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T&T  World Cup  '08' Update   By Aldwyn McGill


T&T eliminated from 2010 South Africa

Port of Spain.In a last desperate attempt to qualify for World Cup South Africa, the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of USA. With the loss went all hopes of the Soca Warriors returning to the FIFA World Cup in 2010. The game was played at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain in front of a sparse crowd.


Trinidad and Tobago rode a two-goal effort by Kerry Baptiste, the TTPro league leading scorer, to tie with Mexico 2-2. The game was a modest effort by the Soca Warriors against a Mexico team which was missing some of its regular starters.


It was a meaningless game played before a sparse crowd at the Hasley Crawford Stadium. Mexico had clinched a spot at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa four days earlier after its 4-1 victory over El Salvador and Soca Warriors was eliminated after a 1-0 loss to USA two games prior.


Mexico had five new starters while T&T coach Latapy inserted five new players to his starting line-up also. The Soca Warriors new starters were #5 Robert Primus, #6 Dennis Lawrence, #10 Hayden Tinto #15 Devon Jorsling, and #16 Kern Cupid.


This was an opportunity for Mexico and coach Aguirre to give some of his second string players a chance to play. For T&T, it was all about coach Latapy showing that he can be part of the future of T&T coaching since his contract expires at month’s end.


Up to 20 minutes before the game there were more Mexico supporters than Warrior supporters in the covered stands. Latapy utilize the U-20 World -Cup players into his team and his experiment was somewhat successful although the opposition was a bit under strength.


With four Germany World Cup players on the squad only Carlos Edwards as captain and Dennis Lawrence who was recalled after Julius James (red card) and Radanfah Bubakr (yellow accumulation) were out after the Costa Rica game, due to suspension.


Densil Theobald, and Kenwyne Jones, the other two Germany players were on the Warriors bench awaiting coach Latapy instructions, which eventually came in the 77th minute as substitute for Trent Noel and Devon Jorsling when some sort of stability was needed after Mexico started to get the better of the exchanges.


As the game started it was quite clear that Mexico was uninspired while the Soca Warriors and Latapy had a point to prove. Kerry Baptiste scored from a penalty kick, which was awarded after a hand ball was called on a Mexico defender who inadvertently misjudged an air ball at the last post.


Trinidad and Tobago took a 1-0 lead into the half after a very discipline and patient first half which saw more ball possession than booth the Costa Rica and USA game combine. However, Mexico opened the second half by putting T&T under pressure and equalized on an Enrique Esqueda goal in the 57th minute.


The youthful Warrior team made it quite clear that a loss was not in the cards with a go ahead goal four minutes later to take what I though was an interesting 2-1 lead.  Interesting base on the fact that although Mexico was lacking key personal, one could have tell that they were playing more for pride than points.


The Warriors go ahead goal was Kerry Baptiste second of the night on a well timed header at the first post from a Hughtun Hector right flank cross. Hector is one of the yyoung players in the T&T line up that impressed me with his vision, creativity and calm.


However, Mexico stepped up the tempo and equalized in the 65th minute with a by Carlos Salcido to set up an exciting finish to a somewhat dull game. Both teams missed chances and both teams hit the crossbar to finish the game with a 2-2 deserving draw.


With the tie Mexico finished with 19 points second place one point behind USA while Trinidad and Tobago finished their campaign in last place with points. Honduras finished in third place after defeating El Salvador 1-0 while Costa Rica finished in fourth place after allowing USA to come back from a two goal half time deficit to tie 2-2.


In order to get to World Cup South Africa as the fourth place finisher, Costa Rica will have to defeat Uruguay, the fifth place South American team in a home and away playoff series. The Costa Rica-Uruguay game is scheduled for November 14 in San Pueblo, with the return game on November 18.


The 2010 European World Cup South Africa qualifiers will also rap up on November with playoff series as Ireland plays France, Portugal plays Bosnia, Greece playing Ukraine, and Russia up against Slovenia


The Long and Winding Road to 2010 Cup South Africa


After the results of last weekend games of the 2010 CONCACAF World Cup qualifier, it is becoming evident that the Soca Warriors and El Salvador are having a difficult time in maneuvering through the long and winding road to World Cup South Africa.


Although the attitude is to move straight ahead, Honduras and USA are in the top spot with 13 points with Honduras leading on goal difference. Mexico moved into the slippery third spot after defeating Costa Rica 3-0 in San Jose to drop El Ticos to fourth place.


This is the home stretch, which means that although the race is close the teams are making a serious push for the finish line and at this, the last turn; some teams are breaking loose as the tough get going.


Trinidad and Tobago will have to turn back the clock when the Soca Warriors meet USA at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Wednesday at press time or face mathematical elimination from World Cup South Africa.


The same holds true for El Salvador who will be home to a Costa Rica team, which is coming off back to back loses. Anything less than a win will mean an exit from the tournament since a tie for the basement teams would not get them past 13 points in their last two games.


The situation is reversed for the top four teams although only the top three spots will automatically qualify for the World Cup. Which team is going to end up in the disappointing fourth spot is any ones guess.


Mexico has turned things around after their 4-1 loss to Honduras in the first leg to what many felt back then, was their inability to win on the road. However, since the Mexican Football Federation fired coach Sven Goran Eriksson, and hired new coach Aguirre, everything seems to be back on track.


However, on Wednesday, things could get rather ugly for Aguirre if Mexico does not defeat Honduras in front of their home fans where El Tri has not loss and Honduras is yet to win away from home.


Mexico is on a three game winning streak and although they have gotten the jumbee of their backs by winning games away from home, Honduras, on the other hand could pose a problem for Mexico defensively after scoring four goals in wins against both Costa Rica and the Soca Warriors.


Costa Rica is faltering at the wrong time, losing their last two games while giving up first place, which they held for most of the final round. Now they are in the tough fourth spot with the possibility of playing the fifth place South American team in a playoff to qualify.


All is not lost though since only one point separates the top four teams, which make every game critical in the positioning for the top three spots. However, if the results remain consistent to the the run of play in the tournament thus far USA, Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico will emerge as the top four teams after this Wednesday’s contests.


El Salvador is dangerous and can be a hand full for Costa Rica whiles the Soca Warriors under coach Latapy, may have a point to prove against USA.


Marvin Andrews was the captain of the Soca Warriors in Honduras and Jlloyd Samuel from Bolton Wanderers inserted into the starting line up. Needless to say, the Soca Warriors defensive effort against Honduras was a disaster losing the game 4-1.

Dwight York made his retirement official and assumed the position as Latapy’s assistant coach for the remainder of the campaign while Dennis Lawrence will wear the captain armband for the USA game.

While some are saying that the Soca Warriors have nothing to lose against USA, Latapy is still the interim coach of the Soca Warriors and assessment of his ability to do the job will be evaluated after the qualifiers if not before.


Trinidad and Tobago football is in the hands of the U-20 team that has qualified for the 2009 FIFA World Cup in Egypt in September, and Latapy has to show that he is better suited for the Soca Warriors coaching job than the U-20 coach Zoran Vranes is.


With the Warriors having very little chance of making it to the World Cup Finals in South Africa next year, and coach Latapy dismissing any notion that his team will lie down and let USA run away with the game only time will tell how he handle his troops.


After sitting out a one-game suspension on Saturday, Dennis Lawrence is expected to rejoin the Warriors while USA defender Oguchi Onyewu will return to the line-up.


