National Men’s Senior Team head coach Russell Latapy will have three more training sessions in Trinidad before heading over to the sister isle to begin the final leg of preparations ahead of this country’s vital 2010 World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on June 6 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium.
Among the players confirmed for camp ahead of the June 6 fixture based on Latapy’s invitation are Sunderland trio Dwight Yorke, Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones. Others invited thus far are Raith Rovers defender Marvin Andrews, St Johnstone winger Collin Samuel as well as defender Dennis Lawrence and goalie Clayton Ince. The full quota of overseas and home based pros selected by Latapy will be finalized in due course as June 6 approaches.
Yorke is not expected to join the team until after Sunderland’s closing Premiership fixture against Chelsea on May 24 but is eyeing a return to international action on June 6 following his two match suspension versus Honduras and United States.
The former Manchester United star, now assistant coach at Sunderland, has ensured that his physical fitness stays intact with full training at the club.
Yorke maintained that T&T must go all out against the Costa Ricans who are also in preparation for the encounter, knowing very well that a win for them could put them in the driver’s seat on the six-nation table. They have already making arrangements to have some 400 Costa Rican fans make the journey over to Tobago to support their national team.
“I hope that my words have not gone in vain because I’ll be back and leading the team from the front against Costa Rica,” Yorke told TTFF Media in relation to his last team chat with the “Soca Warriors.”
“My message was one that I needed to say in a team way that we have got to dig deep and get the job done, We know we have a hard battle ahead of us. We have to work extremely hard as a group of players to make sure that we have the best possible chance of getting results to move ahead.
“We know one win will put us back in the frame again. Hopefully we can come back stronger. A good performance and result against Costa Rica will definitely turn things around. We need the support of the entire country. They have to encourage the players as much as possible and come out in their numbers on June 6,” Yorke stated ahead of the upcoming encounter.
Andrews meantime says he is looking forward to resuming his international career as well as reaching his 100 match appearance for T&T of which he is one short.
Andrews will decide where he continues his career next season after making a successful return from injury this season during which he guided Raith to promotion into the Scottish First Division. He’s also eying a return to Scottish Premier League where he once campaigned with Glasgow Rangers
"It is my ultimate desire to get back to the SPL. That is my utmost vision; to get back to my peak performance, to how I played when I was with Rangers and Livingston and when helping Trinidad and Tobago reach the 2006 World Cup.
"My career started on a high; I want it to finish the same way."
Regarding his 100th appearance, he added : "You have no idea how much that would mean to me. Ever since I was 16 years old, it has been my dream to play for my country. To reach 100 would be fantastic, the culmination of a fantastic journey for me."
Meantime, national team manager David Muhammad will travel to Mexico City next week to oversee pre-match arrangements leading up to the team’s arrival for the June 10 clash with Mexico. Honduran Jose Benigno Pineda has been announced as the match referee for that encounter.
For T&T’s encounter against Costa Rica, Jamaican Courtney Browne will carry the whistle while his assistants will be fellow countrymen Ricardo Morgan and Anthony Garwood. Trinidadian Neil Brizan will be the referee for Costa Rica’s clash with the USA on June 3 with T&T’s Joseph Taylor and Michael Ragoonath serving as assistants. Geoffrey Hospedales also of T&T will be the fourth official.
The 2010 Local Organizing Committee has ongoing preparations towards the hosting of the match at Bacolet and all efforts will be made to ensure that the Dwight Yorke Stadium is transformed into full Soca Warriors territory for the staging of the country fourth match of the final qualifying round towards South Africa 2010.
Costa Rica meanwhile will play Venezuela in a warm up match in San Cristobal on May 13.
NB: Tickets for June 6 go on sale on Monday May 11 via 800 FANS and www.ttffonline.com