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Warriors bond is key says Bateau.
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As the Soca Warriors resumes its 2018 World Cup qualifying quest next Friday against St Vincent and the Grenadines in Kingstown, Russian-based defender Sheldon Bateau believes there is a key element that can push the team through to the end of its qualifying course.

Bateau, the first T&T player to play professionally in Russia, has been an integral part of the squad under Stephen Hart for the past year or more. His two goals in the group phase of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup set T&T on track to the quarter finals stage. He missed the Copa Centenario qualifier against Haiti in January due to club restrictions but expects to see a revitalized T&T side later this month.

“Missing Haiti was heart wrenching, knowing that I couldn’t be there to fight with the boys and also the fact that I know if we had performed the way we could we would surely be in the Copa right now. But that’s in the past and I hope we can move on and continue doing well on the road to Russia,” Bateau said yesterday.

The former T&T Under 20 captain, who appeared in two FIFA youth World Cups in 2007 and 2009, has a strong faith in his teammates and staff headed by Hart, along with the backing of the Football Association, as the efforts for Russia qualification resumes. 

“I think the main strength of the team that creates the tight bond we have is firstly the mixture we have of youth and experience. Our experienced players can relate to the younger players so there’s no gap in communication which helps to keep a certain level of humbleness and maturity within the group.

Secondly I think we’re all on the same page when it comes to wanting to change football in T&T and taking the team and country back to the level we’re suppose to be on,” Bateau said. The ex-KV Mechelen player is expected to feature in T&T’s two World Cup qualifiers on March 25 and 29. 

The former San Juan Jabloteh player wears number 19 for Russian club FC Krylia Sovetov Samara.