T&T defeat El Salvador 1-0 in 2nd leg

After closing off the first half of the Final round with a 2-1 loss to Mexico in Mexico the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors held on to a Cornell Glen first half goal to defeat a surging El Salvador team at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad.


The win was the first for Russell Latapy as coach and the first win for the Soca Warriors in the final round. However, the three points was not enough to move the Soca Warriors out of the basement of the group standings with 5 points from its six games. Coach Latapy .... Stay Tuned!

Latapy and Soca Warriors close in 3-2 loss against Costa Rica


Bacolet, Tobago:On an evening where the occasional showers could not spoil the electric atmosphere at the sold out Dwight Yorke Stadium, Costa Rica defeated Trinidad and Tobago 3-2 to jump atop the CONCACAF 2010 group standings.


Coach Latapy was at the controls and waved off Yorke and Spann from taking a free kick, which allowed Carlos Edwards to give the Soca Warriors the early 1-0 lead. Costa Rica goalkeeper was beaten after he picked up the flight of the ball through the wall too late.



Costa Rica midfielder Saborio equalized in the 41st minute to send the teams in tied at the half and six minutes after the second half resumed, Costa Rica went ahead 2-1. The rain returned and so did Collin Samuel after entering the game for Tinto.


Samuel was full of energy and sent the crowd into frenzy when he pounced on a pass from Kenwyne Jones at the 63rd minute to tie the score with a well-taken shot that goalkeeper Navas could have only partially deflect into the net with the power.


However, three minutes later the Warriors defense got caught napping as Borges was left all alone to slot in a one time grounder cross from the right flank which gave Costa Rica the 3-2 win and 12 points to lead all teams atop the standings as the final round reach its midpoint.


Many felt that it was the best game that Trinidad and Tobago had played in the final round thus far and that coach Russell Latapy loss as the T&T coach in his debut-coaching job was a success due to the overall performance of the Soca Warriors.

 Latapy in his debut as the coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors transformed some of his magic with his player substitution and motivational half time speech.

 Heading into the game, I got the impression that Latapy was leaning toward his experience players from the practices and my impression was correct after seeing his starting line up on game day.


Nine out of the eleven T&T starting players were from the 2006 Germany squad and the two other starters Hayden Tinto and Trent Noel, were put in offensive positions. However, it was the two inexperience newcomers that created the impact in the game early. #10 Hayden Tinto moved down the right side readily, but could not deliver timely cross balls after he miss-kicked at least three of his crosses.  

Trent Noel was also a presence in the game but his finishing let him down after missing two sitters on his left foot from within the six that could have given T&T a sizeable lead.  


In moving forward, Coach Latapy would have to continue to show his openness and flexibility towards the young players since the long and winding road to South Africa is getting extremely difficult for the Soca Warriors to maneuver.


The Soca Warriors plays Mexico on Wednesday at press time, and although Trinidad and Tobago is not mathematically eliminated, the enrollment into the Soca Warriors math classes seems to be dropping after each game.


Trinidad and Tobago is the first team to lose at home in the final round and El Salvador 2-1 victory over Mexico has added validity to the theory that you have to protect your home field advantage although the T&T loss was by no means the fault of the 12th man.


However, after losing to Costa Rica, USA returned home to defeat Honduras in Chicago to get back on track and in position to advance.


From my vantage point, it seems like the Warriors could be spinning top in mud if they continue to use both Dennis Lawrence and Marvin Andrews at the same time and in the position of central back.


Soccer is too advance a sport for T&T to have central backs that cannot move forward comfortably with the ball especially with the use of limited players in the forward position. The modern day competent central backs or stoppers can score on the fly like a central midfielder and has the ability to take free kick to score.


To summarize the Soca Warriors defensive performance against Costa Rica, is to understand that Carlos Edwards starting at the right wing back, was the best defensive move made by coach Latapy.


It is a fact that Edwards was one of the best wingbacks at W-C Germany and with Edwards’s inconsistent performance in the midfield, I think that that was a master move by coach Latapy.


However, how Latapy handles Dwight Yorke is left to be seen. Yorke was not effective in the Stadium of his name and I am waiting to see if Yorke would not retire from internationally football before the 2010 W-C campaign is over.


Yorke retirement will be one of the signs that is left to indicate that the rebuilding of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors has started.  


Soca Warriors have to work coach Latapy’s Magic

Tobago: After watching the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors practice at the Dwight Stadium this week, I am of the belief that new coach Russell Latapy will be hoping that his team could perform a few of his magical tricks against Costa Rica in their all important 2010 World Cup qualifying game on Saturday.


Over here in the sister island of Tobago the anxiety level is extremely high, while in the big brother island of Trinidad the anticipation of the T&T-Costa Rica clash is higher.


To get a ticket to travel to the match from Trinidad is near impossible and to get a ticket to the sold out Dwight Yorke Stadium for the big game is wishful thinking.


The days are extremely hot in Tobago as per usual, but the cool sea-breeze is eradicating any personal discomfort. The buzz around Tobago is that the Soca Warrior will come upwith a grand effort.


Coach Latapy (the little magician) is at the controls at the practices and the Soca Warriors players seem to be very loose and relax under his tutoring. Dwight Yorke joined the Warriors camp at the end of the week after getting his release from Sunderland of the English Premiership


Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards his Sunderland teammates preceded his arrival and the duo seemed to be at the peak of fitness after staving of relegation in the Premiership.


Yorke has bulked up considerably after putting on some additional muscle to his already firm body mask. Midfielder Collin Samuel is back with the team and in training, and so is defenders Silvio Spann, Avery John and central back Marvin (dog) Andrews.


Stern John is out of action for 4-6 weeks after leaving T&T to get treatment for what was reported as a back injury which occurred at one of the weekend practices. This unfortunate incident is the topic of contention since Stern John starting assignments has been questioned under retired coach Francisco Maturana and his knack for scoring big goals leaves a void.


Latapy ability to bring about a significant difference with the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors team will be front and center of this weekend 2010 qualifiers around the world. His first test will be the selection of the final cut from his 22 selected players in training.


Trinidad and Tobago did not play any International matches since Latapy took over the team his way with just a couple of games while in Tobago and against selected Tobago opposition. The good thing about the present situation is unlike the perception of the Maturana not having a grasp on things as coach; Latapy seemed to have full autonomy in the position.


With over two moths to prepare the Soca Warriors and with the luxury of the European off-season, there should be some resemblance of the little magician in the play of the Soca Warriors come Saturday.


In watching his 22 player with his structured practice, I am getting the feeling that that coach Latapy starting line up for Saturday’s game could have a high percentage of experience players.


Nothing is written in stone, since there was a few of the key players favoring some part of their body after certain drills and the practice. However injury is a part of the game and depth in player personal will have to add to Latapy’s experience of substitution situation.  

Latapy selection of the starting strikers has been made a lot easier with Stern John injury, but the composition of the overall team would also answer the question of whether John would have started if he was available.


In this case Tobago and Trinidad needs a win badly to put the Warriors in realistic position in contention for a spot in at least the top four teams of the final. Trinidad and Tobago 12th man advantage will present an atmosphere to be conducive to an upset, but that is only off the field of play.


With Mexico to play next Wednesday in Mexico, and coach Latapy and the Warriors having to take one game at a time there is every indication that the Soca Warriors with its combination of experience should hold it together during that spell.



Latapy remains optimistic and insisted that “with a bit of luck things could go our way”. However, from my vantage point I think the Warriors would have to play to the best of their ability and have a tactical game plan to follow.


