A-League. The dreadlocked player is currently back home playing with Joe Public after his side, Charleston Battery was knocked out of the A-League playoffs.

Now that his one-year deal is over, Sancho will remain home until December when he hopes to go on trials with clubs in Europe. This is being arranged by agent Graham Smith. Clubs in Belgium and Holland have expressed interest in him. Sancho was forced to turn down offers from MLS clubs Tampa Bay Mutiny, San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew because neither was willing to sign him for less than three years. He mentioned the deals were turned down because he wants to be attached to a European club by next season.

Avery John goes to Shelbourne

Avery John has joined Irish Premier Division club Shelbourne FC. The national defender already has one season in Ireland under his belt after playing with Bohemians. He then joined American A-League club Boston Bulldogs on loan earlier this year. John signed a two-year contract with Shelbourne earlier this month and manager Dermot Keely is keen on making him a regular member of the starting team.

John's new club drew 1-1 with Bradwell on Saturday and are currently second on the table behind Bohemians.
John has been a member of the T&T squad in recent World Cup qualifying matches.

Rovers prepare for Mauge's return

Bristol Rovers manager Ian Holloway, is preparing for the return of midfielder Ronnie Mauge.
The English-born midfielder is nearing full fitness after suffering a broken leg while playing for T&T against Mexico in February and has not kicked a ball since. However, word out of England on the weekend was that Mauge has been in light training and should make a return to the Rovers line-up within the next month. Holloway has several other players returning from injury and knows all to well he will have a tough job deciding on their selection.
"What I'll do when Ronnie Mauge, Dave Pritchard, Jamie Shore and Andy Thomson are available too me, goodness knows. I won't know myself," Holloway joked last week.

Meanwhile, Stern John is keeping his fingers crossed that he recovers fully from a slight injury within the next couple of weeks. The Nottingham Forest striker has been forced to look on from the sidelines for the past few weeks and is now in light training with teammates. He looked on helplessly as Forest lost 0-2 to Watford on Saturday. Both goals were scored by Micah Hyde, who is eligible of representing T&T. Anthony Rougier is also nearing a return to the Reading line-up from an ankle injury.

Lawrence on trial

Dennis Lawrence is awaiting approval of a work permit after going on trial with Newcastle United last month.
It was reported that Newcastle manager Bobby Robson was impressed with Lawrence and was willing to sign him once a work permit was obtained. But Peter Miller, the club's CONCACAF representative said on the weekend that the "Magpies" will not rush to sign Lawrence.

He explained they will now look forward to getting the player to St James Park in time for next season and have allowed him to seek a contract elsewhere in England as they see it important that he gets accustomed to playing under English conditions. Lawrence joined Wrexham on trial on the weekend. There he joined local teammates Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards.

"I like what I see here at Wrexham. It's a lovely atmosphere and I know Carlos and Hector are very happy here. I just want to play football and I'd love it to be for Wrexham," said Lawrence.

EDITOR'S NOTE: SHAUN FUENTES is communications officer of the TTFF.

Tuesday October 24th, 2000

Ups and Downs Take Hislop Back Near Top

LONDON –– The pampered side of playing in the top tier of English professional soccer is amply displayed at the West Ham United Football Club's training complex with its acres of finely manicured fields, buildings neatly bathed in the team colors of claret and blue and a players' parking lot full of gleaming, late-model sports cars.

Yet, it is the slate gray rain clouds that often hover over the ground here that more accurately reflect the struggle of Shaka Hislop, the club's star goalkeeper and a former Howard University standout, to excel in the pressure-cooker world of the English Premier League.

Hislop, 31, a 1992 Howard graduate, has faced a series of challenges on and off the field as he has gone from the anonymity of American college soccer to elite English soccer, starting with Second Division Reading, then Newcastle of the Premier League and finally to West Ham.

Now, Hislop is facing one of the toughest tests of his career, regaining his status as one of the league's top keepers after breaking his left fibula in a game against Bradford City last February.

As the 6-foot-4 Hislop recently reflected on his latest hurdle, he demonstrated the logical approach that one would expect from a mechanical engineering major who graduated with a 3.49 GPA and interned with NASA after his junior year.

"I just caught my studs on the turf and fell awkwardly, I heard a crack as I was going down and my fears were confirmed once the X-rays got back," said Hislop, who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago after his family moved there from London when he was 2.

"The progress was very slow in rehab. You just have to accept it and you know it's not going to get better overnight."

Hislop gave up 23 goals in 22 games before being injured last season. In 1998-99, he was the top-rated Premier League goalkeeper and West Ham's player of the year as he posted 15 shutouts.

Two months into this season, Hislop seems to be nearing top form. After surrendering nine goals in his first five games, Hislop recorded two shutouts in a five-match stretch.

West Ham goalkeeper coach Les Sealey is pleased with Hislop's comeback.

"It takes a while to come back from a broken leg, but Shaka's almost all the way back," said Sealey. "He's a top-class keeper. You could go a long way to find a goalkeeper as good as Shaka."

Hislop said he can feel things getting back to normal.

"I'm really starting to feel that my whole game is coming together," he said.

One of the key early tests in the development of Hislop's game came in his adjustment to Howard and the U.S. college game.

"In Trinidad at the time I was a teenager, there weren't many opportunities for footballers," said Hislop, who starred on the Trinidad and Tobago junior national team along with boyhood friend Dwight Yorke, a star striker at Manchester United. "There weren't many avenues available to us and when Howard offered me a half scholarship, it was certainly my way out and something I had to do."

Once at Howard, Hislop refined his game under Coach Keith Tucker.

"As every player does, I would go through bad spells and Tucker would always call me into his office and told me he had no doubt of my abilities, even when it would seem that I would doubt them on the pitch," said Hislop, who, as a freshman, led the Bison to the 1988 NCAA title game, in which they lost to Indiana, 1-0. "That was a great motivation."

Tucker, for his part, said he knew he had something special on his hands in Hislop.

"Shaka was 6 foot 4 but he could get to the ground like he was 5 foot 9," he said from Washington. "When Shaka was under pressure, he just functioned. He just said, 'Okay, what's next?' In the year we went to the final game, he had to pull off something great every game."

Yet Hislop became frustrated in the next few years, and Tucker had to keep his prize pupil from losing faith in his ability.

"Shaka was used to having experienced people in front of him and when they left, he didn't have the confidence in the people in front of him," said Tucker, who is in his 17th year at Howard. "I told him the best thing we could do was to keep him healthy so he would be ready for the rest of the world."

As Hislop neared the end of his Howard career, he almost opted for graduate studies in engineering rather than pursue a soccer career. But he stuck with it, joining the Baltimore Blast, an indoor team, before catching the eye of Reading and being asked to come to England in 1992 for a trial with the Second Division club.

After his initial stint in Reading, however, Hislop nearly regretted his decision to pursue soccer.

"When I first came to Reading I was just dropped off in a room with a bed. It was a big culture shock, I found myself in a town where I knew no one," Hislop said. "The big difference for me on the field was playing every day. It took it out of me, it was hard. It started to get to me at the back end of the season. If I hadn't signed a two-year deal, I don't think I would have returned after the first year."

Hislop, with some prodding from his family, did come back and gradually established himself as a solid professional. After playing 12 games in his first season in England, Hislop played all 46 in 1993-94 as Reading was promoted to the First Division. In 1994-95, he again played every game for Reading and was purchased after the season for about $2.2 million by Newcastle, one of the storied clubs of English soccer.

At Newcastle, Hislop got off to a flying start in 1995-96, helping the club to an early lead in the Premier League. But he tore a thigh muscle and played in a total of just 29 games over the next two campaigns. He joined West Ham as a free agent in 1998.

Despite his ups and downs, Hislop has relished the struggle.

"We have some of the best of the game here in England," said Hislop, who lives near London with his wife, Desha, also a Howard graduate, and two young daughters. "It's a great challenge to come and meet them. The lows have probably been more numerous than the highs. Some days they get the best of you but I'd like to think more days than not, I certainly match them."

As Hislop dedicates himself to regaining top form, he plans to use the hard lessons he has learned in England to help soccer improve in Trinidad and Tobago.

He is hoping to play for the national team in next year's final round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Hislop also hopes his influence on Trinidadian soccer will extend beyond his playing days.

"I would like to take coaching back to Trinidad," he said. "It is seriously needed back home. I certainly hope I can be a trailblazer for others there. I've seen some good players come over here and expect everything to be a bed of roses. When the reality of it hits them, it's a little bit too much, a little overwhelming. You have to figure everything out for yourself."

Wrexham gives Lawrence a look

TRINIDAD and Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence is now on trial at Second Division club Wrexham.
Lawrence joined the Welsh-based club, where compatriots Hector Sam and Carlos Edwards currently ply their trade, on the weekend.

This after Premiership club Newcastle United, who had given the Defence Force defender a trial last month, indicated that they were now looking to sign him on for next season.

Speaking from England yesterday, Lawrence said: "I like what I see here at Wrexham. It's a lovely atmosphere and I know Carlos and Hector are very happy here. I just want to play football and I'd love it to be for Wrexham."

Lawrence caught the eye of several international scouts following his performances in the T&T defence during recent matches in the 2002 World Cup semi-final qualifying series. But it was Robson who gave him the first call and the "Magpies" boss was not disappointed. Thee club's CONCACAF representative, Peter Miller, said Newcastle were in the process of acquiring a work permit for the T&T star before finalising details of a contract. However, Miller is now indicating that word from Newcastle is they will not rush to sign Lawrence.

Sunday October 22nd, 2000

Yorke does it again

Trinidad and Tobago's England-based professional did it again yesterday.

The 28-year-old Manchester United striker scored his first Premiership goal of the season to lead the Red Devils to a 3-0 victory over Leeds United.

The win helped United maintain its lead atop the Premier-ship on goal difference over Arsenal, both teams with 21 points.

Arsenal edged out T&T keeper Shaka Hislop's West Ham 2-1 in another game yesterday.

Given a chance to start with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson deciding to reward him for his good midweek work in the Champ-ions League ­ when he scored a goal and set up another in a 3-1 win over PSV Eindhoven ­ Yorke grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Just when it looked as though the teams would go into the halftime interval with nothing to show, Yorke broke the deadlock in the 41st minute.

The £12.6m marksman came in on the blind side as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whipped in a right side cross and dived into the Leeds six-metre box to deliver one of his trademark headers past goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

Wenesday October 18th, 2000

Elcock prays for Blanco's recovery

DEFENDER Ansil Elcock was quoted on Mexican Web site Mediotiempo, as saying he is hoping Cuauhtemoc Blanco makes a speedy recovery from the injury sustained in last week's World Cup qualifier. Blanco has been ruled out for some eight months and the Mexican Federation called for a six-month ban on the Columbus Crew defender.

