T&T Soca Warriors face Questions

Caribbean Stars in the Community  By Aldwyn McGill

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T&T put it together to defeat Cuba 3-1 in W/C Qualifier

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, and management after months of turmoil have put together a team that perform well enough to defeat Cuba …..Read 2010 Update!


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


Trinidad and Tobago senior team selectors, have recognized their inadequacies and called up six players from the Germany World Cup squad for the upcoming third round CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign.

On August 20 while the big Group 2 clash between Canada and Jamaica will be taking place at sold out BMO Field in Toronto, the Soca Warriors fans have 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.


The buzz in the twin island of T&T is based on the flicker of hope that now surrounds Warriors team. With the many ups and downs that the Warriors had endured there seem to be a sense of urgency with the inclusion of these players. It may be the end of the bickering and disputes and the start of what could be 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 South Africa.


To improve team chemistry 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 were included in the team roster.


However the big news was the addition of former national captain Dwight Yorke. The ove was made after Yorke met with TTFF special Advisor Jack Warner and was invited to join the team. With the latest addition T&T roster has a total of seventeen players who were part of the 2006 World Cup squad. They include Dennis Lawrence, Clayton Ince, Densill Theobald, Collin Samuel, Jason Scotland, Aurtis Whitley, Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards, Stern John, Cornell Glen and Anthony Wolfe to 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…e 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…ou 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 Bermuda 2-0 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 Maturana gambled. He called up striker Daryl Roberts to create more movement in the play up front and opted to bring veteran Stern John fresh of the bench to create more havoc in what he hoped would 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 and if the Soca Warriors has any intention of duplicating their feat to appear in a second World Cup, then Group 1 is certainly 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 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 the 2 goal plus final score required for Trinidad and Tobago to advance into the 12 teams of the third round.

In the first game against Bermuda last Sunday, there was no doubt which 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. 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 T&T Ministry of Sport.


The big concern is that it seems like the Soca Warriors players are 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 able to secure a spot in the final roster. This would have helped the overall moral of the T&T Soca Warriors and its supporters. However, 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 Jack 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 the Soca Warrior supporter, I can only suggest that they 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. Mexico had trouble defeating Belize 2-0 while Costa Rica had their hands full in a 2-2 tie with Grenada and the Soca Warriors decision to take the long and winding road in their next match after their 2-1 loss to Bermuda.


Some of the other favored teams 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 the cincher in the rematch in Montreal on Friday June 20. Jamaica trounced Bahamas 7-0 at the “office” in Kingston, to take a strong hold into the second match on Wednesday.

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.



T&T could not Settle the Score with  England

The game billed as “A Score to Settle” between England and the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors turned out to be a “Take that and Cool it” affair as England settle the score early scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes enroute to a comfortable 3-0 win.
What was impressive about England victory was the fact that England coach Capello released Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Andy Cole, and John Terry after England 2-0 victory over USA at Wembley Stadium just days earlier.
With all the hype surrounding the England practices in T&T, David Beckham was restored as the captain of the England team for the T&T game. As expected Beckham attracted large numbers of admirers and fans to the England practice and every time he got close to the fans or made a move with or without the ball the fans would go crazy.
England Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard were also getting a buzz from the crowd, while the player of great interest Jermain Defoe who was also creating a stir but with his skills and ability. His passes were crisp and it was anticipated that Defoe quickness would have created problems for the Soca Warriors defense.
The Warriors practice was not as engaging as the England team but with the announcement of Dwight Yorke arrival and inclusion in the team the day before the game a few people attended the T&T practice to see the Soca Warriors. By that time Kenwyne Jones was cleared to play by the team doctors and Carlos Edwards and Dennis Lawrence was back on the team.
On game day the Soca Warriors starting lineup had 6 players from the Germany World Cup squad. Goal keeper Clayton Ince got the nudge with Dennis Lawrence, Carlos Edwards, Stern John, Kenwyne Jones and captain Aurtis Whitley rounding off the experienced part of the lineup.
However in spite of the experience the Warriors were on their heels from the opening whistle, as England pressed forward systematically only to have their strikers Defoe and Ashton missed a couple of good scoring opportunities.
Things got worse for the Warriors as their marquee striker Kenwyne Jones went down with a knee injury after colliding with England goalkeeper David James in an effort to pick up a through pass behind England defender Rio Ferdinand. It was the type of play which I thought Jones could have been better serve to leave alone, since it was still quite early in the game.
The lost of Jones did not help the Soca Warriors cause, but the play of the Warriors wing-backs did not improve their chances of being competitive either . What I find to be amazing is that the wing back positions in my estimation was also the Warriors downfall in their last game against the Reggae Boyz in Kingston in March
Cupid the Warriors right wing back was making unforced errors continuously in his defensive zone while his distribution, coverage and positioning was beyond atrocious. Wayne Bridges the Warriors left back was giving Beckham too much space resulting in Beckham having lots of time and touches on the ball that resulted in several dangerous crosses to the England strikers.
It was on one of these crosses that Ashton opened the scoring for England at the 12 minute mark while Defoe continued to mesmerize the Warriors defenders only to score at the 14 minute and 48 minute to give England the 3-0 victory.
  T&T had a few chances of their own when substitute Darryl Roberts shot straight to the goalkeeper after coming on for Kenwyne Jones in the first half. Team captain Aurtis Whitley had the best chance to break the shutout but shot high from close range in the dying stages of the game.
Dwight Yorke made a grand appearance at the 74 minute after replacing Khaleem Hyland in the midfield after coach Maturana made several substitutions at the half and towards the end of the game.
Coach Capello also did some house cleaning and replaced Beckham, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Ashton at the half and brought Crouch into the game towards the end

T&T to face England with David Beckham & Co

What should Politics and Sports have in common? Patriotism

It is unbelievable that the biggest International friendly game in the history of the Trinidad and Tobago football (TTFF) between the T&T Soca Warriors and England had to be solidified by a T&T court decision. The parties involved, the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Sports and the (TTFF) settled their contractual disagreement for the use of the Hasley Crawford Stadium for the game on Sunday before Justice Carol Gobin.

Some how it seems like since World Cup 2006 Germany, every time something positive happens in the Trinidad and Tobago senior football program a negative situation always seems to present itself to neutralize any progress;


It is important to note that after it was revealed that the contract for the rental of the Hasley Crawford Stadium was not secured and everyone was wondering if the England-T&T game was going to take place, the England team was still going about their business and busy in training for their game against USA as the squad worked on passing, movement and finishing for their game against USA, on Wednesday 28.


The mere thought that the reports out of Trinidad was based on the contractual disagreement between the TTFF and the Ministry of Sport and the matter was heading to court for a resolution and not an arrange meeting between the two in lieu of the fact that the TTFF had secured an agreement with one of the largest drawing card in football (England) with the likes of Beckham, Rooney, and Crouch I thought was mind boggling.

With the chips down and the image of the Trinidad and Tobago at stake cooler head prevailed and the parties have reached an amicable resolution under Justice Carol Gobin only after Justice Gobin excused herself several times to allow the two parties to negotiate to a settlement.


What’s wrong with this picture is that everyone that I spoke to knew that this agreement could and should have been reached without being a distraction to everyone involved especially since the England FA attorneys were threatening the TTFF with a law suit if their end of the contract was not satisfied and a with vast number of football enthusiast and journalist sitting on their airline tickets.

I reinforce Justice Gobin sentiment that “It is a pity that things had to reach here. This could have been settled outside of court.”


One has to wonder how a country like Trinidad and Tobago with the money and highly qualified people and some of the highest managerial skills in the Caribbean could be caught up in a turmoil that was the result of a lack of communication.


With the England game previously billed as “A Score to Settle” game, I have made it my duty to be in Trinidad for the England, Jamaica and Bermuda game, in order to see which game should have be billed as “A Score to Settle” since the Soca Warriors was dominated by England at World Cup 2006 Germany and also by the Reggae Boyz at the Rhythms Clash in Jamaica in March.


Failing to settle the score in those games would mean that T&T will need to advance past Bermuda into the third round and use “A Score to Settle” as an appropriate objective or Motto to return to the world stage to show the world there improvement at World Cup South Africa 2010.

Stay Tune to www.caribbeanstars.com for more World Cup Soccer updates.

Soca Warriors shock Reggae Boyz in Rhythm Clash



Kingston: The long awaited soccer Rhythms Clash between Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors and Jamaica Reggae Boyz turned out to be a “ Soca Warriors shocker in Jamaica”.  In a game where the Reggae Boyz dominated for over 70 minutes of play, Trinidad and Tobago lived up to their Warriors image by picking up a late tempo to score two goals to secure a surprising 2-2 tie in extra time.