However in this Costa Rica contest I would venture on the side of Magical moves instead of bargaining for a big of luck. This weekend 2010 World Cup qualifiers will be a Kodak moment as El Salvador is in tough with what could be a resurgent Mexico while USA will be challenged at home by Honduras the most dangerous team in the qualifiers.

 T&T Big Dance at Dwight Yorke Stadium

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation under special advisor Jack Warner announced that the Soca Warriors all-important fourth game of the CONCACAF final round 2010 World Cup qualifier would be played at the Dwight York Stadium in Tobago ON June 6.


The game marks the return of Dwight York to the Soca Warriors line-up after his suspension, and the Costa Rica game will be the first time that Yorke will be playing an international tournament in the Stadium built in his honour.


This is huge game for T&T, a good move by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and a bold move by the Tobago Housing Association (THA). However, irrespective of the moves, the time is now and the Soca Warriors would have no excuses but to win on June 6.


This is not a gimme game and although Costa Rica will be coming of a tough game against USA three days earlier, captain Yorke and his troops will have to step up and be counted and that means all eleven men on the field of play at the end of the game.


How coach Latapy handles his team is left to be seen but I think he should be ok as long as Stern John and Dwight Yorke respects his directives as the coach of the team.


Either way, Tobagonians will step and do their part in giving the Soca Warriors the type of support they so desperately need and Dwight Yorke also has to step up his game on a big occasion.


A loss would be devastating and for all intent and purposes, it would be the start of the end for the Warriors. A tie may not be a bad scenario, since it would give new coach Latapy a chance to move on and gain more experience in pressure situations which could only help his coaching career.


However, a tie would not be enough for Soca Warriors supporters, and it is felt that the player’s abilities would have to materialize on June 6 or be realized. In reality, it is an ideal game for even a marginal player to play since he would be in the confines of an emotionally charged team and be hoping to be a part of the history of Tobago football.


With the official appointment of Russell Latapy over the Christmas holidays as assistant coach of the Soca Warriors, Warner had indicated that World Cup 2010 South Africa has significance meaning to Trinidad and Tobago and the Warriors should try their utmost to qualify for such an historic tournament.


He has vowed to do his part “leave no stone unturned” in the process and contrary to other reports, to some extent he has. After the TTFF frustration with the performance of the Soca Warriors, the status of the Soda Warriors campaign was reviewed and Latapy surfaced.


For some it may have been, to little to late. However, for the majority of true Trinidad and Tobago supporters the choice of Latapy as Interim coach is a good one and my question is where Trinidad and Tobago football goes from here.


With a win as mentioned, the Warriors would be back on track or on the long and winding to South Africa or with a tie the Warriors could be playing in quicksand.


With a loss, it could be a chance for the TTFF to turn a new page in an effort to develop the football in the country. The Latin American teams in the region are far superior to that of any of the other teams with their technique and ball possession game.


Russell Latapy had two months with the team to at least show a change in the attitude, style of play or win ugly. However, if results are what make or break coaches, maybe internship is the way to go.


Either way, Tobagonians will be at Dwight Yorke Stadium on June 6 and the Soca Warriors will have to give an account of themselves, with the 12th man advantage.


 Latapy replaces Maturana as coach of Trinidad & Tobago

4/8/2009 - PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Forty-year-old midfielder Russell Latapy assumed the job as interim manager of Trinidad & Tobago’s national team on Wednesday, replacing Francisco Maturana who resigned from the position, the Trinidad federation said.

Latapy, who has more than 70 caps for the Soca Warriors, will work as a player-coach and be assisted by Zoran Vranes, who qualified the country’s junior team in March for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup later this year in Egypt.

Maturana resigned “due to differences in opinions regarding the way forward in the FIFA 2010 World Cup qualification campaign for South Africa,” the Trinidad federation said in a statement on its Web site.

The change comes a week after Trinidad was beaten 3-0 by the United States in Nashville, Tennessee, leaving the Soca Warriors with two points after three of 10 games in the final round of World Cup qualifying, last in the six-team “hexagonal”.

Latapy, who has played professionally in Scotland since 1998, has participated in Trinidad’s last six World Cup qualifying campaigns, scoring nine goals in 40 games. He also played in the 2006 World Cup finals, when Trinidad became the smallest nation to qualify for the quadrennial championship.

“I'm absolutely delighted with being given opportunity to be coach of my country's national team,” Latapy said in a statement on the Trinidad Web site. “It's something I've always wanted to do and the people who've been involved with me in football and from a family standpoint over the years all know this.

“The task ahead of us is by no means an easy one but I think once we can get everything together, and with the support of the nation, we can achieve our goal which right now is qualifying for the next World Cup and continuing to take the country’s football forward.”

Trinidad, which failed to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, will play its next World Cup qualifier on June 6 at home against Costa Rica, followed four days later with a match at Mexico.


The heat is on for T&T

As spring fights off the last effects of winter, the lower seeded teams will have to step up their play to secure position in their 2010 World Cup qualifiers. With the power of the big guns surging forward, the heat is getting intense on the trailing teams to cooperate.


The T&T Soca Warriors showed little fight last week in a 3-0 drubbing by USA and one had to wonder when a person mentioned if the T&T players got a working visa for the USA game because of the performance in Nashville.


The Americans jumped all over the Warriors from the opening whistle and nineteen-year-old striker Jozy Altidore was the Johnny on the spot after scoring a hat trick to give USA an easy 3-0 victory.


To make matters worst, Honduras jumped into third spot after defeating Mexico 3-1 in San Pedro Sula. The Mexicans are in fourth place, which left El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago, in 5th and 6th place respectively.


As was the case last September when USA defeated T&T by the same margin of victory, the call for coach Maturana’s firing has resurfaced and since it seems like the Warriors may have blown the easier part of their final round schedule it may be a case of Dejavue all over again.


However, in keeping things in context, it should be noted that T&T has never won on U.S. soil, and the Warriors and El Salvador may find themselves out of contention if they cannot defeat Mexico and Costa Rica while enjoying home field advantage on June 6.


The call for a coaching change because of a USA loss seems to be over kill but with Mexico making a coach change, it seems like the only window for a change is now, since there are over seven weeks left for the next qualifiers to be played.


Since coach Maturana has explored the T&T talent pool and there is no other direction for the team to go but up I am hopeful that if the TTFF makes a coaching change it will if any thing, improve the selection of the T&T team.


Winning and losing is a coach’s area of responsibility but the players should shoulder some of the blame for the embarrassing loss against USA. At any level of national soccer/football, a control of the ball on the first touch is necessary and stringing passes together is where the fun begins for a player.


For most of these players a good international performances could have meant a spot back in their respective team’s line up compared to being on loan and/or riding the bench, which seems to result in a loss of confidence in their play.


The support or lack of it for the Warriors at the games in T&T is an area that has to improve for Trinidad and Tobago to advance. When the attendance is good, there is no cheering for the team and no booing or jeering of the opposition. Instead, there is partying to the Rhythm section and DJ music as the forefront. Hence, the heat is on.


 CONCACAF Big Boys are well positioned in 2010 World Cup qualifiers 

P.O.S, Trinidad: The cream rose to the top last weekend as the CONCACAF big three team surfaced to the top of the CONCACAF W-C qualifiers standings. USA, Mexico, and Costa are now the respective leaders with the pivotal third game this Wednesday at press time.


With the lower seeds playing the top three teams it is possible that Wednesday’s results would reflect the way the race could finish if the lower seeds does not play up to their best after blowing late leads in their first two games.