On hearing the news of Blanco's lay off, several reporters called the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation office for Elcock's phone number.

Elcock told Mediotiempo "I was going for the ball. Never, never, never did I try to hurt anyone, especially a player as talented as Blanco. Elcock is praying for Blanco's speedy recovery and hopes his Spanish career with (Real) Valladolid is not affected," the report added.

Edwards happy, Sam tired

Local cable viewers surely would have seen local midfielder Carlos Edwards celebrating his first League goal for Wrexham on Fox Sports Network on Saturday night. Wrexham defeated Oxford United 4-3 in that encounter. The former St Anthony's College and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh player scored Wrexham's fourth goal which was shown at least three times during the news round up.

Meanwhile, teammate Hector Sam, had to take extensive rest on his return to England on Monday following last Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Mexico. Wrexham manager Bryan Flynn said Sam slept for 36 hours over two days on returning to England.

"We'll be taking a close look at Hector because playing at high altitude levels can hamper your training.
"He looked particularly jaded on Wednesday. All my worst fears I had prior to him going to Mexico have been confirmed," said Flynn, who also dismissed reports Sam may be heading to Fulham.

Sam played for 69 minutes against Oxford. Wrexham are in 12th spot on the Second Division table, one spot behind Ronnie Mauge's Bristol Rovers. Former national midfielder Clint Marcelle also netted in Hull City's 2-0 win over Halifax in the English Third Division on Saturday and was seen celebrating his goal on Fox. Marcelle is on a one month deal with the English Third Division side.

Hammers want Shaka back-up

West Ham United are looking to sign Danish goalkeeper Lars Winde as a back up for Shaka Hislop.
Hislop has played the season without proper back up and manager Harry Redknapp is keen on easing some of the pressure.

Canadian 'keeper Craig Forrest is recovering from a hernia operation and is not expected to return until December.
Hislop turned in a fine performance on Saturday to help West Ham to a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town.
West Ham are currently 18th on the standings with eight points.

The former Newcastle United 'keeper made two vital saves nearing the end but was unfortunately involved in a clash with teammate, Croatian Igor Stimac, who has been ruled out for several weeks.

Rougier fit in two weeks

Reading boss Alan Pardew expects Anthony Rougier to be fully fit within two weeks. Rougier, who has been out for the last few weeks with an ankle injury began light training earlier this month. Pardew is keen on getting his top striker back in the line up. "We're starting to get more and more players fit.

Sammy Igoe and Tony Rougier are now a couple of weeks away from fitness and then we should have a full squad from which to pick," said Pardew, who signed Rougier for three years a few days before the season began. Reading are in second position on the Second Division table with 23 points, four behind leaders Walsall. Once fit, Rougier should be eligible to represent T&T in the final World Cup qualifying semi-final match against Panama on November 15.

Yorke's part of happy trio

Dwight Yorke holds no grudges towards teammates Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham despite being forced to look on from the sidelines as the England duo lead Manchester United's attack. Yorke, who turns 29 next month, got his second start this season in the Premiership when United defeated Leicester City 3-1 on Saturday to top the standings.
Yorke is now focussed on scoring goals for the "Red Devils."

"I have had a great two years here and having been a regular it is sometimes hard to take, not being in the side.
"But there can only be 11 in the team and everybody wants to play. I am at the best club in the world and I know that I will soon be back scoring goals and playing well," said Yorke.

Hibs wants Latas quickly

Hibernian manager Alex McLeish is hoping Russell Latapy will agree to a new contract before January.
McLeish is worried the "Little Magician" may go elsewhere if he is not hired for a longer period before the end of this year.

"I want him to stay, and I'll be hurrying him along before January. To lose him would make things more difficult for us," McLeish said last week. It is believed "Latas" will remain once he's offered the right price, according to Hibs reporter Stuart Crowther.

Latapy is in his final season on contract at Easter Road. He enjoyed a solid 90 minutes in Hibs' 1-0 win over Rangers on Saturday which kept them second behind leaders Celtic.

John backs US striker

Striker Stern John has backed American winger Ben Olsen to be an integral member of Nottingham Forest for the remainder of the season. John knows all about the former DC United player having played against him in the American Major League and is convinced he will do well.

However, he warned the 23-year-old Olsen not to let the high expectations of the Forest fans get the better of him.
"Ben is a talented player and I have no doubts that he will be a big success. He can create goals and score them, and he can run the line very well on both sides of the field. "It will probably take Ben two or three games to become accustomed to the English game. The tempo here is totally different to what he'll be used to in America. I initially found it a problem and it can take time.

But if he can overcome that immediately, then he will make a huge impact," said John.
The local striker is recovering from an ankle injury and did not feature in Forest's 4-3 win over Barnsley on Saturday. Forest are in 9th spot on the First Division table with 17 points, two less than Ian Cox's Burnley.

-Shaun Fuentes is the Communications Officer with the TTFF

Latapy weighs Hibs offer

TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy yesterday hinted he may well end his career at Scottish Premier Division club Hibernian.Hibs boss Alex McLeish recently put an offer on the table to keep the 32-year-old T&T midfielder at the Edinburgh club until the end of his playing days.

But Latapy had kept silent on the matter until he was quizzed by a reporter yesterday. "I love Edinburgh and I'd love to remain at Easter Road," the "Little Magician" was quoted as saying in Scotland. "I think the manager also wants me to stay but there are other factors involved. It will be my last contract so I will have to take that into consideration, and I don't want to say much more before speaking with the manager."

He added: "But I want to let the Hibs supporters know I want to stay here." Latapy is in his third season with Hibs having joined them from Portuguese club Boavista during the 1998/99 campaign. But he has now become a permanent fixture in the starting XI and is the darling of the fans.

Filling Latapy’s shoes

WHILE the World Cup qualifier against Mexico was of academic value—both teams having qualified for the next round starting in 2001, I would have thought that Trinidad and Tobago would have wanted to sound a warning to Mexico playing in their own backyard.

I have already heard the litany of excuses for the 7-0 drubbing on Sunday last. And while I expected Trinidad and Tobago to lose by about three or four goals, I certainly did not cater for anything like a seven goal margin.

It is extremely difficult playing in the altitude of Mexico, especially when the team travels the day before the game.

There was no Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Stern John, Marvin Andrews or Anthony Rougier. There was a new captain in Angus Eve, so that a loss was on the cards. But after looking at the game, none of these excuses could be forwarded for the majority of the goals scored against the team.

I had anticipated that without Yorke and Latapy, this team would have been hard-pressed to keep the ball for long enough periods to allow the defence to recover properly to last 90 minutes in the conditions in Mexico, and hence my reason for expecting a three-goal margin.

There is need for someone in midfield to create, to hold the ball long enough for other players to move into spaces, and above all to assist our midfielders.

If we look at our midfield in that last game, sorry to say, there was no one with the necessary qualifications to fill the breach of a Russell Latapy.

Our midfield looked very ordinary as they have been in most of the previous games. There was no one up front in the striking position, who could keep the ball effectively with defenders on their backs like Yorke is able to and moreover there is no one on that team to support the midfielders like he has been doing in the games he has played so far.

Latapy and Yorke, as far as I am concerned were the two most important missing links in the team, hence the reason why I expected the loss.

And this is also the reason why I expected the Trinidad and Tobago team to have problems winning games against top teams if these players are not in the team for any reason.

It might seem unfair to suggest that a team depends on two players—but so it seems to me after witnessing the debacle a fortnight ago.

Trinidad and Tobago had two reasonably good chances to score. The first was a shot from Nigel Pierre very early in the game when he shot overbar from inside the 18-yard box.

There was also a good swerving free kick from Arnold Dwarika in the second half and Pierre again had a chance when his shot from close up came off the legs of goalkeeper Jorge Campos.

In analysing the game, it was clearly seen that four of the seven goals came from crosses from the extremities of the field, where as usual there seemed to be slack marking or covering from the Trinidad and Tobago defenders. The first goal came from a left side cross, which Blanco coming in unmarked headed past goalkeeper Ince.

The second goal again came from a cross from the left side as striker Borgetti got in front of Dennis Lawrence and hit past a bewildered Ince.

The Trinidad and Tobago defence seemed to be extremely weary and being unable to think properly, left Mexican players unmarked in and around the penalty area.

The third goal came after a foul tackle from behind by Shurland David, with the referee ordering a penalty. Blanco, who was the player fouled, took the spot kick himself and although Ince anticipated correctly, could not stop it.

In my opinion, having Shurland David and Demmin in the same defence is putting the team at a great disadvantage. Both players are slow and haveproblems turning quickly, so that against a team like Mexico, who use the wall pass frequently they are easy meat.

Shurland David had a poor game against Mexico in Trinidad before he left the field injured and for those of us who looked at that game objectively, Mexico had two very easy chances to score, Luis Hernandez being the culprit from inside the six-yard box and on both occasions the passes came from players who had blown past Shurland David on the right side of our defence.

The fourth goal was a repetition of the first two, except that the cross this time came from the right side, with Blanco using his chest to get the ball to Borgetti, who hit the ball over the head of Ince to register his second goal. The score at half time was 4-0.

Trinidad and Tobago made two changes at half time, with Dwarika coming in for Nixon and Carrington for David. David’s substitution was not unexpected.

In the second half it was even more noticeable the amount of room the Mexican right midfielder had at his disposal. On every occasion the ball reached him, he had at least 15 to 20 yards between himself and either Mason or Elcock.

The fifth goal came as a result of a free kick from the left side which was deflected by one of the Mexican players onto the path of Davino, who looked suspiciously as having used his hand to get the ball into the goal. The assistant referee was in no position to assist the reference as the player's back was turned to him.

The sixth goal again came from Borgetti, who headed in a right side cross after the Mexicans built up with a number of short passes.

Demmin was late in marking and Trinidad and Tobago paid the penalty. At this stage of the game, six goals up and the Trinidad and Tobago players obviously tired, the Mexicans were waltzing through our middle, which seemed non-existent.

A crunching tackle from Elcock on Blanco gave Mexico their seventh goal by way of a penalty which was converted by Ruiz. Ince made valiant effort, getting his hand to the ball but that was not enough. Hector Sam was eventually introduced to the game to replace Lyndon Andrews, but by this time the Trinidad and Tobago players must have been looking forward to the referee’s whistle to end their misery.

The result of this game was devastating, especially for a team who before the game had topped the standings with no goals scored against them.

It could be psychologically damaging to the players like who participated and although I hope lots of lessons would have been learnt by the technical squad from the game, the top players Yorke and Latapy would have a lot of repair work to do before Trinidad and Tobago return to Mexico next year.

What I am positive about, is that none of the other five teams would give up home advantage for a few dollars.

