Fri, Jul

EVEN as the debate rages on about what the Trinidad and Tobago Government will eventually give the national footballers for qualifying for the World Cup Finals, reports indicate that some players are not inclined to force the hand of the Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

National team captain Dwight Yorke appears to be willing to give the Trinidad and Tobago Government some time, according to an article published on Monday in the Independent newspaper in England

Yorke is quoted in the internet interview as saying there is no hurry in deciding the special reward or recognition to be given to the players.

Earlier this week the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation met the majority of footballers on the national team in London, England and decided to pay out US$1.6 million in bonuses.

PM Manning has stated that he wants to speak with Yorke first before deciding the appropriate reward for the footballers. Yorke was asked by the Independent if the PM had spoken to him as yet.

" Not just yet. I think the Prime Minister is planning something, though. It would be nice to be recognised for getting there for the first time in our country’s history," he said.

"You’ll see what it means to us in the Caribbean. The islands will be going crazy during the tournament. It would be a great place to be if I wasn’t actually playing," added Yorke

On the question of Bruce Arena, the coach of the United States saying that Trinidad and Tobago will be the whipping boys, Yorke responded in a fiery mood.

"The coach of the American team is entitled to his opinion. Hopefully when he comes up against one of us we can shove the words right back in his face. America was in our (qualifying) group. They know they were very fortunate to beat us. They are not a brilliant team like they are making out to be. We’ve been playing them for years— they are not that special," Yorke said.

Yorke says there are things he will never forget about November 16 second leg play-off match against Bahrain, in Manama.

"I remember speaking to a lot of my friends and family before the match, the noise of the ground and how we controlled most of the match. There were a couple of incidents that will stick in my mind— like taking the corner for the goal and the feeling of seeing the ball go in," he said.

"It means absolutely everything to me. It is definitely one of the highest moments of my career. I will remember captaining my country to the finals. I came back because I thought I didn’t want to end my international career thinking I could have been better or done more as an international footballer," noted Yorke.

The 34 year old Tobago-born dismissed any talk of retirement.

"I have another year of my contract with Sydney FC to run so I will see in February 2007. I’ve always been very fit so continuing to play in midfield won’t hold too many problems," he said.

He said the standard of football at his new club Sydney FC in Australia is "decent". "I would say it’s comparable to Championship football at the moment.

But it’s improving as more and more quality players come into the league. The Aussies qualifying for the World Cup finals will really help— It’s already caught on. Believe it or not there are half a million kids playing football in Sydney but the FFA (Football Federation Australia) just need to learn how to tap into all that talent," he said.

"To be fair, all the Aussies have been top class with me. "They’ve made me feel very special because of my achievements in England.

I love the way they live— pretty laid-back and relaxed like myself," he concluded.