Saturday October 6th, 2001
Simoes takes stern measures
By LASANA LIBURD
NOTTINGHAM Forest striker Stern John will join the Trinidad and Tobago senior football team for Sunday’s 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras after all.
The English first division team had initially refused to release John because of the close proximity of a crucial Worthington Cup match on Monday away to Premiership club Bolton Wanderers. However, technical director Rene Simoes, through the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF), insisted that his player be returned to him, according to the FIFA law governing such disputes between club and country.
The Brazilian had his way in the end.
“Stern John will meet us in Miami tomorrow,” said Simoes yesterday. “...We exercised our right to have the player.”
And Bulgaria-based midfielder Brent Rahim, who campaigns with first division team Levskia Sofia, returned yesterday afternoon and completes the list of eight foreign-based players. That list has been modified after the untimely passing of Rochester Rhinos midfielder Mickey Trotman. Trotman, who played professionally in the United States A’ League, died early Wednesday morning in a vehicular accident on Pinto Road, Arima.
The “Soca Warriors” yesterday received professional counselling to deal
with Trotman’s loss, before a friendly game against CL Financial San Juan
Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Simoes said the players seemed to be in slightly better spirits after the warm-up match, but accepted that it would take some time for the team to put it behind them.
The “Warriors” went on to defeat Jabloteh 2-1, with Arnold Dwarika scoring both goals.
“I think they are doing better,” said Simoes. “But this is something that one day you understand and the other day you have some questions. This is very natural when you are in grief.”
He explained that the US Major League Soccer (MLS) pair of Kansas City
Wizards striker Gary Glasgow and Columbus Crew defender Ansil Elcock were
hardest hit by the tragedy and required special attention.
However, there was no time for more counselling before their departure for Honduras today.
Simoes hopes that T&T will react in a positive manner and fulfil the wish of the deceased player’s mother, Mary Trotman, by dedicating their efforts to the late national midfielder. The “Soca Warriors” are yet to earn a point after five games under their Brazilian coach and Simoes is desperate for a positive result.
“I want to win the game,” he told the Express. “Most of the time I win
games and I miss that... But it will be tough.”
The Hondurans are a formidable team—particularly at home. In their ten qualifying matches played at home thus far, Honduras has scored 29 times, while conceding just twice.
They have lost two games at home—to Costa Rica and the United States—but Simoes expects an intense game played in front of a hostile crowd.
The fence at the San Pedro Sula stadium, he explained, is close enough for fans to touch the players around the corner flags. Once more, Simoes is set to ask West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop to lead out his troops in enemy territory.
The English Premier League star captained the “Soca Warriors” for the first time on September 5 in a 3-0 away loss to Mexico. And, although former captain and defensive stalwart Marvin Andrews is available, Simoes has suggested he would stick with Hislop.
Andrews, who campaigns with Scottish Premier League team Livingston, missed the Mexico trip due to injury but is expected to reclaim his position in central defence against Honduras.
“If Shaka plays, it will be Shaka,” said Simoes. “If not (then) Marvin. Because at the meetings I had with the team and from what I saw in Mexico, I think he has the ingredients to be a great captain. Not that Marvin doesn’t (also) have the ingredients.
“But I think he (Hislop) is a little bit more aggressive with players when necessary and sometimes the captain must be.”
Simoes said he will maintain the same approach as at the Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, where he used a 3-6-1 system and attempt to play on the counter.
Trinidad and Tobago will now have the services of striker Stern John for Sunday's 2002 World Cup qualifier against Honduras.
John, who had originally been blanked a release by English First Division side Nottingham Forest, pleaded with club officials on Wednesday after learning of the death of close friend Mickey Trotman, and was granted permission to join the "Soca Warriors". A letter sent to the club by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, requesting John's release also played a part in the player getting the time off.
John indicated on Wednesday he would at least come home for Trotman's funeral but then got a release to represent this country. John will meet his team-mates in Miami, USA, today and will also travel back to Trinidad Monday night with the rest of the squad to attend Trotman's funeral on Tuesday at 4 pm.
National Under-17 striker Nkosi Blackman was added to the squad to travel in place of Trotman, but he will now remain home with John's inclusion.
Reflecting on his friendship with Trotman, John said, "He was a true friend to me. We go back a long time since the days of Five Rivers Junior Secondary. We ended up in the United States and went through a lot of hard times together before things started going our way. I can't describe my feelings right now and it is really hard to bear Mickey's death."
The No. 15 jersey which was worn by the late Mickey Trotman during Trinidad and Tobago's last World Cup qualifier against Mexico, has been given to his mother.
Players and technical staff members of the national team, as well as Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation president Oliver Camps and other officials, visited Trotman's home Wednesday night and his mother Mary requested from the players a jersey which she could wear at home on Sunday during T&T's match against Honduras.
She was due to be presented last night with the shirt last worn by her son.
She also asked the team, "To go out there and do it for Mickey."
Meanwhile, Minister of Sport, Manohar Ramsarran, said last night that the Government will stand the expenses for Trotman's funeral. He will be buried on Tuesday at 4 pm.
