Fri, Jul

Beating Mexico in the last CONCACAF 2006 World Cup qualifier will be a tough task for the Trinidad and Tobago national football team, but "Warriors" skipper Dwight Yorke believes his players have what it takes to get there.

T&T's chances of moving ahead on the Road to Germany hinge on the result against the Mexicans tomorrow and Yorke feels if they can stick to their game plan, a win is possible.

"Certainly, the public will play a significant part in that, and I'm sure if we play to our abilities and everyone is firing on all cylinders, which we need on the day to overcome Mexico, and I'm sure that that will happen," said Yorke yesterday following a very intense training session in the searing mid-morning sun at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, venue of tomorrow's match, which kicks off at 8 p.m.

But Yorke warned against celebrating too early, saying that the hardest part of the World Cup journey is yet to come, and he also cited complacency as one of the stumbling blocks faced by the T&T team, who beat Panama 1-0 in Panama City last Saturday to jump over Guatemala into fourth place in the CONCACAF group.

The fourth-placed CONCACAF team will progress to a home and away playoff against either Uzbekistan or Bahrain from the Asian Zone for a spot at the 2006 World Cup.

"I think one big thing (problem) is complacency. We have a tendency to celebrate before the actual job has been done, and we just got to stay focussed and not forget what we've done to get into a situation that we have done. We know how the public are all excited, and quite rightly so, because we worked our socks off to get into a situation, but the job is not done.

"For us that was the easy part, now this is what I consider the very difficult part, and this is where the work really begins, because it would be such a shame for us to put in so much work and so much effort in the last couple of years, so to speak, you know, go on from Bertille St Clair onwards to where we are now."

The Sydney FC striker also urged the T&T public to come out and show their full support to the team.

"It is a long road, a very difficult road, and we're asking the public to come out and the people of Trinidad and Tobago to come out and support in their numbers on Wednesday night, because we need everybody there. And let's not celebrate (yet). Let's not get ahead of our time..."

Yorke also lauded Stern John, Derby City striker and hero of Saturday's victory over Panama, for getting it right despite a recent lack of form in front of the net.

"I think, being a striker myself, I know exactly what Stern is going through, and it's a frustrating time when you're not scoring, because, ask anybody, ask any striker in the world, if you're not scoring, your confidence is not as high," Yorke stressed.

"...We the players, we see in the training, we know what he is capable of, the management has shown a tremendous amount of patience with him, and yet he's come back, and that's a good sign, that's he's confident, he's up and running again, he's scoring on a regular basis, and people should give him a chance and support."

T&T team scout, former national captain David Nakhid, also expressed confidence in the Warriors's ability to pull off a victory over the Mexicans tomorrow night, but emphasised the most important facet of their game would be mental preparedness.

"Well, the morale of the team is very high, as you can see," Nakhid explained, "coming off a hard game against Panama, three points, thank God, and we're looking forward to the game against Mexico...we know we have to be mentally strong.

"It's an incredible challenge. Mexico is one of the best teams in the world, playing very good football at this point in time. But we have it in our hands, we need to do it. Hopefully, we'll have the public behind us 100 per cent in that game on Wednesday and we can pull it off, I think."