ONE Australian-based player from the Caribbean — Sydney FC's Dwight Yorke — is definitely going to the World Cup finals this year, as captain of Trinidad and Tobago.
Another, South Melbourne striker Kevin Nelson, concedes that it will be a huge job for him to force his way into the reckoning for Trinidad's squad for Germany. But he is determined to give it his best shot, starting tomorrow when his club kicks off its campaign in the Vodafone Cup against Heidelberg.
A more realistic target for Nelson, who turned 27 yesterday, is to use this year's 26-round cup as a platform to show the country's A-League coaches that he has something to offer them as a striker.
"It will be hard for Leo Beenhakker (Trinidad coach) to see much of me, and Dwight Yorke has told me it would be better for me to be playing in the A-League," he said yesterday.
"I was trialling for several months with Adelaide, and John Kosmina was interested in signing me but there … was no space for me.
"Then Pierre Littbarski wanted to sign me for Sydney as an injury replacement for David Zdrilic but I could not get the right visa.
"All I can do is play well here and score goals and maybe the national team coach will look at me and maybe I can get into an A-League team for next season."
The lure of the A-League is strong for many players embarking on the newly named state competition, which began last night.
Also playing in tomorrow's South v Heidelberg match of the round at Olympic Village (which organisers are hoping will attract 10,000 fans after last year's game brought a similar number to Bob Jane Stadium) is Heidelberg midfielder-striker Yusuf Yusuf, another with ambitions to step up to the A-League next campaign.
Yusuf has been part of Melbourne Victory's training squad for the second half of the season and believes that there is not much between the best players in competitions such as the state cup and the fringe players in the A-League.
"It's crucial for me to have a good season this year," he said. "I don't think there is a lot of difference at all. There are a lot of capable players in the Premier League who could play in the A-League, I think."