                        PROS NO CONS


            Shaka’s still a happy ‘Hammer’

WEST Ham are still struggling in the lower reaches of the English Premier League. But goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is still a happy Hammer.

The national team goalkeeper insists the atmosphere in the West Ham dressing room is as good as ever despite just one league win this season-3-0-against Derby County.

The Hammers have not always been able to call on their best players because of injury. And Hislop feels that West Ham’s 17th place in the table is misrepresentative both of his team’s ability and their attitude.

“The one thing a successful team needs is good spirit, it’s a major part of every winning side.

“Obviously expectations are higher than in the last couple of years, and there’s still a long way to go this season,” he said.

Last weekend, Hislop did not fare badly as West Ham drew 1-1 with Ipswich.

Paolo Di Canio’s fifth goal of the season gave West Ham a point after Marcus Stewart had opened the scoring with just four minutes on the clock.

One time Hammers target Stewart scored when he deflected the ball past Hislop via another flicked header from Fabien Wilnis’ cross.

But the tall custodian was not to be beaten again. One athletic tip overbars and another timely stop three minutes from half time ensured that the Hammers got their point.

                            Marcelle on sinking ship?

IT has taken him some time to get another pro contract. And now former national star Clint Marcelle finds himself in a club with money worries.

Marcelle, now attached to English Third Division team Hull City, has made a bright start and on the weekend, he and Caribbean colleague, Jamaican Theodore Whitmore both scored in Hull’s 2-0 win over Halifax Town.

But Hull’s first away win has done nothing to ease the club’s financial troubles.

Hull face a battle to pay a VAT bill in excess of £100,000 in less than four weeks or face the consequences.

Coach Brian Little added: "We can try and lock ourselves away but it still affects us and, at the moment, it seems to be one thing after another. If this club is to go forward we need to see an end to it."

Marcelle, having had his work permit problems before landing this latest job, will hope that he does not become a casualty of the cash crisis.

                  Yorke still playing waiting game

TIME was when Sir Alex Ferguson said he was going to put out his “strongest team,” that unit would inevitably include Dwight Yorke.

But when the Manchester United manager sends out his team for today’s important UEFA Champions League tie at home against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, the Trinidad and Tobago striker may not make the starting list.

In fact, the fitness of Yorke’s one-time strike partner Andy Cole could determine whether he gets a spot in the starting line-up. One report in England yesterday suggested that Cole had indeed passed a fitness test and would be available.

Yorke played in United’s two recent Champions League encounters against Dinamo Kiev in the Ukraine which was drawn 0-0 and in the 3-1 loss to Eindhoven in Holland.

In that game, Ferguson rested several of his first-choice men. But he has vowed not to do so this time saying, “The gamble I took in Eindhoven didn’t come off but we’ll be putting the best side out on Wednesday.”

Yorke who played the whole ninety minutes against Leicester City on Saturday, and who engineered United’s third goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, will be hoping that soon, Ferguson’s “best” will again include him.

                  Edwards takes over for Sam

HECTOR SAM made it onto the field Saturday. But it was Carlos Edwards who did the scoring.

Sam, the man with the goals for English Second Division side Wrexham this season, was a doubtful start after his exhaustive trip to Mexico with the national team.

Sam, who played as a substitute during the 7-0 World Cup drubbing at altitude in Mexico, had been put under medical watch by his club when he returned to England.

According to reports, Sam slept for 36 hours following his return.

However, he was still fit enough to start in Wrexham's exciting 4-3 win at Oxford United.

Sam was eventually substituted in the 69th minute. But countryman Edwards became the goal hero for the Welsh side when he hit the net in the 89th minute to ensure victory.

                   Rougier close to Reading return

HE has been out for over a month. But Anthony Rougier is close to regaining his place in Reading’s first team.

Rougier, who damaged a knee shortly before returning home to join the national team for the World Cup qualifying fixture against Canada, has not played competitive football since.

However, the man who was bought by Reading from rivals Port Vale at the start of the season, has returned to training but was not risked in the weekend’s 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers.

Reading have thrived despite Rougier’s absence from the attack. They currently top the English Second Division standings.

U-17 ‘Worlds’ heading for September


FIFA vice president Jack Warner revealed that although there was an April deadline for the Local Organising Committee, the 2001 Under-17 World Championships could come off from September 14-30.

At a media briefing at the Hilton Hotel yesterday, Warner said that the schedule of Fifa competitions from May to August could force the 16-team tournament, pending approval from Fifa in December, to be postponed.

However, Director of Development Walter Gagg, who arrived in the country Sunday to inspect the stadia for the 2001 Under-17 Fifa World championship, said yesterday that the stadia are in a “very good stage of progress.”

Gagg seemed to be pleased with the way preparations are going to date.

“I have seen many good things and I’m satisfied with the progress so far,” Gagg said

Gagg arrived in the country on Sunday and yesterday completed his inspection tour with visits to Bacolet Stadium in Tobago and the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Monday, the Fifa official also visited the Union Park Stadium in Marabella, the Couva Stadium and the Malabar Stadium in Arima.

On his tour of the Hasely Crawford Stadium before the media briefing yesterday, Gagg was accompanied by Warner and contractors Bill Watson and Mike Paty, the project managers.

The pitch there was partially covered by sand imported from Guyana with some of the gravel below exposed. And there was also a new Daktronics scoreboard

When the sand is levelled completely, Bermuda grass from nurseries in Orange Grove and Bacolet will be used to lay the fields at the five stadia.

However, back at Hilton, Gagg pointed out some areas for improvement.

He said there needed to be “access by ramp” for the handicap which he deemed absolutely necessary. He also stated that the booths located in the upper decks of the Stadium have to be totally refurbished.

The practice fields in Shaw Park and at the Hasely Crawford had to undergo some improvement. And these fields had to be fully equipped with training materials. Despite the possibility of the games being held in September, Gagg said for rehearsal purposes, the April deadline had to be maintained.

The Fifa official said two to three matches had to played in the stadia before the tournament comes off and that the Team 2001 had to be prepared to make a good impression in the tournament’s opening game at the Hasley Crawford Stadium .

Warner was more direct.

“Mr (Camps) and Chief Oningbinde, Mr Gagg and I will not forgive you if T&T does not make it past the first round,” he stated.

Four teams have already qualified for the U-17 tournament — Japan, Oman, Iran and hosts Trinidad and Tobago.

FIFA inspector impressed with soccer facilities

By Gregory Trujillo

THE Industrial Development Bank is to become the next godfather of Trinidad and Tobago football.
With T&T currently gearing to head into the final phase of qualifying next year for the 2002 World Cup, the IDB is set to pump some US$2m into the development of the game.

The disclosure was made by Fifa vice-president Jack Warner at a media conference at the Hilton Trinidad yesterday.
The session had been called so that Walter Gagg, director of the Development Division of FIFA, could give the media details of his findings during an inspection visit of the venues for the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championships over the last couple days.

But Warner, given a chance to speak as well, also revealed that IDB officials had agreed to make the investment in the game after a meeting he had with them in Washington, USA, at the weekend. Gagg meanwhile revealed that the Hasely Crawford Stadium was the best venue of the lot. However, it still needed to be equipped with two training pitches, an access ramp for the handicapped and an additional water storage system, to get the passing grade for next year. And, after looking at all the sites - including the stadium and the venues in Tobago, Gagg said there was still some work to be done.

Gagg was high in praise of the three Tobago venues which, he said, already had dressing rooms, toilets and showers installed. He further pointed out that FIFA requires that all the venues have full modern equipment and training material. Apart from the HC Stadium, four other stadiums are being built by the Government to be used as venues for the tournament.

These are at Union Park, Marabella; Couva; Malabar, Arima; and Bacolet, Tobago. All four stadiums were visited by Gagg and he was extremely pleased with the work being done by the contractors.
"We must have these venues completed by April next year," he stressed. Sport and Youth Affairs Minister, Manohar Ramsaran, said he felt proud to hear the contractors had lived up to FIFA's expectations.

Ramsaran said one of the stadiums will be called the Ato Boldon Stadium and, next to it, will be a secondary school named after the world-rated sprinter, a double medallist at the recent Sydney Olympics.
"That school will be inviting principals to recommend students who have the aptitude for sport," Ramsaran explained.
"It will be a different secondary education where students would be able to excel in sports."
Gagg also visited TTT, the host television broadcast station for the event.

But, pointing out that 32 matches will be played with double-headers at different venues at the same time, Gagg said TTT was not yet ready to fulfill that commitment. Dates for the tournament have not been officially decided. But Warner said September 14-30 had been set aside. Confirmation will come at a FIFA meeting in Rome on December 11.

Sunday October 15th, 2000

Elcock: Not me and Mexico


WHEN the Trinidad and Tobago senior team footballers return to Mexico City next year, they will be going without Ansil Elcock. The national defender told the Sunday Express yesterday that, after receiving dozens of death threats from Mexico City on Friday, he now fears for his life.

“Within a half-day, we received over 50 calls,” he said, “most of them death threats”.

“I want no part of Mexico City!”

During last weekend’s World Cup qualifier at the Azteca Stadium which Mexico won 7-0, Elcock was ejected by the referee for a tackle on star Mexican striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco late in the second half.

Blanco left the field for treatment and returned to play before limping off again before the end of the game. The Mexican is now recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be laid up for at least six months.

The Mexican Football Association has called on Concacaf to impose an indefinite ban on Elcock, describing the (Elcock) tackle as “against every sporting principle and a blow to the philosophy of Fifa”.

They are also demanding financial compensation to cover Blanco’s medical bills.

Elcock, father of a 18-month daughter Alysha, stressed that Mexicans love football with a passion, and he believes they would not hesitate to injure or even kill anybody whom they believe wants to harm their soccer stars.

“Blanco is a real, real hero in Mexico,” he declared. “If I go back there I could be killed because there are a lot of ignorant and fanatical fans out there.”

The Mexican supporters too have reacted angrily to the news and have described the tackle as “nasty and deliberate”. And since a Mexican television reporter reached him at his home in Enterprise on Friday evening, there has been a flood of hostile calls for Elcock.

But the 30-year-old defender who plays for the Columbus Crew in the MLS, dismissed the charges as “absurd”.

“Me hurt a next man?"” he asked. “Not me!”

“I would never, never attempt to injure a brother player,” he went on. “I rushed in to get possession of the ball. When I realised that he was so close I instinctively tried to avoid crashing into him.

“If you study the replay carefully,” he added, “you would see me try to evade him. I always play clean football.”

Elcock, who plays for Columbus Crew in the MLS in the USA, said he and his teammates enjoy an excellent relationship with many of the Mexican players, including Blanco.

“Trinidadians don’t play that kind of vicious football,” he explained. “We don’t set out to put our opponents out of action."”

