TEAM 2001 captain Julius James is not intimidated by the prospect of meeting World Champions Brazil in Group 1 of the JVC World Under-17 Championships to be hosted in this country from September 13-30.
The St Anthony’s College player said that his teammates will not allow the reputation of the other two teams-1999 finalists Australia as well as Croatia-to get the better of them.
“First I saw Brazil even before he (Michael Zen Ruffinen, Fifa General Secretary) called it out,” he noted, “... I didn’t feel anyway particularly about it at that time because I knew we went to Brazil and played well.”
On a tour of the South American country last month, the National Under-17s were whipped 7-0 by a Fluminese Under-17 squad before earning draws with Vasco Da Gama and Flamengo.
James related that coaches there had said that in some cases some of the better players “are in the clubs rather than the national team” because of the difficulty of screening potential players in the vast country.
But the Team 2001 skipper was hurt by the reaction of the local crowd at the draw for the September Games.
“If they can react like that when I drew Brazil, then what will happen when we actually play the game?”
He was, however, looking forward to playing matches in front of his home fans ahead of the World Championship.
“We want the public to know that we can play well and make them proud,” said James.
Even if the support from the public is not forthcoming in the way that he hopes, he and his teammates are getting support from corporate Trinidad.
Yesterday, the footballers, now under the charge of highly rated Brazilian coach Professor René Simoes, received a healthy boost in their preparations for the Fifa Under-17 World Championship 2001 here in September.
Local company Oscar Francois came on board the sponsorship wagon and are to provide the team with vitamin supplies, first aid kits and toiletries from this week until the end of the World Championship in September.
Roger Rollins, sales manager for Oscar Francois, disclosed that the deal is worth close to $10,000 in supplies and will increase as time goes on. The team is also expected to receive a supply of cod liver oil within the next few weeks.
Later this month, the team will also receive 50 bibles donated by the Bible Society of the Eastern Caribbean.
These deals were negiotiated by FCoTT.
Technical Director Simoes returns to Trinidad tomorrow. Before leaving, Simoes left a short programme for members of the technical staff to complete which Assistant Team administrator Douglas James said “has been well carried out”.
In fact, a match scheduled to precede yesterday's Copa Caribe final had to be cancelled because James and his assistants wanted to ensure sure that Simoes’s programme was duly completed.
A schedule of T&T’s warm-up matches will be released shortly to coincide with Simoes’s programme.