The result of the Rhythm Clash was a favorable one for the Soca Warriors and probably a blessing in disguise for the disappointed Reggae Boyz, when you factor in the inexperience of the T&T team and the sudden withdrawal of their key players.  Reggae Boyz on the other hand would have to learn that the game is played for 90+ minutes and a slim 2 goal lead is erasable.

However from my vantage point the Reggae Boyz performed to their level of physical readiness in the first half of the game, but it could be argued that their mental toughness may be in question and unfortunately for Jamaica coach Rene Simoes it was public knowledge that Trinidad and Tobago had a young and inexperience roster especially with the absence of Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards and Collin Samuel.


I am of the belief that Rene Simoes mistake had more to do with his assessment of Coach Maturana T&T team resiliency. With an attainable 2-0 half time advantage, coach Simoes replaced goalkeeper Donavan Ricketts and captain Marlon King at the break.

Simoes big mistake was replacing striker #6 Marlon King since King was the player that had the young Warriors defender in a mess with his running off the ball.  When he was in the game the T&T defenders had no idea where he was and where he was going to which for the most part was behind the Warriors defense to receive his passes.


After the early tentative minutes the Reggae Boyz broke the game open with an effective and entertaining offensive display after missing a few chances. Marlon King opened the scoring for Reggae Boyz at the 34th minute on text book turn around shot after getting the inside position on his defender.

The Reggae Boyz fans erupted on the goal and the Rhythm football show had began on the expense of a number of last minute tackles and switch coverage by the T&T defense. The Reggae Boyz fans were buzzing with excitement and licking their chops in anticipation of a Jamaica rout.


To add to the celebration (TFC own) Reggae Boyz right back Tyrone Marshall out muscled his opposing defender to beat goalkeeper Jan Williams to give Jamaica a 2-0 lead at the 40th minute that held up into the half.

The nature of the second goal must have given Jamaica coach Simoes a false sense of security as he inserted, Deon Burton for Marlon King at halftime and Tyrone Marshall was given the captain’s armband.

Goalkeeper Barrett was also replaced in the Reggae Boyz net with Duwayne Kerr which in reality was a change at both ends of their defense, and although Jamaica continued their dominance at the start of the second half, their vertical game appeared to have an underlying hint of showboating which spurred the Soca Warriors to firm up in an effort not to be embarrassed.


As a result T&T clawed back into the contest and was rewarded when substitute Osei Telesford broke free on the right from a head-on pass from Roberts to sizzle a shot past goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr. The goal stunned the Reggae Boyz supporters at the “Office” who at the 74th minute mark were already leaving with what they thought was a Jamaica win in the bag.


Then suddenly at the announcement of two minutes play of extra time by the fourth official, lightening struck and this time the ”Office” crowd was shock. Warriors captain Aurtis Whitley eluded a Reggae Boyz defender on a fail defensive clearance and unleashed a 25 yard left footer that deflected slightly to beat the goalkeeper into the net to give the Soca Warriors a 2-2 tie. The equalizer sent the small contingent of Warriors fans into a frenzy much to the disappointment of the faithful Reggae Boyz fans.

At the press conference, Reggae Boyz Technical Director Simoes was under pressure and admitted “When things are not going good, it is me the coach that everybody will look at. It was my decision to make the changes… it was my decision to take out Marlon King and put in Deon Burton.

Even JFF President Burrell voiced his opinion at the press conference “I, too, am disappointed, to say the least. It was very unfortunate that we did not win the game, but when you looked carefully at what happened, you would have seen that in the first half we had our more experienced players on the pitch.

‘But one has to also understand… that there are players that the coach must look at with World Cup qualifiers just around the corner in June,’ Burrell said.

Meanwhile, Trinidad’s assistant coach Anton Corneal was not at a lost for words as he praised his young side for a gutsy second-half performance. Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica will play Bahamas and Bermuda respectively in their World Cup qualifying game on June 14 and 21-22 in a home and away series



 TRI: – 1.Jan-Michael Williams, 5.Keyeno Thomas, 2.Kern Cupid, 15.Akeem Adams (3.Akile Edwards 46th), 13.Makan Hislop, 9.Aurtis Whitley (capt), 19.Keon Daniel, 6.Khaleem Hyland, 8.Kerry Baptiste (4.Osei Telesford 59th), 10.Darryl Roberts, 11.Randi Patterson (7.Jamaal Gay 59th).

JAM: Donovan Ricketts (Duwayne Kerr 46th), Adrian Reid, Demar Stewart, Obrian Woodbine, Oneil Thompson (Khari Stephenson), Tyrone Marshall, Rudolph Austin, Omar Daley (Ricardo Cousins 68th), Demar Phillips (Wolry Wolfe), Marlon King (capt) (Deon Burton 46th), Luton Shelton (James Thomas).


T&T coach Maturana and his Soca Warriors face tough Questions

Trinidad and Tobago interim head coach Francisco Maturana has found himself between a rock and a hard place in his efforts to put the T&T team together for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Unlike the T &T World Cup Germany qualifying campaign, when then coach Leo Beenhakker inherited the leadership of Yorke, John and Latapy in the later stages of the Germany World Cup qualifiers, coach Maturana finds himself in an interim coaching position with the length of his coaching contract in question since T&T coach Wim Rijssbergen suspension expires in June.

However after having four days to prepare for his game on Ash Wednesday, coach Maturana relied on his overseas players to lead his team against Guadeloupe. He appointed Southampton striker Stern John as the captain for the game but had to swap the arm band with striker Kenwyne as John Silvio Spann and Densil Theobald were taken out of the game at halftime.

Maturana could have saved himself that trouble had he given the captaincy to veteran goal keeper Clayton Ince. This would have allowed John and Jones to get into the game and familiarize themselves with the play of their new teammates. Instead Kenwyne Jones was double and triple teamed while trying to get a read on the developing plays. Stern John on the other hand seemed to be waiting for the perfect pass and at the interview reinforced that notion by admitting that the services (passes) were less than adequate.

To add to the TTFF woes the Queens Park Oval stands were only 20% full which makes one wonder if the $150 cost of admission and/or the 4pm kickoff could have had something to do with the embarrassing crowd turnout.. This game was marked as the return of the T&T World Cup players after they withdrew their services due to the alleged breach of payment by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) in regards to their World Cup appearances.

Whatever the reason for the lack of interest in T&T, on game day it did not seem to affect the Guadeloupe team. Guadeloupe completely dominated the Soca Warriors and although some T&T fans would try to attribute their team poor showing to a lack of preparation time, or the Carnival festivities, or the terrible field condition, the fact is T&T had no direct shot on goal, and although the Soca Warriors created a few anxious moments around the Guadeloupe goal, those moments were few and far in between.

To measure the poor showing of the Soca Warriors is to understand the rationale of Guadeloupe’s coach Roger when he inserted his reserve goalkeeper with 10 minutes left in regulation time and the game scoreless but to him no threat.  T&T coach Maturana on the other hand watch anxiously as his starting goalkeeper Clayton Ince made big saves, early and often through out the game to secure the 0-0 tie.

The Soca Warriors number one problem is a lack of offense and imagination. If Maturana corrects this problem it would allow the team to score goals and keep their fans entertained and confident that their team can overcome a deficit to win games. Building a team based on defense can be done almost overnight as coach Maturana has shown against Guadeloupe, and Beenhakker in Germany.

Maturana move to insert young talent into the Soca Warriors team seemed to be a good start but his 22 year old striker Kenwyne Jones was at a lost for words when he was asked about his team’s poor performance in combination with the poor turn out of the  Soca Warriors supporters.

Since the Maturana’s emphasis on youth gesture, the TTFF announced that Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy have been invited to take part in the game against England in early June and Autis Whitley is also back in the squad.

The TTFF decision to include  Yorke and Latapy for the England game could be perceived as a loss opportunity for a young upcoming Soca Warriors player just before T&T World Cup qualifying game on June 21, This situation could pose a problem to the team unless Yorke and Latapy is also included in the coaching side of the shop for the W/C campaign. T&T will now play El Salvador on March 19 before meeting Jamaica in the Caribbean Rhythms Clash on March 26.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz vs T&T Soca Warriors

As old man winter with his unwelcome early presence, delivered lots of snow at our doorsteps, the Caribbean “snow birds” are thanking the Football Federations of Jamaica (JFF) and Trinidad and Tobago (TTFF) for their promise of heat, fun and excitement during the winter months.

Last Sunday the two football Federations has included a Reggae Boyz- Soca Warriors  series to their football fun packages of International friendlies in preparation for their World Cup 2010 qualifying second round campaign. The first Trinidad and Tobago’s “Soca Warriors” – Jamaica’s “Reggae Boyz” game is scheduled for the National Stadium in Kingston on March 26.