He said that he had personally apologised to Blanco on Mexican radio via a telephone hook-up arranged by one of the stations in Mexico City.

“I believed it was transmitted live in Mexico. I apologised to him and wished him a speedy recovery. Blanco accepted my apology. He said he knew it was an accident and had no ill feelings.”

Asked how the reporters had been able to get his number, Elcock blamed a local reporter whom he identified.

“Apparently, he passed my telephone number on to them and it was flashed across the TV screens in Mexico.”

When the hate calls kept coming and coming, Elcock took action and called Concacaf.

“I reported it to Concacaf,” he said. “They acted swiftly and had my numbers changed.

Concacaf president Jack Austin Warner, who is also a Fifa vice-president, has described the call for a six-month ban as “ridiculous”.

Warner said that since it was a World Cup match, the Fifa disciplinary committee will automatically deal with the matter.

Asked why he thought the team had lost so badly after doing so well in all its previous matches, Elcock went with the orthodoxy and blamed the high altitude.

“Remember we arrived less than 24 hours before the kick-off,” he said. “It was really, really tough out there.”

Yorke, Hislop shine in Premiership

Latapy's Hibs stuns champs

TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based professional Dwight Yorke was back in the limelight yesterday.

In one of his rare starts for Manchester United, the 28-year-old striker set up a goal for teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a 3-0 victory over Leicester City. The win put United back on top of the Premiership on goal difference over Arsenal, both teams with 28 points.

However, Yorke was not the only T&T player in the British spotlight. Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop made several brilliant saves to earn West Ham a 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town. And over in Scotland, T&T skipper Russell Latapy's Hibernian beat perennial giants Glasgow Rangers 1-0 in the Premier Division.

In England, Yorke - relegated to the bench and struggling for form so far this season - got a rare chance to show United boss Sir Alex Ferguson he was ready for the starting job with Andy Cole out due to injury. And the T&T star did not flatter to deceive.
After Teddy Sherringham had put United 2-0 up with goals in the 37th and 55th minutes, Yorke gave his Norwegian teammate a goal on a platter in injury time.

This minutes after Leicester goalkeeper Tim Flowers had denied the T&T star of his first goal of the season with a brilliant save. Hislop meanwhile came up with no fewer than two brilliant saves to keep the Hammers in the game before Paolo Di Canio came up with a late equaliser 17 minutes from time. After giving up an early goal to Ipswich's Marcus Stewart, Hislop was not beaten again.
But ladyluck was on his side as well.

After the goal, Hislop was also saved by one of his defenders - who cleared off the line with the T&T custodian beaten - and also had a ball bounce back off the post and into his hands off a shot from Jim Magilton. He eventually settled down and made two brilliant stops off efforts from Ipswich's Mark Venus and Matt Holland, the second a reflex save off a close range snap shot. He was also called upon in the second half to keep out goalward bound drives from Magilton again and Hermann Hreidarsson.

But Hislop will have to come up with more brilliant games as the Hammers are currently struggling in third to last position on the 24-team table. Over in Scotland, the "Little Magician" had a brilliant first half but was kept at bay in the second session after Rangers boss Dick Advocaat put two men on him.

Latapy had his Easter Road fans cheering almost immediately after the starting whistle when he brought out a fine one-handed save from Rangers goalkeeper Mark Brown.
The 32-year-old midfielder also saw his 18-metre drive go just wide of the mark in the 18th minute. But teammate David Zitelli brought the home side to life just four minutes later with what was the lone goal of the match.

Latapy - who has five goals so far this season - also missed a chance for his sixth. He was sent on a clear path to goal by Mathias Jack five minutes before the halftime interval but the T&T star's shot let him down as he sent the ball skywards. Hibs is now two points behind leader Celtics (28 pts) in the race for the Premier Division title. Rangers is third with 22 points.

 Edwards, Marcelle on target

TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based professionals Carlos Edwards and Clint Marcelle were on target yesterday. Edwards scored his first goal of the season for Second Division outfit Wrexham in a 4-3 win over Oxford United.

Marcelle meanwhile netted his second of the season for Hull City in Third Division action.
Edwards, who with T&T compatriot Hector Sam are in their first season in England with Wrexham, came up with the game-winner against Oxford.

The former Defence Force player made the score 4-2 in the last minute of play.
As it turned out, the goal was a life saver as Edwards also turned a shot from Steve Anthrobus into his own net in injury time. Sam, who played in T&T's 7-0 loss to Mexico last Sunday, also played in the game but was taken off after 69 minutes. Marcelle meanwhile made a big stake for a long term contract at Hull City by scoring one goal and setting up another in a 2-0 win over Halifax Town.

The former Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive player, who signed a one-month deal with Hull recently, first set up Jamaican Theodore Whitmore for Hull's opening goal after 22 minutes. He then put the icing on the cake in the 57th minute after dispossessing a Halifax defender and fired past goalie Lee Butler to give Hull only their third win of the season.

But several other T&T stars also had success yesterday. In the First Division, T&T striker Stern John's Nottingham Forest edged out Barnsley 4-3 in a goal fest. Of course John is still sidelined with injury and watched from the sidelines. T&T defender Ian Cox's Burnley also edged out Stockport 2-1.

Cox in fact set up the team's second goal for teammate Graham Branch after 26 minutes.
Burnley are now seventh on the 24-team table with 19 points while Forest (17 pts) are in ninth. Former T&T skipper Anthony Rougier's Reading meanwhile moved to second spot on the Second Division table after beating Wycome Wanderers 2-0. Rougier is still recovering from an ankle injury.

The news was not good for injured T&T midfielder Ronnie Mauge though. His Bristol Rovers lost to Northampton Town 1-0. Over in Scotland, T&T defender Marvin Andrews made his second straight start for Livingston in a 1-0 win over Morton. The victory kept them on top the First Division table on goal difference over Falkirk, both teams with 22 points.

Bring on Mexico first, says Porterfield

                 Coach wants revenge


HIS squad may have been humiliated 7-0 last weekend but Trinidad and Tobago coach IanPorterfield’s wouldn’t mind meeting the Mexicans first when the Football Confederation World Cup final qualifying round starts next March.

At a media briefing at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence yesterday, Porterfield expressed his eagerness to meet the Central Americans once more.

“ I told Jimmy (Blanc) during the game, after we were already down three goals, I told him, Jimmy I would like to come and play this team (Mexico) in our first game back in Mexico,” he stated

“I don’t think we should fear Mexico. Although I was disappointed as everyone else was resultwise, I think once we learn, improve and correct the mistakes we made, we’ll be alright,” the Scotland-born coach said.

Porterfield added it would have been great to come away with a draw or a win from that match. But both Mexico and T&T had already qualified for next year’s crucial round of matches.

Had T&T needed a point from the encounter, the coach added, the game would have been approached differently. He suggested that the loss might work in the senior team’s favour in 2001.

“People say if we had won the (Mexico) game, then it would have been easier the next time around,” he argued. “I disagree. I think it is the other way around. It would have been hard to win another game in Mexico.

“Now our guys will have to pick themselves up,” he added, “and they will rise.”

One of the major mistakes, it has been argued, was probably arriving in Mexico City just one day before the October 8 match to play at 2300m above sea level. Left exhausted by the conditions at altitude, most of the players had to receive oxygen half-way through the game—including some of those on the bench.

But Porterfield said his charges will be better prepared next time around.

“We’ll sit down, myself and Mr Chance and Mollineaux and the rest of technical staff, and we’ll speak to the medical people and try to make the best decision so we can go there and play better.”

Porterfield said one of the good points to come out of the game was the opportunity the younger players like Hector Sam, Nigel Pierre and newcomer Craig Demmin had to display their ability. The other was the first-time experience for most of the players of having played at altitude.

Porterfield would also have taken some encouragement from the fact that five of his usual starters (Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Stern John, Marvin Andrews and Anthony Rougier) were absent for varying reasons.

But the senior team is also likely to be without most of this quintet when they return to sea level for the purely academic November 15 match against Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Porterfield noted that, if he could have his way, Shaka Hislop, Ronnie Maugé, Ian Cox and Kevin Austin of Barnsley would all be in the squad for that second leg home game. The fixture was originally scheduled for Panama but Fifa vice-president Austin Jack Warner convinced football officials in that country to concede home advantage since they have no chance of qualifying for the next round.

Warner said yesterday that since Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, whose presence at the games has served the team well, couldn’t make it to Panama, he (Warner) would bring the game to the PM.

                 T&T’s fast World Cup start

Commentary by LASANA LIBURD

"CERTAINLY there is no way back for Trinidad and Tobago from here,” said a television commentator as Mexican midfielder Victor Ruiz stroked a penalty past luckless custodian Clayton Ince.

The 75th minute effort turned out to be the final item in a 7-0 rout for the home team.

The mediaman was, of course, embarrassingly late in assessing the damage being done to the visiting Trinidad and Tobago team by the Central American powerhouse.

Scotland-born T&T coach Ian Porterfield was no less culpable.

With his team trailing by four goals at the interval, Porterfield offered his hapless right back Shurland David a spot beside him on the bench. It came 25 minutes too late.

Were it a WBA match-up, the referee would certainly have stepped in long before the break to rescue David from the relentless assault of talented Mexican striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

In the post-match press conference, Porterfield related the trauma on the lungs caused by the high altitude of the Azteca Stadium and the disastrous effect on his players.

Truth be told, though, the lopsided scoreline owed more to the loss of the team’s engine room which had chosen to stay in Europe for various reasons.

Key striker Dwight Yorke was desperately trying to earn a merit badge for dedication from Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson.

Hibernian playmaker Russell Latapy along with the Britain-based quintet of Shaka Hislop, Stern John, Ian Cox, Marvin Andrews and Anthony Rougier were all similarly absent for a variety of reasons.

Under those circumstances, it would have taken a miracle for Trinidad and Tobago to earn a point, let alone repeat their July 1-0 win over the 1999 Confederation Champions.

Those in the know would tell you that Mexico is an unlikely destination for Caribbean miracles in any case.

In 1992, Gold Cup debutants Martinique were walloped 9-2 at the Azteca while Jamaica conceded six goals without reply in the 1998 World Cup qualifying series.

It is relatively early days yet in the campaign and the T&T squad would do well to remember that the race favours not the swift but those who are sure of foot.

Friday October 13th, 2000

Furious Mexicans demand ban for Trinidad defender Elcock
     MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico have demanded an indefinite ban on the Trinidad and Tobago defender they
     blame for inflicting a long-term injury on striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

     Blanco, Mexico's top player, is expected to be out of action for up to six months with a knee injury sustained
     during Sunday's 7-0 World Cup qualifying win over Trinidad, when he was tackled by Ancil Elcock.
     Elcock was sent off for the challenge, in which he appeared to lunge feet first at Blanco's right leg.
     The challenge resulted in a penalty, from which Mexico scored their final goal.

