Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke made his way into Panama City on Wednesday and right away revealed his expectations of facing a tricky Panama outfit in tomorrow's 2006 World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Romel Fernandez from 9 p.m. T&T time.
With an eager look in his eyes, the former Manchester United star had only smiles for the Panamanian photographers on hand at the National Stadium for T&T's evening session. But he wasted no time in letting it be known that he and the "Warriors" were in town on a serious mission.
Then yesterday morning, the Panamanians tried to play some tricks on the visiting team. With breakfast scheduled for 8 a.m. at the Riande Aeropuerto Hotel, Yorke and his teammates were told that it would not be ready until 8:30, which forced the departure for the training pitch to be pushed back by half-hour to nine o'clock.
Added to that, the players were left waiting around as the team bus had not arrived by 9 a.m. and the management was then informed that the driver would be running some 30 minutes late due to protest action involving the bus drivers association.
That led to T&T head coach Leo Beenhakker cancelling the practice as it would affect the day's schedule. However, he warned the Warriors of a more intense session in the evening. As the players all returned to their rooms, the bus pulled up and the driver then told the T&T management that he had been advised that the team had pushed back training by an hour.
"It's all part of the game but it won't throw us off," Beenhakker said.
"We know this is going to be as tough a game as any for us in this campaign," Yorke told Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) media officer Shaun Fuentes.
"Panama will be coming all out to prove something and we know this will be a difficult game for us because we don't expect that they will just lie down and let us get the three points we so badly want. If it's anything I think they will think three points being nice to get as well, even though they are not in the race anymore," said the Sydney FC skipper.
With Yorke being the only T&T player to play in every match in the current final qualifying round, along with Marvin Andrews, he said his fitness rate was fine at the moment and he definitely exhibited that on the training pitch so far.
"Without a doubt we must get a win here on Saturday. And then we leave the rest up to what happens when we play against Mexico at home (on Wednesday). At the same time, Mexico have shown how strong a footballing country they are having just won the Under-17 World Cup and by all means their senior team will be wanting to show what sort of a quality team they are as well," Yorke added.
T&T trained yesterday evening at the National Stadium and will have one further session on the eve of the match at the Estadio Romel Fernandez, venue for tomorrow's affair which kicks off at 8 p.m. Panama time.
But while the intention of beating Panama is the main aim these days, members of the national team did not forget the passing of former teammate Mickey Trotman.
Last Monday made it four years since he lost his life in a vehicular accident and it occurred when T&T were preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Honduras in which Stern John went on to score the winner to send Honduras crashing out of the race.
This time, though, it's the Warriors who are vying to keep their chances alive and they will be doing it without forgetting Mickey.
"It's not something that we have forgotten and certainly Mickey is someone we will never forget," said goalkeeper Shaka Hislop.
"It's been four years now since he left us and just during this week we were sitting and talking about him. So in that way he's still in our thoughts and you can expect us to bring home a good win with him in mind aside from the overall desire to get a result to improve our chances of qualifying," said Hislop.