According to TTFF President Oliver Camps “The game comes at an ideal time as both countries will be in the process of getting prepared for the start of their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaigns. We always have a good rivalry with Jamaica and I expect that we will have a team inclusive of our best players to put on a good showing on the day,” Camps told TTFF Media on Sunday. Jamaica’s Football Federation President Horace Burrell reinforced Camps sentiment and is anticipating that the game would serve well to assist his country’s build up program for the 2010 campaign.

The Football Federations pounced on the opportunity to fine tune their squad for their second round scheduled in June, 2008 after both T&T and Jamaica received a first round bye into the tournament. Both teams rosters are expected to have their overseas-based professionals and for this game it is a given that player motivation would not be a factor for the “Caribbean Rhythms Clash”.

However one should be aware that the stakes of this game is only bragging rights and the outright winner to the Jamaica-T&T series would have to continue to work hard to maintain their emotional lift. The date of the first Reggae Boyz-Soca Warriors game (March 26) is a FIFA date and as such the second leg of the first round of World Cup qualifiers will be playing on the same day.

The Jamaica-T&T rivalry is old hat for Jamaica new head coach Simoes. As coach of Jamaica he tied a friendly 0-0 against T&T during his campaign to France World Cup in 1998 with the Reggae Boyz’s. Simoes lost to Jamaica 2-1 when he was head coach of Trinidad and Tobago in the closing stages of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. Both games were played at the Queen’s Park Oval. On the flipside T&T head coach Wim Rijsbergen can learn from this experience. Simoes will officially begin his duties with the JFF on January 5.

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago 2010 campaign would end in the preliminary phase of the World Cup qualifiers, if T&T does not get past the winner of the Bermuda and Cayman Islands series and Jamaica does not get past the winner of the Bahamas/British Virgin Islands in June. The first round will be played on February 6 and March 26.

T&T and Jamaica second round home and away games are on June 14 and June 21. Once through to the third round (semi-final stage), T&T could conceivably play against the United States, Cuba and Guatemala. If the second round is favorable for Jamaica they could potentially be in the group of death with Canada, Honduras and Mexico providing there are no upsets.

Prior to the “Caribbean Rhythms Clash” between the Reggae Boyz and the Soca Warriors, Jamaica will be prancing on Ash Wednesday February 6 at Kingston National Stadium against Costa Rica while T&T will be having their Carnival last lap at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain against Guadeloupe on the same Ash Wednesday.

10-01-2008: Trinidad and Tobago under assistant coach Anton Corneal, has been busy putting the Soca Warriors roster together for the upcoming game against Guadeloupe on Ash Wednesday at the Queens Park Oval as the assistant coach. Anton has been in charge of the Soca Warriors team after the suspension of head coach Wim Rijsbergen from December to June, 2008. It should be noted that Anton Corneal was one of Rijsbergen assistant at the time of his suspension and also an assistant coach for the Soca Warriors at World Cup Germany under then coach Leo Beenhakker.

Since the suspension to Rijsbergen the TTFF has appointed Colombian Francisco Maturana as the interim head coach.  Maturana is scheduled to arrive in Trinidad later this month (January) to start his official duties. Francisco Maturana last worked with Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata of the Colombian league from April 22, 2007 to August 2007 and he had a long football career as a national player and has also coached Colombia at the World Cup in 1990 and 1994.

In Maturana absence Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors started training under Corneal with their local players from the T&T Pro league, until their overseas players arrives. The nine overseas Soca Warriors players invited for the Ash Wednesday game against Guadeloupe includes Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones (Sunderland), Stern John (Southampton), Silvio Spann (Wrexham), Densill Theobald (Ujpest FC), Jason Scotland (Swansea City), Collin Samuel (TFC), Goalkeeper Clayton Ince (Walsall) and Darryl Roberts (Sparta Rotterdam). Striker Darryl Roberts is the only new name from the Germany World Cup squad given with the overseas players.

Also included in the T&T squad are Cornell Glen (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh) and defender Cyd Gray from the World Cup Germany 2006 squad. Other notable mention are striker Gary Glasgow from Joe Public T&TPL, striker Scott Sealy (Kansas City Wizards of the MLS), striker Anthony Wolfe (T&TPL), defender Osei Telesford ( Chicago Fire of the MLS)  and Anthony Noreiga who is returning from the brain contusion he suffered at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup against USA.

Assistant coach Corneal has indicated that Chris Birchall and the other are still in the overall pool. Corneal stated “There are players who may not have been called for this game but they definitely will not be overlooked.”

Stay tune for what seems to be a very interesting Soca Warriors development, since five of  T&T defensive players of World Cup Germany has not been invited for the friendly match on Ash Wednesday February 6. 2008.

Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors received a bye into the second round of the CONCACAF World Cup 2010 qualifying.  At the third stage of the tournament the Soca Warriors would be in a group with the United States, Cuba and Guatemala beginning August 20, providing the Soca Warriors can get past the second stage against the winner of Bermuda and Cayman Islands game. The Bermuda- Cayman Island first stage game is scheduled for February 6 and March 26 with the winner playing Trinidad and Tobago on June 14/15 and June 21/22 on a home and away basis.

In an effort to jump start its program for the 2010 World Cup qualifying in June; Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation has arranged an international friendly game against Guadeloupe on Ash Wednesday February 6, 2008 at the Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain. It was reported that Trinidad and Tobago head coach Wim Rijsbergen was given the assurance that he will have a full quota of players to select his team. This includes the T&T Germany World Cup players that were part of a dispute with the TTFF and withheld their services.  TTFF President Oliver Camps revealed that all players were eligible for selection since September when the dispute went to arbitration.

Trinidad & Tobago join Jamaica as the two Caribbean qualified into the six- team Qualification Final Round of the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic. The Lady Warriors got pass Puerto Rico based on their away goals tiebreaker after a tied 2:2 after winning the first match 2:1 as the away team and losing the second game 1-0. Both games were played at the Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel in Bayamón The loss was the first-ever for the Soca Princesses against a Caribbean team in CONCACAF Women’s Qualification to the Olympic Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“T&T U-17 advance to World Cup Korea ’07’

Trinidad and Tobago U-17 clinched a spot into the finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Korea after the young Soca Warriors defeated Jamaica 1-0 at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. The goal was scored at the 13 minute by striker Kevin Molino in a closely contested game. How ironic it seems that T&T qualification into another World Cup came from another lone goal away from home, reminiscent of the Soca Warriors goal in Bahrain to qualify for World Cup Germany 2006.

Heading into the last days of the CONCACAF U-17 Group B tournament any of three teams (Canada, Jamaica or T&T) could have qualified for the third and final spot. Jamaica was coming off a big upset of USA 3-2 after the junior Reggae Boyz scored three goals in the last 15 minutes to register the first victory of a Jamaica team over USA at any level.

Trinidad and Tobago was also coming off an upset 2-1 win over Canada in their attempt to become only the fourth team from the Caribbean to qualify for a FIFA Under 17 World Championship. The other three Caribbean teams to qualify were Haiti, for the upcoming 2007 finals, Jamaica in 1999 and Cuba in 1988 and 1991. T&T has played at a World Under 17 Championship as the host which carried an automatic birth.   Third place Canada had completed their schedule, and could only watch and wait after failing to take care of business in their last game against T&T. Canada finished (1-1-2) with four points. The stage was set for the two group B underdogs, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to determine which team wanted to get to World Cup Korea the most.   The game started with Jamaica taking the action to T&T, because tactically a tie would not favor their team. T&T was not taking any chances and also approached the game from a winner take all scenario, hence the teams were putting their best foot forward.

Jamaica controlled the game from the onset with their ball possession trademark, but their strikers Dever Orgill and McKauly Tulloch could not convert their early scoring opportunities to put their team ahead. Jamaica miscues came back to haunt them when at the 13 minute T&T striker Kevin Molino, broke down the right flank, cut inside, and unleashed a grounder past Jamaica keeper Oneil Wilson into the far post. This was a wake up call for the young Reggae Boyz as they continued to press forward in search of the tying goal. However the story of the game for the Jamaicans was missed opportunities against a stubborn T&T defense.

Trinidad and Tobago did enough to keep Jamaica off balance with little unknown striker Kevin Moilno of CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh team. He kept the crowd entertained with his fancy footwork and aggressive style of play. When T&T was not on offense, the T&T defense lead by goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel’s made the necessary plays to stymie Jamaica offensive trusts to achieve the win. Goalkeeper Samuels received the “Man of the Match” award for his big saves and timely stops.

Credit has to be given to the young Reggae Boyz team for giving their supporters of approximately 5,000 strong the effort and energy until the final whistle. The 2007 CONCACAF Under-17 Final Round schedule ended with USA defeated Costa Rica 2-1 to win Group B. Trinidad & Tobago joins Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras and USA as the CONCACAF representatives to the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will run from 18 August – 9 September in the Korea Republic.

