Wed, Jul


Khaleem HylandItalian head coach Francesco Rocca says his team will not underestimate Trinidad and Tobago when both teams meet tomorrow (Monday) in their second Group A encounter at the Cairo International Stadium from 6:45pm (12:45pm T&T time).

The Italians have already attained a point with their 0-0 draw with Paraguay on Friday and Rocca said he was happy with his team’s start.

“We're happy enough with the start we got off to. It's going to be a long and hard tournament and the first match is always a tough one. We watched our other group opponents, Egypt and Trinidad and Tobago, in their opener and that was a great match with a wonderful atmosphere,” Rocca said.

He felt though that while Egypt deserved the win, T&T were good competitors.

“Egypt were the better team but Trinidad and Tobago showed what they were capable of and we won't be underestimating them.”

The T&T side will be happy about Jean Luc Rochford’s return to training after a knock to the ankle forced him to miss Friday’s session at the Egyptian Military Academy Stadium in Cairo. It is one of the stadiums that was used in the 2006 African Cup of Nations.

Prior to practice on Friday, the family members of the players also visited the T&T camp at the Fairmont Hotel and later looked on at the training session. They witnessed the opening game and will also be in the stands for the upcoming affairs with Italy and Paraguay.

With T&T now looking to get as much as the six points at stake in their remaining games versus Italy and Paraguay, one of the more senior players on the team, Khaleem Hyland knows it will take an even bigger effort than what was offered in the opener in Alexandria.

“Honestly I was not satisfied with my showing too much, especially in the first half. The ball kept going over my head but put that aside, it’s football we are playing so we just need to focus and do our best to try and get a win or two in the remaining games,” Hyland told TTFF Media on Saturday.

“Italy has history on their side and I’m really looking forward to that game. We have to be positive because at the end of the day it’s just eleven versus eleven.”

The Belgium-based midfielder has seen progress in the current team though and believes there are good things in store for the future.

“I’ve seen things progressing especially since I last played with some of these players a couple years ago. I think they have all improved in their game mentally and physically and the country is going forward. We just need to keep this group going forward to 2014.

“It was a disappointing result and it was a stage that we all dream of playing on. Some of the guys have never played before such a large crowd but we held our heads well and gave a good show.”

He added that it was not a difficult choice to make between staying with his club and coming to represent the red, white and black in Egypt.

“It’s a dream come true for any player to play in a World Cup, especially growing up and seeing some of your favourite players. This was my opportunity to be part of that and I wasn’t disappointed because of having to leave my club in Belgium.”

But with the Senior Team’s chances of South Africa 2010 now over, the ex-San Juan Jabloteh player is hoping to push on and help T&T make it to 2014 in Brazil

“It was hurtful to see the senior team exit the South Africa campaign with two games to go so I also saw this opportunity in Egypt as one to take advantage of.  Now we have just to focus on down the road and these players here will have to step up and try to make it into the senior team to replace some of the older guys and help us give a good showing for 2014 and get to the World Cup in Brazil.

“It has been a great experience for me to play and train along guys like Dennis, Dwight, Russell and the other senior players and getting to play against England as well has done a great deal for me and I hope I can continue to improve and carry on for the future,” Hyland concluded.