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Trinidad and Tobago plan to do much more than make up the numbers on their FIFA World Cup™ debut in Germany next year, according to captain Dwight Yorke.


The 34-year-old striker, a UEFA Champions League winner with Manchester United in 1999, said claiming a place at the sport's showpiece event ranked as one of the greatest achievements of his career.

"We don't plan to go there and be just another team," Yorke told reporters before the players flew back to the Caribbean to celebrate their success in becoming one of the smallest nations to play in the FIFA World Cup.

"We can progress," Yorke added. "This team has already made a lot of progress and we can go a lot further. We aim to go there and to be counted. We have got seven months to prepare for the finals and we will do that well."

Yorke came out of international retirement to captain his country to the finals. "My decision to come out of international retirement was correct - very much so - and I am glad I did but I give a lot of credit to Bertille St Clair (Leo Beenhakker's predecessor as coach), who was my first coach and mentor, someone I look up to immensely," Yorke said. "He talked me into coming back and making one last effort to represent my country and take my country to the World Cup.

"To do it again, now as captain, is something to be very proud of. Certainly with my career with winning big trophies and playing in the Premiership for Manchester United, to top it off with this is really the icing on the cake."

Yorke, who has been scoring goals in Australia for Sydney FC this season, also paid tribute to his present national coach Beenhakker. The Dutchman was appointed after the team made a poor start to their qualifying campaign, collecting only one point from three games.

"It took a special mixture of our Trinidad spirit and Dutch tactics to get us through," Yorke said. "Bahrain played extremely good in the first leg and deserved a 1-1 draw and could have had a 2-1 win, but we hung in there and we showed a lot of fighting spirit.

"We came here knowing we had to score a goal and knew it would be difficult. But we knew the pressure was on them to try and keep us out - and sometimes that works against you. This time it worked in our favour. All credit to to Leo Beenhakker. He came in and he turned things around with his experience, he moulded us together."

Dennis Lawrence, the lanky defender who plays for Wrexham in English lower-league football, said he did not care that he had scored the winning goal, a header from a Yorke corner after 49 minutes.

"We had God to thank for that," he said. "It means so much to our people and we have to thank Him for that. I didn't care who scored the goal - only that we won the game. We came to do that and we did it."