Panama coach Jose Hernandez says his team is not worried about aerial strength in the Trinidad and Tobago outfit as his team possesses similar attributes and he is confident they can hold off the “Warriors” in Saturday’s World Cup qualifying affair at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
And aware of Panama’s confident mood, T&T’s Scottish-based defender Marvin Andrews, noted for his towering strength said it would come down to who wanted Saturday’s three points more and he was holding on to his dream of making a World Cup with this country.
Colombian-born Hernandez selected 18 players for closed door training sessions at the Rommel Fernández Stadium before their arrival in Port of Spain on Thursday to take up base at the Marriot Hotel.
“We have done our work and I am sure that Trinidad has as well,” Hernandez said. “Trinidad has aerial game and strength, just like Panama. That does not mean a problem for us in facing them on Saturday"
Hernandez included 33-year-old midfielder Neftalí Díaz and their dangerous forward Luis Tejada of Colombian side Envigado. José Luis Garcés and team topscorer Roberto Brown of club San Francisco are also in the team.
T&T head coach Leo Beenhakker conducted a session under the hot sun for roughly 90 minutes at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Tuesday morning. Team skipper Dwight Yorke arrived about 45 minutes before and went through his own drills before the actual session commenced.
Midfielder Brent Rahim seemed to be recovering from his ankle blow and should be fit for Saturday after doing some rehab work in the morning session with team sports physio Zeph Nicholas. Defender Brent Sancho however has been ruled out of both the Panama and Mexico matches. The rest of the team remained injury free and pumped up ahead of battle.
Strong believer Marvin Andrews attested to this as he warmed down following the session.
“Everyone is saying this is such a crucial game but I am not really thinking about it that way. We have seven more games to go and they are all vital to our chances. We just have to forget about the past three games and consider how much the one point we have now means to our chances. I wasn’t here for the past two games but I heard from the boys that we did really well against Costa Rica and I feel very good about our chances on Saturday,” Andrews told TTFF Media.
“We cannot underestimate Panama because they would not have been here if they weren’t a decent team. With God all things are possible. I’ve said before that he knows the result and it’s up to us to live up to it. My dream and desire is to see Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup and for me to be in that team. I pray all the time for our results to be positive. To be back in the team now playing is another part of the dream because a lot has been said recently about the injury but I’ve done everything correct and it is showing. Now to help this country to get to Germany is my dream and I believe in it with all my heart,” added the Glasgow Rangers 2005 “Player of the Year”.
Clayton Ince (Crewe Alexandra), Kelvin Jack (Dundee)
Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham), Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Anton Pierre (Defence Force), Marlon Rojas (Real Salt Lake), Avery John (New England Revolution), Atiba Charles(Vibe CT 105 W Connection),
Glenton Wolfe (National Quarries NE Stars), Carlos Edwards (Luton Town), Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Leslie Fitzpatrick (Real Salt Lake), Aurtis Whitley (CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Brent Rahim (unattached), Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA Fire)
Gary Glasgow (Unattached), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton), Stern John (Coventry City), Hector Sam (Wrexham), Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC)
Donaldo González (Maratón, Honduras), Jaime Penedo (Deportivo Árabe Unido).
Carlos Rivera (Deportivo Independiente Medellín, Colombia), Luis Moreno (Envigado, Colombia), José Mario Anthony Torres (Maratón, Honduras), Joel Jiménez (Plaza Amador), Joel Solanilla (Plaza Amador).
Ricardo Phillips (Tauro), Amilcar Henríquez (Deportivo Árabe Unido), Julio Medina III (Aguila, El Salvador), Gustavo Avila (Deportivo Árabe Unido), Alberto Blanco (Alania, Russia), Gabriel Gómez (Tauro), Neftalí Díaz (Alianza)
José Luis Garcés (San Francisco), Roberto Luis Tejada (Envigado, Colombia), Blas Pérez (Deportivo Cali, Colombia), Roberto Brown (San Francisco)