Trinidad and Tobago striker Stern John was running his socks off at the Estadio Cuscatlan a little more than a month ago and he promises to do the same come Saturday if given the opportunity against Honduras at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7pm.
Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland was involved after joining the team camp on Tuesday.
John, now on loan with English Championship Division club Bristol City, made his feelings known for the first time since the 2-2 draw with El Salvador on February 11 in which he missed an early second half penalty and went close on a couple good occasions to finding the target.
“Missing a penalty is a part of football and it’s one of those things that you wish never happens to you as a player,” John told TTFF Media on Wednesday.
“You just have to move on. That was a month or more ago and of course I was most disappointed but I had to pick my head up and play again. I’m still confident as a striker and it’s not going to hold me back from wanting to do my best out there and try and get goals to push the country to the next level. I thought I’d done well overall in the match and anyone who really understands the game possibly would have seen my performance and rate it well enough but again the penalty wasn’t the best result. But do you think I’d go up to take a penalty with the intention of missing it or not being confident of scoring. At the time my chips were up and I felt I could convert. Sadly it didn’t happen that way,” John continued.
But the former Birmingham City topscorer dealt Honduras a killer blow in October 2001, when his lone item gave T&T a 1-0 win and knocked the Central Americans out of the running for qualification to the 2002 World Cup.
“It’s a crucial match for us and I think it’s going to be anything but easy for us because Honduras is one of the better playing teams in the competition right now and they will be up for it. But we also play well at home and even though we’re missing a couple key players, I think if we dig deep enough then we can definitely get the three points.
“Obviously we were disappointed with the result in El Salvador because when you are two goals up and then you end up drawing the match, then there’s no other way to feel other than that of disappointment. But qualification for the next World Cup is definitely something we all want to achieve and that kind of desire to do well is what we need to capitalize on and put out the effort that will take us through.
“Personally if anybody thinks that we’re under pressure or if they feel I am under pressure as a player because of the penalty miss, then all I can say is that I’m the kind of person that plays very well under pressure. It tends to bring out the best in me and hopefully as a team we can go out there and grind out the result that will get us three points,” John added.
Meantime, goalie Clayton Ince, despite out of Saturday’s game due to suspension, said he was still excited over T&T’s chances.
"We're looking forward to it very much," he said. "We were a little disappointed to draw the opening game in El Salvador but all the guys have recuperated and we're looking forward to these games to put things right.
"It's early stages but it shows they are doing something right. We have to correct ourselves and, with that game being at home, we have to look to win.
"America in America is a tough game but the thing is you have to make your home games count and then go to other countries and not get beat. Hopefully we can get a win against Honduras and then focus on the USA game.
"Everyone is focused on 2010. These are two important games."
The Hondurans are scheduled in Port of Spain on Thursday afternoon at 1.30pm.. T&T will train at 6.30pm at the match venue on Thursday.