CONCACAF U-17 holds Upsets.

The upcoming Group B games of the CONCACAF final round Qualification for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea Republic 2007 starts this weekend and it is expected that more upsets could be in the making. In last week Group A play Haiti (1-0-2), and host Honduras (1-0-2), advanced into the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea Republic 2007 after they secured first and second place respectively.

The big story of the group was that current World Champion Mexico was eliminated after their impressive 2005 campaign in Costa Rica. The Mexicans were the class of the tournament then, as they defeated Netherlands 4-0 in the semi-final and Brazil 3-0 in the final to clinch the championship. In this tournament Mexico tied all three games to end up with just three points.

The games of group A CONCACAF Qualification play for the FIFA U-17 World Cup were played at the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa before large crowds. The excellent turnout was attributed to the level of excitement, importance and popularity of Under-17 football in the CONCACAF region. Also held into consideration was the fact that host Honduras was in the race and was instrumental in eliminating Mexico in the deciding game with a 0-0 tie.

Group B games are scheduled to begin on Saturday April 28 in Kingston, Jamaica, with T&T playing Costa Rica (16:00) and Jamaica versus Canada as the second game (18:00).  The class of the teams in Group B is expected to attract the football enthusiast and it was said that the Jamaican team will have the support needed for the young Boyz to advance, in what could be Jamaica’s last chance of qualifying in a major tournament in 2007.

What is certain is Haitian football is on a roll and as a first-time qualifier in the U-17 group, the young team seemed to have ridden on the momentum of their successful senior team that won the Caribbean Cup for the first time in their history. Although Haiti other youth team (U-20) fell short on their quest to advance to the World Cup in Canada, they did qualify and advance to the Caribbean zone of the CONCACAF final.  Haiti seems to be the rising power in the Caribbean football and they should be a force to be reckoned with in the U-17 World Cup in Korea Republic and could be a dark horse in the Gold Cup USA.

Soca Warriors lose to Austria

Trinidad and Tobago football has withered down from the heat and excitement of the World Cup 2006 in Germany. At home the Soca Warriors managed to put together a two game winning streak in spite of all the distraction in regards to alleged money owing to the World Cup players by the T&T Football Federation. However on there first visit to Europe since the World Cup the Warriors minus several World Cup players lost 4-1 to Austria.  Although the final score seem lopsided the game was actually tied in the 23rd minute by T&T the warriors has shown that there strength is in their team chemistry and cohesiveness. When either of these ingredients is missing the warriors usually struggle to be competitive.

The warriors were missing Stern John, Dwight Yorke, Avery John, and Kenwyne Jones for this game and, although a point can be made for these players contribution missing, the warriors allowed three goals in the first half of the game. The last time the warriors allowed 3 goals in a first half of play was against Czech Republic at the end of their European tour before their World Cup debut.  Back then it was their “wake up call” but at present due to the difficulty of having players available coach Rijsbergen should declare all starting positions open and work solely on the development of the younger players with the ability to take the team to the next level.

Trinidad & Tobago: – 1.Jan-Michael Williams, 8.Cyd Gray (16.Andrei Pacheco 84th), 3.Nigel Daniel, 6.Dennis Lawrence (capt), 2.Atiba Charles (18.Densill Theobald 46th), 11.Carlos Edwards, 7.Christopher Birchall, 9.Aurtis Whitley (13.Kerry Baptiste 78th), 12.Collin Samuel, 15.Scott Sealy (10.Andre Toussaint 80th), 20.Jason Scotland.

Soca Warriors defeat Panama 

Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors are now on a two game winning streak after defeating Panama 2-1 before a large crowd at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In contrast to their first game against St Vincent,  the Warriors found Panama to be no walk over. Before the game striker Stern John was recognized for his 100th appearance for Trinidad and Tobago and he was also given the nod to captain the team in the absence of Dwight Yorke who returned to England to play for his club Sunderland FC.

T&T coach Wim Rijsbergen also made four changes to the starting line up that played against St Vincent. Tobago’s Dwayne Jack replaced Atiba Charles at the central back position while Avery John was given the called ahead of Nigel Daniel at the left wing back position. Trent Noel was asked to fill in for captain Dwight Yorke and Kenwyne Jones replaced Jason Scotland as the second striker to team up with Stern John.                    The game started with the usual posturing of the teams with each team willing to take only what the other team was giving without giving up their defensive shape. Panama was playing their small triangular sets with crisp short passes while T&T was trying to create space by switching the plays with no great success. At this point it was obvious that the absence of the experience of Dwight Yorke was looming large for the Soca Warriors. Their piston-like midfield movement was non existent and the midfielder’s hesitancy to move forward in transition was noticeable. They were not moving in the spaces to receive the ball and their lack of communication caused the warriors to adapt to numerous long

passes and errant balls to the strikers. Panama was to stay composed and responded four minutes later with a timely goal just when the game seemed to be slipping away. The Panama

goal was scored from a left side cross that two Panama attackers converged on warrior goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams in mid air to sandwich him and head the ball into the net. That was all the scoring in the game and although the second half had its moments the game was over in the first half barring the substitutions. In summary T&T will have to find replacements for the aging players by investing time and continuing to expose the young players from the T&T Pro League

T&T line up:  Jan-Michael Williams; Cyd Gray, Dwayne Jack (Atiba Charles), Dennis Lawrence, Avery John; Carlos Edwards, Christopher Birchall (Nigel Daniel), Trent Noel (Kerry Baptiste), Collin Samuel; Stern John (capt), Kenwyne Jones (Jason Scotland). Other Subs : Marvin Phillip, Andrei Pacheco, Andre Tousssaint

Soca Warriors a Handful for SVG

The Soca Warriors put aside their disagreement with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) to dispose of St Vincent and Grenadines (SVG) by a score of 5-0. The game was played in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the Warriors and the TTFF over allegation that the TTFF did not fulfill their contractual obligations to the players from the World Cup monies that was promised. As a demonstration of their solidarity the Soca Warrior players have signed a petition to resign after their upcoming game on Wednesday against Panama.

However in spite of the dispute the T&T Warriors played the game against SVG with the national pride reminiscent of their World Cup debut performance a few months ago in Germany. Granted the opposition was not at the level but one could not have tell in the first ten minutes until Carlos Edwards started dictating the pace which equates to bad news for SVG and their left full back, especially when SVG was having difficulties penetrating the T&T defense.

As a result, the time of possession was totally in favor of the warriors and at the 13 minute mark Chris Birchall unleashed a controlled grounder of a volley shot from a rebound off a cross ball from the right flank. At the 24 minute Stern Johnn pounced on another rebound from a ball punched out by SVG goalkeeper and shot the ball through a crowd of players into the goal to score in his milestone 100 international appearances for Trinidad and Tobago. From that point onwards the game seemed like an uphill struggle for St Vincent and Grenadines and the lost of two of their players to red cards in the second half did not help their cause.

The soca warriors were superior in all facets of the game and with the offensive pressure an SVG defender was forced to tackle Kenwyne Jones from behind on a potential breakaway at the edge of the penalty area which automatically drew the red card from the referee

This was after his teammate was shown a red minutes earlier for an accumulation of two yellow cards. Captain Dwight Yorke scored from the free kick spot with a neat placement, followed by Stern John second of the evening after he shook his defender with a nice turn and pulled the SVG goalkeeper and placed the ball neatly into the open net. The route was on and to add insult to injury substitute Kerry Baptiste closed off the scoring in the 79 minute of play from his first touch of the ball after entering the game.


T&T Line-up: Jan Michael Williams; 8.Cyd Gray, 2.Atiba Charles (Andre Toussaint 70th), 6.Dennis Lawrence, 13.Nigel Daniel; 11.Carlos Edwards (18.Kerry Baptiste 75th), 7.Christopher Birchall, 19.Dwight Yorke (capt), 12.Collin Samuel; 20.Jason Scotland (15.Kenwyne Jones 60th), 14.Stern John

T&T World Cup Ends

Trinidad and Tobago was officially eliminated from World Cup 2006 Germany after the warriors turned out a lethargic effort in their last game losing to Paraguay by a score of 2-0. Going into the game the warriors needed to win the game by at least two goals and also needed help for England to defeat Sweden in the other group B game. As it turned out the Paraguay game for Trinidad and Tobago was for respectability because Sweden tied 2-2 with England and by doing so they kept their 40 year undefeated streak against England in tact and at the same time clinched second spot in the Group B division to advance to the second round.

The warriors was not in a good situation heading into the Paraguay game due to the fact that they did not control their own destiny and that is usually situations that teams always try to avoid. To add to their woes the warriors also had not scored a goal from their two previous games so the task of having to score more than one goal meant a different approach and a different mindset.