The story in the CONCACAF final round thus far is that USA has maintained their lead in the group by demonstrating their never say die characteristic after erasing a two goal deficit in the last 13 minutes to tie El Salvador 2-2 in their second game.


This is the same El Salvador team that with 11 minutes left in the game against the Soca Warriors on February 11 came back from two-goals down to draw 2-2. It seems like the tide is changing after Mexico jumped into second place after defeating Costa Rica 2-0 on Saturday.


This spells bad news for the lower seeds since the Tricolor was winless in their last five qualifier games and if they success against Honduras on Wednesday then the rest of the field could be in for some trouble.

Costa Rica will have an impact on the race, but after stumbling against Mexico, they will have to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday against an El Salvador team that has been a menace and the big surprise of the qualifiers thus far.


Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors got onto the wrong elevator and slipped from third to 5th place, but thanks to youngster Kahleem Hyland goal in the closing minutes of regulation, T&T came back to tie Honduras 1-1.

T&T enters the USA game with consecutive draws and although there were a lot said in analyzing their last two games, it is imperative that the Soca Warriors try to get a lead against USA. T&T coach Francisco Maturana is hoping that his big striker Kenwyne Jones will be a handful for the USA defense.


Midfielder Birchall and goalkeeper Ince will be back from suspension and both USA and T&T are coming of last minute heroics in their respective games to gain a tie so one would think that the Warriors and USA encounter would be a close game until the final whistle.  


Coach Maturana was under scrutiny last Saturday at the after game press conference for starting Scotland and Stern John up front instead of Kenwyne Jones. "We gave Kenwyne the chance to rest for a very important game that is coming up on Wednesday." “We felt it was a good option to have Scotland, who is playing very well abroad," Maturana explained.

That statement caused some controversy as Trinidad reporters wanted to know if Maturana was taking instructions from Sunderland manager Sbragia after it was reported that Sbragia said that Jones was tired and needed a rest.

Maturana continued, “I don’t listen to none of them. I make judgments on my own," he said. “We have all the statistics about Kenwyne Jones. I see him every day."


However, T&T has never won on U.S. soil and although USA is only leading last place Honduras by three points the Soca Warriors must find a way to get some points since it is conceivable that the top positions could be in the hands of the top seeds at the midway point.


With that being said, it is of great importance that Trinidad and Tobago offense comes out clicking as El Salvador is showing that this is the only way to maintain contention in the race for South Africa.

T&T lose control and a two goal lead to open final round

The topic of contention in T&T is surrounding the T&T Soca Warriors performance in their first game of the W-C final Round in San Salvador. The Soca Warriors struggled late against a youthful El Salvador team and although aging Warriors team energy level is front and center of the debate, I though the 2-2 outcome of the El Salvador game seemed more like a case of a missed opportunity for the Warriors than any thing else.


T&T opened the game with urgency and although they were not as cohesive in their play as one would have expected the team still was good enough to enjoy a 2-0 lead to the half on goals by Carlos Edwards at the 7th minute and captain Dwight Yorke on a penalty at the 27th minute.


However, down by a two-goal margin, the young resilient El Salvador team turned up the tempo in the second half in an effort to get back into the game. T&T responded well by maintaining their defensive composure while countering in search of the opportunity to get the insurance goal.


As the game progressed, the Warriors opportunity came in the form of a second penalty, which was awarded after striker Kenwyne Jones was tackled from behind while tracking down a ball at the edge of the byline. The penalty was against the run of play and to everyone surprise the Warriors decided to roll the dice instead of sticking to a basic script to secure the win.


After kicking a picture perfect penalty earlier in the game and as the designated penalty kicker of the T&T team, captain Dwight Yorke allowed striker Stern John to kick the penalty and the rest as they say is history. John kicked the penalty way over the cross bar, and with the ball, the Soca Warriors opportunity to take a 3-0 lead vanished. In soccer circles, a 3-0 lead is considered an insurmountable lead.


From watching the decision unfold, it is safe to say that John initiated the move to kick the penalty and Yorke hesitantly gave his blessings. I am hopeful that friendship and personal accomplishment was not the issues in this case and that all involved learn from this experience.


After the missed penalty, the pandemonium from the sold out crowd of 53,000 increased and the Warriors were backing in defense. This allowed El Salvador midfielders to operate effectively with the space given and as a result lightening struck the Warriors twice when El Salvador midfielder Romero scored with two free kicks at the 79th minute and in injury time, to give El Salvador the 2-2 tie.


To add insult to injury Trinidad & Tobago will be without the services of captain Dwight Yorke, goalkeeper Clayton Ince and midfielder Chris Birchall due to their accumulation of yellow cards during the tournament. To make matters worst, Dwight Yorke received a red card after the El Salvador game, for dissent to the referee and could be lost to the Warriors for a longer period.


In the other CONCACAF final round openers, USA drew first blood as Michael Bradley scored on each side of the break to give the Americans a 2-0 win over Mexico, while Costa Rica utilized the halftime break to defeat Honduras 2-0 on two-second half goals scored by Andy Furtado.


With the next round of games on March 28, Honduras will be seeking their first points against T&T at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, while Costa Rica will host a Mexico team which will have to harden in a pressure cooker as USA travel to El Salvador to get even closer to the finish line.


The Mexico-USA game was an evenly played contest, but Mexico captain Rafael Marquez negated any chances of his team competitiveness when he opted for a red card in the 65th minute for colliding with USA goalkeeper Tim Howard on a high ball. With the Mexico win, USA registered their third straight 2-0 victory over Mexico in Columbus and extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches which includes five victories at the home of the Columbus Crew,.


The Americans undefeated streak at home against Mexico now stretch to 11 games with nine victories and improve their unbeaten streak at home against CONCACAF opponents to 51 matches, which includes 41 victories, with 14 of those games coming in World Cup qualifiers. With all things considered, the United States maintains their strong hold on the CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifiers and the race will be for the rest of the teams to qualify to South Africa in 2010.


Soca Warriors advance into final round with 3-0 win over Cuba


 Soca Warriors in, as Jamaica Reggae Boyz fell short
Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors defeated Cuba 3-0 at Hasley Crawford Stadium to advance into the final round of the CONCACAF W-C qualifier while the Jamaica Reggae Boyz fell short of their 6-goal target after a 3-0 victory over Canada at the office in Kingston.

As a result, Caribbean fans did not get their early present from Santa. They asked Mr. Claus for Jamaica and T&T to advance into the final round, but as it turn out it was not to be. Naughty or nice was not a part of the equation and the rule of thumb in sports is to have your points in hand, and if that fails, put yourself in a position to control your own destiny.

Unfortunately for Jamaica and their supporters, Honduras defeated Mexico 1-0 on a Mexico own goal that vaulted Honduras into first place with 12 points and Mexico into second place with 10 points. Jamaica with 10 points was eliminated from World Cup 2010 South Africa on goal difference with zero compared to Mexico’s plus three.

However, for a while in the Canada game, it seemed like the Reggae Boyz could have scored the required amount of goals after Luton Shelton dribbled around Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld to score the Reggae Boyz first goal at the 27th minute. The goal sent the sold out crowd at the office into frenzy in anticipation of goals galore but player pride stepped in and Canada defense adjusted well and kept the score 1-0 to the half.

Marlon King, recalled to the Reggae Boyz team for his offensive threat, scored a penalty at the 58th minute after Demar Phillips was tripped inside the penalty area, the lights flickered, and hopes returned as the possibility of advancing reappeared.