Trotman died in a vehicular accident on Tuesday
Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is currently battling a viral infection but is determined to better himself in time for Sunday's match against Honduras.
The West Ham United goalkeeper has not trained since arriving home earlier this week but will travel with the team after reporting some improvement yesterday.
"My wife wasn't well when I left home and when I got on the plane I as well wasn't feeling too well. I contracted a viral infection and was down for the past couple of days. I've been in bed since I got here.
"I intend to travel with the team and I'm hoping for some improvement over the next couple of days. It's better to be in Honduras than in Trinidad on Sunday," Hislop said yesterday.
Commenting on the sad loss of team-mate Mickey Trotman, Hislop said, "We
all are in shock and it's sad.
He was a lot more than a team-mate to a lot of us."
Dwarika nets double in final warm-up
Coach Rene Simoes had his final session at home with the senior team yesterday. The Brazilian looked on as the national team scored a come from behind 2-1 victory over a lively CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh outfit at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Colin Samuels gave the local professional club a 33rd minute 1-0 lead with a low drive past goalkeeper Kelvin Jack. But T&T hit back and was rewarded with an Arnold Dwarika double in the 38th and 45th minutes.
Bulgaria-based midfielder Brent Rahim arrived in the country shortly after midday and will travel with the team today at 5:15am.
The 18-man squad for Honduras:
Shaka Hislop (West Ham United), Kelvin Jack, Angus Eve, Aurtis Whitley, (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Dale Saunders, Keyeno Thomas, Arnold Dwarika, Stokely Mason, Nigel Pierre (Joe Public), Anton Pierre (Defence Force), Conrad Smith (Caledonia AIA), Brent Sancho (Portland Timbers), Marvin Andrews (captain, Livingston), Stern John (Nottingham Forest), Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew), Gary Glasgow, Avery John (Bohemians FC), (Kansas City Wizards) and Brent Rahim (Levski Sofia).
The Caribbean Media Company
United States coach Bruce Arena is using the home advantage as the platform for confident talk ahead of its crucial World Cup qualifier against Jamaica at the Foxboro Stadium Sunday.
The United States, currently - just outside the qualification zone - fourth on 13 points, desperately need a win to enhance its qualification hopes and Arena is focusing on its unbeaten record at the Foxboro Stadium.
"We have enjoyed tremendous success at Foxboro Stadium in the past and we are looking to getting back to the task of securing a place in the 2002 World Cup," Arena said.
"We think there will be a special atmosphere at the stadium Sunday and our players will certainly be ready," Arena added.
On 13 points, the USA control its own destiny. The Costa Ricans have already secured one of the three places to the World Cup from CONCACAF, by collecting 19 points.
With second place Honduras (14) and Mexico (13) facing a head-to-head meeting on the final matchday, the USA can clinch a berth in the World Cup Finals by earning all six points in its final two matches - Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of-Spain on November 11.
The USA, beaten in its last three games, by Mexico (0-1), Honduras (2-3), and Costa Rica (0-2), boast a 6-0-3 lifetime record at the Foxboro Stadium, including three World Cup qualifying victories.
Squad: Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, Zach Thornton, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Bocanegra, Robin Fraser, Greg Vanney, Eddie Pope, Steve Cherundolo, David Regis, Chris Armas, Richie Williams, Preki, Manny Lagos, John O'Brien, Claudio Reyna, Tony Sanneh, Earnie Stewart, Landon Donovan, Ante Razov, Cobi Jones, Jovan Kirovski, Joe Max-Moore.
FORMER national captain Russell Latapy was almost struck by a brick while sitting in the Rangers' team bus.The incident occurred a fortnight ago following a 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle as the players set off for their return to Glasgow.
The brick crashed through the window where Latapy was seated but fortunately
did not strike the 'Little Magician.'
Latapy described the attack as very sad. "The attack came out of the blue and was uncalled for. It's very sad," said Latapy "We didn't see who it was. It's a shame because there are a lot of good people involved in football and one stupid person does something like that. Whoever threw this brick would not have been able to see inside the bus so I don't believe it was aimed at me. It was thrown aimlessly and I was unfortunate to be sitting near where it hit."
Rangers have been handed a difficult tie in the Second Round of the UEFA Cup after being drawn against Russian giants Dynamo Moscow on the weekend.
Latapy set up the winner against Anzhi Makhachkala last week but now Rangers will have to play a lot better to get past the highly-rated Moscow side.
Luckily for Latapy and his teammates, the first leg will be played in Scotland and the away leg in Moscow just as the Russian winter begins to take hold.
There was no place in the Rangers team for Latapy on Sunday when they went under 2-0 to Celtic. His place just behind the two strikers was taken by Dutchman Ronald de Boer but manager Dick Advocaat is expected to put "Latas" back into the fray following his solid performances recently.
Yorke linked with Lazio
Dwight Yorke has been linked with Italian Serie A club Lazio. Reports on the weekend stated that Yorke is the latest striker forwarded in the Italian Press as a target for the big-spending Lazio.
Yorke who last week said that he would consider leaving Manchester United if
he continued to stay on the sidelines at Old Trafford, may also be attracted by
the prospect of joining former United teammate Jaap Stam in Rome.
