CAPTAIN Dwight Yorke has called for a blood and sweat effort from his players while coach Leo Beenhakker wants a herculean effort as Trinidad and Tobago play Bahrain for a place in the World Cup Finals. The match will kick off 7.30 p.m. tonight (noon TT time).
A victory will give Trinidad and Tobago's Warriors a place in the World Cup, making them just the second team in the English-speaking Caribbean to reach the World Cup. Jamaica was the first in 1998.
No one in the camp is thinking defeat. Both Yorke and Beenhakker were disappointed by the team's showing during a 1-1 home draw with Bahrain in the first leg of the tie on Saturday night in Port of Spain. But, they also believe that Bahrain, playing with purpose and passion, played the best they could in that game.
Beenhakker was very critical of the play of several of his senior players and is aware that his charges are capable of doing better. Playing at their best, or even reproducing the form which saw them beat the 5th-ranked Mexico 2-1 in the final CONCACAF qualifier, Beenhakker believes Trinidad and Tobago is a superior team to Bahrain.
Yorke particularly has been working like a devil in training, shouting at his players when they fail to get their act together.
"I am staring them straight in the eyes and they realise how upset I am," Yorke said. The people in the training session see how fired up I am, and that's exactly the mentality I have to get through to these players. As you can see, I have been ... we have been training extremely hard and trying to put things right and trying to motivate these lads in a positive way. And everybody knows the situation here, there's no secret about it, but if we play to our capabilities there no problem there."
Yorke said he recognised that this is his last chance to play in a World Cup Finals and that the match is of huge significance to the team, the country and the whole of the Caribbean as well. The former Manchester United striker said both teams stand equal at 1-1 with 90 minutes of football left to play. But he recognises that Trinidad and Tobago have to score a goal to win and he is confident of doing just that.
"We know exactly what we have to do. We put ourselves in a situation where we must score a goal to go through and with the firepower we have up front, we know we are capable of doing that. This is not a team to underestimate (Bahrain). They came to our stadium and played really well. We must give Bahrain credit, they did their homework and they sort of shut us down very quickly and made it difficult for us and they got an important away goal. But again, no need to panic. There's 90 minutes of football to be played and all we need to do is score a goal and the whole ball game changes."
Coach Beenhakker has not spared his players from a tongue lashing. Also, he has preached ball possession to them throughout the campaign and also during the training sessions.
"Pass the bloody ball," he shouted at one point when the session was moving too slowly for his liking.
Beenhakker said the fact that Trinidad and Tobago is playing an away game is no excuse for failure.
As far as he is concerned, they still have to play on a green pitch as in Trinidad and Tobago, and there are two white posts to score between ... just like in Trinidad. "The only difference is that we have a crowd supporting more for the other team-the crowd does not play! And, we had a fantastic night Saturday in relation to the crowd, and we played a bad match."
Beenhakker wants a more professional approach from his players. He said playing away from home was part of the job as, indeed, is playing two hard games back to back in four days.
"If you can play cricket, you can play cricket wherever you have to play, whether it is in South Africa or England," Beenhakker said. "Every young guy, when he is seven in his little team is dreaming of this. And now they are here, they play these matches and start to get nervous because they have to play an away game, Ah, come on!"
Beenhakker has not hidden his disappointment with Saturday's performance, stating that he was not satisfied and that the team did not play well.
"That is what we talked about with the players and what we are working on. We talked about why and all that stuff like that. We didn't do a good job. It was, once again, that Bahrain played their game, they deserved the draw. But, in this key match we deserve to do more and bring more of an attitude to these matches."
Beenhakker said that had he not been confident of beating Bahrain today, he would have taken a plane from Port of Spain to Amsterdam after Saturday's 1-1 draw. But he continues to hold on to his belief that he can get his "Warriors" to play at their best, once again, and take themselves, and the country to Trinidad and Tobago's first World Cup Finals.