With goals the immediate objective it was a surprise to most knowledgeable football supporters why the Trinidad and Tobago starting line up was not reflective of an offensive game plan. I thought that coach Beenhakker was making his second major error in his selection which he managed to avoid previously when Shaka Hislop was inserted at game time for injured Kelvin Jack before the Sweden game.

Beenhakker first major error was in the first Bahrain game in Trinidad when he started Silvio Spann at right back for Syd Gray when it was obvious from the practices the synergy was not where it should have been with Spann and Carlos. This proves is savy because he corrected his mistake for the second Bahrain game, but after Paraguay game there is no more games for correction.Avery John inserted into the starting line up at left back in a game when scoring goals was the objective for the team to advance to the second round is a major error and Avery did not help his coach for the short time he was onthe field of play.

Beenhakker third strange move (not error) was the inclusion of Kevin Jack as the starting goalkeeper. If Beenhakker reason for starting Kelvin was that he (Kevin) got the warriors to the world cup from the preliminaries round then its his call and he has the right, but very early in the game it was noticeable that Kelvin had no sense of urgency in restarting the plays. He did make some saves but he was sending his defenders over centre and the result of his long kicks was a 99 % lost of possession which equates to the team going back on defense and simply not having the possession of the ball to score or sustain and offensive build up.

In fairness to coach Beenhakker the obvious lack of urgency he had no control over but I am sure it was driving him as crazy as the Soca Warriors supporters who were getting very impatient.

To this day the question remains, What was the game plan of Trinidad and
Tobago and did it ever change for the Paraguay game or could it have been that the warriors were too mentally exhausted? As coach Beenhakker responded the question to his team being physically tired he responded “if that was the case they would not have been capable of playing the second half”. From my observation it seemed that the warriors could not change
gears and probably were still in the reactive mode instead of an initiating mode.

Last but not least the question without an answer was, why was Russell Latapy overlooked as a starter. The media, warriors supporters, and warrior players anticipated his inclusion in the starting line up. In answer to that question at the after the game press conference coach Beenhakker stated that he has a tremendous amount of respect for Russell Latapy but “he did not think he could use him against opponents who had 70% of the possession and in his opinion that was not best suited for Latapy type of game”. My advise to coach Beenhakker is that he should go back and take a look at the game tape after the entrance of Russell Latapy and look at Latapy first touches, his awareness and his decision making process and then he would appreciate that this was suppose to be an offensive game that had little to do with Russells lack of defensive capabilities.

Beenhakker trend of though was perfect for the likes of Sweden and England but the overall team inability to shift gears to close off their schedule is work left undone and only skillful offensive players should have been the menu to match Paraguay style of play.

All in all the last performance of the soca warriors is comprehendible but the team starting formation should have been change to reflect a 3-4-3 formation or the personnel reflective of the objective. As was the case the formation was changed only after Paraguay scored the first goal and left back Avery John was replaced with Kenwyne Jones. There is a saying goes that “you cant be lucky and coward”.

The most disturbing though was when Beenhakker had Evans Wise and Collin Samuel warming up before the half after making his first change of Avery John. The reason for my concern was the fact that it appeared that Trinidad and Tobago was about to make their full compliment of substitutions without Russell Latapy making his last grand appearance for the Warriors at the World Cup.
The lesson to be learnt here is that everyone including Leo Beenhakker will make mistakes because he is human, but he has done the best coaching job that I can recall in the history of Trinidad and Tobago with the exception of Everard “Gally” Cumming with the ’89’ Strike Squad. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation should now take the time to convene and make a decision on head coach position of the men national senior team.

Trinidad and Tobago improved in every area in Germany. From a 30% disadvantage in supporters at the opening game against Sweden to a 70% support advantage at the last game against Paraguay. In closing it is safe to say that Trinidad and Tobago was the sentiment and action of the first round at World Cup Germany 2006.

                     Soccer Salute in Toronto 2006

                        Jamaica Flag

                               Invitational  vs       Invitational    
Soccer Salute 2006 was played before a large enthusiastic crowd at Allan Lamport Stadium in Toronto last Sunday with Trinidad and Tobago defeating Jamaica 1-0 on a goal scored by Kevin Jeffery in the 75th minute of play. After the two teams warmed up the atmosphere was very electrifying when the fans of the two teams started singing, chanting and making noise with anything in their possession in anticipation of the friendly rivalry.


For the promoters this must have been a welcomed change compared to earlier reports that some people could have left the venue after it was alleged that they were misinformed the time of the game but later found out that the time of the featured Invitational game (of the three games scheduled) was 7pm. If this was the case then unfortunately those people would have missed a level of soccer that has not been seen in the Caribbean community for quite some time.


  The game started at a fast pace which favored the youthful T&T Invitational team who strung together several combinations of passes, while running into spaces to utilize the enormous size of the Lamport field. However their impressive start was stalled somewhat by the solid play of the Jamaican defense that shutdown their early advances without giving T&T a shot on their net.


At that point in the game the Jamaican midfielders lead by Reggae Boyz superstar Theodore Whitmore systematically took control of the game but as a payback they found the Trinidad and Tobago defense also were a tough bunch although the Jamaican attacks were potentially more dangerous due to their close proximity to the Trinidad net.  The Jamaicans however could not capitalize on their territorial advantage due to a high percentage of their shots going high and wide or their lacked of awareness or aggressiveness around the goal area. 


T&T Invitational withstood the pressure and showed the characteristics of the real Soca Warriors by not only staying competitive but battling back to have more direct chances on goals from headers from crosses that forced Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Barrett to come up with brilliant saves. On the flipside the dominant Reggae Boyz Invitational team had only a couple of direct shots on net: One a classic Whitmore low curving free kick that forced goalkeeper Ross Russell to make a full extension save to push the ball around the post. Although the half ended goalless the game was full with excitement and the level of play was definitely at International football/soccer standard. The large crowd was full with enthusiasm and the supporters of the teams were thrilled with their moments of scoring anxieties mixed with defensive scares.


Heading into the second half the game was delayed for over half an hour due to a lengthy halftime show. Needless to say this was not a popular decision with the players of both teams. The delay seemed to affect the Jamaica team as the second half started slowly with T&T having the first possession and from the touch off T&T seemed a little more settled after withstanding the dominant play of the Jamaican team in the latter stages of the first half.  T&T was more deliberate in their build up and play selections which balanced of the run of play and time of possession.  However although the game was more competitive  the slow precision build up of the Jamaican team could not be flawed or matched.

From my vantage point as T&T coach our defense had to be patient and continue to work hard to utilize the age advantage and cut down the space of Jamaica midfielders. As the game progress to the later stages  Reggae Boyz goal keeper Warren Barrett was put to the test and was forced to make at least three big stops to keep his team in the game. In the meantime the Jamaican team continued to hedge goal wards but without the urgency needed to capitalize on their potential scoring chances.


In the end the T&T Invitational team perseverance was rewarded when the Jamaica Invitational defense was caught out of position as T&T midfielder Kevin Jeffery broke free all alone on goalkeeper Barrett to tap in a bouncing ball over the keeper right shoulder into the goal. The T&T supporters went into a World Cup frenzy and with that momentum T&T created a few more scoring opportunities but found goalkeeper Barrett a difficult man to negotiate around whenever his defense went shopping for the tying goal.

After the game the Soccer Salute 2006 Challenge Trophy was presented by Jamaican Consulate General Mrs. Annemarie Bonner to the T&T Invitational team captain, goalkeeper Ross Russell, while the runner up trophy was presented to the Jamaican Invitational captain goalkeeper Warren Barrett by the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate General Mr. Michael Lashley. Soccer Salute closed off with some music and the mingling of the players of both teams and their fans.


T&T Invitational Team: *Ross Russell (Capt), *Kwesi Smith, *Kevon Carter, Claude Adams, Dexter Pacheco, *Devorn Jorsline, *Conrad Smith, *Christopher Durity, Steve Salim, *Sherron Joseph, Kevin Jeffery, Rene Martin, Todd Oliver, Henry John, Marcus Marshall, Kerry Llewellyn. Coach: Aldwyn McGill, Asst: Dixon Modeste
*Denotes appearance for national team and various levels (caps)

Jamaica Invitational Team: Warren Barrett (Capt), Markino Gillins, Theodore Whitmore, Winston Griffith, Daniel Ricketts, Byron Earle, Trevor Gragam, Gladstone Richards, Jeffrey Caine, Kevin Rose, Ronald Nicholas, George Salesman, Mario Osbourne, Kevin Mc Intosh, Andre Steward. Coach: Winston Duhaney

Caribbean Football in Toronto
The hype in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in the sunmmer of 2006 was in connection with the upcoming game between a visiting Trinidad and Tobago Invitational team and a visiting Jamaican Invitational team at Allan Lamport Stadium in downtown Toronto. The anxiety and questions surrounding the game was due to the popularity of the Soca Warriors and the demand for their appearance after their spirited performance as the underdog against Sweden and England.

