Trinidad and Tobago's senior national football team may have little left to play for, with no chance of qualifying for the South Africa 2010 World Cup, but coach Russell Latapy sees a silver lining in that dark cloud.
Latapy, who called up five players who returned with the junior "Soca Warriors" after a first round exit at the Under-20 World Cup, is hoping to use T&T's last two qualifiers as a platform from which to build a team for the 2014 World Cup campaign.
The five Under-20 players in the squad are Leston Paul, Glenroy Samuel, Jake Thomson, Robert Primus and Juma Clarence.
"Our chances of qualifying have passed us by," Latapy told the media yesterday following the squad's intense training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, "so we want to give some of the younger players the opportunity to gain the experience at this level.
"So some of them...with the possibility to play in the next four years, we're going to invite them on and have a look at them, and hopefully that will make them stronger for the next four years."
Latapy also explained that some of the Under-20 players may have a chance to start in the October 10 away encounter with Costa Rica, saying after training he will select the "best squad".
"That is very possible. To begin with we've invited them on to the 22-man squad and they're here and they're training, and then we'll put out the best possible XI on the pitch."
The former star midfielder, who inherited the post from Colombian Francisco Maturana midway through a floundering campaign earlier this year, is sticking to the script he has set for the team, even though there is no World Cup for T&T in the near future.
"It's just to go out there and enjoy ourselves, and play football with the essence of how Trinidad play football and I'm sure if we do that, we'll make ourselves proud," he related.
One player Latapy will be surely hoping to be on top of his game is striker Kenwyne Jones.
The big Sunderland FC front man, who has shown great form this season with five goals already in the Premier League, including one in the 2-2 draw against Manchester United last Saturday at Old Trafford, wants to do the same for Trinidad and Tobago.
Jones explained that, for him, it is different playing with a team every week and then coming back to play for T&T on occasions. But he hopes to find the net more regularly for the national team.
"[In England] it's a different level, different chemistry, different everything," the former St Anthony's College player said. "So of course you would like to come back and produce the same form, but it's not the same scenario, so hopefully that will come soon, and in the years to come."
Jones is hoping the Warriors can take away points from what is expected to be a very tough encounter in front of a hostile San Jose crowd on Saturday.
"Of course we're playing for pride, but at the same time we have a lot of young players, new players coming into the squad, preparing the team for the future... We're more or less looking to the next generation of the senior team, so with the players that are coming off the World Cup (campaign) and the young players coming into the team, we have enough players to go forward in that next campaign."
After the match against Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago will take on Mexico next Wednesday in their final game of the 2010 World Cup campaign at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.