     ``This federation asks for the indefinite suspension of Ancil Elcock,´´ said the Mexican Football Federation (FMF)
     in a statement sent to the North and Central American Football Confederation (CONCACAF).
     ``The FMF expresses its indignation and sadness at the brutal aggression suffered by Cuauhtemoc Blanco on the
     part of Ancil Elcock and the Trinidad and Tobago team.

     ``This deed goes against every sporting prinicple and is a blow to the philosophy of FIFA.´´
     The letter was addressed to CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who is from Trinidad, and also demanded
     financial compensation to pay for Blanco's medical bills.

     Mexico and Trinidad will meet twice more in the World Cup qualifiers next year.
     Both have already made sure of their places in the six-team final round of the qualifying tournament.

Yorke hits the big screen

 TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based professional Dwight Yorke is now a movie star. The 28-year-old Manchester United striker made his big movie debut last night when a film based on the club, "Manchester United - Beyond the Promise Land", premiered in England.

 The feature-length documentary takes a look at life behind the scenes at Old Trafford and goes on general release at cinemas in Manchester and Dublin today.  Naturally, Yorke - now in his third season at the club - and several of his teammates are the stars of the show.

 The film comes a season and a half after United had its treble-winning season with the English Premier League, FA and Champions League titles during its 1998/99 campaign, a feat which probably spurred the movie idea in the first place.

 The audience at last night's premier paid £150 a head to be present at the film's first viewing, which was screened at the UCI cinema in Manchester's Trafford Centre.

 Afterwards the guests and players attended a VIP film party with all proceeds from the event going to the "United for UNICEF" Appeal.

Wednesday October 11th, 2000

Why we lost to Mexico

THE 24-hour plan did not work.

That is the main reason advanced for the T&T football team’s 7-0 loss to Mexico last Sunday.

The players arrived in Mexico City just one day before the World Cup semifinal qualifying match and could not adjust to the altitude in Mexico. They had to be given oxygen and were exhausted before half-time.

Team manager Neville Chance, who returned with the team late Monday night, said, “The players had to receive oxygen after the warm-up and before the match, during the break and after the game from tanks of oxygen we had purchased in Mexico.”

He added, “The effect of the altitude was such that it was felt by the technical staff and, in some instances, they had to receive oxygen too.”

The Angus Eve-led squad arrived in Mexico on Saturday for the match the following day in the Azteca Stadium, which is some 2,300 metres above sea level.

But Chance defended the TTFF’s decision to fly in so close to the game, saying that it was based on information received from experts in the field and also on the significance of the match.

The TTFF wanted to save hotel expenses.

“We felt it would be cost-effective for us not to utilise our resources for this game since winning was not the important thing as we had already qualified,” he said. “We felt it would be more cost-effective to use our resources when we’re playing them in the next round when it will be more important.”

He said that the TTFF had got a medical view from the team doctor Dr Calvin Inalsingh, who had reported that the research on altitude was still inconclusive.

Chance said that the advice from some “experts in sports medicine” was that “two to three weeks” before a game was the best time to arrive. Others disagreed, recommending “17 or ten days” and yet others “24 hours before the game”.

Chance said, “We examined all the pros and cons.” He added that “consideration should be given to the social and economic situation of a country”.

“Besides,” he concluded, “we’ll need all our resources for next year’s final round.”

A performance consultant, Anthony Watkins, also went along with the team to motivate the footballers before and after the match.

In spite of all that, the T&T team manager conceded that the 24-hour plan had not worked in their favour.

“We recognise now that we have gone there and experienced first-hand that we need to put some thing in place for acclimatisation next year.”

Before the game, both T&T and Mexico were already qualified for next year’s World Cup final qualifying round.

Four other teams will advance to that crucial competition and only the top three will move on to Japan and Korea in 2002.

T&T’s last match in the semifinal round was originally scheduled for November 15 against Panama in Panama.

But perhaps to the relief of coach Ian Porterfield, that match will probably be played in Port of Spain instead.

Fifa vice-president Austin Jack Warner said he has negotiated with the Panama Football Federation to have Panama concede their home advantage since the Panamanians have no chance of making it past this round.

Panday good luck charm against Panama - Warner

 THE Panama versus Trinidad and Tobago World Cup Concacaf qualifying football match will be played in Port-of-Spain on November 15, with the presence of Prime Minister Basdeo Panday as a good luck charm.

 FIFA vice president Austin Jack Warner revealed on a UNC political platform in Fyzabad on Monday night, that he had brokered an arrangement with Panamanian football officials to have the match played in Trinidad. And, he said, to ensure victory, Prime Minister Basdeo Panday must attend.

 The match was scheduled to be played in Panama City, since the first game was held in Port-of-Spain. The T&T team trounced the Panamanians 6-0 before the home crowd.

 However, Warner said every time Panday missed a football match, Trinidad and Tobago lost. He referred to last Sunday's game, when Mexico trashed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 in the return leg of the World Cup Concacaf semi-final at the Azteca Stadium as an example.

 Jack said to avoid further humiliation, he decided to get the game shifted so the magic of Panday would be around.

 Stating he had just returned from Mexico in order to attend the UNC meeting at Charlie King Junction, Warner said: "I begged the Prime Minister to go with me (to Mexico). He said he can't make it - and we get seven (goals) in we backside.

 "Is true we went with a 'B' team, but we get seven and it's true. Every time we play a match and he eh go, we lose. So you know what happen? I call Panama and I say, 'Panama, the game you have to play in Panama on November 15, I want you to bring it here,' and Panama say yes." At this point, he turned to Panday who was seated on the platform and told him:
 "So Mr Panday, on the 15th of November, we bringing Panama here, so give us our seven. We can't play without you. We need you.

T&T learns Mexico lesson

 Chance: We'll be ready next time


 Mexico will not get another chance to humiliate Trinidad and Tobago. This was the word from T&T team administrator Neville Chance yesterday as he looked back on the country's 7-0 loss to the Mexicans in last Sunday's 2002 World Cup return-leg clash in Mexico City.

 Chance was the lone top team official here yesterday with T&T coach Ian Porterfield and his second in command, Jimmy Blanc, having gone to scout on the United States and Costa Rica.

 Tagging Sunday's effort as a "learning experience," Chance said they would do everything in their power to ensure a positive result against the Mexicans come next year when the two teams meet again in Mexico City during the final round of qualifying. "This won't happen next year when it really matters," Chance said yesterday.

 "We basically took notes from the time we touched down in Mexico to the time we left. We will now compile detailed reports which we will discuss at a technical meeting soon and then come up with a plan to ensure that we will be better prepared next time around." The high altitude in Mexico, which is 2,240 metres above sea level, is the main concern for all teams visiting there.

 After weighing up the many options at countering this available to them, T&T decided that going in the day before the game was the best option. Chance pointed out, though, that they took this approach because they had already secured a berth in the next round of the competition. "We began analysing this thing since September 9," Chance said.

 "And we realised that to undertake this thing (Mexico game) properly, in terms of acclimatising, would have taken a huge chunk of our financial resources. But we felt this money would be better used next year when we really needed a result." He added: "Of course, the margin of the defeat is something we could not have prepared for but everything we encountered in Mexico is going to inform us for the task we will have next year." Still, Chance explained that the conditions severely affected the players
 physically during the game.

 "The high altitude did have a negative impact on the players. We had bought masks and tanks going there to apply oxygen to the players before, at halftime and after the game, but even that did not help much. "Basically the depletion of oxygen in the players' blood left them physically exhausted and we were always two to three steps behind the Mexicans."

 If fact, according to Chance, the conditions were so bad that even members of the technical staff needed oxygen during the game. But Chance explained that next year, with a game against Costa Rica ­ another country at high altitude - also on the cards, they would be taking all the necessary steps to ensure that T&T is at its best. Of course, the team will also be up to full strength then as well.

Monday October 9th, 2000

T&T crushed

The Trinidad and Tobago national team lost there World Cup qualifier to Mexico 7-0. It was there first lost in the semi-final round.

T&T's next game will be versus Panama in November in Panama City.

Sunday October 8th, 2000

T&T look to earn one point


CAN Trinidad and Tobago, without several key players, maintain their unbeaten record after today’s World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium?

That is the 64,000-peso question as Ian Porterfield and his fairly inexperienced squad put their record on the line against the vengeance-seeking Central Americans.

Hopeful that his youthful side can at least salvage a point against a side they shocked 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in the first round tie in mid-July, coach Porterfield may be tempted to aswer in the affirmative. But Porterfield’s optimism must be tempered by the fact that he will be without the services of national skipper Russell Latapy whose 86th minute goal was the difference between the two sides two months ago.

But the Hibernian midfielder, detained in Scotland by delicate contract negotiations with his Scottish Premier Division club, will not be the only vital player missing from the line-up in Mexico City today.

Star Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, who has contributed four of the 13 goals the team has so far scored in this 2002 qualifying campaign, has opted to remain with his Premiership club where he is struggling to regain a starting place on the first team. Stern John, his striking partner in the last game which T&T won 4-0 against Canada at the Queen's Park Oval is also out of today's action, manager David Platt judging his presence too important for struggling English First Division side Nottingham
Forest to go without him this weekend.

Finally, Porterfield’s defensive arrangements are also going to need some adjustment in the absence of sweeper Marvin Andrews. He, along with partner Dennis Lawrence, has brought a new decisiveness and solidity at the back. But a totally undeserved red card late in the Canada game has left him out of the action today.

Still, to hear Porterfield tell it, the absence of these key players might just favour a positive result for T&T. The Scotland-born coach feels that the youngsters who have been given a chance by the unavailability of the stars might just rise to the occasion and perform in a way that would make all T&T proud.

Before the team flew out for the match via Miami yesterday, Porterfield reiterated that the team is capable of victory.

“We want to win and keep our record intact,” he said. “And it is a good chance for the younger players like (Hector) Sam, (Craig) Demmin, (Avery) John and (Lyndon) Andrews to display their quality.”

Porterfield’s only real concern, he said, is how his players will adjust to the demands of playing in a city which is at altitude.

“We are no experts at playing at altitude,” he warned. “I don’t have a lot of experience at altitude but we did get a medical team to check it out.”

It is perhaps as a result of advice he received when he “checked it out” that the coach has decided to have his team arrive in the Mexican capital just 24 hours before the start of the match.

Whatever the conditions, one player more than likely to step up and play a crucial role today is Joe Public skipper Angus Eve.