Therefore everyone assumed that the visiting T&T Invitational team was the Soca Warriors. However since everyone was believing the hype, the promoter/s of the Soccer Salute event had to attend radio shows to inform the public that the Invitational T&T team would not be the real Soca Warriors.

With the complications surrounding the T&T Invitational team status and as the assigned coach of the T&T Invitational team my conditions of involvement was quite simple. If the Invitational team consisted of visiting players from Trinidad and Tobago that had national team (caps) then that would have been satisfactory.
In regards to the Jamaican Invitational team it was reported that the team would have comprised of players that were popular names from the Jamaica’s past Reggae Boyz teams. To add to the entertainment the day’s entertainment program was promised to reflect the cultures of the Caribbean.
        By Aldwyn McGill

Warriors Goalkeeping Issues Answered

Trinidad and Tobago football supporters got a boost in the goal keeping department from the news that Shaka Hislop made it to the FA Cup final against Liverpool. Prior to the final selection of the World Cup squad Warriors had four goalkeepers in Clayton Ince Anthony Warner, Shaka Hislop and Kevin Jack competing for the three open spots.  Warner did not make the squad because Kevin Jack and Clayton Ince have proven that they are more than capable goalkeepers and in the eyes of the selectors they play an integral part to the team chemistry. The inclusion of Shaka Hislop as one of the three goalkeepers was expected due to his end of season form with his club.

However according to the experts, Trinidad and Tobago is the underdog in their Group B with Sweden, Paraguay and England due to the fact that the Soca Warriors are vulnerable and could allow more goal than they are capable of scoring.

The latest news of Soca warrior goalkeeper Shaka Hislop of West Ham helping his team reach the English FA Cup final by shutting out Middlesbrough 1-0 was more pleasant than him missing the T&T farewell game against Peru on May 13. It is a bitter sweet situation but Trinidad and Tobago could not have asked for better news because most of the warrior supporters felt that Shaka would have been given the call by coach Beenhakker to start against England. His present achievement could have cemented his status as the starting goalkeeper at the World Cup.

Coach Leo Beenhakker may also have to consider starting him for a half in the exhibition games heading into the World Cup to maintain his sharpness because he is the only warrior that would have competed at the highest level of intensity the FA final during the season. This would also be good for captain Dwight Yorke who could now concentrate more on the offense and allow Shaka to organize the back four players who may have to play every game better than their last for the team to be successful. The midfielders can also assist the defense if they stick to the game plan and be prepared to also stick to their man in defensive coverage falling behind the ball on all lost of possession as in the Bahrain II game.

With Shaka out of the warriors farewell game next Wednesday May 10 against Peru due to his FA final commitment it is likely that Clayton Ince would receive the starting duties to give him the opportunity needed to compete for the starting job.

The key to becoming a contender is good team defense and in soccer/football the goalkeepers are the last line of defense which seems to improve the warrior’s chances to advance to the second round of the final 16 teams. Should Trinidad and Tobago starting goalkeeper get hot in the first round it is very likely that they could advance out of their Group B especially with the projected recovery time for the England offensive players such as Michael Owens and Wayne Rooney who are out of action with ankle injuries.

Trinidad and Tobago vs Bahrain in Trinidad

Nov-12-2005:  In the first World Cup playoff against Bahrain the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors played poor team defense with their back four constantly out of position and repeatedly misjudging air balls. The defenders seemed to be playing all over the field, maybe in an effort to impress their fans and supporters rather than to play to secure what I consider to be an important home shutout or win. The T&T  midfielders were also a tad late getting back in defense, hence their superior ball possession was not as effective as one would have anticipated. Bahrain on the other hand was focused.

It was quite obvious that Bahrain game plan was to hold tight defensively to leave Trinidad with at least a point. They were clever and cautious not to get caught napping in defense and as such their offense was stemming from te defense.  Their counter attack created several good scoring opportunities and their defensive tactics seemed to work, which seemed like a man to man strategy. Bahrain players stuck to the T&T players like glue on every move in the defensive zone.

This strategy worked to perfection and their offensive trusts were a dosage of cross balls that were low and hard due to the condition of the pitch The field was wet and slick and Bahrain was hoping to be the beneficiary of an own goal. On their offensive free kicks they took forever to put the ball into play in an attempt to shorten the game, which nullified T&T ball possession.

As is the case in close tactical game, Bahrain scored on a set play from a header in the six yard box at the 72nd minute from a corner kick.  After the goal T&T turned up the tempo of the game and equalize 4 minutes later when midfielder Chris Birchall cracked a right footed bullet of 30 metre half volley, that handcuffed the Bahrain goalkeeper.

The rest of the game was fairly even but all in all Bahrain left Trinidad in a jubilant mood heading home with a 1-1 tie and in control of the series. They not only accomplished a tie but also managed to score to return home with a 2-1 aggregate advantage. Their game plan worked to perfection and in their minds a shutout at home would have secured a spot in Germany.

In contrast a disappointed but confident and determined T&T Warrior team left immediately following the game to complete a job that they should have taken more seriously. While in Bahrain the media rumors, accusations and complains circulated but those situation does not win games.


Trinidad and Tobago vs Bahrain in Bahrain

Nov-16-2005: In the second World Cup playoff game with Bahrain,  T&T Coach Leo Beenhakker, announced two significant changes to the starting line up. He replaced Russell Latapy in the midfield with Kenwyne Jones and reinserted Cyd Gray for Silvio Spann at the right wing back position. In my opinion the later change was critical because I thought the omission of Cyd Gray from the starting line up in the first game in Trinidad was one of only a very few mistakes coach Beenhakker made during this series.

After his team played an impressive come from behind 2-1 win against Mexico, the best Trinidad and Tobago has played in a long time, I thought that he should have started that same team for the first game in Trinidad against Bahrain. It’s the old saying “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it”. Also while witnessing the T&T team practices before the first game it was quite evident that the chemistry between Silvio Spann and Carlos Edwards was not present. This had nothing to do with their abilities but the untimely ball distribution and positioning between the two. I felt it had to do with egos and in team sport that is and in this case was non productive.


I am aware that in professional sports it is said that a starting player rarely loses his starting position from unavailability due to injury but in the first game the T&T right side played shabby defensively to say the least. Again give coach Beenhakker credit he adjusted his team this time around to enhance team speed, improve better defensive chemistry, and improve his chances of scoring with the luxury of an additional striker to score that much needed goal to qualify. Actually at the practices Kenwyne was switched occasionally with Stern John and was finishing well. His assets are deceptive speed, physical presence and youth. From the opening whistle of the second game in Bahrain Kenwyne Jones presence was noticeable and most likely felt by the Bahrain players every time he touched the ball or was part of the play. As the game progress the T&T team speed advantage paid dividends.


T&T defensive errors were still present but maybe we could chalk that up to nervousness due to the magnitude of the game. Midway through the first half Chris Birchall was injured after he kicked in a block and was replaced by Silvio Spann in the central midfield position. This unfortunate change in my opinion, was a blessing for T&T due to the addition of a quicker defensive midfielder.  In my mind this was the turning point of the game. From that point forward Bahrain seemed to be loosing every ball without being able to string their passes together. This moved showed that coach Beenhakker did his homework for this game and according to his plan it was too early to bring on Russell Latapy for Birchall.

If Bahrain practiced and assigned someone to mark Latapy as was the case in the first game they were playing with a lost player which must have created some confusion with their team chemistry. As the game progress it seemed that it was  up to T&T Warriors to score. They did just at the 49th minute, from with a text book header by Dennis Lawrence, of a perfect corner by Dwight Yorke from the left side. History was in the makings.


After the goal T&T took control of the game due to their hussle. The T&T players were now transformed into true Soca Warriors by their determination to shut down every offensive play Bahrain generated and that was the difference in the game. It was a perfect game plan by Coach Leo Beenhakker and a gutsy performance by the T&T Soca Warriors.


Soca Warriors practice session

My assessment going in to this Bahrain series was that the big difference was going to be team defense and that Trinidad and Tobago needed to shut out Bahrain to be certain of advancing to Germany. The records showed that Bahrain was a solid defensive team while Trinidad and Tobago had an offensive advantage mainly because of the presence of some of their recognized players such as Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, and Stern John. The team was scoring but for the most part coming from behind and that was not a remedy for success. I thought T&T needed to score first, but more importantly hold Bahrain scoreless until they scored and they did exactly that in the deciding game. The match up of the teams made the series very interesting. The difference was going to be either Bahrain surprise on offensive or T&T concentration on defense. Trinidad and Tobago was the better team in this series and saved their best defensive effort for last. Their defensive schemes still needs a lot of work to be capable of some resemblance of a respectable showing in Germany.


