National Head coach Leo Beenhakker will continue preparations ahead of Saturday’s crucial 2006 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala with a double training session on Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford with the UK-based pros expected to partake in the evening session.
Beenhakker summoned a squad of 22 players for the training camp which includes the majority of the side from the recent 1-0 loss to the United States but with midfielder Carlos Edwards back from injury and Gillingham defender Ian Cox returning to the fray and of course Russell Latapy is in the squad and is scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain on Tuesday along with the other selected UK-based pros.
The rest of the UK contingent includes Coventry City striker Stern John, Brent Sancho (Gillingham), Collin Samuel (Dundee United), Marvin Andrews (Glasgow Rangers), Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton) and goalies Kelvin Jack (Dundee) and Shaka Hislop (West Ham United). Dennis Lawrence is also in the 22-man squad for the training camp but will be available to play against Costa Rica on September 7, having to miss the Guatemala clash through suspension.
Expected to arrive here on Monday is Japanese-based midfielder Silvio Spann and team captain Dwight Yorke while Scott Sealy and Avery John, both based in the United States will also make the trip home.
The home-based pros include Glenton Wolfe, Atiba Charles, Densill Theobald, Cyd Gray, Aurtis Whitley and Anton Pierre. Missing from the team is Brent Rahim who is scheduled to go on a try out in Sweden.
Beenhakker has reiterated the total team effort required saying “Once again it will be two crucial matches for us as have been the case with the previous ones. The players will be available to us for the next few days of preparations and we have to make the best of it. I think everyone knows the value of these games now.”
Meantime Spann warmed up for Saturday’s match with a goalscoring performance in Yokohama FC’s 4-3 loss to Japanese Division Two League leaders Kofu on Saturday. With his team down 4-0, Spann came on in the 65th minute and made an immediate impact with a goal a minute later. He also set up his team’s third goal and they were reportedly unlucky not to be awarded a late penalty. “It’s a good boost for me ahead of the trip back home. I read that the Guatemalans are confident of coming home and getting a win but we need to make sure it’s far from that. This could be probably the most important match of the campaign for us,” Spann told TTFF Media on Saturday.
Andrews, who was on the bench in Rangers’ 3-0 loss to Hibernian on Saturday, feels that the “Warriors” can take it to the Guatemalans.
“The next two games are virtually do it or die for us. We need at least four points from these two tough games for us. Guatemala are going to be a confident bunch no doubt,” Andrews told TTFF Media.
Reflecting on the loss to the US, Andrews added “We showed character in the second half with our backs against the walls and we need to play like that from the start of the match. The sending off was my mistake with the bad back pass and Dennis had to go in for the challenge. These things happen and we have just to get on with it. The good thing is we didn’t crumble after that and we pulled ourselves together which is what we need in these upcoming matches.”
The Guatemalans are scheduled to arrive in Trinidad on Thursday.