Mexico are expected to be at full strength for the encounter in which anything but a convincing win would be a disappointment for the home fans. There was much negative reaction in the press when Mexico lost the first round game in Port of Spain in July. So international striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who plays in Spain, Luis Hernandez of the MLS and flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos are all called up for today’s game the result of which is purely academic in terms of qualification for the next

T&T squad

Angus Eve (Capt), Craig Demmin, Brent Sancho, Hector Sam, Arnold Dwarika, Stokely Mason, Shurland David, Nigel Pierre, Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Lyndon Andrews, Dale Saunders, Ralston James, Jerren Nixon, Ansil Elcock, Avery John, Reynold Carrington, Dennis Lawrence.

T&T goes for victory again

 Eve leads troops vs Mexico

 STAND-in Trinidad and Tobago skipper Angus Eve and his teammates will be going all out to keep their 100 percent record in the 2002 World Cup qualifying series intact today.

 But to do this, they will have the Herculean task of stopping Mexico on their own home turf at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City from 1 pm. (T&T time). But, as large as this task may seem, it is one they intend to undertake to the best of their ability according to T&T coach Ian Porterfield.

 "We want to win," Porterfield told the Sunday Guardian on eve of the game. "We want a good performance and we want to keep our record intact." T&T currently leads Group C with a maximum 12 points from four matches. The Mexicans are second, three points adrift, with their only blemish - a 1-0 loss - coming against T&T in the first round.

 But both teams have long qualified for next year's final phase of competition. Today's game is, therefore, a mere stepping stone for next year's race for the three places in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea. While victory is not a necessity, it will surely give the winner a psychological foothold going into next year's six-team battle. The Mexicans have given themselves
 the best chance of success by naming a powerful squad.

 T&T meanwhile will be without the services of Scotland-based skipper Russell Latapy (Hibernian), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United), Stern John (Nottingham Forest), Anthony Rougier (Reading) and Marvin Andrews (Livingston), all first team starters.

Realistically then, the Mexicans - also with the home advantage - should have the edge. "Five players will be missing from the last game but we've had that often," Porterfield said of the situation.

 "Obviously, the quality of the opposition's not been as good as Mexico in the past, but our guys are ready for the game and it'll be good experience for the ones who come in." Eve's side may also find it hard playing at the high altitude at the Azteca

 To counter this, Porterfield said the technical staff - after much investigating - agreed that going into Mexico just 24 hours before the game was the best approach. "Its an experiment ," he said adding, "We'll see how it works and after the game, obviously, we'll be able to assess the good points and if there's any bad points for when we go back to Mexico next

 He added: "But we've got to be sensible as well because we know we're gonna have another two games against Mexico next year." Eve's side could feature US-based defender Craig Demmin, who is being looked at for the first time by Porterfield. He should replace (M) Andrews. Arnold Dwarika is also expected to return to the starting XI while Lyndon Andrews should
 get Latapy's midfield duty.

 The Scotland-born coach was also hoping that some of the younger players will prove their worth and battle for squad places next year. Porterfield was a little disappointed with the squad's preparation though, pointing out that the Professional Football League had disrupted the team's training schedule during the week.

 Several members of the squad had to represent their PFL clubs up to Tuesday. He added, though, that they had handled the hiccup in the best way possible. Their 5-0 warm-up victory against a Tobago XI on Thursday also served them well.
 "It (Tobago game) was a good exercise and, in general, it was an excellent performance from all the players.

 "Their attitude and approach to the game was fantastic and if we can carry that into the game on Sunday (today) that would be nice because it would be wonderful if we could come back with a good result from the Azteca stadium." Possible starting XI: Clayton Ince, Ansil Elcock, Dennis Lawrence, Craig Demmin, Shurland David, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Lyndon Andrews, Stokely Mason, Arnold Dwarika, Jerren Nixon.

Armband for Angus Eve


SCOTLAND based professional Russell Latapy will take no part in this weekend's 2002 World Cup return leg clash against Mexico.

     In his place, former England-based midfielder Angus Eve will lead Trinidad and Tobago into battle at the Azteca
     Stadium in Mexico City. With the likes of Latapy (Hibernian) and Dwight Yorke (Manchester United) absent this
     weekend, Eve was T&T coach Ian Porterfield's automatic choice as stand-in skipper yesterday.

     The Scotland-born coach made the announcement following the team's final training session at St Anthony's
     College Ground, West Moorings. "For the Mexico game, Angus will captain the team. He's done very well for me
     in most games and he will lead the team," Porterfield said. Eve is no stranger to this position. He has led several
     sides at youth level before but this is his first jaunt at the senior level. Naturally, he was elated to get the chance.

     "To be the captain of your national team is always a great honour. I've been captain a couple times before but I've
     never been the captain at this level , so it's a great honour."
     Apart from Latapy - who scored the lone goal in the 1-0 first leg triumph here - and Yorke, England-based striker
     Stern John (Nottingham Forest) and Anthony Rougier are both out with injuries while Scotland-based defender
     Marvin Andrews will be absent while serving a one-match suspension. All of them are members of the starting XI.
     Yet, despite this setback, Eve says his side is quietly confident.

     "We go into this game with a positive attitude just as we did in the first leg," he said.
     "We had a positive attitude then, worked hard and we attained the victory that we wanted. Going there (Mexico),
     we'll be a little bit more cautious, but we're still being positive looking for the victory." Adding that the absence of
     the more seasoned men allows some of the younger players to prove their worth, Eve said the team's main focus
     now was next year's drive in the final phase of qualifying.

     "But we'd still love to go on top into the other phase. So some of the other guys are getting an opportunity to be in
     that final 22 for next year." The Mexicans, coached by new man Enrique Meza, have named a powerful squad.
     And asked how they plan to cope with this as well as what is expected to be a hostile crowd Eve said: "It's always
     difficult playing away from home because the crowd support is always going to be for the other side.

     "Mexico is also a very hostile place to play in. But again we've been doing some work mentally and, physically, we
     feel all right so hopefully we'll come through."
     Eve led his troops during yesterday's training session under pouring rain at one stage. The session was light one
     though, with Porterfield concentrating mostly on set plays.
     The squad leaves for Mexico City this morning at 8.09. Tomorrow's game kicks off at 1 pm and the team returns
     Monday night.

     T&T squad: Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Ansil Elcock, Avery John, Shurland David, Craig Demmin, Brent
     Sancho, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Lyndon Andrews, Dale Saunders, Stokely Mason,
     Arnold Dwarika, Jerren Nixon, Hector Sam, Nigel Pierre, Rolston James.

Winning start for T&T's Andrews

     By Irving Ward

     Trinidad and Tobago’s Scotland-based professional Marvin Andrews made a winning start to his career at
     Livingston today.

     The talented defender commandeered the Livingston defence for the full 90 minutes during a 3-1 win over Ross
     County as action in the First Division continued.

     Victory helped Livingston maintain its lead atop the table on goal differential over Falkirk, both teams with 19
     points each. Ayr are third with 18 points.

     Andrews was transferred to Livingston two weeks ago by cash-strapped First Division rivals Raith Rovers.

     He only got his new work permit on Thursday.

     Andrews was ruled out of tomorrow’s Football Confederation Zone 2002 World Cup return leg Group C clash
     against Mexico because he will be serving a one-match suspension having been sent off in T&T’s last match
     against Canada on September 3.

Friday October 6th, 2000

A Latapy surprise?

REPORTS out of Scotland yesterday said Trinidad and Tobago captain Russell Latapy will join his national teammates in Mexico for Sunday's World Cup qualifier at the Azteca Stadium. However, neither T&T manager Neville Chance nor Football Federation president Oliver Camps could confirm this.

Last month, the "Little Magician" was given the all clear to play in Sunday's game but over the last week pulled out because of business commitments and was given the okay to miss the game by local officials. However, a report in the Daily Scotsman yesterday said Latapy was prepared to help T&T maintain their 100 per cent record in the semi-final round of the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup qualifying tournament.

"We have worked hard to qualify for the World Cup Finals and we intend to keep our 100% record in the qualifying games. "We enjoyed our win over St Johnstone on Saturday as they had become a jinx team for us, and now I can look forward to representing my country again, which is always special for me," Latapy was quoted as saying.

The report added: "And he immediately began making plans for the Soca Warriors clash with Mexico in the Aztec Stadium this weekend, a game he'd dearly love to win to keep T&T's 100 per cent record intact even though they have already made it through to the final qualifying stage on their marathon march to the World Cup Finals. But Latapy admitted the eight-hour flight home will be all the easier to make with Hibs currently sitting second in the SPL.

"He (Latapy) said: 'It's a nice way to be going home'." Camps said there was still no change in word from Latapy up to last night, adding, "If he does turn up to play the game, that will definitely be a surprise." In the meantime, the local side, under national coach Ian Porterfield, was in Tobago yesterday preparing for Sunday's game. They will hold a final training session today.

A release from Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation communications officer Shaun Fuentes said the 18-man squad will depart for Mexico via Miami Sunday morning on flight AA 1818. They are scheduled to arrive in Mexico on AA 2177 just before 4 pm tomorrow. Following Sunday's game, T&T will return home Monday evening.

The release said the draw for the final qualifying will be held November 19 in Guatemala City, as the CONCACAF executive committee meets in Guatemala. The final round will consist of the six teams advancing from the semifinal round playing in a single group, each playing the other home and away. The top three teams will advance to the World Cup Finals in Korea and Japan in 2002.

The six teams reaching the final round will be drawn to positions in a schedule for the entire final round. The first of the 10 rounds of matches will take place early in 2001 likely to be around late February, ending before the World Cup draw in December. T&T, Mexico and Jamaica - have already secured berths in the final round. Honduras is one point away, while Costa Rica and the United States look likely to fill the next two spots.

T&T squad: Craig Demmin, Brent Sancho, Hector Sam, Arnold Dwarika, Stokely Mason, Shurland David, Nigel Pierre, Clayton Ince, Ross Russell, Lyndon Andrews, Dale Saunders, Ralston James, Jerren Nixon, Ancil Elcock, Avery John, Angus Eve, Reynold Carrington and Dennis Lawrence. Technical staff - Ian Porterfield (coach), Neville Chance (Team manager), Neil Mollineau (assistant manager), Michael Maurice, Clayton Morris, Jimmy Blanc (assistant coaches), Wayne Lawson (physiotherapist), Anthony Watkins (psychologist), Dr Calvin Inalsingh (team doctor), Ikin Williams (equipment manager).

Work permit for Andrews

TRINIDAD and Tobago's Scotland-based professional, Marvin Andrews, is set to make his debut for First Division outfit Livingston this weekend. This after the tall defender received his new work permit from the Scottish Home Office on Wednesday.

Andrews was sold to Livingston by fellow First Division campaigners Raith Rovers two weeks ago. Rovers, strapped for cash and contemplating turning back to a semi-pro outfit next season, also sold off two other players-Steve Tosh and Alex Burns- along with Andrews to Livingston.

