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Sat, Dec

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Trinidad and Tobago head coach Russell Latapy will announce his squad for the upcoming 2010 World Cup Qualifier against El Salvador this week as he leads his contingent into a live in training camp from Thursday ahead of the August 12 fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Latapy, who turns 41 today (Sunday) had his most recent session with a squad of home-based players on Thursday at the Marvin Lee Stadium and is expected to have the majority of his overseas selectees in camp by August 9.

Looking ahead to the encounter which is a must win one for the “Soca Warriors”  the former Portuguese-based professional indicated that despite the inability to play at least one other warm up international before August 12, he still maintained confidence of grabbing his first win of the final round campaign.

“It’s a game which we have to win and we know exactly that is all it will take to ensure we maintain our chances of qualifications so in saying that I think it’s very clear that we will go all out to win and we will prepare in the best way possible to achieve this,” he told TTFF Media.

“We will try to take advantage of everything which in this instance is our home advantage. I have had a few sessions with the home-based players and I will put together the squad of the best available players to ensure we have the strongest possible squad to take on El Salvador on the day. I will not divulge too much now on the selection of the squad but the thing about it is that we have several players who are in the middle of a season here in Trinidad and then we also have guys coming off a hectic preseason campaign going into their new season in the UK. So those are a couple things we have to take into consideration,” Latapy added.

Asked to comment on the form and exposure now afforded to some of T&T’s overseas-based players with Jason Scotland scoring on debut for Premiership club Wigan Athletic last week, Chris Birchall lining up with La Galaxy and Stern John moving to Crystal Palace, Latapy said he was happy for them but would prefer similar headline grabbing performances for the national team. Kenwyne Jones also scored in Sunderland’s 2-1 win over Celtic in a preseason fixture on Saturday.

“It’s always a good thing when our players get good contracts and are doing well in the foreign league. I’ve been there before and I know it takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work to do well out there. So I’m happy anytime one of our players can secure a good contract our score goals but my job right now is to get them to do the same thing for the national team and then I would be able to say that I’m very happy about their contributions,” Latapy added.

John meantime, who completed a one-year transfer to Crystal Palace last week, though unsure whether he will be part of Latapy’s plans for August 12, stressed that he remained committed to the 2010 cause.

“I definitely would try to do my best at all times for the national team. Once the call is made then I would be there to play and give my support to the team once I’m not injured. I think we still have a very good chance of securing the necessary results to take us to South Africa and once my services are requested then I’ll be looking forward to being part of the team,” said John who missed the previous matches against Costa Rica and Mexico because of a back injury.

FIFA.com, the official page for the 2010 World Cup, has labeled the T&T/ El Salvador clash as the The basement battle.

It’s site stated “Without a win in their five hexagonal stage matches, and with only five fixtures left, Trinidad and Tobago are in desperate need of three points when they face second-from the-bottom El Salvador. Likewise, Carlos De Los Cobos's team have their own psychological barrier to overcome: they have yet to beat Trinidad and Tobago in FIFA World Cup qualification. The odds are almost exactly evenly across all three possible results, making this a crucial prediction.”