Luton Town midfielder Carlos Edward is calling for fans in his homeland to come out and support the new generation of local footballers as they get set to enter qualification race for the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship.
Edwards was referring to the current National Under 20 team which comes up against Dominican Republic in the second game of a double header in the CFU second round at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 7pm on Wednesday.
The young “Soca Warriors” will be battling for a place in next January’s CONCACAF final round from which four nations will advance to the FIFA Youth Cup in Canada.
Currently preparing under head coach Brian Williams, the 20-man squad, which was finalized on the weekend, will also face St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Kitts/Nevis in other qualifying matches later this week.
And Edwards who started T&T’s 2006 qualifying campaign against Dominican Republic back in 2004 when he sustained a serious knee injury, is urging the young T&T side to believe in themselves.
“The guys must believe in themselves and go out there and represent,” Edwards told TTFF Media.
“They have to be disciplined and not rush in hope of success. They have to realize too that all these teams want to beat us and be better for us so we need to show them that we can take them on and finish on a high.
“At this stage of their career they also have to take the game as serious and professional as possible. They must be ready for the game from the day before and not just a few hours before the kick off. The game is fast paced now. I am sure they saw us at the World Cup and they saw how fast it was. No one expected us to match up to the big teams but we believed in our ability and we prepared for it,” Edwards added.
He also called on the fans to show their support. The locals must also realize too that not because it’s the early phase of the tournament means there should be little interest. But the fact is that this is the only leg of the tournament they will have a chance to see the team live and extend their support as the next final round takes place in Mexico and Panama next January.
“The fans must come out and show their support and make the boys feel that they are behind them, Support is a key part in football now and this the new breed of Soca Warriors,” added the former Defence Force man.
On the heels of an impressive double in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Leeds United, Edwards was calm but his confidence was obvious.
“It was a good performance by us and to get a double too was good for me.”
“We just went in there with one aim and that was to win the game. But we didn’t expect it would be five for us Leeds are having a rough time now and we just played well and took advantage of it. We hope to keep this up. We’re in fifth spot at the moment but we are not going to get carried away. It’s good to be up in the top five at this time of the season though. This will show the other teams that we mean business and we have a lot to play for.
“We have another big game tomorrow (Tuesday) versus Everton, I hope I can get a nice (28th) birthday present on the day too,” he laughed.