However, as the game progressed into the later stages, hopes started to fail since the 6-goal target faded. Omar Cummings scored Jamaica third goal from an Ian Goddison’s cross at the 85 minute to make it 3-0 for the Reggae Boyz but by then all ears at the office were on the net trying to find out if Mexico beat Honduras.

Under different circumstances Jamaica Reggae Boyz would have been the story of the CONCACAF W-C qualifier had they move onto the final round. However, with the upcoming Digicel Caribbean Championship finals hosted in Jamaica, it would be interesting to see if Jamaica's new technical director of football, John Barnes can continue to improve the Reggae Boyz football with a roster consisting of mostly local players.

In port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors came alive after a tentative first half on a wet and heavy Hasley Crawford field. However, after a scoreless first half the cream rose to the top as the Cuba defense weaken as the game progressed.

First, it was striker Kenwyne Jones goal at the 67-minute after moving in all alone on goal. Then two minutes later captain Dwight Yorke scored after breaking free unmolested to tuck the ball under the advancing Cuba goalkeeper. Keon Daniel scored in the closing minutes of the game to give T&T a 3-0 win and a spot into the final round.

In T&T before the Cuba game their was a lot of reflecting about the Warriors historic victory over Bahrain that gave T&T a spot into W-C Germany 2006. However after covering all the teams in this year’s qualifier it would be safe to say that the Soca Warriors would have to concentrate on speed, fitness and a precise scouting report to improve their chances of getting through to World Cup South Africa.

last Saturday the match schedule for the six-team 'hexagonal' round was finalized and the first games of the final round are schedule for February 11, with Trinidad and Tobago travelling to play El Salvador while Costa Rica stays at home to play Honduras.

This is a good match up for the Warriors to start their final push, but the Mexicans could be scratching their heads in lieu of their big first leg test against CONCACAF #1 ranked USA. This could be the turning point for Mexico’s coach Eriksson and his team who will be under the gun to win in the US or else.

Final round schedule for the North, Central America, and Caribbean Zone
Wednesday 11 February Costa Rica-Honduras El Salvador-Trinidad and Tobago USA-Mexico
Saturday 28 March Mexico-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-Honduras El Salvador-USA
Wednesday 1 April Costa Rica-El Salvador USA-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-Mexico
Wednesday 3 June Costa Rica-USA
Saturday 6 June Trinidad and Tobago-Costa Rica El Salvador-Mexico USA-Honduras
Wednesday 10 June Mexico-Trinidad and Tobago Honduras-El Salvador
Wednesday 12 August Honduras-Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago-El Salvador Mexico-USA
The top three finishing teams automatically qualify for South Africa 2010, while the fourth place team will play a South American opponent for the last CONCACAF spots.


Caribbean Soccer fans fasten Seat Belt for rough ride to 2010     

The third round of CONCACAF World Coup qualifying is heading into its sixth and final game, and after the surprising results of the fifth games it is recommended that all Caribbean soccer fans fasten their seat belts for what could be a very anxious and action filled landing on the evening of November 19.


With three of the final six spots in the CONCACAF tournament still up for grabs, the games of importance are the ones in the T&T and Jamaica groups. The outcome of the respective Group A and B games will fill the three available spots into the next round. Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala is battling it out for the last spot in group A after USA clinched the other spot and the group title with a 6-1 win over Cuba.


Trinidad and Tobago: However  if the Warriors performance in their 2-1 win and first ever victory over USA is any indication of things to come, I think T&T is in the driver’s seat to capture the last spot of Group A due to the fact that Guatemala will have to defeat USA in the US and have to hope that Cuba defeats T&T in Port of Spain, to qualify ahead of the Warriors.


One thing for certain is that Yorke and Latapy have provided the Soca Warriors with the leadership that was lacking in the team earlier in the campaign but it is my belief that coach Maturana and the TTFF can only utilize Latapy and Yorke as a quick and temporary fix to a long term problem.


The lingering question for T&T coach Maturana is whether Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy can continue to man the minutes they are playing and still be effective as the tournament moves deeper into the next round.


Jamaica Reggae Boyz on the other hand seem to be ripe and ready and although the Boyz did not get the breaks at the start of their W-C qualifying campaign, I still think that Hurricane Gustav and the lack of a home game was a major hurdle for the Boyz and not the lack of leadership by fired coach Rene Simoes.


However one of the concerns of the Canadian Caribbean fans was that Jamaica and Canada were in the same group and also in tough company with Mexico and Honduras. Now three months later it seems like those sentiments has resurfaced since Canada and Jamaica will now have to play each other in a very critical game for the Reggae Boyz to advance into the next round.


Jamaica is a must win situation and to the dismay of their supporters, the Canucks seem to be enjoying their new role as spoilers after being eliminated from a 3-1 loss to Honduras in Honduras. Since then Canada has tied 2-2 with Mexico in Edmonton and forced Mexico’s celebration of clinching a spot into the next round to be posponed to their next game.


Jamaica is favored to win the game against Canada in Kingston but the Boyz are aware that the game still has to be played and Canada cannot be taken lightly. After back to back loses to Mexico 3-0, and Honduras 2-0, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) felt it was time to move in a different direction and fired head coach Rene Simoes. John Barnes was hired to take over the coaching duties in November in time for the Boyze last game.


However under interim head coach Theodore Whitmore the Reggae Boyz is on a winning streak after putting together back to back 1-0 wins over both Mexico and Honduras with the luxury of the world fastest man in Usain Bolt and his Olympic teammates at “the office” to support the team. With the present success coach Whitmore assignment was extended to the end of the round.


While most Caribbean fans are optimistic about the Boyz chances against Canada they are extremely nervous about Mexico chances of defeating Honduras in Honduras. However should the Boyz take care of business and the cards fall in their favor, Jamaica will undoubtedly be the dark horse and the team to watch in the final round of the CONCACAF qualifiers.


It is for this reason that I think that the Mexico and Honduras fans are also fastening their seat belts, since Mexico has only one point to show from their last two games after winning their first three. Honduras is also coming off a lost to Jamaica which short circuit their three game winning streak.


Mexico has 10 points to Honduras 9 points, while the Reggae Boyz are alive and still kicking in the Group of Death with 7 points. However with only two spot available the Boyz will have  to defeat Canada and hope that Mexico defeat Honduras to have any realistic chance of advancing to the next round.


Soca Warriors defeat USA 2-1 to move into second place in Group1


Port of Spain:Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors has defeated USA 2-1 before a fair crowd at the Hasley Crawford Stadium last Saturday. The win has all but assured T&T a spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round of six as the Warriors moved ahead of Guatemala and into sole possession of second place in Group A.

Trinidad and Tobago has eight points to Guatemala’s five and with the Warriors playing Cuba in Trinidad on November 19 while Guatemala will be up against USA in the United States in their final games, it is no secret that Guatemala is not in a favorable situation.


However should Trinidad and Tobago lose their game against Cuba and Guatemala defeat USA then the situation will be reversed and Guatemala would advance ahead of T&T based on their superior goal difference.  

In retrospect it is Dejavue all over again as T&T was in the driver’s seat against USA in 1989 for World Cup 1990 and was eliminated after losing 1-0.


However with the experience in bedded into the Trinidad and Tobago team presently and judging by their first ever victory over USA last Saturday, most Warrior fans are adamant that “that was then (89) and this is now” and the Warriors has more options now since they can still advance if Guatemala lose of tie with USA in their next game.


