IT’S JUST two matches away from Trinidad and Tobago securing a qualifying berth for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
But there is the likelihood that the Warriors will be looking for a new coach shortly after their final match against mexico next month in the CONCACAF qualifying campaign.
The development comes with the news that national coach Dutchman Leo Beenhakker’s days are numbered at the helm of the football team.
Yesterday Special Advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) Jack Warner said that he would not be able to continue paying the coach, even after Trinidad and Tobago’s possible qualification for the World Cup Finals.
When Beenhakker was hired several months ago, Warner had explained that the period will be until the World Cup qualifiers are over in October.
Since Beenhakker took over the team from Bertille St Clair, Warner, who is also a vice president of the world governing body for football, FIFA, has been providing the salary of Beenhakker and staff.
This is so because calls for corporate Trinidad and Tobago and the Government for assistance in paying the expenses have gone unanswered.
According to Warner, the coach will be free to go to any country he chooses after his contract expires following the Mexico match here next month.
Warner is confident the Trinidad and Tobago’s footballers are going to the World Cup Finals next year and yesterday the football boss reiterated his optimism despite the 2-0 defeat by Costa Rica at the Estadio Saprissa Stadium in San Jose on September 7.
"I have never been more confident of qualifying for the World Cup before, because everything is going according to plan," Warner said.
Warner said that the time has come for corporate Trinidad and Tobago or the Government to come on board. And it may have to be sooner rather that later as Trinidad and Tobago will next play Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama City on October 8. They take on Mexico four days later at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
The Warriors are in fifth position with just seven points and need desperately to secure the remaining six points from the Panamanians and the Mexicans — which will push them to 13 and in with a realistic chance of qualifying.
Meanwhile plans for the Panamanians have already begun with coach Beenhakker opting for a lengthy preparation in Panama City by going five days earlier.
The former Real Madrid and Netherlands coach has also decided to employ a third goalkeeper to guard against injuries.
His move will also ensure quicker acclimatisation for the Warriors with both the locals and the foreign based players expected in Panama by October 3.
Warner said that the international players will all have direct flights to Panama City and he has also arranged for chartered flights to take supporters and fans for the crucial match.