Trinidad and Tobago senior national football team has made tremendous progress from the start of the CONCACAF preliminary rounds up to the final game in Bahrain. The most noticeable areas of improvement were in the team’s confidence and ball possession. This is a credit to coach Beenhakker’s determination to change the character of the team through his allocation of extra time to these areas in his practices. We have also witness a team that has been resilient in coming from behind in games that would have been loss by teams of the past.


The character of Trinidad and Tobago football is changing for the better and in retrospect the support for the team has soared to an all time high due the ongoing improvement of the team and open concept by coach Beenhakker that he was willing and will continue to accommodate any player than has the talent to enhance the team’s performance to get to Germany and be successful. In the past it was not customary for T&T teams facing the pressure of elimination to earn a tie far less win important games in World Cup preliminary rounds. This character building is important for the players, supporters, country and all aspiring young talent of the Caribbean who will now have a future in football overseas. The International Bahrain playoff series was the biggest in the country’s history and Trinidad and Tobago responded with a sea of red from the capacity crowd.


On Saturday November 12, 2005 at Hasley Crawford Stadium the people attending that will be hard to repeat. The large support was caught up in the game and neglected to make the 12th man advantage due to anxiety for the final result. The crowd was so concerned that at halftime they had to be reminded to make noise for the second half.  The 12th man advantage was not a factor for T&T at home against Bahrain but hopefully now that the demons have been exorcised and the team has won this important series, patriotism, national pride and the future of football in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean in general will be showcased throughout the world.   by Aldwyn McGill

Soca Warriors “It’s Hakker Time” against Iceland on 02-28-2006

In preparation for the friendly International game against Iceland on February 28 the Soca Warriors will assemble in England on Carnival Sunday, February 26, 2006. The T&T based Warriors will leave Piarco Airport on February 25, (Panorama Saturday) to meet the rest of the squad at the Renaissance Hotel, in Heathrow England. Therefore if you going down to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival don’t worry yourself because you will be able to see the real Soca Warriors play on Channel 4 and 16 in Trinidad before Dimanche Gras Show on Sunday. If you prefer to be outside (outdoors) in your All Inclusive Party in your short pants you could always get the game on Radio. For the other Soca Warriors who are not attending the T&T Carnival you will have to stay up North in the cold and tune in to Caribbean Camera on March 3, for the Special Carnival Edition and the game analysis.


In the meantime a 20 man squad has been selected and in naming his squad it was obvious that national head coach Leo Beenhakker was enthused by what he saw during the mini camps and various scouting expeditions overseas. Five new faces have been added to the Soca Warriors roster for the game against Iceland. They are Anthony Warner (goalkeeper), Ricky Shakes, and Kevon Neaves (midfielders), Anthony Noriega and Nigel Henry (defenders). The original members of the team returning are Shaka Hislop, Clayton Ince, Dennis Lawrence, Avery John, Marvin Andrews, Cyd Gray, Chris Birchall, Autis Whitely, Silvio Spann, Carlos Edwards, Russell Latapy, Stern John, Kenwyne Jones, Collin Samuel, and captain Dwight Yorke.

Coach Beenhakker seemed to be moving in the right direction, due to the fact that he is keeping the door wide open for any player he thinks that will help the team and the proof is obviuus, since he has decided to include those five players for the Iceland game based on his scouting reports . After the Warriors qualifying campaign it was obvious to me that the team needed defensive help and talented left footed players in order to reach the next level.

Beenhakker has added some of those ingredients in Kevon Neaves as a talented left footed player and three defensive players in goalkeeper Anthony Warner, Anthony Noriega, and Nigel Henry to support his defensive strategies. He is still toying with the possibility of acquiring defender Jlloyd Samuel from Aston Villa, striker Bobby Zamora from West Ham, and defender Justin Hoyte from Arsenal. If they receive clearance to play for Trinidad and Tobago by FIFA the Soca Warriors could give the country another Carnival on June 20, 2006.


On February 28, 2006 (Carnival Tuesday) last lap in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will change from Soca time to “Hakker” time as Coach Beenhakker takes the country on a new journey. For the moment I would suggest that Soca Warriors supporters should stay updated with the player changes because in my view that will be the key to determine if the Warriors are capable of going to the second round of World Cup Germany.

From Germany 1974 to Germany 2006

The journey to Germany is back and Caribbean Stars will bring you coverage of Trinidad and Tobago games starting with games against Bahrain to Paraguay and beyond.

Trinidad and Tobago 1972 Squad

This selected squad 11/1972 was the start of T&T road to Germany 1974. Everald “Gally” Cummings returned and was practicing with this squad. After his illustrious career he was appointed coach of the Trinidad and Tobago senior team and took the team one game from the 1990 World Cup.  2005-11- 02   By Aldwyn McGill


T&T 1989 Strike Squad

T&T 73 Squad



Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup 2006 Germany

Above is the Warriors team that started against Bahrain in Bahrain. 2005-11-12


Above is The Soca Warriors team that started against Bahrain. 2005-11-16

T&T Celebrates World Cup Spot

November 17, 2005 declared a National Holiday in T&T

The government of Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged the magnitude of their football team’s historic victory over Bahrain by declaring Thursday November 17, 2005 a national holiday in time for the teams return from Bahrain. The announcement was made a few hours after the game while the country was celebrating the memorable win that put their country in World Cup 2006 Germany. That was the day that all of Trinidad and Tobago created a deafening silence awaiting the referee decision on what Bahrain thought was the tying goal in the dying seconds of injury time.


The trini supporters were frustrated when goalkeeper Kevin Jack tried to distribute the ball with the Bahrain player beside him as they thought he should have moved to the other side of the penalty area away from the attacker before attempting to get rid of the ball. To them the stoppage in play seemed to take forever and the though of the game being blown off prematurely was not an option. However cooler heads prevailed and at the sound of the final whistle the whole of Trinidad and Tobago went wild in response to a long awaited victory.


If for some lucky reason you happened to be in Trinidad and Tobago at the final whistle the first noticeable thing you would have heard would have been screams and shouts of joy and jubilation, followed by the sound of car horns blowing simultaneously all around the city. The celebration had begun. As a Trinbago Canadian my first thoughts was I was right about the team advancing and also felt blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of Trinidad and Tobago football history.


Where ever you were or traveled on that day in Trinidad you had to enjoy because things were at a standstill. Employees stopped working, taxi drivers refused passenger fares and workers left their workplace to converge onto the streets for some excitement. Non workers were already at the hot spots such as Fredrick Street and Smokey and Buntys in St James where every drink was mixed with an instant party. There were traffic jams on all the main roads. All in all it was obvious that the country was now one big party and with the declaration of the holiday the following day all heaven broke loose.


It was amazing and a tribute to Trinidad and Tobago that in spite of the excitement of such a historic and emotional day there were no major incidents to report. What was reported was the team was scheduled to arrive at Piarco Airport at 2pm on the holiday Thursday to a Welcome Home Ceremony by the Prime minister the honorable Patrick Manning and other dignitaries to travel by motorcade to the Brian Laura Promenade in Port of Spain.  Steel bands were strategically placed along the route and Brass bands such as Roy Cape and the All Stars were hired to perform at the airport.


The team arrived at 3:30pm without captain Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Chris Birchall, Shaka Hislop and coach Beenhacker and his staff due to various other commitments. After the Welcome Ceremony at the airport the entire ceremonial party embarked on the journey to Port of Spain. Due to some stops along the route they did not arrive at the Brian Lara Promenade until close to 10 pm. The noise was deafening as the team appeared and the police and soldiers escorted them to the stage.

The crowd launched forward with excitement wanting to touch and have a piece of the players but the security was out in full force and quickly put the situation under control.

The players although tired were very accommodating and spoke to the crowd after the formal part of the ceremony. I am thankful to the Caribbean Camera and you the readers for allowing me the opportunity to bring this historic event to you and just maybe we may be witnessing the start of a fairy tale story in Germany. Stay tuned for Caribbean Camera coverage of the T&T Warriors in Germany Smokey and Bunty Celebrates Warriors Win T&T hot spot Nov-16-2005 Warriors at Brian Lara Promenade Weary warriors on Promenade stage Smokey and Bunty Nov-16-2005 T&T Celebrates Warriors win over Bahrain Warriors Trunk arrived  By Aldwyn Mc Gill 

Warriors Ready to Rock n Roll 

The final draw for FIFA World Cup 2006 Group Schedule took place in Leipzig Germany on December 9, 2005 with the 32 participating countries in attendance. The Trinidad and Tobago delegation led by Special Advisor Jack Warner and Coach Leo Beenhakker was recognized for the country’s historic accomplishment as the smallest country to qualify for the World Cup. The country was also praise for the courage and determination shown in the face of adversity to turn a last place position in the middle of the CONCACAF tournament to qualify for the World Cup.

