Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke took full part in a session for the first time since the “Soca Warriors” last got together for their previous meeting with Guatemala as the national team trained at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on a humid Tuesday afternoon.
"That game (Guatemala) has become the vital one in the group stage because, obviously, there is a lot at stake. I think that whoever gets a good result will probably have a good chance of advancing to the next round even though there are two further games to play," Yorke said.
"It seems that this is the game that will set the onus on the team that will probably qualify along with America. The important game is on Saturday." The Sunderland man also made strong reference to Latapy.
"He is arguably one of the best players to grace this country. With his experience, not maybe so much as a player anymore but his input, being around and his influence is a key factor. It’s good to have him round here especially with the young players and see how he operates. They can feed off him, get some good positive vibes and learn from him as well.
“We all know Russell is the darling of Trinidad and Tobago football. Russell is a person we love and respect and it's good to have him around here, especially for the young players to see how he operates...and maybe they can feed off him and maybe we can get some positive vibes...and maybe they can learn off him as well," said Yorke.
Losing 5-1 to Guatemala the last time T&T traveled there is not something easily forgotten.
“We know it’s not going to be easy. We have to be at our very best hence that’s why the manager has recalled so many experience players. It’s not an easy place to go into but I know that we have the players here to cope with that. Despite the results in the past we are talking about the present and this game on Saturday,” Yorke concluded.
T&T will take the field again from 5pm on Wednesday against Dominican Republic with Joe Public facing Montreal Impact in a Concacaf Champions League fixture from 8:11pm.
Yorke looks ahead to Guatemala.
By: Ian Prescott (Express).
"It's not that important...we all know that," Dwight Yorke said of today's friendly international against the Dominican Republic. "The important game is on Saturday."
Yorke was speaking following yesterday's practice session for the Trinidad and Tobago national team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
T&T head coach Francisco Maturana is using today's game against the Dominican Republic at the same venue to give his players some on-the-field match practise ahead of the all-important World Cup qualifier away to Guatemala in three days' time.
Today's action features a double-header, the main event being Joe Public's CONCACAF Champions League return match against Group C leaders Montreal Impact. That game will be played from 8.11 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports.
The T&T-Dominican Republic game kicks off at 5 p.m. Admission is $100 (uncovered stand) and $200 for covered stand tickets.
Yesterday, Yorke's only focus was Guatemala.
"That game (Guatemala) has become the vital one in the group stage because, obviously, there is a lot at stake. Who ever gets a good result will probably have a good chance of advancing to the next round...even though there are two other games to play," Yorke said.
"It seems that this is the game that will set the onset for the team that will probably qualify along with America."
Yorke also lauded the return of the "Little Magician", Russell Latapy, to the national team.
Latapy was enticed back to the T&T squad with the prospect of being a player-coach. But at yesterday's training session, he made no coaching input and instead simply held a player's role.
However, Yorke reminded the media of the great talent Latapy has been and believes that, even at 40, he still has a role with the national team.
"Russell is a person we love and respect and it's good to have him around here, especially for the young players to see how he operates...and maybe they can feed off him and maybe we can get some positive vibes...and maybe they can learn off him as well," said Yorke.
Yesterday's session saw the Soca Warriors going through a scrimmage among themselves. All except Swansea's Jason Scotland and lanky central defender Dennis Lawrence, who had not yet arrived in Trinidad from the UK.
Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones, recovering from injury, was in an especially jovial mood and scored a hat-trick, prompting one of his teammates to remark that for an injured player he was looking pretty sharp. Jones, though, looked a few pounds overweight, but insists that it is all muscle.