Andrews will make his debut against Ross County tomorrow. Livingston manager explained earlier this week that he had had a long look at Andrews and the other players. "We have been looking at these players for some time now and they will add further competition to the squad," he said.

Andrews, in his third season in Scotland, had been seeking to move to another club during the off-season. But these efforts yielded no fruit and he returned to Raith. He will miss this weekend's 2002 World Cup return leg clash against Mexico while serving a one-match suspension, having been sent off in the team's last match against Canada on September 3.

Thursday October 5th, 2000

Mexicans attacking with full force

WHILE Trinidad and Tobago coach Ian Porterfield will have to do without the services of a few of his top players, new Mexican  coach Enrique Meza will have no such problem.

Trinidad and Tobago are expected to face a Meza-coached team that should have a full compliment of national players for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago at 1pm T&T time.

Despite already qualifying for next year’s final qualifying round along with T&T, the Mexican Federation had foreseen the importance of the game for the Mexican team and before the current season started had set a “pause” in the schedule of games of the Torneo Invierno, their domestic competition.

Back in July Trinidad and Tobago defeated them 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. But with the all-important Football Confederation final qualifying round taking place next year, the Mexicans will be wanting to send a message to Trinbagonians at the Azteca Stadium.

For the game, Meza has called up forwards Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Spain’s Real de Valladolid) and Luis Hernandez (MLS Los Angeles Galaxy) and goalkeeper Jorge Campos (Atlante). Defender Rafael Marquez (Monaco, France), however, was left out.

Porterfield, though, will not have Russell Latapy, Stern John and Dwight Yorke at his disposal.

Both Yorke and John were reported to have reached a “mutual agreement” with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association to miss the Mexico encounter.

Porterfield had expressed a willingness to allow some of the foreign-based players to sit out the Mexico game had they won the game against Canada last month. T&T whipped the Canadians 4-0 in that match.

The “Little Magician” who had been first rumoured to be excluded from the squad to Mexico was then named in it some two weeks ago. But on Monday, “Latas” was again out of the squad because a last-minute emergency popped up.

That emergency seemed to be negotiations with his club Hibernian to have his contract extended until the end of his career

Hibs boss Alex Mc Leish revealed at the club’s AGM earlier this week his plan to sign the “Little Magician” to a long-term at the end of his current one-year contract.

Latapy’s team-mate Lyndon “Chubby” Andrews (Hibernians), however, is among several other T&T internationals making the trip to Mexico.

The others include Hector Sam (Wrexham), Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexan-dre), Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon (St Gallen), and Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew).

T&T will leave for Tobago today to face a Tobago XI in a warm up game in the afternoon. They will then return for a session at the Queen’s Park Oval tomorrow before leaving for Mexico on Saturday morning  at 8.16 am on flight AA 1818. They arrive at Miami and then depart for Mexico on flight AA 2177 at 1.35 pm  arriving there  at 3.53 pm.

Meanwhile the draw for the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA 2002 World Cup will be held on November 19th in Guatemala City, as the CONCACAF Executive Committee meets in Guatemala.

The final round will consist of the six teams advancing from the semifinal round playing in a single group, each playing the other home and away. The top three teams will advance to the World Cup finals in Korea and Japan in 2002.

The six teams reaching the final round will be drawn to positions in a schedule for the entire final round. The first of the 10 rounds of matches will take place early in 2001 likely to be around late February, ending before the World Cup draw in December.

T&T, Mexico and Jamaica have already secured berths in the Final Round. Hon-duras is one point away, while Costa Rica and the United States  look likely to fill the next two spots, with the fifth matchday in the Semifinal Round set for 8-11 October.

Villa still home for Dwight

 By shaun Fuentes

 ASTON Villa manager John Gregory said last week that he still will not apologise for the controversial remark that he would have shot Dwight Yorke if he possessed a gun when the striker signed for Manchester United in 1998.

 Gregory was speaking to the Daily Mirror in light of Yorke's dismal run for the Premiership champions this season. There were also rumours on the weekend in the English press that Villa may be interested in Yorke again after club chairman Doug Ellis maintained he would warmly welcome the striker's return.

 "There are no apologies from me about that gun remark. That's what I thought at the time. I was so angry. It became personal in the end with me accusing Dwight of suggesting that Aston Villa were not good enough for him," said Gregory. Yorke told The Sun newspaper on the weekend that he desperately wants a spot at United again as it is the only club he wants to play for at the moment.

 This season the 28-year-old Tobago born striker has played only 160 minutes, making one starting appearance and three off the bench including one in Sunday's 0-1 loss to Arsenal. Yorke's form has been the topic of debate in the English newspapers.

 A Sunday Mirror headline read "Whatever happened to Dwight Yorke?" The story stated: "Yorke outscored Cole (Andy) in each of his first two seasons at Old Trafford, proving exactly why Ferguson's patient and persistent attempts to lure him from the Midlands on a five-year contract were rated so important."

 Yorke's fans will surely be hoping he quickly rediscovers the form which made him a favourite at Old Trafford in his past two seasons there.He has been allowed to miss T&T's next two World Cup qualifying matches and is not expected to wear a national jersey in competition until the final qualifying round starts in February.

 Rougier returns

 Reading manager Alan Pardew is hoping to have the services of defender Anthony Rougier for his side's Second Division fixture against Wycombe Wanderers next week.

 Rougier has been out for the past month with an ankle injury and will also miss the World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Sunday.

 The former Hibernian winger has been one of the main strikers at Reading since leaving Port Vale earlier this year but has been forced to watch from the stands since the injury which occurred shortly before T&T's 4-0 win over Canada last month.

 Latapy has five

 Russell Latapy's Hibernian continued to keep up the pressure on Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic with a comprehensive 3-0 win over St Johnstone on Saturday.

 Latapy and midfielder Lyndon Andrews were part of the action. The latter came on in the 70th minute for German midfielder Mathias Jack.

 Latapy scored his fifth goal of the season and his fourth in five matches.He is the third leading scorer for Hibs this season behind strikers Mixu Pataalainen (seven) and Tom McManus (six). Hibs (23 points) are in second spot after 10 matches, two points behind leaders Celtic who have a game in hand.

 Marcelle to sign

 Hull City manager Brian Little said on the weekend that he will offer Clint Marcelle a contract with the English Third Division side later this week.

 Marcelle, formerly of Barnsley, has impressed in a one-month short-term contract since last month and indicated he was keen on remaining at the club. Little is also keen on the 32-year-old player remaining at Boothferry Park.

 "Clint has done well and wants to stay and we're thinking along the same lines. Hopefully we can get something sorted out. Just what that may be, we'll just have to wait and see. But I do want him to stay with us," said Little. Marcelle was left on the bench during City's 2-0 win over Cardiff in Third Division action on Saturday. He scored in a 1-1 draw with Barnet's Underhill two weekends ago.

 Sam gets a chance

 Wrexham boss Bryan Flynn said on the weekend that he was pleased that striker Hector Sam will play for T&T in Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Mexico. He is also happy that midfielder Carlos Edwards has been allowed to miss the match.

 Edwards had been in the T&T side in each of their qualifiers since moving to Wrexham but Sam had not been called up until late last month The former CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh and Queen's Royal striker was forced to miss his club's match against Carmathen yesterday.

 "I spoke to Ian Porterfield about the situation and he's now agreed to leave Carlos out of the squad - but he wants Hector. I'm pleased for Carlos because it means he hasn't got to fly across the Atlantic again and back. More critically, playing at high altitude levels, as you have to in Mexico, means you have to have proper preparation. Sam has netted seven goals
 for Wrexham this season.

Shaun Fuentes is the Communications Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

Wednesday October 4th, 2000

Pros no Cons
Chronicling the exploits of foreign-based players


                             Scottish switch for Andrews

MARVIN "DOG" ANDREWS is quickly learning about the vagaries of the professional life.

One week, the national team stopper was scoring goals and keeping out the opposition for Scottish First Division team Raith Rovers. The next, he was being off-loaded to another club!

The fans at Raith are upset over the cash-strapped club’s selling of Andrews, skipper Alex Burns and Steve Tosh to division rivals Livingston. The selling of the trio for an undisclosed fee even caught manager Peter Hetherston by surprise.

According to reports out of Scotland, Andrews and his colleagues knew nothing about the move until they arrived at training last week.

The shock decision comes at a time when Andrews seemed to be entrenching himself in the Raith team.

The big man, ruled out of this weekend’s World Cup semifinal qualifying round match against Mexico by red card trouble, must now adjust to life with a different outfit.

Recently, though, Andrews scored a double against the club he’s just joined.

And the Livingston folk will be hoping that their new acquisition can continue to be productive both at the back and the front. And soon rise to become their top dog.

                     ‘Chubby’ in action for Hibs

He played for just about 30 minutes. But Lyndon “Chubby” Andrews will see that as success.

Andrews, the Trinidad and Tobago midfielder who recently joined Russell Latapy at Scottish Premier League team Hibernian, made his first league appearance for the club last weekend in the 3-0 away win over St Johnstone.

The win made Hibs temporary leaders before Celtic regained the lead on Sunday with a draw.

But on Saturday, Andrews had the chance to work with his national skipper Russell Latapy in club action.

Latapy was again a significant contributor.

While Frenchmen Frank Sauzée and David Zitelli got the first two goals, Latapy added the third.

First, “Latas” played a one-two with Zitelli before the Frenchman scored with a lobbed effort. Then late in the second half, Latapy found the net, pulling Canadian defender Nick Dasovic all over the place before curling a left-footed effort past the St Mirren goalkeeper.

T&T will be without that expertise this weekend, though, since an “emergency” has made Latapy unavailable for the World Cup trip to Mexico.

                       More pressure for Yorke

IF Dwight Yorke is the suspicious type, he might now be checking for funny-looking things around his house or begging the forgiveness of those he may have recently offended.

The ball certainly is not running for the Trinidad and Tobago striker.

Already struggling to regain a spot in Manchester United’s first team, Yorke was put in further agony on Monday when he limped off injured after an hour in a reserve team match against Liverpool.

The setback is the latest in a tale of woe that has seen the ever-smiling Yorke reduced to an anxious, edgy pro.

“It has been a bad time for me because you see players at other clubs who get in the same situation and it just escalates until they leave,” Yorke said last week.

“I never wanted that to happen and, in truth, I did not believe it would. But when you have had the last few weeks that I’ve had your mind can be in a whirl.”

Yorke certainly did not appear to be thinking straight when he absented himself from Old Trafford just before United’s English Premier League game with Chelsea and just after he had been told by manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he would not be in the squad for the match.

“I do not think I have ever felt so low in my career,” he said.

“I got up hoping to be involved in the Chelsea game, I expected a place on the bench at least.

“When I was left out altogether I put my point of view forward and the manager told me his reasoning.