At the end of the final draw T&T Warriors were in a tough Group B with England, Sweden, and Paraguay in regards to advancing to the second round. However traditionally in World Cup competition the percentage of upsets are usually higher in the opening round than at the later stages of the tournament. No doubt this will be a very entertaining World Cup for T&T.

According to coach Beenhakker the role of the Soca Warriors will be as the Spoilers and he has given all indication that he will be taking that role quite seriously. He is surrounded with universal support and the benefits of having a pivotal game against England put Trinidad and Tobago in a position to create probably the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup.

However because it is advisable, sensible, and logical to put the Horse before the Cart the Warriors will have to show their intentions by at least holding onto their one point in their first game on June 10, 2006 against Sweden at Dortmund Stadium. If they should tie or win their mission as Spoilers should quickly change to Contenders. Any points in this game would put them in a better position to play their highly anticipated second game against England on June 15, 2006 at Nuremberg Stadium.

This is perhaps the biggest game of all of Trinidad and Tobago World Cup schedule and may be the most significant in the country’s long football history. It is indeed a rare occasion when the significance of a game overshadows the importance of the result. This is it the Big Dance and the Soca Warriors will have to rock and Roll in this game to keep the score close. The best demonstration of T&T defense rocking was in the second Bahrain game and the offense finally rolled with a timely goal. Rocking England won’t be easy but it will keep the game close and if Stern, or Kenwyne or any Warrior can roll a goal in for the offence that will definitely create opportunities for the footballers in the Caribbean in and Europe. Captain Dwight Yorke statement of not going to Germany to make up numbers could not have been put any better because there are enormous benefits for everyone involved to give a good show and be competitive. The match-ups between high profile players such as Rooney, Owens, Beckham, Yorke, Latapy, John, and Hislop will certainly give everyone a chance to compare the standard of football in T&T.

Trinidad and Tobago third game will be against  Paraguay on June 20, at Kaisersiauten Stadium and after the competing in their previous games it is conceivable that the Soca Warriors could be a must win situation to advance to the final 16. If not, they can complete their schedule with the pride of knowing they gave their best.   by Aldwyn McGill

Past Reviews 

Bahrain tough defense has the Soca Warriors covered during the International playoff series at Hasley Crawford Stadium in Trinidad on Nov-12-2005. The game ended 1-1 to the disappointment of 26,000 T&T supporters.



The government of Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged the magnitude of their football team’s historic victory over Bahrain by declaring Thursday November 17, 2005 a national holiday in time for the team’s return from Bahrain. The announcement was made a few hours after the game while the country was celebrating the memorable win to advance to World Cup 2006 Germany. That was the day that all of Trinidad and Tobago created a deafening silence awaiting the referee decision on what Bahrain thought was the tying goal in the dying seconds of injury time. The trini supporters were frustrated when goalkeeper Kevin Jack tried to distribute the ball with the Bahrain player beside him as they thought he should have moved to the other side of the penalty area away from the attacker before attempting to get rid of the ball. To them the stoppage in play seemed to take forever and the though of the game being blown off prematurely was not an option. However cooler heads prevailed and at the sound of the final whistle the whole of Trinidad and Tobago went wild in response to a long awaited victory.

If for some lucky reason you happened to be in Trinidad and Tobago at the final whistle the first noticeable thing you would have heard would have been screams and shouts of joy and jubilation, followed by the sound of car horns blowing simultaneously all around the city. The celebration had begun. As a Trinbago Canadian my first thoughts was I was right about the team advancing and also felt blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of Trinidad and Tobago football history.

Where ever you were or traveled on that day in Trinidad you had to enjoy because things were at a standstill. Employees stopped working, taxi drivers refused passenger fares and workers left their workplace to converge onto the streets for some excitement. Non workers were already at the hot spots such as Fredrick Street and Smokey and Buntys in St James where every drink was mixed with an instant party. There were traffic jams on all the main roads. All in all it was obvious that the country was now one big party and with the declaration of the holiday the following day all heaven broke loose. It was amazing and a tribute to Trinidad and Tobago that in spite of the excitement of such a historic and emotional day there were no major incidents to report. What was reported was the team was scheduled to arrive at Piarco Airport at 2pm on the holiday Thursday to a Welcome Home Ceremony by the Prime minister the honorable Patrick Manning and other dignitaries to travel by motorcade to the Brian Laura Promenade in Port of Spain. Steel bands were strategically placed along the route and Brass bands such as Roy Cape and the All Stars were hired to perform at the airport.

The team arrived at 3:30pm without captain Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Chris Birchall, Shaka Hislop and coach Beenhakker and his staff due to various other commitments. After the Welcome Ceremony at the airport the entire ceremonial party embarked on the journey to Port of Spain. Due to some stops along the route they did not arrive at the Brian Lara Promenade until close to 10 pm. The noise was deafening as the team appeared and the police and soldiers escorted them to the stage.    by Aldwyn McGill

Smokey & Bunty celebrates T&T historic 1-0 win over Bahrain

Long wait to welcome Warriors return

 Soca Warriors truck arrived at the Promenade

Weary Warriors happy to be home

A Sea of Red was the scene at Hasley Crawford Stadium on November 12, 2005


T&T Final Squad for World Cup 2006 Germany


         Stern John     Russell Latapy    Carlos Edwards      Aurtis Whitley     Avery John



Silvio Spann     Collin Samuel      Kenwyne Jones      Cyd Gray     Chris Birchall   Dennis Lawrence



Marvin Andrews   Cornell Glenn   Densil Theobald   Brent Sancho     Atiba Charles       Evans Wise



Ian Cox       Jason Scotland    Shaka Hislop    Clayton Ince       Kevin Jack         Anthony Wolfe

T&T World Cup Squad 2006                                                              Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation selected the final (Soca Warriors) squad for World Cup duty in Germany and as expected coach Leo Beenhakker did not play any cards from up his sleeves. To date the Soca warrior’s success has been based on team unity and confidence hence it was only fitting that the announcement was made when the players needed confidence in view of the upcoming events at home and the fear of the dreaded distractions of the past. With four weeks left to their World Cup opener against Sweden on June 10 this seems to be the best time to coach Beenhakker in case he had to regain the focus of his players, in the event they try to make up for the Carnival they missed due to the Iceland game.

After looking at the Warriors victory over Iceland it was obvious that their # 1 asset, team chemistry, was non existent and for the team to do well they would have to regain that cohesiveness that will make them a dangerous opponent and help them to continue their success story. The team winning streak is intact and for the first time in quite some time their last two goals were engineered from the left side of the field from running plays. Now they will have to reestablishing their strategic ball possession and gain confidence to coordinate that with shutting down opposition offences.

T&T International game against Peru on May 10 at Hasely Crawford Stadium will be a good test for the Soca Warriors defense which will have to improve on their man to man marking to keep Peru off the scoreboard. They deserved the 2-0 shutout against Iceland but Peru is ranked 66 compared to Iceland 98 spot ranking. The Soca warrior’s offense should be in high gear feeding off a pumped up crowd who will be cheering for Russell Latapy on his last home appearance before his retirement from international football after the World Cup. In actuality as it turns out that, May 10, 2006 will be a double farewell game in recognition of Latapy’s retirement and the Soca Warriors team “farewell” departure for Germany via England.

With all the hype surrounding the Peru game it is recommended that the Warriors take care of business and win the game convincingly before the home crowd. Peru is by no means a push over and in 2005 they lost close games to World Cup favorite Brazil (1-0) and power house Argentina (2-0) while defeating the warriors Group B opponent, Paraguay 4-1 and tied 1-1 in the rematch.

Soca Warriors players should not have to be reminded that the festivities surrounding the game is a “send off” for the team from phase one and phase two has already begun. They should be prepared to dance to a different tune in Germany because they will be faced with a heavy dosage of Rock and Roll soccer with the likes of England and Sweden to advance.  Can these Soca Warriors Rock and Roll with the Big Boys?

Goalkeepers: Kelvin Jack (Dundee), Shaka Hislop (West Ham United), Clayton Ince (Coventry City).

Defenders: Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham) Cyd Gray (San Juan Jabloteh), Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Brent Sancho (Gillingham), Ian Cox (Gillingham), Atiba Charles (W Connection), Avery John (New England Revolution).
Midfielders:Silvio Spann (unattached), Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Aurtis Whitley (San Juan Jabloteh), Anthony Rougier (United Petrotrin), Anthony Wolfe (San Juan Jabloteh), Densill Theobald (Falkirk), Carlos Edwards (Luton Town), Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC), Russell Latapy (Falkirk).
Stern John (Coventry City), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton FC), Collin Samuel (Dundee United), Jason Scotland (St Johnstone), Cornell Glen (LA Galaxy).