National football team captain Dwight Yorke believes that this country still stands a very realistic chance of grabbing third place in the race to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Though admitting he was saddened by the 2-0 loss to Mexico after such a fighting display by the “Warriors”, Yorke revealed his optimism as he cooled down at the Sheraton Hotel in Monterrey the night after the match before taking a flight back to London the next day ahead of his trip to Sydney.
He cited the next two months as vital towards T&T’s preparations for the August 17 World Cup qualifier away to United States.
“We’re still in the thick of things right now. You take away America and Mexico and you see we are still in the race. There’s a maximum of 15 points to play for and I think if we can get something out of that then third place is up for grabs. It’s all about us and how react to this defeat. We have about two months to get ready for the next game against America and I’m sure we can go from strength to strength. The team is going to be fitter coming off preseason and the Gold Cup and I definitely won’t be counting out a result for us against America,” Yorke told TTFF Media. T&T currently stands in fifth spot with four points, same as fourth place Guatemala with Mexico (13points), USA (12pts), Costa Rica (7pts) and Panama last on two points.
Reflecting on the performance against the Mexicans, the Sydney FC striker said the team played exactly to instructions from head coach Leo Beenhakker.
“There are a lot of positives we can take away from the game and it’s important that we see this and use it to our advantage for the rest of the campaign. We played relatively well in the first half when we kept them at bay. We stood up against them and we played exactly how the manager asked us to play as a team. Our ethic was right and the attitude was good.
“It was all good up to seventy minutes and we thought at one stage we got the better of them especially when the crowd was a little bit quiet which is something you don’t really see in Mexico. But we felt at that stage we were doing enough and unfortunately in football the game doesn’t stop there for you. We conceded a very bad goal and then their tail was up and the momentum changed in their favour. But other than that I still feel proud of the players because they did everything that was possible.”
Yorke mentioned that it was now evident that there has been a rise in the performance level of the “Warriors” for which he credits the players and the work of Beenhakker.
“There has been a massive improvement. The lads have reacted to the manager. His formation has been good and he has us believing in ourselves again and we believe in him as a manager. That’s enormous achievement when you consider the position we were in earlier in the campaign. We have a growing momentum right now,” he ended.
The TTFF meantime wishes to advise that the team for the Gold Cup is likely to head straight to Ft Lauderdale for a training camp on June 27 before taking up base in Miami and as such the majority of the team selected may just begin training across there. Beenhakker has already summoned his players for the tournament but the provisional list released by CONCACAF last week does not indicate his selection of the 18-man squad which may just gather in Ft Lauderdale for the training camp. The list released by CONCACAF, as done for all competing teams, was also compiled before the recent walk out by goalie Clayton Ince. T&T opens its Gold Cup campaign against Honduras on July 6 with matches against Colombia and Panama to follow.