Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke today admitted that he might never realise his dream of playing in a World Cup finals with Trinidad and Tobago.
He feels that in turn will make it even harder to be successful at international level as the well of young talent needed to sustain the game's growth may dry up.
Yorke, who has played in three World Cup qualifying programmes without success, will be nearly 31 by the time of the finals in 2002 and that could be the last chance saloon for Villa's leading marksman.
He said: "It is a great personal ambition of mine to play in a World Cup finals. I felt we had enough experienced players to make it this time around even though it is tough to go through from that part of the world.
"But the worrying factor is that sports tends to go in fads back home. It could be football that's really popular with the youngsters one day but the next minute it's cricket or basketball which is the 'in' sport.
"Because we've failed to qualify could now mean soccer becoming the back seat sport and if it takes a backward step then it will be all the harder to do well at international level.
"If people lose interest in the game, then they won't be playing it and there will be less chance for the budding stars of the future to come through and develop."
However Yorke is determined not to let his disappointment affect his form with Villa and Saturday's winner against Middlesbrough was his eighth goal in nine games.
He said: "No matter how much of a blow failing to qualify was with my country, I have to make sure I produce the goods for Villa and we want to get a run going which will get us back challenging near the top of the table."