For the USA game Warrior coach Maturana started Aklie Edwards and Silvio Spann into the wing back positions in place of Avery John and Cyd Gray (suspended) while Dennis Lawrence and Keyeno Thomas remained in the line-up as the starting central backs after their outstanding performance in the Guatemala game.


 The momentum of the warriors game in Guatemala seem to carry over into the USA game for as the game started it was apparent that USA was struggling with their team chemistry due to Coach Bob Bradly inclusions of several new and youthful players into the team after USA clinched the group A title in their 6-1 win over Cuba in their last game.


However in spite of the omission of several of their starters in the game it was not youth that seemed to be the problem for the USA team but the businesslike approach to the game by captain Dwight Yorke and his Soca Warriors teammates.


The territorial advantage was evident from the onset and as a result the USA defense was under pressure from the opening whistle. T&T striker Jason Scotland sharp turns and quick acceleration created several anxious moments around the USA net but with no scoring to create any momentum due to the lack of enthusiasm and inexperience of the Soca Warriors supporters in regards to creating any home advantage.


Needless to say USA had the chance to settle down and stringed together some effective short crisp passes. However that was to no avail since for the most part the short passes only contributed to USA ball possession and allowed the T&T defensive coverage to solidify and cut off any scoring threat.


T&T midfielder Chris Birchall as always was the work horse in the middle of the field and while Dwight Yorke systematically dropped back in his defense to relieve his defenders of the ball in an effort to create penetration, the USA defense was also up to the task.


I thought that T&T midfielders on the flanks in Carlos Edwards and Keon Daniel did not put enough pressure on the USA defense in the first half and were a bit slow of the mark which resulted in both of them having trouble getting to the bye line on a regular to serve the cross balls that was required.


However with more Makan Hislop replacing Keon Daniel after a goalless first half, the game changed. Then came the play of the game at the 61st minute when Russell Latapy the “little magician” worked some of his magic by scoring with a left footed half volley from a Carlos Edwards right side cross that dramatically rebounded off the upright and also off goal keeper Bradley Guzman and into the USA net To give Trinidad and Tobago a 1-0 lead.


USA equalized at the 74th minute on a goal scored by Charlie Davis and as play intensified Dwight Yorke converted from the penalty spot at the 79th minute as USA goalkeeper Guzan guessed dove to the wrong side as the ball entered the net to give Trinidad and Tobago an all important 2-1 win.


With the announcement of Cuba 2-1 upset of Guatemala at the end of the game, there was a (fete) festive atmosphere in downtown Port of Spain.   


As the CONCACAF world Cup final scores were announced there was a big cheer for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz 1-0 victory over Honduras in Kingston. The win gave the Reggae Boyz life in the “Group of Death” and should Mexico beat Honduras in Honduras and the Boyz take care of business on November 19 against Canada in Kingston the Caribbean soccer fans down here feel that T&T or Jamaica would have a good chance of qualifying to World Cup South Africa 2010 out of the final round of six. 


T&T tie 0-0 with Guatemala

POS Trinidad: The Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors lead by captain Dwight Yorke and elder statesman Russell Latapy turned in a spirited effort with 10 men to tie with Guatemala 0-0 at the Estadio Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala City.

With two games remaining it seem like Dejavue all over again as the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2010 South Africa campaign seems to be unfolding with the same characteristics of the Soca Warriors debut games at World Cup Germany.

In Germany the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors had to play with ten men in their first game after teir wing back Avery John received a second yellow card and was ejected from the game. Last Saturday just like the Guatemala game the Soca Warriors had to play with ten men for most after right wing back Cyd Gray was ejected from the game after receiving two yellow cards.


On both occasion the Soca Warriors rose to the occasion and fought valiantly to tie the game in an impressive fashion to keep their opponents of the score sheet in a 0-0 game. To appreciate the present direction of the Trinidad and Tobago football direction is to recognize the difference in the scenarios. Sweden is a world class team at a higher level of soccer while Guatemala is not and the Warriorrs Germany players are now two years older.

Like Germany the scoreless efforts by the Soca Warriors in the Guatemala game has put Trinidad and Tobago in a position where the team cannot be mathematically eliminated from advancing to the next round until they play their final game against Cuba on November 19.

However with USA on the menu Wednesday at press time the Soca Warriors would have to make a conscious effort to overcome their inferior goal difference to Guatemala to be in a better position to advance to the next round.

The Warriors task at Hasley Crawford Stadium against USA on Wednesday seem to be more attainable since USA coach Bradley released nine of his overseas player for the game after his team clinched the Group A title with a 6-1 win over Cuba last Saturday.


With Trinidad and Tobago tie with Guatemala in the standings at 5 points and at a 3 goals differential disadvantage the Soca  Warriors will have to score a decisive win against USA since Guatemala is favored to defeat Cuba on Wednesday which would increase Guatemala’s goals difference advantage over the Warriors.


With Anthony Wolfe and Cyd Gray out due to their accumulation of yellow cards the T&T selectors has called up Silvio Spann for the USA game. The World Cup laden Soca Warriors needs the offensive outburst they displayed against the Dominican Republic in their friendly game at this same venue exactly a week from the USA game.


In the Dominican Republic game the World Cup laden Soca Warriors 9-0 win was spear headed by a Jason Scotland hat trick in the first half while Cornell Glen score a hat trick of his own after coming into the game at the half. Anthony Wolfe and Darryl Roberts worked their magic to add to the scoring line while the youthful Republic team crumbled by scoring an own goal to round of the scoring.


However the big question for me against the youthful USA second team is whether Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy can cope is fit enough to to command the minutes they may seek im this game. I consider their playing exploits as a quick fix to a slowly developing problem. 


Many Caribbean faithful soccer fans down here thinks that the Jamaica upset of Mexico is a sign that the Reggae Boyz may be coming alive in the group of death and if the Jamaica Reggae Boyz can defeat Honduras on Wednesday in Kingston Jamaica the Boyz will be lika a volcano waiting to erupt.


USA derailed T&T 3-0 at Toyota Park

Chicago: The long and winding road to World Cup South Africa have straightened out after game three for the three group favorites in the CONCACAF qualifiers while the struggling teams look for direction as their  cookies begin to crumble.

USA remained on track to progress to the final round of six with a comfortable 3-0 win domination of Trinidad and Tobago at Toyota Park in Bridgeview Chicago, while Mexico and Costa Rica defeated Canada and Haiti 2-1 and 3-1 respectively to approach the home stretch leading their group races with straight road ahead to the final round.


In Canada there is a little rumbling in regards to the capacity of the Canuck coach Dale Mitchell ability to lead the Canada Mens’s team and while the Mexicans bid a proper farewell to Cuauhtémoc Blanco after his retirement in Chiapas Mexico after their victory, Horace Burrell the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President announced the firing of their Technical Director Rene Simoes after the team suffered two successive losses to Mexico and Honduras.


 "I could have allowed things to go on as they are, but honestly would not be performing my duties in the way that it is expected and to push Jamaica's football forward," Burrell stated

"We are not out, first of all, and we have three games at home (remaining in the semi-finals)," he said. "We are going to get re-energised and we are going to hope for good results." Burrell is expected to name a successor to Simoes within the coming week but has emphasize


 Meanwhile the Simoes fever has hit Trinidad and Tobago and some Soca Warriors fans have been calling for the firing of coach Francisco Maturana after T&T has dropped into third place in Group 1 behind USA and Guatemala since Guatemala defeated Cuba 4-1 and moved into second on virtue of their goal difference.