Lazio boss Alberto Zaccheroni is looking for a new front man with Englishman Robbie Fowler and Fiorentina's Enrico Chiesa also on his wanted list. United could ask about midfielder Dejan Stankovic in a part exchange for Yorke.
Hart looking for man for John
Stern John is the in-form striker at Nottingham Forest. Word is manager Paul Hart is having problems finding a man to partner the former Columbus Crew marksman.
Forest have scored eight goals in their opening four League and Cup games but after their 4-2 win over Crystal Palace only another four goals have been scored in Worthington and First Division matches.
John leads the scorers with three goals and is high on confidence at the moment.
Strikers David Johnson, Marlon Harewood and Jack Lester have all struggled due to poor form or injury and the search continues for someone to support John.
Rougier nets for Reading Reserves
Anthony Rougier was on the scoresheet for Reading in a English Second Division Reserve League match last Wednesday.
Rougier got Reading off to a flyer with a first minute strike in what was eventually a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace. The former T&T skipper was sent through by teammate Jamie Cureton. Palace then converted a penalty for a 1-1 half time score before Reading took control in the second half. Joey Alcott, Joe Gamble and Cureton joined Rougier on the scoresheet.
Rougier who has been nursing an ankle injury was leased with his performance and is now looking forward to Saturday's match against Bury.
Rougier was invited for T&T's World Cup Qualifier against Honduras but was unable to make the trip due to club action.
Simoes eyes Sancho
Brent Sancho can expect to come under close scrutiny from Technical Director Rene Simoes. The former Joe Public player was called back for the Honduras clash this weekend but indicated that he was unsure of his participation because his present club Portland Timbers was in the quarter finals of the American A-League playoffs.
"It's always an honour to represent your country and I will always make
the effort to come back and play. We have a new coach who doing a good job and
getting the younger players involved and I want to be part of this," said
Simoes said he got a good recommendation of Sancho but added that he felt it hard to understand how the player was overlooked at one time because of his dreadlocks hairstyle.
Shaun Fuentes is the communications officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.
Warner 'crazy vision' was a dream come true
By Alvin Corneal
If you did not feel a deep sense of pride and joy over the absolute success of the JVC World Championships which this country so successfully hosted, then you are not a Trini.
The level of competence which was displayed by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) could easily have escaped my attention as I had the responsibility of doing the technical study for the teams, players, etc.
But when a competition of this magnitude runs with the efficiency that this one did, it's time to sit up and take notice of the people who are responsible for this indelible mark which the past three weeks have left in our memories.
Those who cared to find out the names of the people who contributed to this glamorous event, will have had to spend every day observing the pleasant and organised manner in which every worker did their jobs.
And those who looked far enough, would have realised that it was the mastermind of Jack Warner who planned a course which seemed destined to succeed with flying colours. There were many, including myself, who thought that Jack was crazy to even consider asking FIFA for T&T to host such a tournament.
Six years later, the crazy idea has turned into a beautiful dream come true,
where every citizen of this country can stand tall with pride that a government,
a people have pulled their forces together and accept Jack's challenge to pull
I know that some of us find it difficult to give praises where they are due, but no one should refuse to congratulate Jack and his hundreds of volunteers, his high profile members of the LOC both in Trinidad and Tobago for such a remarkable football spectacle.
Jack also provided the financing for the preparation of our national team. Never in the history of our preparation for any football competition, was our national team given the opportunity of three years of preparation.
The youngsters toured Europe, South America and the Caribbean in search of opponents to gear them for a group which consisted of last tournament's finalists Brasil and Australia and EUFA's second runner up, Croatia.
Yes, we can all comment on the fact that the results did not equate with the money spent. But the investment with these youngsters could well be worth it in the future.
The enthusiasm and confidence of the players surpassed the true ability of the guys and despite their patriotic effort to succeed, the hard facts are that we are still a long way behind the more experienced opponents.
As we move and face more challenges to earn a place in a world championship tournament, we must scrutinise the inhibitions of our young footballers. Compare them with the others, they do not measure up in areas of understanding, nutritional development, physical preparation, and the mental focus which high intensity competitions required.
It is my hope that the effort to produce brilliance in our football society does not end with this championship. I think that we know now that inspirational speeches and grandiose promises do not last forever and planning for 2006 is unrealistic unless we take every day at a time.
It is painful to even admit that a 16- year old who appears to have great potential, can sometimes change drastically in a year or two, while the late developer will mushroom to the top to the surprise of all.
That is life, and none of us can change it.
It is my hope that the videotapes of these high quality matches would not be placed into archives until the country's youth is allowed to see them regularly and also have discussions as to the quality of play that is shown and how it is derived at through training of different kinds.
I hope that in due course, I can persuade my friends at this newspaper to allow me to analyse the performances of each team for the benefit of a thorough study.
We owe it to our players, our coaches, our administrators to do what the rest of the football world is doing, studying the full details which are needed for success. But let us, for the next few days, shower praises on Jack Warner, The LOC and the Government for a marvellous experience.
History will one day show that it was our greatest moment.