Soca Warriors defeat Bermuda in second leg WCQ

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

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Soca Warriors World Cup players rejoin team for qualifiers

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.