Despite Trinidad and Tobago occupying the cellar spot in the CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifying standings and their chances hanging by the slimmest of threads, head coach Russell Latapy is urging his team to battle for a win against USA tomorrow.
Last evening, after an intense training session at the match venue, the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Latapy was backing his players to bounce back from Saturday's deflating 4-1 defeat away to Honduras.
I'm in the frame of mind that I go into every single game with," the former national midfielder told the media following the session. "We know that we're in a very difficult situation right now, but again, we have to represent our country with pride and desire and in saying that, we want to win the last few games that we have," he said after an intense two hour plus session at the match venue on Monday evening.
The media showed up and there was a handful of die-hard fans looking on as the ESPN crew awaited the arrival of their equipment before setting up for a live production of Wednesday's match. A TV Azteca duo out of Mexico was also on location.
T&T's Soca Warriors have three matches remaining and are at the bottom of the table with five points, beneath El Salvador on goal difference. And with the top four teams having at least 12 points, their chances of qualifying for South Africa are merely mathematical. T&T still have to face the US and Mexico at home and, between those fixtures, they travel to Costa Rica, the Trinidad Express reported.
Latapy has acknowledged the huge odds against, but is intent on taking it one match at a time.
"Realistically, it is very difficult now. We're in a situation (where) in order to qualify we have to win our three games and we have to depend on other results from the other teams, so it makes it very difficult," he conceded.
"Again we're playing at home and we're going to play to win and we're going to look at the other results and play all the games to win and see where that leads us."
Latapy also confirmed that he will not consider suiting up to take part in the match, as he is not "physically prepared" now to play. He did, however, say that the players can rebound, stating that even the best of football teams have their ups and downs.
And England-based defender Jlloyd Samuel, who debuted for Trinidad and Tobago in the loss to the Hondurans, is one player looking forward to the match ahead and said the team's spirits are good despite last weekend's poor result.
"That game's gone now, we can't dwell on the past, you've got to look to the future. We've got a game on Wednesday and we want to win it," said Samuel, who plays for Bolton Wanderers in the English Premiership.
"[Disappointment] comes with football. There's ups and downs, and it's how you deal with it and, as a team, we're going to deal with it well. We have a good team here, we've got some good guys and the managers and staff are behind us, and hopefully the fans will be behind us as well."
And even though he has had obstacles in the past from joining the national team, Samuel, who was born in San Fernando, says he is happy to join the T&T squad and not just for the prospect of playing World Cup football.
"It's a big meaning now because I was born here," he explained, "and to come back and represent the country is a big thing for me. So I'm proud to wear the (T&T) shirt."
The US were expected to arrive in Trinidad last night for tomorrow's game, which kicks off at 7.11 p.m.
The US team will train before T&T on Tuesday evening. Earlier from 10am, there will be a Press Conference hosted by the TTFF at the Crowne Plaza, to hand over the armband to the new captain following the recent retirement of Dwight Yorke.