To add ammunition to the fans the Soca Warriors team was on the defensive from the opening whistle as USA shredded T&T on goals by Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey at the 10th and 18th minute to take a 2-0 halftime lead as Brian Ching scored at the 57th minute with a header to seal the USA victory.


In the USA game the Trinidad and Tobago players were making bad passes with no opposing player on them and to add insult to injury they were not getting back into their proper defensive positions after the miscues which question their motivation or lack of it.


Granted Dwight Yorke the newly appointed T&T captain did not make the trip but for what it is worth the captain in the USA game would have had to lead by his play since the performance of the T&T players was less than inspiring to the dismay of the Soca Warriors fans.


The Warriors flankers in Keon Daniel and Carlos Edward were terrible in their defensive coverage with the latter player having what I consider to be the worst game I have seen him play. When you add the fact that a number of the Soca Warriors fans are of the notion that the Germany World Cup players may be the answer to the Warriors woes is mindboggling.


Jason Scotland did not do it against Bermuda, Stern John is not the answer and World Cup player Anthony Wolfe was substituted for another W-C player Densil Theobald at halftime in the USA game and there was no significant difference in Wolfe’s play to Theobald’s.  


Carlos Edwards a player of the W-C stock has not been playing up to his capabilities and with his awful performance from the start to the end of the USA game one would have to wonder if he is bothered by an injury or the fact that he was replaced at the half in the Guatemala game could have hurt his ego and affected his game physiologically.


Cyd Gray at right back has been given the T&T captaincy off and on since Aurtis Whitley has been sidelined with an injury but when you look back at Gray tenure as captaincy which includes the USA game (in Dwight Yorke’s absence) it is obvious that he has no noticeable leadership qualities in his play or otherwise since he received a red card against Haiti in a friendly and was out of position for most of the USA game with Edwards both W-C players.


There should be no secret that T&T will have to rely on their young players in moving forward since at this point of the qualifiers winning may not be a given and the young players will need to gain experience.

T&T Aklie Edwards at age 19 was one of the few bright spots on the Soca Warriors team against USA and since he is innovative, and more resilient than veteran Avery John who was out due to injury coach Maturana should have a no brainer for a decision in the selection of his left full back for the Guatemala game.


Dwindling options for Canadian Caribbean soccer fans

 09-09-2008: Just when the Canadian Caribbean fans were anxiously awaiting their teams making a move for the top two positions of their group 2 of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers the Canucks blew an early lead and came up short in a 2-1 loss to Honduras while the Jamaica Reggae Boyz did the unthinkable and gave up an early goal against Mexico in Mexico City to set the tone for a smothering 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Mexicans.


Haiti did not do much for their cause by being trounced by El Salvador 5-0 and Cuba on the other hand was on the short end of a 1-0 loss to USA. As a result at present the burden of the Canadian Caribbean World Cup hopes seems to sit squarely on the shoulders of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors who slipped up somewhat by conceding the equalizing goal to Guatemala at the 95 minute after taking the lead in the game ten minutes earlier.


However in retrospect the Honduras game was a devastating loss for Canada and with Mexico on their plate this Wednesday at press time the Canucks could find themselves up a creek without a paddle in Mexico City in search of at least a point to have any shot of advancing out of Group 2.


Heading into the Honduras game last Saturday I though the game was even since Canada had the home field advantage but that theory was blown to bits as soon as I arrived in Montreal and Saputo Stadium looked like San Pedro Sula Stadium in Honduras with an 8:1 advantage of Honduras supporters in national colours.


In spite of the disparity in supporters Canada scored on a powerful header by Adrian Serioux from a Patrice Bernier left side corner kick to silence the crowd as a small number of Canada fans celebrate the goal.


However Honduras clawed back into the game and adapted to the heavy stadium field a lot better than to add to Canada woes their best offensive player in the game midfielder Thomasz Radzinski had to leave the game at the 15th minute mark after suffering a serious cut to his hand after he slid into the touch line signs while making a last effort to convert on a scoring opportunity.


That was a big blow for Canada since their offensive punch disappeared and Honduras took control of the game with long periods of ball possession. Honduras struck for two goals just after halftime to defeat Canada 2-1 to the delight of pro Honduras crowd.


The CONCACAF W/C qualifiers continues on September 10 (press time) as Canada face off with Group 2 leader Mexico in a critical game at Tuxtla Gutierrez in Mexico while Jamaica plays Honduras in another tough game for the Reggae Boyz at San Pedro Sula in Honduras but Reggae Boyz coach Simoes remains optimistic and said that his team would perform better with the extra time in preparation for the game compared to the last minute fiasco of Hurricane Gustav.


The big showdown on Wednesday will be for first place in Group1 when the Trinidad & Tobago Soca Warriors play USA at the Toyota Park in Chicago while Guatemala tries to get back in the swing of the group race against Cuba in Guatemala City.


Costa Rica in Group 3 play will try to secure a spot into the second round when they play Haiti in Port-Au-Prince while El Salvador will play Surinam at Paramaribo in Surinam.


 TFC defender Julius James call-up for Trinidad and Tobago.

Toronto FC Media Relations


Toronto FC defender Julius James has received his first call-up for Trinidad and Tobago. James will be in the squad for World Cup Qualifiers against Guatemala and the United States next week. The defender previously took part in a training camp with his national team but it will be his first experience of being in the squad for a game.

"It's really great for me and a very special thing to get a call-up for my country," said James. "There are a lot of international players that belong to Trinidad and Tobago so it's a big honour. It's an amazing feeling right now. Before the World Cup they called me down to Florida to train. I was still in college then and I didn't feel I was ready."

"To be going with the team for a World Cup Qualifier is something that I have dreamed about, and hopefully it will be the first of many," said James. "I've made a few strides forward in the league this season. I wish I had been able to play more games, but I got injured in pre-season and the coach didn't think I was ready. Recently I've been playing pretty well, and this is a nice reward."


T&T Germany W/Cup players rejoin squad for 08 qualifiers


   Dwight Yorke      Stern John          Chris Birchall     Aurtis Whitley    Carlos Edwards    


    Collin Samuel      Kenwyne Jones      Cyd Gray        Avery John    Dennis Lawrence


       Cornell Glenn      Densil Theobald      Clayton Ince        Jason Scotland  Silvio Spann


While most of the attention in the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers is on Group 2 with Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and Honduras (the group of death) the Trinidad and Tobago senior team selectors, management and coaching staff have recognized their inadequacies and have called up six players from the Germany World Cup squad to the team’s roster for the upcoming third round CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign.

As a result on August 20 while the big Group 2 clash between Canada and Jamaica will be taking place at sold BMO Field in Toronto, the Soca Warriors fans has been given a renewed confidence that the Soca Warriors team with most of their past World Cup players now available can be victorious against Cuba in Havana on the same day.


The buzz in the twin island of T&T is based on flicker of hope that now surrounds Warriors team with the light flickering at the end of the tunnel. With the many ups and downs that the Warriors had endured al last there seem to be a sense of urgency with the inclusion of these players which signifies the end of the bickering and dispute and the start of the only chance for coach Maturana to have the togetherness and comradely that is needed for the Soca Warriors to have a realistic chance to qualify for World Cup 2010 in South Africa. 


To improve team chemistry the new players called up are Coventry City midfielder Christopher Birchall, Wrexham midfielder Silvio Spann, Clico San Juan Jabloteh defender Cyd Gray, Miami FC defender Avery John and Kansas City Wizards forward Scott Sealy.