“I went home because I thought that it would be the best way for me to cope with the situation.

“I could not have handled being sat up in the stand watching the game.

“Looking back I know I should have stayed and the manager certainly made it clear to me the next day in training.”

Seeking to explain his thoughts further, Yorke added: “It was the first time I had not been involved in a squad when I’ve been fit, it hurt and it was hard to take.”

                            Nixon still sailing with St Gallen

JERREN NIXON and his Swiss First Division side St Gallen had played well enough in London when they lost their UEFA Cup first-leg tie against Chelsea 1-0.

But Nixon and his mates were the toast of Switzerland last week when they stopped the multi-national English Premier League team 2-0 to advance to the next round.

Sascha Mueller and Charles Amoah struck in the first half to turn a 1-0 first-leg deficit into a 2-1 winning scoreline for the Swiss champions.

Chelsea, despite getting close on a few occasions, were unable to snatch the vital away goal.

The latest success is just adding to the relatively good time the T&T player has been having with his new team.

A regular starter, Nixon has also be part of St Gallen’s Swiss championship defence. The club is currently fourth in the standings, four points behind leaders Lugano.

                     Stern times continue at Notts

NOTTINGHAM Forest and their manager David Platt are having a frustrating season so far. And things have been no better for striker Stern John.

The Trinidad and Tobago international, who had a second knee operation this year, is still not one hundred per cent fit.

According to reports out of England, John was not included in Forest’s squad for the First Division weekend match because of lingering knee trouble.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation have also agreed not to insist on having the player return for Sunday’s match in Mexico.

Platt, still under pressure as hopes of promotion to the Premiership slip away, will be keen to have his MLS signing fit and available for selection again.

                No clean sheet for Shaka

THE previous week, goalkeeper Shaka Hislop managed to keep a clean sheet and see his West Ham side record their first win of the English Premier League season.

But last Saturday, Hislop had the frustrating experience of having to pick the ball out of the net on the stroke of full time in a 1-1 home draw with Bradford City.

The Hammers still have not won at home this season. And while he would have been disappointed with conceding such a late goal, Hislop would not have been unhappy with his overall performance.

The Trinidad and Tobago custodian was able to make a save from a one-on-one situation with a Bradford attacker and then later he held on to a long-range freekick by Benito Carbone.

Hislop’s next league test will come on October 14 against Ispwich.

With this latest injury setback, Yorke might well need to exercise even more patience.

Yorke demoted

 By IRVING WARD · Assistant Sports Editor

 THE career of Trinidad and Tobago's England-based professional Dwight Yorke has hit an all-time low.

 The 28-year-old Manchester United star, currently in the midst of a stormy period at Old Trafford, now has been demoted to the reserve team by club boss, Sir Alex Ferguson.

 Yorke, who has been fined £85,000 (T&T780,000) over the last month for various misdemeanours, found himself in the United reserves on Monday night against Liverpool.

 To make matters worse, the T&T star - having already had his pride dented - limped off the field after an hour, with an ankle injury which may yet sideline him for another long period. United went on to lose the game 4-2. A £12.6m signing by Ferguson in 1998, Yorke had been relegated to the United bench this season. In fact, now, having led the team in scoring over the previous two campaigns, Yorke has been tagged a United bad boy this season by the English press, for his off-field actions.

 Yorke's beleaguered season took a turn for the worse last month, when he was fined £30,000 by Ferguson after returning to Old Trafford late, following T&T's 4-0 World Cup win over Canada here on September 3. It got no better, though, as he was then fined £55,000 for storming out of Old Trafford two Saturdays ago after Ferguson left him out of the squad for a big Premiership clash against Chelsea.

 Amid rumours that Ferguson may be contemplating selling him, Yorke admitted to The Sun newspaper at the weekend that he had not been handling the pressure well, but wanted to stay at the club. "If Manchester United ever wanted to get rid of me it would break my heart. I could not play for another club except this one. It's as simple as that," he said.

 Yorke could have felt no better on Monday morning, when he awoke to news that United's profits had dipped by 25 per cent, the result of soaring player salaries and the money lost last season after the club opted out of the FA Cup series. Then came his demotion Monday night.

Hibs wants 'Latas' for life


 IF Hibernian boss Alex McLiesh has his way, Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy will end his playing days in Scotland.

 Word out of Scotland yesterday was that McLeish is currently preparing to make the 32-year-old midfielder a contract offer which will keep him at the Edinburgh club until the end of his professional career.

 McLeish, who has made no bones about his love for the "Little Magician", revealed his plan to sign the T&T star up to a long term deal at the club's annual general meeting Monday night. Speaking afterwards, McLiesh explained the reason behind the decision: "I've already told him (Latapy) I want him to stay," McLiesh told reporters.

 "We know what he can do and we certainly don't want to lose him, as that would make things more difficult for us." A release from Hibs yesterday also backed up this statement. "McLeish confirmed that, like the fans, he very much wants Russell (Latapy) to stay and hopes that the Trinidad and Tobago international's negotiations with Managing Director Rod Petrie will
 ensure that he does."

 In fact, it is because of the pending negotiations with the Hibs hierarchy that Latapy had asked the T&T management to excuse him from this weekend's 2002 World Cup return-leg clash against Mexico.

 But Hibs knows it will have to come good to secure the former Strike Squad player's signature on any long term deal. The former Portugal-based star is in the final year of his Hibs contract. He joined it in 1998 while it was in the First Division and helped it gain promotion to the Premier League last season. He signed a one-year extension last season and is again an instrumental part of the team this year.

 He has scored five goals so far this season but his performances have attracted the attention of several clubs, including English outfits Ipswich Town, Leicester City and Manchester City. Quizzed as to whether Hibs had received any new offers for Latapy, McLeish answered in the negative. And now, the Hibs boss will seek to keep the competitors off his back for good by securing Latapy's signature on the dotted line.

Sunday October 1st, 2000

Yorke singing the blues

 T&T ace afraid United will sell him

 TRINIDAD and Tobago's England-based professional Dwight Yorke is  singing the blues. This because the 28-year-old striker is now fearful his days at Old Trafford may be numbered. "If Manchester United ever wanted to get rid of me it would break my heart," Yorke said in an interview published in The Sun newspapers yesterday.

 "I could not play for another club except this one, it's as simple as that." Yorke is undoubtedly in the midst of a very stormy period in his Manchester career.

 He has been in the United doghouse since the start of the season having lost his starting role with United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, implementing a system of rotating his top strikers.

 However, things came to a head last month when Yorke was fined £30,000 (T&T$300,000) for returning to Old Trafford 24 hours late after playing for T&T in its 4-0 World Cup return-leg victory against Canada here.

 That win ensured T&T qualified for the final round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. But instead of taking a return flight back to England immediately following the game, as planned, Yorke stayed back here with some of his teammates to celebrate.

 Then, last weekend, the former Strike Squad player stormed out of Old Trafford after he was left out of the United squad for a big Premiership clash against Chelsea, which ended 3-3. For this transgression, he was fined £55,000 (T&T$550,000). Ferguson said he had dropped Yorke for the Chelsea game because he needed an extra defender on the bench. But the T&T star's angry response to the decision, he now admits, was a bad career move.

 "Last Saturday I do not think I have ever felt so low in my career. I got up hoping to be involved in the Chelsea game. I expected a place on the bench at least," he said. "When I was left out altogether I put my point of view forward and the
 manager told me his reasoning. I went home because I thought that would be the best way for me to cope with the situation."

 He added: "I could not have handled being sat up in the stand watching the game. Looking back now, I should have stayed and the manager certainly made it clear to me the next day in training." Pointing out that he was "not thinking straight" at that time and just "wanted to get away," Yorke said not being able to play for United then had had an adverse effect on him.

 "It was the first time I had not been involved in a squad when I've been fit, it hurt and it was hard to take. Yet in the end it was worse just being sat at home watching it on TV." Yorke is in his third season at Old Trafford having been bought from Aston
 Villa for £12.6 million. He had scored over 20 goals in each of his first two seasons before he wound up on the bench this season.

 "It has been a bad time for me because you see players at other clubs who get in the same situation and it just escalates until they leave," Yorke said of his current situation.  "I never wanted that to happen and in truth I did not believe it would. But
 when you have had the last few weeks that I've had, your mind can be in a whirl." However, all is not yet lost. According to Yorke, he and Ferguson are apparently patching up their relationship.

 This, Yorke told the paper, became evident when he got his first starting role in midweek against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, a game they lost 3-1. "Although the result was disappointing it was great to be back in against
 PSV," Yorke recalled. "I was playing up front on my own and it was tough. But the manager has been geeing me up. He has been telling me that I look like my old self again."

More magic from Latapy

 TRINIDAD and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy was up to his usual tricks yesterday. The 32-year-old midfielder scored one goal and had a hand in two others in leading Hibernian to a 3-0 victory over St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier Division.
 The goal was the "Little Magician's" second in as many games. He had also scored last week in a 1-1 draw with Dunfermline.

 With the victory, Hibs - who had not won at the Perth-based St Johnstone in seven years - remained second on the table, one point behind leaders Celtic who have 24 points. Latapy dribbled past Nick Dasovic in the 74th minute then curled a shot
 past the desperate lunge of goalie Alan Main with the outside of his boot from 18 metres out.

 Latapy had also set up David Zitelli for the team's second goal in the 24th minute. Earlier, the former Strike Squad player's through ball to teammate Mixu Paatelainen had also forced a free kick on the edge of the area by the opposing defence which Frank Sauzee converted to make it 1-0.

 He then lifted a ball over the Johnstone defence in the 24th minute to David Zitelli. The news was not so good for T&T defender Marvin Andrews though. Andrews was sold to First Division outfit Livingston by Raith Rovers Friday. But he could only watch on as Falkirk dumped his new team 3-2.

In England, T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop made several brilliant saves to earn West Ham a 1-1 draw with Bradford City in the Premiership.

 Hislop denied Bradford's Ashley Ward and Benito Carbone early on with fine reflex saves. Then the Hammers took the lead through Joe Cole in the 26th minute.

 Unfortunately, Hislop could do nothing to stop Dan Petrescu from equalising for Bradford two minutes from time.

 In the First Division, T&T defender Ian Cox's Burnley drew 1-1 with Portsmouth while Stern John watched on from the bench as Nottingham Forest played to a dull 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

 In Division Two, the T&T duo of striker Hector Sam and midfielder Carlos Edwards helped Wrexham earn a hard fought 2-2 draw against Northampton Town.

Former T&T skipper Anthony Rougier, still recovering from injury, was also a happy man as his Reading overwhelmed Rotherham United 3-1. Former T&T midfielder Clint Marcelle's Hull meanwhile won their Third Division clash against Cardiff 2-0.