However the big news and inclusion noticeable addition to the Soca Warriors squad of former national captain Dwight Yorke Dwight Yorke after Yorke met with TTFF special Advisor Jack Warner and was invited to join the team. With the latest addition of players the present T&T roster has a total of seventeen players who were part of the 2006 World Cup squad as Dennis Lawrence, Clayton Ince, Densill Theobald, Collin Samuel, Jason Scotland, Aurtis Whitley, Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards, Stern John, Cornell Glen and Anthony Wolfe round of the list.

“I have communicated with each of these players who all expressed their absolute zeal to represent Trinidad & Tobago on the football field once again,” Team manager David Muhammad said.  “We are very confident that this enthusiasm will add an element of renewed excitement in the team as well as with the public. We are also hoping to include each of these nationals in our squads for at least one or more of the upcoming Friendly International matches within the next few weeks before the August 20th qualification fixture away to Cuba.”

TTFF Special Advisor Jack Warner is also busy at work trying to solidify games for the Soca Warriors and has revealed from his trip to Haiti that, he had spoken to the Haitian Football Federation President Yves Jean Bart over the staging of a friendly international between Haiti and T&T in Port-Au-Prince before the start of the semi-final round and details are to be worked out.


“That will be done in early August. I will talk to Digicel to ask them to sponsor the event as they have done in El Salvador and Guatemala. I am hopeful that Digicel, as sponsor as the Haitian National Team and the CFU, will accept my request to sponsor the encounter,” Warner said.

Commenting on the inclusion of the mentioned players, Warner responded “Whichever players the coach wants… he will get but I will not pick players for him nor impose any players on him.”

The TTFF Special Advisor said he continues to have faith in coach Maturana at the helm of the Team.

“It is expected that he will come under fire. When you try out and you build and you try different permutations… you come under fire. The only time a coach doesn’t come under fire is when he wins or qualifies. I am sure that Maturana, with his experience, is used to this and therefore I am not worried. Absolutely I will continue to keep faith in him,”

With the exception of Cyd Gray, coach Maturana will have to do without the other five of the six recent additions to his squad after the five players were deemed unavailable due to conflicting schedules with their respective clubs.

However Maturana will still be able to see those unavailable players in a proposed friendly match scheduled for July 27.  The Soca Warriors is scheduled to play their international friendly game against Netherlands Antilles this Thursday at Guaracara Park, Point-a-Pierre at 7:30pm.


Soca Warriors advance with 2-0 win over Bermuda

Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors managed to pull it together just in time  to defeat Bermuda2-0 in their second leg game.  The Warriors goals were scored by Daryl Roberts and Stern John at the 10 and 69 minute mark respectively. With the win the Soca Warriors managed to squeeze into the third round of the W/C Qualifiers to face Guatemala, Cuba and USA in Group 1.


This was a game that coach Maturans gambled and called up striker Daryl Roberts to create more movement in the play of his strikers and opted to bring veteran Stern John fresh of the bench to create more havoc in what he gambled to be a tired Bermuda defense in the second half.


Maturana maneuvers paid instant dividends as Roberts open the scoring at the 10 minute mark while Stern John came of the bench to start the second half and scored the all important second goal to close the door on a gallant effort by the Bermuda team.


Group 1 of the third round will pose a greater challenge for Trinidad and Tobago but if the Soca Warriors has any intentions of duplicating their accomplishment to appear in another World Cup then Group 1 is a better path  than the tough Group 2 with the likes of Mexico, Jamaica, Canada, and Honduras.


In other qualifying second leg action El Salvador upset Panama 3-1, while Surinam eliminated Guyana to create the only two major upsets of the second round of the 12 teams which received a bye.


 Bermuda expose T&T in CONCACAF W/C Qualifier


Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors will have to show their worth in the second leg of their CONCACAF World Cup qualifier this Sunday, after their surprising 2-1 loss to Bermuda at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya Trinidad last week.


With the return match schedule for Bermuda, it would be interesting to see if the Soca Warriors could step up their offensive game to win the game by a 2 goal plus final score required for Trinidad and Tobago to advance into the 12 teams of the third round.


In the first game last Sunday there was no doubt which team was the better team, but with the many obstacles and distraction surrounding the Soca Warriors, it is quite conceivable that the T&T Soca Warriors could be making an early exit in the CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifiers compared to their 2006 campaign.


In T&T there seemed to be old grudges piling upon disputes, and into new indifferences. The troubling trend continue this week after TTFF advisor Jack Warner announced that the TTFF would be applying to FIFA to play the rest of the Soca Warriors World Cup qualifying home games on the road (preferably New York). This is due to what he (Warner) considers to be unreasonable pricing of the football venues by the Ministry of Sport.


The big concern is that it seems like the Soca Warriors players seemed to be getting involved in the dispute after captain Aurtis Whitley and a few past national players appeared on the air at different times, expressing their concerns and hope for a resolution to the disagreement between the TTFF and the Ministry of Sport.


Some members of the media and the public are calling for the return of the Germany Soca Warriors players but I consider that request to be unrealistic and non progressive since the Germany World Cup team was the oldest in the competition and the six World Cup players that started against Bermuda did not make any significance difference to support that argument by their performance.  


The only mistake the TTFF Management made, was not giving the Germany Soca Warriors players what I consider to be a Courtesy call up even if they may not have been included in the final roster. This would have helped the overall moral of the T&T Soca Warriors and its supporters and it is not too late to have these players around the team as supporters.


It would be easy for me to join the band wagon and say that the T&T football problems is being caused by Mr Warner of the TTFF and Mr Hunt of the T&T Ministry of Sport, but based on my experience I would venture to say that the Trinidad and Tobago Government has the power and should step up to the plate and find a mediator to resolve this senseless dispute which in reality is tarnishing the image of the country of Trinidad and Tobago.

For you the Soca Warrior supporter, I can only suggest that you keep the faith and be realistic about the Warriors 2010 World Cup campaign. I may sound like a broken record but I can honestly say that the Soca Warriors players have inherited problems and in search of progress and improvement some of them are also guilty of putting one foot forward while putting the other foot backwards. 


In the end it would be up to the Soca Warriors players who would have to come together as a team by Sunday for the Bermuda rematch to get the job done. There should be no excuses, since the entire Soca Warriors squad is much better than Bermuda’s and errors by coach Maturana in regards to changes or starting line up is minuscule compared to the play and responsibilities of the warrior on the field.


It is also ironic that three out of the last four CONCACAF teams at World Cup 2006 in Germany have stumbled out of the gates in the First leg of Round two since # Mexico had trouble defeating Belize 2-0 while #3 Costa Rica had their hands full in a 2-2 tie with Grenada and T&T Soca Warriors decision to take the long and winding road after their 2-1 loss to Bermuda.  


Some of the favored teams to press for the final four CONCACAF spots were true to form as Canada defeated St Vincent and the Grenadine (SVG) 3-0 on two goals by Ali Gerba to set up what seemed to be a cincher in Montreal on Friday June 20, while Jamaica trounced Bahamas 7-0 at the “office in Kingston to take a strong hold into the second match on Wednesday at press time.


USA demolished Barbados 8-0 while Guatemala St Lucia 6-0 and Honduras overcame Puerto Rico 4-0. Surinam defeated Guyana 1-0 and Panama defeated El Salvador in the toughest contest of the second round. Reigning Caribbean Champions Haiti was held to a scoreless tie with Netherlands Antilles while Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda game is schedule for press time.



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